Behind the door on Smashing Nails' maroon-painted porch, a nail artisan preens finger coverings and leaves them shimmering in durable polish. Manicure participants dip their fingers into skin-softening liquids before a specialist prods cuticles into the shearing corral with nails and sheep-poodle hybrids. Following a trim, OPI’s palette of products adorns appendages in colorful sheathing. To create chip-resistant flair for up to three weeks, Gelish morphs impact-resistant gels with glistening polish available in a rainbow of shades. Free-formed Tammy Taylor acrylics adhere to nails without the need to drill existing foundations, preventing the risk of fungal infection.
El Tesoro, which is translated as "the treasure," is a restaurant-gallery hybrid, a cultural treasure for both belly and brain. The menu of Mexican tastes infused with Santa Fe flavors gives robust nods to the red and green chiles grown inside hollowed-out gourds in the Rio Grande Valley. Spicy green chiles add tasty tension to melted white cheddar, Cojita cheeses, and sweet mango in El Tesoro's mango-quesadilla appetizer ($7), and refreshing lime-marinated ceviche ($6) enlivens any languid tongue just in time to taste main dishes. Carne adovada, tender pork slices marinated in ancho-red-chile sauce ($16), is a house specialty, as is the fire shrimp ($16); both are served with calabacitas and black beans. Rinse down rations with a margarita, or if you have a dry-clean-only esophagus, wash down unwashables with a slice of Mexican cheesecake ($5).
The chefs at Ruffrano’s Hell’s Kitchen Pizza are sticklers for the flavor and texture of their pies, designing and honing a handful of meticulously crafted specialty recipes. The Hellfire sets taste buds aflame with the spicy flavors of locally made italian sausage and cherry peppers, and the Four Cheese White soothes palates with a blend of ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. Of course, diners can get in on the culinary arts and crafts, putting together their own creations. Alongside traditional toppings such as pepperoni and olives, the restaurant offer three styles of peppers and sausage available in hot, sweet, and garlicky varieties. Customers can further customize their dinners with a gluten-free crust or by opting for a deep-dish pizza, which slow-rises for over an hour, baking into a soft yet crispy blend of cheese, sauce, and crust.
To augment their pizza menu, chefs wrap up a slate of fixings in flaky calzones or toss salads with a choice of dressings. They also put their hand to traditional italian desserts such as cannoli, cheesecake, or cinnamon knots. Staff can artfully display their pies and plates on the restaurant’s tables or package them up for pickup or free delivery.
A line winds across the sidewalk, with people curiously peering ahead to see who has just been let inside. The door opens, releasing not the pulsing of a nightclub, but the aromas of green-chili tamales steaming in cornhusks and chicharron frying. For more then 35 years, the Aguilar family has presided over the little brick building, and their cooking has gained a devoted following. In the kitchen, seasoned beef sizzles in a skillet like the decorations at a dragon’s surprise party, and cool slices of tres leches cakes steep in sweet sauce. As patrons snatch up lunchtime table space, they eye items such as the avocado-and-pork burrito, which the Colorado Springs Independent called “locally legendary.”