Red Dog Coffee
739 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 313-9080, reddogcoffeemanitou.com
It's been bizarrely hard to give my money to Red Dog, the operation brewing with Colorado Coffee Merchants product in the former Marika's Coffee House. The first time, we stood in a darkened dining room while a woman behind the counter talked with another customer for five minutes before they left, only to acknowledge us with the announcement that the power was out, so food and drink were off the table. The one busy employee working during our next visit failed to say anything.
Our order arrived, however, and besides a dried-out coffee-cake muffin ($3), everything was badass. A small spicy ginger chai latte ($3.50) burned ever so sweetly, while a breakfast platter ($7.99) full of kicking green chilies and soft pita bread, and a bagel sandwich ($5.99) laced with guacamole and Provolone, turned breakfast into an event. — Bryce Crawford
3 Hundred Days of Shine
279 Beacon Lite Road, Unit G, Monument, 488-2858, 3hundreddays.com
In our Bites insert this week, we take a close look at 3HDS's moonshine-distillation methods and the story behind the company's genesis. After sampling all six of the outfit's products neat, and being quite impressed on the whole, I tested out their mixability as viewed through the lens of the Old Coloradan ($6) cocktail.
For it, distiller/co-owner Michael Girard takes his 100-proof Colorado Honey moonshine and adds a good pour of Gosling's Ginger Beer, plus a lemon twist. Somewhat of a moonshine equivalent of a Moscow Mule or Gin Buck, it bears a hearty ginger bite, subtle citrus note and lovely flavor from Elizabeth, Colorado-procured raw wildflower honey. The OC still gives a good burn considering the proof strength, but nothing's sticky or cloying, and everything tastes rather natural and refreshing. My plan: Try the five other cocktails posthaste. — Matthew Schniper
306 N. Nevada Ave., 632-4945, carlsjr.com
The new All-Natural Burger ($6.99) at Carl's Jr. is getting a ton of press for two reasons: One, the chain says it's the first fast-food restaurant to sell "an all-natural, grass-fed, free-range beef patty that has no added hormones, antibiotics or steroids." (Apparently, it's no problem to admit that everything else you've ever sold has been the opposite.) Two, model Charlotte McKinney — the next Kate Upton dontchaknow — is the face of a bouncy new commercial that aired on the West Coast during the Super Bowl.
Either way, for a chain that purports to deliver a better burger, this one is disappointing. It starts with the cost: Order a double combo, with some lackluster fries, and prepare to pay more than $10. Next, the beef is soft and formless. The cheese, ostensibly natural cheddar, combines with the meat and a disintegrating house-baked bun to make for an oily, squishy mess. — Bryce Crawford