Eating is one of my favorite things… okay, it’s probably my favorite thing. The good part is that it appears to be your favorite thing too. So I can write about eating all the time and no one minds.
For years, and by years I mean nearly two decades, I’ve been going to Fort Collins. I am quite familiar with the city and in my earlier years, I was very familiar with the city’s bar scene.
Fort Collins has not been immune from the population growth in Colorado. The downtown restaurant scene has evolved over time, as it will do when the population changes, but there has never been a lack of places to eat here.
On our last official trip, we at our first meal at The Exchange. This is a relatively new container community of restaurants serving everything from pizza to tacos in large and small shipping containers. It is the first of its kind on Fort Collins and located at the north end of Old Town, and therefore easy to access by bike or on foot.
Before dinner we popped into Happy Lucky’s Teahouse around the corner from The Exchange for a cuppa. I am crazy about tea, especially since getting diagnosed with migraines. I am a British television addict, especially mysteries.
Tea seems to make everything better in Britain — a family member just got murdered? Let’s put the kettle on (and all will be okay). Love tea? Happy Lucky’s is a dream. They have everything and mix their own fantastic blends of things like English Breakfast.
After tea, we hit Vatos Tacos + Tequila at The Exchange. The vibe in The Exchange was decidedly holiday-ish due to the group of middle school students that performed Christmas songs for their parents on an impromptu stage amidst the fire pits. I do not know if they had just come from a nearby performance or were just feeling festive, but they were entertaining.
The people who own Vatos Tacos + Tequila know Mexican food. They own Palominos in Loveland, Blue Agave in Fort Collins and Coyote’s Southwestern Grill in Greeley. I expected delicious tacos and that’s what we got.
Vatos Tacos + Tequila is a cross between a fast-food joint and sit-down restaurant. Mostly, they are fast. On a Thursday evening, they were crowded and still, service was quick. We ate several kinds of tacos, including al Pastor which are hard to find. At $2.50 to $3.50, the tacos are well-priced and tasty.
We were in an area of Vatos Tacos + Tequila that is open during the summer but is enclosed in the winter. The Exchange is nice in the winter with fire pits providing warmth but I can see how it will sing in the summer. We can’t wait to eat some food there during Colorado’s warmer months.
This was a quick one-niter in Fort Collins, so we rose relatively early. I made Nespresso in our room while Ryan walked Fritzi. We were staying at the dog-friendly The Armstrong Hotel downtown. A perfectly charming and cozy location for visiting this fun, dog-friendly town.
For breakfast, we decided on Ginger & Baker. A decade ago, I used to drive to Fort Collins for coworking. During the springtime, I’d walk by the feed and grain and hear the chirping of baby chickens.
The building is now home to Ginger & Baker, a space that houses two restaurants, a bakery, a store and a large room that hosts cooking classes. To say this feed and grain has been transformed is an understatement but the integrity of the outside of the place has been beautifully maintained.
We ate at the Cafe on the main level. I love how bright and airy this space is in the morning. Sunlight streams in the big windows making it the perfect place to sip tea. I ordered the Biscuit Benedict and Ryan got the French Toast.
This is the place for Instagramming your food because everything arrived photogenically. Plus, the meals were delectable. Ryan adores French Toast but is very picky and this past his test (which mainly involves quantity). The Biscuit Benedict was as yummy as it was pretty.
I would definitely go to Ginger & Baker again and look forward to trying The Cache, their upstairs, dinner-only restaurant. It would also be interesting to take a baking or cooking class here as the purpose-built room is impressive. They were preparing for a baking class when we were there. The baked goods in the bakery looked scrumptious too but we were too full to contemplate a to-go order.
Fort Collins is always a good time and it’s fascinating to explore restauarants that now call it home. I do love some of the old standbys like Pickle Barrel and Panino’s Italian Restaurant, but new or old exploring in FOCO is fun and you should go.
Thank you to Visit Fort Collins for hosting us on this experience.