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Pig Latin Food Truck revs up, Lofty's shuts down

Side Dish

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Because, you know, pork and food trucks go together like salt and pepper: Pig Latin Food Truck (piglatintruck.com) could be open around month's end, dishing handfuls of ham-inspired creations.

Current Rabbit Hole line cook and former Army cook and Pikes Peak Community College culinary graduate Andres Velez is behind the project. His wife will help on the sweets side, prepping goodies like caramel-bacon macaroons and bacon molasses cookies.

Velez's savory menu includes interesting items like deep-fried risotto and deep-fried Cuban pork chili, both battered in panko flakes. The latter also can be stuffed inside a fist-sized mashed potato ball — a take on Peruvian papas rellenas. Pork barbecue sliders get a Korean kiss with spicy mayo and kimchi garnish on a pretzel bun. And pork shoulder sees two treatments: a braise in a milk-and-herb bath, topped in a resulting gravy; or an island-style, slow citrus marinade with pineapple and mango toppings under a cilantro-habañero cream sauce.

"I'm not trying to make [the menu] any specific ethnicity; I just want to broaden flavor profiles," says Velez, citing influences from Mexican, French and Samoan cuisines as well. "This menu is mainly influenced from my growing up in New Jersey," he adds, noting his Colombian heritage and easy access to great Cuban and Puerto Rican food.

His goal is to serve across town, including on Fort Carson, but keep an eye on his social media pages for updated times and locations as they appear.

No longer aloft

Charismatic coffee-café owner and longtime local culture booster and arts enthusiast Josh Kennard announced last week that he'll be closing Lofty's (287 E. Fountain Blvd., #100, 520-0024) as of July 21, after nearly three years in business.

"Drinks will be cheap" during the remaining days, he writes in a Facebook post. "... so come by and have a few."

Unsurprisingly, Kennard cites the location — tucked into the off-strip, yet-to-boom Lowell Neighborhood development — as an ongoing challenge to the business.

The former Rubbish Gallery partner says he'll turn some of his focus to future plans (which he's not yet ready to discuss) for Olde World Bagels & Deli, which he co-owns with his father. The 33-year-old otherwise says he's "ready to take a break," having worked 60- to 100-hour weeks at various posts since he was 18.

With whatever he devotes new energy to, his goal remains "to make Colorado Springs a better place — I believe we are the change we want to see in the world." And he'll hang onto his Lofty's awnings, in case he revisits the café's concept elsewhere down the road.

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