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Side Dish

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Indulgent design

After 15 years in the Springs, Cookies by Design (3315 N. Academy Blvd.) is under different ownership. New proprietors Hank and Kathy Scarangella say they're making several improvements, including a redecoration of their franchise outlet and expansion of gourmet cookie offerings.

"I fell in love with this store five years ago, after my daughter received two (cookie) bouquets," says Kathy. Shortly thereafter, the longtime accountant applied to the Plano, Texas-based franchise to open a store, possibly in California. But not really wanting to leave the Springs, she instead kept tabs on the Academy store, moving quickly when it came up for sale.

Besides ordering from some 400 bouquet options at cookiesbydesign.com, "anyone can come in and give us a sketch," Kathy says. She insists as long as an image isn't trademarked, she can put it on one of her daily-made cookies. Call 380-1130 for more.

The ripe time

Not one, but two Froots franchises opened just a week apart last month, in Falcon (11605 Meridian Market View, 522-2590) and Colorado Springs (3604 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 442-1525).

"It's a total coincidence," says Austin Bluffs owner Bev Giltner, who did not know Falcon owners Tony and Anna Cecilia prior to opening.

The two outlets are the first Frootses in Colorado. The 8-year-old, Florida-based chain sells salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches and, of course, an abundance of smoothies. Visit froots.com to see a full menu.

Good to be green

Beginning this month, 100 percent of the electricity at Pizzeria Rustica (2527 W. Colorado Ave.) will be wind-generated. Among other green steps, the pizzeria already recycles and composts more than 80 percent of its waste and uses recycled boxes for takeout and leftovers. Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak (the local convention and visitors bureau) awarded the restaurant a Sustainability Award in early December.

Do the truffle shuffle

Calling all high rollers: Here's a unique meal that'll set you back, but likely leave you smiling. The ninth annual Black and White Dinner at Black Bear restaurant (10375 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls) offers five courses of various truffles (the most gourmet and tasty fungi, by most chefs' standards) paired with Gaja wines (a prestigious, small-production, Italian outfit also a chefs' favorite).

The 6 p.m. dinner on Jan. 11 follows a truffle class more on what, exactly, they are and how they're hunted from 1 to 3 p.m. at Paragon Culinary School (3125 Sinton Road). The class costs $45, the dinner $145; or attend both for $159. Call 684-9648 for reservations.

Send the word on franchise activity and rich cuisine to scene@csindy.com.

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