When I researched and wrote Culinary Colorado (the book) in the early years of this millennium, the Absolute Bakery & Cafe in Mancos was fairly new — and very wonderful, both for the food and for the down-home, hippie and very welcoming ambience. The original owners, both Culinary Institute of America grads, no longer own it, but whoever is cooking and baking there has continued the tradition of quality. ABC was using local and organic ingredients before it became the norm. And the old hippie vibe is still there too.
Guests who want coffee or tea are handed thick mugs to fill at a counter. Espresso drinks are brought by servers. And so are generous portions of food. The cafe format to me says “breakfast” so that is the meal my husband, our friend Mary and I went for.
Price check: At breakfast, main courses, $4.25-$9.25; sides, $1-$3.50.
My husband and I spent several hours at the Planes of Fame museum, whose collection largely consists of World War II era aircraft. (My post and some pix are at http://bit.ly/1PGg0CT) The museum is on the north side of Chino Airport, in the transition zone between agricultural and suburban southern California.
Right down the street is Flo’s Airport Café, a throwback eatery specializing in enormous portions of traditional American fare — with a few stir-fries and salads thrown in to communicate modern-ness. We ate there to continue the back-in-the-day theme.
I generally try not to eat anyplace predictably uninteresting, but today was an exception. As we were driving south of Broadway in Boulder to go for a sunny-day hike, I suddenly got hankering for spicy Chinese food. The power of suggestion was great, and my husband bought into it.
But we had miles to hike before we ate. On the way back, we were ravenous, so we pulled into the Base-Mar shopping center, where May-Wah has been located ever since it came into my consciousness. It is located in a strip mall, so I had few expectations of interesting fare and have always avoided it. My expectations were met. When we arrived, a single woman at one table was finishing her meal, and one fellow was waiting for his take-out order. One table was left to be cleared. It still took quite some time to have our order taken and then for our food to be brought out
The Village Coffee Shop makes Thrillist top-21 list.
Boulder’s Village Coffee Shop is a favorite local greasy spoon, beloved by folks who revere traditional American breakfast and lunch dishes. It’s a coffee-not-cappuccino kind of place in a small strip fall.
I’ve been there any number of times and always order the pancakes (usually blueberry). They are huge. Three are too many for me. Even two are more than I can handle. One is just right. But at the counter and at the Formica-topped tables, regulars wolf down gargantuan portions. First-timers are called “Village virgins” and are given a special welcome. But it’s the pancakes that captivated Thrillist.com’s scout, who wrote on “The 21 Best Pancakes in America“:
“It’s a cliche to say certain places make it feel like you’ve “stepped back in time,” so we’ll just say that when you see the burnt-orange stools and wood paneling at Village Coffee, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Boulder circa 1971, when the joint opened and unleashed the same pancake recipe used today. There are but three pancake varieties here: buttermilk, blueberry, and chocolate chip. All are the size of a dinner plate. Pair ’em with eggs or bacon, or just show up on the weekend when they sometimes serve a “mancake special,” where they stuff their enormous pancakes with bacon, ham, and sausage. If you ask nicely, they can also prepare it whenever you want.”
The Brown Palace’s opulent Sunday spread is put out at Ellyngton’s.
At a Brown Palace event a few weeks ago, I won Sunday brunch for two at Ellyngton’s, a steakhouse at night but the Brown’s bunch venue. My husband and I drove to Denver yesterday on a sunny Sunday for an early-afternoon feast. He and I are like Jack Spratt and his wife in that we eat very different foods. That’s the reason we often go out to eat. And that’s the reason that buffets are so right for us.
North Boulder restaurant’s cheery ambiance and breakfasts.
On a gloomy morning with day-long rain promised again, Tangerine‘s allure was irresistible. We entered beneath the tangerine-colored awning into the cheerful and sunny tangerine-rich décor. That started the smiles, and the excellent breakfast dishes made with the tastiest, freshest, most nutritious ingredients continues to fuel the day the most upbeat day. We got there early. That was a good thing, because a line built quickly and soon guests were being seated in the flexible space between the it and its sister restaurant, Arugula Bar y Ristorante.
Juice, coffee, fine breakfast entrées and prompt courteous service warmed our bodies and lifted our spirits beyond the rainclouds. Tangerine’s full bar provided some temptations that we resisted. What willpower!
Price check: At breakfast/brunch, Pancakes, French Toast & Waffle, $7-$9.50; On the Lighter Side, $3.50-$7.50; Eggs, $5.95-$13; Benedicts, $10.50-$13.50; House Specialties, $9.50-$13; Extras, $1.50-$4.50.
Gold Pan is more than a vintage saloon. It serves espresso drinks!
Breckenridge‘s Gold Pan Saloon & Restaurant has been around since 1879, surviving the booms and busts that characterize Colorado’s historic mining towns. The current boom, which shows no signs of ebbing, is skiing coupled with robust summer tourism. According to local lore, Long’s Saloon opened in 1860 in a tent structure where the Gold Pan building was put up around 1879. now stands. It was one of some 18 saloons in Breckenridge at that time. The current Gold Pan is considered, according to the website, to be “the oldest operating bar in Summit County and one of Colorado’s Oldest & Finest.” Historic photos and assorted “old stuff” on the walls underscore the saloon’s longevity.
In the afternoon and evening, the Pan rocks with folks passing through the swinging doors and vying for well-worn barstools or at vintage tables around the old potbelly stove in the front room The back room (actually, the room to the right of the “front” room) has a pool table — and according to an overheard conversation, might eventually have two. The Pan may look like a dive bar, but in truth, the town has become too upscale for a rally ratty one — and as well as the availability espresso drinks plus clean, modern restrooms underscore the (welcome) gentrification. Still family-owned, it succeeds in balancing the picturesque old with the requisite new.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.