At Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs, CO…
The planets finally aligned for Ed, whose track record has not exactly been perfect in selecting restaurants that were open at the time of his visits. The four of us met for lunch at the Na Ri Thai restaurant and, I must say, it was well worth trying again after the waveoff on Sunday when it was closed. It is not often that I am not able to find fault with a restaurant, but this one has indeed attained perfection, in my opinion. We enjoyed some pot stickers for appetizers and each of us had a different entree, which we all sampled. Thai food is one of my favorites, and I only wish Na Ri were closer to us. After finishing this wonderful lunch, we said goodbye to Ed and Marilyn, wishing them safe travels and knowing we will cross paths again before long.
Because of the full day we had yesterday, graciously afforded us by our hosts, Sandy and I decided to take it easy today. I took my iPad in for a replacement screen after crushing it in a freak accident. (Because of my embarrassment, I'm not going to tell you what happened, but it was entirely my fault and was the result of pure carelessness.) The technician took it apart and found it to be beyond repair, so I acquired a new one--this time a mini-version. I think we're going to like it better. Our transition to Apple computers, iPads and iPhones is almost complete. I still have one brave PC desktop left on my desk at home, so old that it's running Microsoft Vista, but it refuses to give up and roll over. I'm not sure why I keep it, but I've been using PCs for more than 30 years, and my familiarity with them and with Windows gives me a strange sense of comfort. Tossing it out would be a little like throwing over an old friend, and besides, there are still things about the Apples that annoy me. But they do make a quality product, in my view.
Sandy took the opportunity to do some shopping, and then we had dinner at Pizzeria Rustica, a small storefront place in old Colorado City. It was heartedly recommended by Ed and Marilyn.
Oh, my goodness, did they hit it out of the park again! As with most other types of food, I am not easy to please when it comes to pizza. I like the crust thin and crispy, and I prefer only a small amount of cheese. In fact, it would be fine if it had no cheese at all. Sandy and I ordered a pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, onion and fresh basil--no cheese.
The center of the pizza was indeed thin and crispy, but this was surrounded by a thicker edge that was wonderfully yeasty and slightly chewy. It arrived served with truffle- and chile-flavored olive oil and fresh Parmesan cheese on the side. These were for dipping the thicker edges of the crust after you eat away the inner thin-crust portion with all the goodies on it. I hadn't seen this done before, but it was fabulous--especially the truffle oil. That stuff could be an aphrodisiac, as far as I know! Nearby on the wall was a listing of all the local vendors from whom the chefs ordered their food today; they obviously take pride in the quality and freshness of what they prepare. This tiny place is very worthy of your visit; you won't be sorry.
It is difficult to overstate the awesomeness of this pizza. I almost wish I hadn't eaten it, as I will now judge all others against it. The others will almost surely be found unworthy in comparison.
Still on a high from the pizza place, we drove into Manitou Springs, a quaint old community nearby, to have some homemade ice cream at Pike's Peak Chocolate and Ice Cream.
Sandy ordered rocky road, and I ordered butter pecan. They were sooo good!
We've already determined that we have barely scratched the surface in touring this beautiful place. We will be looking forward to returning for a longer time.
Estes Park tomorrow!