The predilection that various Springsians have for comparing a burger's quality to that of In-N-Out Burger is both interesting and aggravating: Interesting in that the place holds such a grip on its customers' stomachs, and aggravating because I wish people would just get with the scene and dance with the burger that brung them.

In the end, it might be Drifter's Hamburgers that brings people together. One Yelper's sole comment on his four-star rating was "Closest thing to in-n-out Colorado has." Another said, "Do you like In n Out Burger? Then you'll love drifters burgers."

High praise, apparently, but ultimately I'm with a third commenter: "I say who cares, it's a burger joint."


Drifter's Hamburgers

4455 Mark Dabling Blvd., 548-8163

When I didn't include Drifter's in a "battle of the burgers" earlier this year, I definitely heard about it. After eating there, I agree: I'm an idiot.

In its three years, Drifter's has clearly built a loyal following. The whitewashed, surfer-styled spot routinely has a line out the door, with a second group of people milling around looking for open seating at which to destroy one of the best cheeseburgers ($2.79) in the city.

It begins with a soft, toasted bun, which firmly encases crunchy lettuce, pickles, tomato and grilled onions next to gooey American cheese and beef from Ranch Foods Direct. "Wild style" brings mustard-y flavor goo, not to mention addiction. Thin, perfect fries ($1.80) overflow from a small paper container, and confirm that the greatest happiness often comes deep-fried and salty. — Bryce Crawford


Café Banzai

2917 Galley Road, 622-0333

A little over a year after vacating the tiny eatery that's now Lucia's Family Restaurant, chef Kwi Kim and family have finally reopened in the former Lettuce Head Restaurant. Its menu has expanded, along with the space.

We tried the Oyako Donburi and Chap Chae (each $8.95, includes small salad and miso soup). The former places a poached egg and broiled chicken over rice with an undisclosed "signature sauce," which I supplemented with ample Sriracha to fully enliven the somewhat plain dish; the next morning, sautéed ginger made the leftovers sing. The Chap Chae nicely marries glass noodles with sesame oil, soft veggies and the same thin, tangy marinated beef strips that go into the house bulgogi, minus the extra sauce. Even in the new big space, Café Banzai remains a deal. — Matthew Schniper


Sweet Daphne Confections

2825 Dublin Blvd., 599-7178

When it opened a year and a half ago, I hoped Sweet Daphne's would survive. Owner Megan Walter, a former pastry chef at the Garden of the Gods Club, was probably thinking the same thing when she continued to make cakes for them under contract.

But her petite treats, pastries and cookies — like the beautiful chocolate roulade, at a mere $1.50 — have wooed. A thin layer of fluffy, light cake is blessed with a layer of raspberry cream, rolled into a log and coated in dark chocolate butter cream. It's decadently rich, yet surprisingly soft and light. Her fresh-fruit-covered cheesecake ($25, order ahead) has become one of our family favorites as well. Now, with wedding cakes flying out the door and solid local support, she's been able to drop that side contract. — Monika Mitchell Randall

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