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Local food with integrity

"This is a national chain deciding to go outside of their distribution infrastructure to support local and regional — that's something they really need to be congratulated for."

That's Mike Callicrate of Ranch Foods Direct ( commenting on Chipotle (, which as of June 25 has put Callicrate beef into all nine of its Colorado Springs and Pueblo stores. "It's great — it's the first real example I've seen of a larger restaurant chain making it work on a local/regional basis," Callicrate adds. "Chipotle is going through extra effort to make it happen."

Callicrate beef has been in Chiplotle's University Village store since winter, as a test of the supplier's ability and consistency. Callicrate says Chipotle has indicated it may want to bring his meat into other parts of Colorado as well, but he must be careful to weigh their demand against his supply. Since he must account for bringing a whole animal to market — not just the round cuts Chipotle primarily uses — Callicrate says he's now looking for more steak accounts to balance the big order.

Tour de food

Following in the footsteps of foodies in other tourist-destination cities, business partners and entrepreneurs Samantha Bruner and Karen Kelley recently launched Colorado Springs Food Tours ( The business is primarily aimed at guests to our city, but Bruner says at least one local has joined each of the first eight tours, which run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Fridays, and 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturdays.

The tour's downtown route includes historical lectures between stops at Savory Spice Shop; Poor Richard's and Rico's Coffee, Chocolate & Wine Bar; Paris Crepe Euro Cafe; Slayton's Tejon Street Grill; La Baguette; and Josh & John's Ice Creams. The set menu (dietary restrictions allowed) features some special and off-menu items — and "almost too much food," according to Bruner.

Book a spot (maximum 12, minimum five) for $49 per person on the website.

À la carte

Taste of the Springs will raise money for Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado from 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday, July 11, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (2886 S. Circle Drive, Tickets, $65, include food and drink samples from fine local restaurants.

• Attend the Margarita at PineCreek's (7350 Pine Creek Road, 598-8667) six-course, seasonal, "chef's surprise" Independent Restaurant Cooperative dinner at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 13. Food will be paired with five wines for $60, plus tax/tip.

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