Smiley’s Bakery and Cafe – 323 North Tejon Street

I have found another good breakfast place! I’m so happy. I love [non-buttermilk] pancakes, but can’t make them well at home. Smiley’s has a very nice 4 grain pancake. Pair that with their delicious, thick, greasy bacon (from local pigs, I believe) for which they are well-known, and I’m in heaven! The coffee I had was just okay. They serve espresso drinks, too, but didn’t order any.  I don’t remember exactly what Hubby ordered, some sort of corn meal pancake, and he really enjoyed it. We went on a Friday morning, and we had plenty of tables to choose from. I’d read online that this place can get pretty busy, but maybe that’s only on weekends.

The decor is very casual, almost country-chic, but not fussy at all.  One lady was just hanging out with her coffee and newspaper; another couple looked like they had met for breakfast to catch up- they all gave a very homey vibe to the place.

The best part? Breakfast served all day! The worst part? Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. I tried going to Smiley’s for lunch with a friend on Monday, only to find it closed. Bummer.

But I will definitely be going back! I want to try more stuff on the menu and have more of the tasty bacon!

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bj’s velvet freez – 1511 N Union Blvd

bj’s velvet freez, just what a warm Sunday afternoon calls for!  Apparently a lot of other people felt the same, because it was busy when we arrived.  We wanted something fun and cheap for lunch after a morning of yard work, and this place did not disappoint.  They had a lot to choose from: hot dogs, burgers, pork tenderloin, chicken fingers. Also fries, onion rings and ice cream of all sorts!

I had a hot dog, fries and a small chocolate malt and Hubby had the pork tenderloin sandwich and a Carnival Krunch Iceberg.  My hot dog was okay (The Munch Box’s was better). The malt was very good, though honestly, all chocolate malts taste the same to me. What I liked was how small it was! It was tiny, which is just enough for me. I like not having to choose between big, bigger and giant.  Hubby’s sandwich was huge! But flat. It was like a schnitzel- flat, thin, breaded and fried pork. It also had a sauce that I didn’t like, but he did. We shared the fries that, while nothing special, were quite good. Now, the Carnival Krunch Iceberg…it had vanilla and cherry ice cream with little tiny pieces of a Butterfinger swirled in. I would have liked it better without the cherry ice cream, but it wasn’t mine anyway.

I love these kinds of places- walk up to order, hang out in the parking lot or outdoor seating area to chow down. A setting off of ugly Union would be preferable, but nobody there was complaining. Actually, I think the acrid smell of the blacktop somehow enhanced the flavor!  I can’t wait to go back to try a cheeseburger and a more adventurous ice cream. Maybe one of the towering soft-serves covered in chocolate! Or -I almost forgot- the hot fudge cake! Or both!

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Penrose Public Library – 20 North Cascade Avenue

Ah, the library! The books! The easily wipe-able vinyl upholstered chairs! The smell of the grooming-challenged! I haven’t been to one in- I don’t know- years maybe, until I wanted to look at decorating magazines for inspiration for our new house. Yesterday’s library was nice, (Sand Creek), but no decorating mags. So this time, no screwin’ around!  The downtown library’s got to have more, right? Right!

The Penrose branch is very nice. The parking isn’t free, but I think it’s still less than street parking. Inside was very nice. I admit I didn’t wander through too much, but they have a brightly-colored kids’ section, videos and DVDs, and lots of chairs and tables. Oh, and books n’ stuff. I found the magazines right away.

Here’s a tip: MAD Magazine is in the YA (Yowling Antichrist)  section. What’s up with that? Make me slink to the pizza-faced section to sneak a peek at MAD? So wrong. Hey, I’m an adult and I read MAD and I’m not ashamed!

Speaking of YA (Yapping Anxiously)  , they have a very groovy seating area all to themselves, as seen at left. Cool colors, funky tables and lots of picture windows, because teens like to see and be seen, especially at the downtown library! The YA (Yeti A**holes- I know, redundant, right?)  section also features a gallery of art by high school students. Very nice work, most of it.

I found my magazines – only House Beautiful and Architectural Digest for decorating mags, btw- got inspired, did the mandatory restroom check (for my other blog), and left.  On the way out I noticed they offer free bags! Presumably to help book-overloaded arms. Very thoughtful. And way to recycle!

Outside are the obligatory public art sculptures.

Cute, right? They also had an abstract-y one of a wang. Really! I guess it’s technically a nude, but the only clear part I could see was the- you know.  I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture, you’ll just have to go see for yourself!

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The Munch Box – 3132 N Hancock Ave

Does that sign say “Carpet and Flooring”? Huh. But I can get hot dogs and coffee here? AND ice cream? Well.  I’ve got to try it! Obviously!

I heard about this place just yesterday. The woman who told me about it put it succinctly: “You can buy your carpet and coffee, spill your coffee on the carpet, then get it cleaned!”

I ordered a mocha and a hot dog with onions and brown mustard. It took them a little while to make, presumably because they made it to order. The mocha was predictably mediocre, but definitely drinkable.  The hot dog was yummy! I guess it’s hard to mess up a hot dog, but it really hit the spot. Admittedly, hot dogs and coffee don’t really go together, but let’s not quibble. I bet the espresso shake is a wee bit more wiener-friendly.

The Munch Box seems out of the way, but between the school across the street and all of the houses around, I’m sure they get plenty of family traffic.

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Paris Crepe – 218 North Tejon Street

Paris Crepe is easily our favorite weekend lunch place! It’s quick, cheap, filling and so yummy!  Yesterday we considered briefly going somewhere else for crepes, because we’ve only been to Paris Crepes. If you’ve found perfection, why check out the others? But La Creperie is only about 5 stores down, so we swung past. The sandwich board menu had nary a crepe, and a peek inside revealed crisp white table cloths. Too fancy and not at all what we were looking for. No matter! Paris Crepe to the rescue!

Hubby and I always split both a savory crepe and a dessert crepe. This time it was the Turkish crepe with spinach, potato cakes, steak, and other tasty things I can’t remember, and the Colombian crepe for dessert, a chocolate crepe with coconut inside. Mmm…doesn’t that look delicious? We always leave with very happy and perfectly filled stummies.

I’ve never seen it very busy, but I like to think they get most of their business weekdays for lunch. Oh! and the chef is really French! At least I’m assuming that’s what his accent is. Maybe he’s Croatian, Peruvian or Bulgarian and I’m too ignorant to notice. Do I really care? He’s great!

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Nosh – 121 S. Tejon St.




Saturday was celebratory dinner out night! We just sold our other house, so that financial weight was lifted. I guess we could also be celebrating getting our taxes done and coming out ahead in that ordeal, too. Ahh, money. It sure isn’t always fun.

Any excuse to eat out, really. So off to Nosh we went! Since we’d been here once before, we didn’t feel the need to gorge ourselves trying everything- we stuck to two dishes apiece. Nosh is a tapas restaurant, so you’re supposed to order multiple dishes, share if you like, and create your own dining experience. I had the lentil hummus plate and the Nosh burger and Hubby had the chili potachoes (nachos made with potato chips) and the bison. Incredibly, we both skipped dessert (too full and we had a movie to catch).

We scanned the dining room while waiting for our food. The term ‘yuppie’ comes to mind. Is that still a thing or am I 25 years out of date for that one? Lots of stylish white people between 25 and 55. I don’t think I saw a beard or ironic t-shirt anywhere.  Some groups, one family with a 1 year old (very well behaved) and couples.

We sat in the back part of the dining room with a pretty view of the square. They have patio seating that opens the end of May. The restaurant has a nice setting for its patio, as opposed to most restaurants with views of parking lots, strip malls and pawn shops.  It’s located inside a building that also houses a bank and, I think, the Philharmonic.

Interestingly, just outside the front door is a Star Trek TNG poster over a mysteriously unmarked door. I can’t think what this may mean. And I think I prefer not knowing.

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Ruth’s Stitchery – 4440 Austin Bluffs Parkway









I’ve been saying for years that I’m going to sew some place mats. I’m constantly disappointed by the lack of creativity and selection in most place mats and am baffled at how un-washable they all are! The way most people use them, they should be washed once a week, but your standard place mat (other than wipe-able vinyl) is either dry clean only, or, after only one trip through the wash, comes out all warped and wonky.

So off to the fabric stores I go. The big chain ones just don’t have the variety and selection I want. But Ruth’s Stitchery is amazing! (I also went to another fabric store with a slightly smaller and slightly different selection, but the prices were about a dollar more per yard than Ruth’s.) I spent a lot of time wandering. Frankly, I was a little over-whelmed – I still don’t know what I want. But I know I’ll find it here.


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