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Table Talk: Colorado Springs gets first taste of bold-flavored tacos

April 14, 2016 Updated: April 19, 2016 at 10:12 am
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Qdoba's Two Timer tacos are a new offering for the menu that debuted recently in the remodeled eateries in Colorado Springs. Fan favorites, like 3-Cheese Queso is still on the menu. Photo by Teresa J. Farney

Qdoba Mexican Eats, a Denver-based chain, has hit the refresh button on its logo, branding, interiors and menu.

The new look has debuted in Colorado Springs with remodeled restaurants and a new one at 4451 Venetucci Blvd. The menu still offers fan favorites like Qdoba's 3-Cheese Queso and burritos.

But Knockout Tacos take center stage with combos like the Drunken Yardbird, with tequila lime chicken, guacamole, salsa verde, cilantro, minced onion and cotija cheese, or the Two Timer, with spicy pulled pork, salsa roja, shredded cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo in crispy taco with cotija cheese, which is wrapped in a flour tortilla spread with 3-Cheese Queso.

"We developed 20 tacos for our chef- driven foods," said John Dowaschinski, chief development officer. "Our food has always been bold and flavorful. But we are trying things that are not typical in tacos. We call it '3-D flavor.' Three dimensional flavor. Like the Two Timer with the crisp and soft tortillas for extra texture with a filling that is salty, tangy and spicy."

Of the 20 tacos developed there are six featured on the new Knockout Tacos menu, which will be rotated. Cost is $3.50 for a single taco or any three tacos for $9.

Check out the loaded tortilla soup ($7.80) served in a fried tortilla shell bowl. Start with piping hot soup, then go down the line to filler up with savory meats and all the toppings you can handle like sour cream, queso, and guacamole. Visit qdoba.com.

Celebrating 20 years

Silver Pond Chinese Gourmet, 6523 N. Academy Blvd., celebrates 20 years in business Friday with 20 percent off your bill (does not include tax, gratuity or seafood and duck items). Details: 594-9343, bestsilverpond chinese.com. New hours

Natural Epicurean, The Broadmoor West, 1 Lake Ave., has extended hours of service with the full menu offered from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Campus dining

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will have an Earth Day dinner at Roaring Fork restaurant, 4715 Stanton Road (on campus) from 5 to 7 p.m. April 22. Guest chef Lynn Harwell, founder of Seeds Community Café, will prepare dishes focusing on nutrition and sustainability. A movie, "Forks over Knives," will begin at 7:15 p.m. followed by a panel discussion. The panel includes Dr. Nanna Meyer, associate professor, sport dietitian, healthy campus nutritionist and adviser at UCCS; Doug and Kim Wiley, owners of Larga Vista Ranch; Harwell; and a member of the Sustainability Wellness and Learning program. Cost is $15.95 per person plus tax or $7.95 for UCCS students with ID.

Winning ways

Michael Myers, owner and distiller at Distillery 291, 1647 S. Tejon St., has won four major awards for his whiskeys: a double gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for two different whiskeys; best in category  World Whiskies Awards in London; and two gold awards at the Denver International Spirits Competition. Myers has been distilling whiskey for five years, which he finishes in staves from local aspen trees. He makes five distinctive whiskey products and one liqueur. The tasting room is open 5 to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Tours available.

Details: 323-8010, distillery291.com.

New releases

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, 3011 E. U.S. 50, Cañon City, is having a Spring Wine ExtraViganza from 1 to 4 p.m. April 23, where new wine releases with special pricing will be available, including the 2014 vintages of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. Apple Blossom and Vineyard Sunset blends will also be available. There will be barrel tasting and futures of 2015 sauvignon blanc reserve offered. Wine and cheese pairings will be featured, too. Cost is $25 per person. Details: 276-5191, abbeywinery.com

Wild game

Carlos' Bistro and Wine Bar, 1025 S. 21st St., is gearing up for fall appetites, bringing back signature wild game entrées including elk, venison and buffalo. Wednesday has half-price bottles of wine. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Details: 471-2905, carlosbistrocos.com.

Winter market

Farmers markets will be getting into full swing in a few weeks, but you can get a touch of the fever at the Indoor Winter Colorado Farm and Art Market at the Ivywild School, 1604 S. Cascade Road, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. You'll find hand-crafted chocolates, baked goods, pasture-raised meat and eggs. There will also be take-home heat-and-serve meal items like Mexican tamales, vegan and gluten-free tamales and a selection of hearty meat pies by Mountain Pie Co.

New menu features

Several eateries are offering some new dishes.

- Olive Garden has rolled out Pot Pie Italiano! - Nonna's Kitchen Sink, filled with Italian cheese, ziti pasta, meatballs, Italian sausage and meat sauce baked in a flaky pie crust. They also offer the pie with chicken and broccoli bathed in alfredo sauce before encasing in pie crust.

- Denny's has launched its "Red, White & Bacon" menu with seven sweet and salty dishes including the chain's new thick-cut, honey jalapeno bacon. The menu salutes the film "Independence Day: Resurgence," which comes to theaters nationally June 24.

- Ted's Montana Grill, 1685 Briargate Parkway, is bringing back its famous seasonal strawberry shortcake, chicken chopped salad and the Snowcrest Chicken Sandwich.

KVOR Table Talk

Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:

- Dick Frieg, co-owner of Savory Spice Shop, 110 N. Tejon St., talks about Savory Rewards Loyalty Club, cooking classes and the re-spice promotion during April. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays; and, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Details: 633-8803, facebook.com/savoryspicecolorados prings.

- Gwenn Davis, co-owner of The Whickerbill, 906 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, talks about the kitchen, gift and wine store. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Details: 685-1540, thewhickerbill.com.

- Kelly Bubach, owner of Urban Steam Coffee Bar and Café, 1025 S. Sierra Madre St., talks about new menu items, craft beers and cocktails offered at his eatery. Details: 473-7832, urbansteamcoffee.com.

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Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

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