INSIDER EATS: Where to go for a girlfriend getaway
Kate Jonuska reviews the Villa at Palmer Lake.
And email firstname.lastname@example.org with themes for future Insider Eats.
Editor’s note: GO! begins a new feature this week called Insider Eats. Every other week our dining staff will round up a handful of restaurants or dishes around a theme — because one recommendation per week just won’t cut all mustard (nor the salsa, pasta, crepes, breakfasts, cocktails or pastries) — the area has to offer.
Modern women with too many obligations and too little time in the day — so, women of all ages, really — need a little girl time now and then. After all, only girlfriends will let you be yourself, make you laugh, tell you the truth (or lie when you need them to) and offer the support only other girls can.
But figuring out the exactly right spot for such revelry can be tough.
Whether you’re a book club, old school chums, a sports team or neighbors, at least one of these for eateries will be provide the setting required to celebrate Friday or just each other.
702 S. Cascade Ave.
Open Mondays-Saturdays until 1 a.m.
Located in a comfortable, renovated Victorian, Shuga’s has a soft-lit grace that makes an evening out stylish enough to be special, but not high style enough to require heels. The martini menu ($8-$10) is both creative and powerful, and you can even order up some empowering moxy: The Moxy, which includes fresh basil, vodka, sour apple, mint, lemon and lime. That’s not your thing? Their Lavender Blossom martini has repeatedly been ranked Best Cocktail by The Gazette.
If you’re feeling peckish, the specials of the day are often the most creative choices. Unless you want to go straight for the decadence of the Chocolate Double Diablo dessert ($4), a dense chocolate cake with almonds, raisins and chocolate ganache.
1645 S. Tejon St.
Open daily until 11 p.m.
An evening at the Blue Star with your favorite people feels like a special occasion thanks to swank design and the kind of cocktails ($8-$10) smoky-eyed heroines ordered in film noir movies: Old Fashioneds, Mint Juleps, Manhattans and classic, “up” martinis with stuffed olives. In fact, barman Nate Windham recently put out a flight of four pre-prohibition cocktails, which he still serves on request. “Fasten your seatbelts,” as Bette Davis said in “All About Eve.” “It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Fuel your evening out with an ample cocktail-lounge menu. If you want to stay in a classic mood, try the Old School Iceberg Wedge salad with port blue cheese dressing, tomato, bacon and shaved shallots ($8).
2607 W. Colorado Ave.
Open Tuesdays-Thursdays until 8 p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays until 10 p.m.
Tired of finding somewhere two vegans, one locavore, two carnivores and one gluten-free friend can all nosh well? Grab a table, order a round of Marcona Almonds ($2) and Warm Olives ($5) in this brick-walled eatery with a touch of Spanish style. The menu of well-priced small plates is gluten free and heavy on vegetarian/vegan options. Many items, like the Artichoke and Pepper Salad ($5.95), are vegan and gluten- and lactose-free.
The wine list is also extensive, almost all available by the glass, and signature cocktails include a fresh blood-orange sangria that’s $3.50 per glass or $12.50 for a sharable carafe.
178 Crystal Park Road, Manitou Springs
Tuesdays-Sunday until 9 p.m.
The margarita menu ($7-$9) at Crystal Park Cantina is actually named for women, and features options like the Fighting Sue (with a bubbly dash of light beer) and the Mango Missi (with mango puree). The traditional house margarita is also great. No “girly” version, the Sangria de Cantina ($7) is a full pint glass of red wine, spiced rum, orange juice, and lemon, lime and orange slices to cut the sweet.
Served on colorful Fiestaware, their tapas ($8-$9) will sustain you through the tequila, for instance, the Queso Fundido ($9), a molten skillet of cheese, mushrooms and chorizo. The more novel and highly recommended choice, though, is the Sweet Potato Nachos ($9), which feature sweet potato fries are topped with cheese, pico de gallo, caramelized onions and a savory/sweet red pepper sauce.