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Meet a panini burrito at The Loop (and don’t forget a Margarita) 

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-9344, theloopatmanitou.com

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The Loop perennially wins Best Margarita awards, making that the first association for many regulars and a first draw for many tourists.

My experiences have proven this much: They’re muy fuerte (very strong), so a good bang for the buck(s). I head home with a basic Skinny Margarita, not a diet fad thing, but the only Loop margarita by my questioning that doesn’t include a margarita mix.

Instead, it’s a simple blend of smooth Partida blanco tequila, lime juice and diluted agave. Clean, easy, nicely undersweet and still plenty boozy.

I’m also drawn to the burrito panini, billed as “a new type of burrito.” (FWIW, the menu also calls molcajete a “new dish from Mexico” when the stone bowl itself’s an ancient culinary object and modern dish renditions have been on local menus for years.)

Anyhoo, the panini element involves brushing the tortilla with garlic butter and lightly grilling it, so it’s warmed with a little toast to the texture. Some welcome char flavor arrives with both sirloin steak and chicken chunks, making it extra meaty, while pintos, pico and melted cheese round out the ample filling.

Side guac and sour cream gift creaminess, and I pour the whole ramekin of mango habanero salsa atop, which adds a touch of balancing sweetness and respectable heat. With frozen vegetable-blend-flecked Mexican rice, it makes for a mean meal.

Location Details The Loop
965 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs/Ute Pass
Manitou Springs, CO
685-9344
Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern

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