Skirted Heifer

The Skirted Heifer (Colorado Springs, CO)

Much like my review of King’s Chef Diner, I’ve had a handful of places that I had started reviewing around Colorado Springs, but deferred publishing once Covid hit, preferring to wait until I could make sure I could follow up and revisit them to check up on how they are doing. One of these places is The Skirted Heifer, a burger joint which I’ve visited on several trips to Colorado Springs. Now, with visits on my 2019 and 2021 trips, I can confirm things are well at the Heifer.

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Momma Pearl's

Momma Pearl’s Cajun Kitchen (Colorado Springs, CO)

Most of the time I’m in Colorado Springs, it is because I’m visiting the United States Air Force Academy for work. While during non-pandemic times, if you can ever swing a visit to their Mitchell Hall dining room, it’s a sight to behold, with them serving the entire student body in 30 minutes in a giant dining room (the only similar experience I’ve had was dining at the Naval Academy’s King Hall). But during these pandemic-restricted times, the primary dining option for visiting researchers is… Subway. My Academy host agreed that this was sub-par, so every day we headed off-campus to try out some different dining options. And in this case, we headed out the North Gate to the nearby shopping center for some Cajun food at Momma Pearl’s Cajun Kitchen.

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Carter Payne

The Carter Payne (Colorado Springs, CO)

In my previous review of Bonny & Read, I discussed how I had asked several good bartenders and waitstaff around Colorado Springs for what other places they’d recommend, and several places all percolated to the top of everyone’s list, most notably the above-mentioned Bonny & Read, and The Carter Payne. I hadn’t been aware of The Carter Payne on my previous visits, but at the time it was still a bit of a startup. Located about a block and a half SE of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, The Carter Payne is located in a former AME Church. Original opened in 1897 as the Payne Chapel (after Daniel Payne, one of the AME church’s founders) and later renamed after the Carter Brothers who moved to Colorado Springs from Philadelphia, the Church outgrew the chapel in 1987, moving to a much larger building in NE Colorado Springs. After a period of time hosting various offices, events venues, and satellite church operations before getting refurbished in 2016 as The Carter Payne, a shared vendor space.

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Bonny & Read (Colorado Springs, CO)

During my trip to Colorado Springs, I decided to drop in and check out Bonny and Read for some good seafood. Mentioning this fact on Facebook got a fair bit of skpetical feedback of the “Have you looked at a map? Colorado Springs is about as far from the ocean as you can get!” variety. While that’s not quite true (the North American pole of inaccessibility is in Bennett County, South Dakota, several hundred miles further from the oceans), yeah, it’s a bit risky getting seafood more than 700 miles from the nearest ocean. But I wasn’t terribly concerned, because of recommendations. As I discuss a bit on my Resources page, one of my standard methods of finding good places to eat when traveling involves finding a good place to eat or drink with good staff, and asking the staff there where they eat when they aren’t on the clock. And in this case, the bartenders at both Shame & Regret and Local Relic included Bonny and Read near the top of their dining recommendations. So, on the first night of my last trip to Colorado Springs, when craving a light dinner, armed with this advice I headed off to Bonny & Read.

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King’s Chef Diner (Colorado Springs, CO)

Most of my years my business travel has some unexpected twists and turns, and I certainly wasn’t expecting Colorado Springs to be my top travel destination for the last few years, with almost three weeks spent there since 2019. But I rather enjoy Colorado Springs. It’s a bit of a funky mish-mash, since there’s two “downtowns”, the actual downtown (where I stayed), and to the west Old Colorado City that got absorbed into Colorado Springs in the early 1900s. And there’s a lot to do with Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods park nearby. And then, after hiking and exploring, there’s a good selection of restaurants, diners, breweries, and the like that I discovered on my first trip out this year; and followup trips really gave me a chance to explore downtown Colorado Spring’s culinary offerings. In this case, King’s Chef Diner.

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The Fairlee Diner (Fairlee, VT)

Every once in a while, I’ll revisit a favorite place around the Upper Valley and realize that I’ve never actually reviewed it here. Indeed, since moving to the Upper Valley in 2001, I think I’ve been to the Fairlee Diner at least two dozen times, and I was prepared to do one of my “health check” reviews where I check in on an old favorite that I’ve review before, only to find that I’ve not reviewed it (actually, looking at notes, that’s not completely true: I did review the Fairlee Diner for one of my Diner Day reviews for the long-defunct UVScene website… anyone remember that?). But it’s time to remedy that.

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Bent Hill (Braintree, VT)

One of the bigger pieces of news I had gotten on the local dining scene last summer was that Bent Hill Brewery was now serving food. I’ve always liked that brewery, and was actually a bit surprised by the announcement: the last time I had visited Bent Hill in person (in 2014), they had recently expanded to all of approximately 24′ square. Well, apparently they’ve kept expanding; I regularly encounter their beer all over Vermont, and now they’ve got not only a larger brewery, but a full tap room that this summer started serving food. All summer it was on our hit list, and finally, in early September, we were able to meet up with our friends Rick and Sarah for a nice dinner as we enjoyed the fall foliage.

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Greenleaf (Milford, NH)

I’ve long been a fan of Top Chef on Bravo, being one of the cooking reality shows that generally has talented chefs and not too many irritating personalities. On the most recent season, we saw something on Top Chef that doesn’t happen that often for us: they featured a New Hampshire chef: Chris Viaud. Chris owns several places in southern NH, including Greenleaf in Milford. While we don’t get down to that part of the state often, we thought that a trip to Greenleaf would be a good way to celebrate our anniversary this year, so we went to check them out.

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Bellomo’s Market (Rutland, VT)

Every once in a while I have various food cravings for regional specialties that are challenging to find in Northern New England. In this case, every once in a while I’m graving a good, mid-Atlantic style Italian sub sandwich (aka a “Hoagie”). They are a pretty rare bird around here (no, Subway does not count!). Yeah, a lot of places will make you a “sub sandwich”, but all too often the resulting sandwich, even if tasty, will lack some of the quintessential aspects of a good hoagie: a flavorful mix of ham, salami, and Capocollo, proper provolone cheese, and, very, very importantly, a good crusty Italian-style sub roll. But among my circle of friends there’s a New Jersey transplant, Joe, and he made a specific recommendation to me if passing through Rutland: Bellomo’s Market.

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Howard Johnson’s (Lake George, NY)

Okay, I can see most of my readers already scratching your heads, asking “Howard Johnson?! Did Rich fire up the Offbeat Eats time machine?” In a way, we did, with our annual trip to Lake George, NY. Lake George is a bit of an odd place: as primarily a summertime getaway for the Northeast, it maintains a little protective bubble where the ravages of time and America’s changing tastes and economic factors are buffered: there’s an old-school, 1960s era Tiki-themed Polynesian Resort, a still (seasonally) open A&W Root Beer stand, various “Trading Posts” and many mini-golf courses… and the very last remaining Howard Johnson restaurant. Actually, the vibe is a bit less “protective bubble” and more “they didn’t get the memo”, but yes, the Lake George HoJo soldiers on.

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