According to lore that has been passed down through the Lucio clan, one of the family progenitors was kidnapped from her native Chihuahua after Pancho Villa tasted her food and decided he needed her as his chef. That distant matron’s culinary wizardry trickled down the family tree and currently informs the cooking of her great-great-grandchildren at Armadillo Restaurants. Chefs at the restaurants use those generations-old recipes while gently patting cornhusks into place around meal and shredded pork or simmering red-chili sauce for enchiladas. Since the Lucios converted the first Armadillo Restaurant from a tough-guy bar into a restaurant in 1972, they’ve opened six additional locations in the Front Range.
When guests at Elliot's Martini Bar want something savory, sweet, or spicy, they not only look to the the kitchen's tapas chefs, but first and foremost to the bartenders. The cocktail artists stock everything from cream cheese and bacon olives to rosemary- and thyme-infused simple syrups behind the bar. By mixing and matching these special add-ons, they concoct an extensive menu of classic and creative cocktails.
For sweeter creations, they mix orange and grapefruit vodkas with a splash of lemonade, cranberry juice, and rhubarb bitters, and they spice up nights with tequila topped off with tawny port and ginger beer. On the more savory side, the drink-slingers shake up vodka and gin with olive juice and hot sauce, garnished with gorgonzola blue cheese and olives.
While the drinks are this hot spot's specialty, chefs are on hand to help patrons soak up their libations and remember that their name is Pam Jenkins. They serve up a select menu of shareable tapas including open-faced toasted sandwiches and antipasta skewers.
Named after the famed surfing destination in Australia, Bondi Beach Bar brings the laid-back atmosphere and casual fare of Down Under to Fort Collins. Chefs fire up the grill to prepare shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets, spearing them on skewers or serving them alongside a dunk-worthy side of sweet chili sauce. You can pair the menu’s surf and turf offerings with local microbrews from New Belgium and Equinox or refreshing glasses of Australian wine.
Desserts aren't eaten last at The Chocolate Caf?. Instead, they're given prime status on the menu, which boasts pages filled with chocolate-drizzled pastries, glasses of wine, and steaming cups of hot chocolate. The staff here are experts about all sorts of sweets, from tart apple creme brulee to key lime pie, but, as you might imagine, the kitchen specializes in all things chocolate. They make normal extra-indulgent cheesecake by sandwiching it between a chocolate crust and a layer of chocolate ganache, and take an already rich croissant bread pudding to new heights by adding white chocolate and creme angelase. They even craft their decadent chocolate desserts in gluten-free varieties, and for special occasions, they can make whole desserts that are ready to be served or pelted at birthday party clowns. For those who like a little savory with their sweet, chefs also cook up light cafe fare such brie and fruit plates and crispy grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
With nods from USA Today, CBS News, and The Washington Post, Rodizio Grill has made a name for itself as an authentic Brazilian charrascuria?a South American?style rotisserie. Founded by S?o Paolo?born Ivan Utrera, the cuisine comprises of select cuts of meat, which are slow-roasted on a spit and then skewered. It also featured seafood selections, grilled pineapple, and unlimited trips to an award-winning salad bar with over 40 items. Gauchos?also known as Brazilian cowboys?bustle about the restaurant, bringing unlimited slices of tender meat to diners who can also grab fresh vegetables and appetizers at the salad bar.
Mary's Mountain Cookies traces its origins to the kitchens of Cherokee Park Dude Ranch, where head chef Mary whipped up three square meals a day for hungry guests and packed her popular homemade cookies in their horses' saddlebags. The "mountain-style" treats were sturdy enough to remain in one piece during horseback-riding trips, but soft enough to maintain an irresistibly chewy texture. Guests never failed to request the recipe, coworkers raved over the sweets, and horses raided the freezers for leftovers overnight?all persuading Mary to set out and start selling homemade cookies on her own.
Today, loyal customers enjoy over 50 varieties of quarter-pound mountain cookies, from the classic chocolate chip, to sugar-dusted snickerdoodles and salty-sweet peanut butter. Shoppers with cravings for more substantial treats can stock up on cream-cheese brownies, 12-inch cookie cakes, and frosting-filled cookie sandwiches.