Category Archives: reviews

TWW Cool Places: Kinfolks

Kinfolks_logo_lgKinfolks is a bar, disguised as a gear store, fronting as a music venue. Originally starting as a outdoor store that focused on climbing and hiking, Kinfolks has shed most of its gear store identity and has morphed into one of Manitou’s most popular bars. Close to some of Manitou’s best trails, including the Intemann Trail and the Incline, Kinfolks is one of our favorite spots to recharge with a great beer. Long and cozy, the bar area is surprisingly spacious, especially considering the fact that the front part of the store/bar is still dominated by gear racks. Kinfolks has the best microbrew tap in the town; providing a revolving selection of micros from around Colorado and the West Coast.

Kinfolk’s small stage, which hosts small shows throughout the year, fits cozily near the back of the bar and provides enough space to host about 30 to 40 seats with additional standing room. The shows here are generally small bands and solo acts which tend to focus on folk music. Not exactly rockin’, but still a fun place to see some good local acts.

Each bar in town has its own little following. Kinfolks is the Patagonia/Columbia/up scale mountain hippie crew, which provides for an interesting mix and a good respite from some of the more drinker intensive watering holes in town. The best part about this bar, besides the beer, is that dogs are definitely welcome.

Kinfolks

Location: 950 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829

Hours: Sunday 12PM to 8PM, Monday and Tuesday 3PM to 1oPM, Wednesday and Thursday 11AM to 10PM, Friday and Saturday 11AM to 11PM

Contact: 719-685-4433, theshop@kinfolksmanitou.com

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Filed under Cities and Towns, Colorado, Manitou Springs, reviews, TWW's Cool Places

TWW’s Cool Places: Pine State Biscuits

home_logoSometimes the best approach to competing in a city full of amazing breakfast places is to not compete. Instead of filling your menu with creative omelets and interesting meat and waffle pairings start with one basic food item: the buttermilk biscuit. From there, build a small menu that has nothing more complicated than a fried egg. Open a two table, three stool diner, get there early to get the smell of fresh baked biscuits going, supply your customers with Stumptown coffee while they wait, and watch the customer line pile up outside the door.

Pine State Biscuits has executed this strategy to perfection and as a result it has become one of the most popular breakfast joints in Portland and one of our favorite places to start the day. Their biscuits are huge and flaky and provide the perfect platform for menu items like the Moneyball (biscuit and gravy topped with egg over easy) and the Reggie (fried chicken, bacon and cheese, topped with gravy). Too much? Get just the biscuit and some of their amazing jam. Regardless of your order, the food is guaranteed to be good, the service fun and quick, and the line outside the door full of interesting people to talk to to pass the time. We love this place. As will you.

Pine State Biscuits

Location: 3640 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR and at the Portland Saturday Farmers Market

Hours: Monday thru Sunday, 7AM to 2PM

Contact: (503) 236-3346

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TWW’s Cool Places: River City Bicycles

logoLocated in Southeast Portland near the underside of the Hawthorne Bridge, River City Bicycles is a landmark Portland bike store that should be a required stop when visiting the city. Stocked with the latest in road, cyclocross and mountain bikes, along with the required necessities (think a LOT of racks of spandex, supplements, shoes, etc), River City has created a brand all of its own. In addition to selling bikes, the store sponsors its own cycling team, and participates in a ton of community outreach throughout Portland. The staff is young, attractive and helpful and they all look like they could crush your soul on the bike. In a nice way. My favorite part: the store always provides free coffee. River City Bicycles is a great place to tap into the Portland cycling scene, and grab some cool stuff while you’re at it.

River City Bicycles

Location: 706 SE MLK Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214

Hours: Monday thru Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 12 to 5

Contact: 503-233-5973

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TWW’s Cool Places: Swirl Wine Emporium

logoThis is the first in our new series which provides short profiles of stores and places in the various cities and towns that we visit that we highly recommend checking out. First on the list of “TWW’s Cool Places” is Swirl Wine Emporium, located in Manitou Springs, CO. Swirl is a wine shop for people who want to know more about wine. The unique open and airy space (it’s a former bank) contains a large selection of bottles from throughout the world, including some excellent Colorado wines. Additionally, the owner and sommelier Sharon Palmer puts together a wine rack of excellent $12 or cheaper bottles. On top of the wine, Swirl offers a number of wine classes and tastings to broaden people’s wine knowledge (their blog is a good way to stay updated). Swirl also stocks a ton of great microbrew bottles and six-packs from throughout the West. The space plays hosts to a lot of local art (all for sale), and is quickly becoming a gathering point for the locals. Put simply, Swirl is one of Manitou’s best places to visit and explore and has become a new anchor point for the town.

Swirl Wine Emporium

Location: 717 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO

Hours: Monday-Friday 12PM-9PM, Saturday 11AM-9PM, Sunday 12PM-8PM

Contact: (719) 685-2294, Sharon@swirlwineemporium.com

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Agia Sophia

gfx_index_logoI’m just going to come out and say it: Agia Sophia is a coffee shop/bookstore that is run by a group of Greek Orthodox priests who sometimes serve as the baristas. It draws a lot of Colorado Spring’s young and hip Christian crowd and is adorned with all manner of Eastern Christian religious icons and books. This is all very strange. What surprises me is how warm and welcoming it is, for everybody, and the quality of the coffee (which is really what’s important). Continue reading

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Broder

Broder logoAll too often breakfast can become a meal defined by its excesses rather than the actual cuisine. We go to pancake houses and greasy spoon diners because we like the fact that the pancakes are plate sized, come with eggs and cost only $3.99. We tell ourselves that such gluttony is okay because we grew up on the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that a large and greasy one is the best cure for a hangover, which is all well and good until breakfast becomes an event in which you need to impress someone in a way that has nothing to do with your ability to hoover three gigantic pancakes, some saugage and four eggs without breaking a sweat.

Think of Broder as the antithesis of the greasy spoon breakfast/hangover cure/$3.99 special. Instead, picture a European minimalist breakfast cafe, where the food is presented in such a delicate way that it seems almost a shame to disturb the plate. Picture menu items like a baked scramble with smoked trout, aebleskivers with lemon curd and brown bread with a softboiled egg and ham. Picture Broder as the place where you bring the girl you finally asked out and brought home last night and now want to impress with your sense of style and knowledge of great Portland food.

Broder opened its doors in 2007 as a Swedish restaurant, bringing its northern European aesthetic to the Northwest, and combining the best of both cultures in its food. The interior of the long and narrow restaurant is divided into two sections; the dining area along one wall and the open grill along the other. The open grill creates the feeling of a large family kitchen, evoking  a communal sense of eating, which is helped along by the small and closely placed tables. Broder’s intimate space much more suited to couples than large groups.

The food fits Broder’s intimate setting, arriving on small, basic plates and wood boards in delicate presentations that showcase the visual aesthetics of the food. I’m a large guy, and at Broder I feel like a giant when the food arrives. But in its presentation lies Broder’s strength; the place knows it is a Swedish restaurant and it makes no compromises in order to fit the American idea of breakfast. This notion is reflected in the food itself which is incredibly and surprisingly flavorful. Among our favorites are the aebleskivers; Swedish style pancakes served with lemon curd, jam and maple syrup that can be eaten with your hands, and the breakfast sandwich; duroc ham, baked eggs, gruyere cheese, marjoram cream and tomatoes. The bords are all great as well (Bords are the Swedish version of a continental breakfast plate: bread, jam, egg, and usually ham). Everything we have tried here has been wonderful, which keeps us coming back and makes us eager to explore more of their menu. Make sure to check out their drink menu as well; the coffee is Stumptown and their bloody mary is fantastic.

The service here also skews distinctly non-Portland, which usually suffers from a weird dichotomy of great food with generally awful service. Broder’s service is efficient and quick. The server rarely lingers to chat, allowing you to focus on your breakfast date and the food, which generally arrives quickly. The only downfall of the service is that Broder is incredibly busy, which can cause a bit of a lag, especially if you arrive with the eight other tables once the doors open. However, this is a testament to Broder’s appeal more than a service issue, so its hard to fault them for falling behind a bit.

Broder has quickly become one of our favorite breakfast places in a city that has some incredible breakfast options. This place has style and grace, and provides a wonderful little respite from American breakfast dining. Bring people here to impress. Keep coming back here because your paradigm of what breakfast should be has shifted. Welcome to Broder.

Location: 2508 SE Clinton Street, Portland, Oregon

Hours: Breakfast/Lunch is from 9am to 2pm daily, Dinner is 6pm to 10pm Thursday thru Saturday

Price Point: breakfast is between $7 and $10, dinner entrees run between $7 and $10. Nothing on Broder’s menu is over $10.

Menus: breakfast, lunch, wine list, beer list, beverages

Contact: (503) 736-3333, broderpdx@gmail.com

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Bunk Sandwhiches

BUNK.logo.inddHave you ever taken a road trip and stopped at one of those highway-side diners that you spot periodically on the way? The ones where the waitress has been there for 30 years, the cook looks like he might be on his second trip through the parole system and the sandwiches are greasy piles of meat and cheese that stick to your ribs and make you love, and loath, the fact that you didn’t hold out for a healthier alternative. Think of Bunk Sandwiches as that diet destroying diner done by the hipster elite of the liberal arts college crowd; a greasy lunch counter packed with people and the smell of fried onions and toasted bread, replete with the mandatory Portland hipster staff and Northwest cuisine infused menu.

Tucked along SE Morrison in a neighborhood that looks like it has seen better days, Bunk can be spotted by the line out the door, a result of both the quality of food they serve and the limited seating space. Inside, the long room is divided between seating and the open kitchen, allowing you to watch and smell everything that goes into one of Bunk’s sandwiches.  The chalkboard menu, to the right of the door once you walk in, changes daily, but is anchored by some Bunk staples such as the Meatball Hero and the Italian Cured Meats sandwich. From there, the menu ventures into items like Bone Marrow and Snails on Toast and Tongue on Rye with onions and spicy mustard. Our favorite so far? The Elvis: peanut butter, banana and bacon done pannini style. Greasy spoon appearance aside, the sandwich chefs at Bunk create food that is wondrously flavorful, and surprisingly light on the stomach.

If the sandwiches alone aren’t enough to fill you up, the sides provide another avenue of food exploration. Items like Potato Salad with Bacon and Eggs and Roasted Butternut Squash Agro Dolce are mild enough to compliment the sandwiches, but flavorful enough to enjoy on their own. And no diner experience would be complete without cake and cupcakes, especially ones that are made locally by friends of Bunk’s proprietors. Bunk also does a very basic breakfast, with two basic sandwiches that are both amazing, and greats starts to a cold and dreary Portland day.

The staff at Bunk is knowledgeable, quick and generally friendly in that “I’m way too cool to talk to you right now but I’ll try and be overly nice” kind of way. On a recent visit the cashier was quick to provide recommendations and steer me towards some of the menu boards better items, entertaining my questions even though the place was packed (I was totally that douchebag asking questions while people where impatiently waiting).

For us, Bunk has become one of our go to food spots in Portland, a place we somehow talk about every time someone mentions the great food in the city. Don’t let the neighborhood or the greasy diner appearance scare you; the line out the door is testament to the quality of this place. Recently, a friend  summed up her first experience at Bunk by looking at me with a mixed look of satisfaction, desperation and loathing: “I can’t believe that place is so close to my house. This is going to be dangerous. I’m not sure if a ‘thanks’ is appropriate. Good find, douchebag.”

Location: 621 SE Morrison, Portland, OR

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday, 8 to 3pm

Price Point: Most sandwiches fall in the $8 range, with sides between $2.50 and $5. Breakfast sandwiches are $5.

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