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Culinary Gems

Off the Beaten Path

Every day, Montague’s pastry chefs offer a decadent array of freshly-baked pastries, cakes, cookies, scones and sweet rolls.

Every day, Montague’s pastry chefs offer a decadent array of freshly-baked pastries, cakes, cookies, scones and sweet rolls.

On warm spring days, our inner foodies rejoice. It’s time to shed our winter coats and explore new neighborhoods for unique culinary delights. We wandered south of downtown and found two gems—Montague’s and Shuga’s. Quaint and cozy, they invited us to linger. So come along as we take you off the beaten path.

Montague’s Parlour

Blink and you may miss it--the brick-fronted building with the striped green awning on South Tejon.

But venture inside and you’re transported to a bygone era. Cozy upholstered armchairs. China plates and tea cups. The soft murmur of conversation.

For twenty-three years, Montague’s has woven a spell with its Victorian charm.

New owners took over in September, and they’ve kept the same warm feeling.

“We want to brighten our customers’ day,” says owner Sloane Wooldridge, “to give them the smile they are looking for.”

Order a café latte and choose from a dizzying array of decadent pastries, cakes, cookies, scones and sweet rolls. 

You’ll see old favorites, like the moist coconut cake with cream cheese frosting. And some new selections, including a rich chocolate lavender cake and pop tarts filled with strawberry or raspberry jam.

Montague’s also offers 30 kinds of tea, including their own brand, locally packaged. Spring in Paris offers an enticing blend of citrus and caramel, while Juliet’s decaf Chai Tea is spicy with a hint of cardamom and ginger.

Stop in early for breakfast and feast on such specialties as stuffed French toast, fluffy oatmeal pancakes drizzled with an orange glaze, and bagels with lox and cream cheese. 

The creamy Pumpkin Tomato Soup is an all-time lunch favorite, while the flavorful Turkey Avocado Sandwich served on a fresh croissant is perfect for munching on the patio.

For an afternoon of pure delight, indulge in Montague’s traditional English tea. You and your friends will feel like royalty as you dine on three tiers of irresistible goodies, from delicate tea sandwiches and petit fours to mini-scones and fruit. Make sure to give them 48-hours’notice.

Over the years, couples have met and celebrated anniversaries at Montague’s. Children who came as toddlers now bring their young families.

“We want to continue that tradition,” Wooldridge says, “to offer a warm, happy, inviting experience for everyone.” 

If you go:
1019 S. Tejon St., 80903
(719) 520-0672

Shuga’s

The quaint little house on South Cascade, with its bright flower boxes and comfy patio, is funky, chic and filled with whimsy. 

 For Alexius Weston, it’s a dream come true. 

 “I wanted to create a comfortable, easy space for anybody to come for great food, great drink and a cool atmosphere,” Alexius says.

She renovated an old house, prowled auction houses for treasures, and spent hours making little drawings of the floor plan, and in 2001 Shuga’s was born.

Shortly after opening, a customer named Kurt Bunch wandered in, and they fell in love. 

They even married on the grassy median outside Shuga’s.

On their seventh anniversary, Kurt gave Alexius a flock of hanging origami cranes. 

They soar from the ceiling to this day, growing and multiplying in a flurry of color.

This sense of fun influences everything they do.

The Bill and Betty, a rum drink, honors the former owners who ran a popular neighborhood grocery store until the early 50’s.

“We soon became alchemists,” Kurt says with a smile. “We make all our syrups and infusions, like the Sassquash, butternut squash infused into vodka.”

The Lavender Blossom Martini and Mojitos are huge crowd favorites. Both the lavender and the mint come straight from their herb garden.

The menu offers eclectic choices from their wildly popular Spicy Brazilian Shrimp Soup to the Cuban Mojo, bursting with thick juicy roasted pork, ham and Swiss, grilled on a baguette.  

On a warm spring evening, the patio, with its twinkling lights, is perfect for relaxing. Enjoy a carafe of Sangria and a platter of Mediterranean Fare, including hummus, goat cheese and olive tapenade served with grilled pita.

Sweet and chewy, the Almond Butter Cake is so addictive, you’ll be begging for more. But don’t ask for the recipe. It’s top secret!

For a dramatic finale, order the Spanish coffee. Prepared with a flourish, this flaming drink is a showstopper. 

And it’s all done with flair, Shuga-style. 

If you go:
702 S. Cascade Ave., 80903
(719) 328-1412