The super-premium ice cream at Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato—which represented Colorado on Serious Eats’ list of America’s Best Ice Cream—is proof that less is more. Their chief concern is “overrun,” a term that refers to how much air is mixed into each batch of ice cream. Some less delicious ice creams can contain up to 50% air; however, Glacier’s flavors contain only 5%–7% air, yielding richer flavors and a creamier texture.
Also lauded by outlets such as the Denver Post and Colorado Daily, Glacier has a catalogue of more than 800 flavors, up to 60 of which are on hand and ready to scoop at all times. Their ice cream wizards create a new flavor every two weeks, resulting custom tastes such as chocolate raspberry truffle, caramel Oreo, and espresso chocolate buzz with a double-strength coffee base. They also craft premium Italian gelatos with skim milk, producing rich frozen treats with half the fat of ice cream in flavors such as chocolate hazelnut, peanut butter fudge, and pistachio.
No matter the flavor, Glacier uses fresh ingredients such as hand-squeezed limes, ripe strawberries, and homemade chocolate. They’ve also committed to staying Colorado-local whenever possible, receiving produce from local food producers in Penrose, Rocky Ford, Palisade, and even stocking local Umpire State Coffee, local Jerry's Nut House, imported Italian candy and using local produce like apples, melons, and peaches.
Paintings and other works by local artists festoon Cucuru Gallery Cafe, whose walls are painted with the rustic reds and deep greens of the Spanish countryside. Glasses of Spanish wines and specialty cocktails clink within the single-story house-turned-café, such as the Barista blended with espresso and brûlée liqueurs. Cucuru's drinks pair with tapas and other Hispanic-inspired dishes, such as crispy spiced patatas bravas with garlic-aioli dipping sauce and pollo oloroso, which tops a seared chicken breast, manchego cheese, and mashed potatoes with an oloroso-mushroom demi-glace. The café hosts live entertainment throughout the week, such as jazz, funk, and other genres, and opens on Tuesdays for sultry tango classes.
Those who live, breathe, and snort coffee will find a fine selection of both classic blends and little-known beans at Pikes Perk. Percolate perkiness with the medium-bodied Tanzanian Peaberry, or the bitter-less Jamaican Blue Mountain. Black-coffee purists can grab a 20-ounce cup of joe ($1.99), whereas those who spruce up beloved brews can order a white mocha ($4.19 for 16 ounces), or enliven their aromatic medley with a shot from one of the 50 syrups available. Hoard a pot of hot Pikes' peach tea, with chunks of fruit from Austria ($3.59), or soothe your stomach with something from Pikes' food menu of pastries, sandwiches, and breakfast items.
Named after a pummeling strategy from the world of martial arts, Grounds and Pounds Coffee House awakens the senses with piping-hot espresso drinks that have earned the Independent’s praise. Friendly baristas handcraft each beverage on the menu, warming mugs with brewed coffee ($2 for a 16 oz.) and embroidering lattes with milk fluffier than a freshly laundered cloud ($3 for a 16 oz.). Sweet-toothed sippers can enhance cappuccinos ($3 for a 16 oz.) with up to eight syrup flavors, including vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut (+$0.50), or dive into a rich, chocolatey mocha topped with whipped cream ($4.25 for a 16 oz.). Teeming with black tea and indian spices, chai lattes ($3 for a 16 oz.) energize the body as they melt away stress. The shop also peddles edibles such as pastries, which keep bellies from growling, whining, or gnawing the shoes of passersby.
Keen coffee seekers stray from the most beaten bean path to escape to R&R for specialty brews and the café's namesake rest and relaxation. R&R roasts its own artisan coffee in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and pairs it with a full menu of bakery bites and gourmet café fare. Give your day a sweet start with a freshly baked cinnamon roll ($2.25) or a decadent strawberry-shortcake latté ($3.70, 16 ounces), or opt for a savory skillet breakfast ($5.50) with your choice of meat, rosemary potatoes, tomato, onion, green chilies, and two eggs. Come midday, munch on a smoky BLT on homemade sourdough with a side salad ($5.25). A long list of gussied-up espresso drinks ($3.05–$4.35), frothy, java-based frappes (starting at $4.95), fresh-fruit smoothies ($3.95, 16 ounces), and ice-cream shakes ($3.25) make excellent desserts, stand-alone snacks, and bribes for a better number at the DMV.