Santiago’s Brighton Review

Written by Marina Gonzalez

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “chili?” Is it ground beef with seasonings and beans, fresh out of a crock pot, topped with yellow, shredded cheese that melts as soon as you sprinkle it on top, and crisp, fresh, diced purple onion, accompanied by a packet of saltines or bread roll? Or is it roasted hatch peppers, with tomato and garlic, blended and cooked to perfection mixed with tiny chunks of pork? In Colorado, one would typically have the option of red or green chili. However, this wasn’t an option when my family first dined at Santiago’s restaurant in Brighton, Colorado. Santiago’s is a very well known restaurant in the community. One of the things that makes this restaurant such a popular go-to spot, is their pork green chili that can be added to practically any dish on their menu. 

Carmen Morales founded the very first Santiago’s restaurant in 1990, in her home town of Brighton. With their recent renovation, and much needed expansion, the Santiago’s in Brighton seats approximately 75 people. With 28 Santiago’s restaurants surrounding the Denver metro area, the cozy home-like atmosphere that welcomes you as soon as you walk in the door is one of the reasons why many of its patrons return to this family-owned restaurant. From serving delicious food for such low prices to providing great customer service, Santiago’s is sure to intrigue you with something on their menu that will keep you coming back for more. Using more than half a million gallons of green chili per year, there is no doubt that the chili is what made this restaurant so popular to begin with.

Santiago’s might be one of the oldest restaurants in Brighton, and although the town keeps growing and growing, their prices stay reasonably low. Every morning they have breakfast burritos with a meat of the day, such as sausage, bacon, chorizo, and their chili sauce with the option of mild, half and half, or hot for only $2.25 + tax. Their burritos alone are a pretty good deal, especially in that early morning rush to work. Over the years, the Santiago’s breakfast burrito has gained so much popularity that, in 2017, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock proclaimed that the second Saturday in October would be Breakfast Burrito Day, when you can purchase a breakfast burrito for only $1.25. 

Though it might seem that the popular food item is the breakfast burrito, Santiago’s offers a variety of full entrees for both lunch and dinner. A majority of their dishes are priced below the $10 mark, perfect for those who are on a budget but have a little wiggle room to treat themselves to these green chili-infused entrees. A dish like the tostada and crunchy taco with a side of beans and rice, runs for $8.75. An order of chili cheese fries is also priced at $7, plus $1 for extra cheese, my definite go-to dish since my first visit in 2003.

Santiago’s might not be the restaurant of choice if you are trying to be healthy. Though they do offer some dishes that you can modify to your liking, you will find that the chili alone contains many carbohydrates since it’s made with flour. If you are trying to avoid carbs, but still need a quick breakfast, you can start your day with a Santiago’s Burrito Bowl, a burrito without the tortilla. Or you might be a vegetarian and choose to go with the chiles rellenos with a side of beans and rice to avoid the unwanted pork meat in the chili. If you are vegan, you wouldn’t have very many options at this restaurant, if any at all. 

Being a family-oriented restaurant, you can expect some great service at Santiago’s; some of their employees have been working at this restaurant for years, with some working there since the inauguration of the restaurant. The servers will make you feel welcomed from the very start and will treat you like family. Although the Santiago’s in Brighton was recently renovated and has an all new kitchen and seating, the service continues to be the same. The service, amazing food and welcoming atmosphere is what keeps people coming back for more and more. 

Overall, I give this restaurant chain an A, because of the awesome experience I get whenever I visit and the food that always tastes amazing. Business people, students, young and old alike, you will find yourself coming back to this wonderful restaurant for more of its delicious dishes. Just follow your nose to the roasted hatch-chili smell.


Address: 1150 E Bridge St, Brighton, CO 80601
Hours: Monday – Sunday 6AM – 8PM
Food Type: Mexican-American
Average Prices: $10.00
Contact Info: (303)659-6393

Overall Score: A


Tangerine Restaurant Review

Written by Robyn Portlock

If you are looking for a delicious restaurant to eat brunch at in Lafayette, Tangerine is the place! I really enjoyed my experience at Tangerine in Old Town Lafayette. One of my family’s favorite pastimes is trying out different brunch places on Sundays, so I consider myself a fairly good brunch critic.  Tangerine is owned by Chef Alec Schuler, who also owned Arugula in Boulder, and opened its doors in Lafayette in 2018. 

The interior of Tangerine is very clean, bright, and, happy, with lots of tangerine orange accents and hip, modern fixtures.  This new Old Town Lafayette location is the second of three Tangerines located in Colorado. We were given the option of sitting on the patio (which looked lovely) or inside, but decided on the latter, because it was still a little chilly outside. 

We visited the restaurant on a Sunday morning and expected to have a wait, but were pleasantly surprised when we were seated within five minutes of arriving.  Our waitress, Laura, was very friendly and attentive, without being obtrusive. 

Myself, my daughter, Hannah, and her fiancé, Nick, chose to order two mochas ($4.65) and a dirty chai ($4.95). The drinks were prepared by a barista who delivered the drinks to our table with a beautiful flower design on top. The frothy mochas were devine, with little sprinkles of chocolate on top. The dirty chai was just the right amount of spicy, with cinnamon wafting in the air. We all agreed that the drinks were delectable and piping hot. 

The menu had a multitude of options including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. I ordered the asparagus and mushrooms ($11.95) from the Poached, Fried & Scrambled section. The eggs were poached perfectly on top of roasted local Hazel Dell (a Fort Collins fungus farm) mushrooms, soft polenta, fried asparagus, and pecorino romano cheese. I enjoyed everything except for the polenta, which I found to be mushy and flavorless. I probably should have upgraded to the Yukon gold home fries ($2), but hindsight is 20/20 right?  I also ordered the sour dough bread and heaped on the sweet, delightful, homemade blueberry and strawberry jam on it. (I’m a sucker for homemade jams.) All of the flavors blended well, and I would order it again.

Hannah ordered The Vegan (($12.25) under the Tangerine House Specialties and included tempeh, spicy guacamole, fresh arugula, sautéed spinach, eggplant caponata, pinto beans, almond romesco sauce, tangy walnut pesto, fresh lemon and two eggs. She was underwhelmed with the dish, feeling there were a lot of ingredients in the dish that were just thrown in, but it wasn’t very cohesive. She also thought it was a lot of work to eat, because she wanted just the right mix in every bite. She said that she wouldn’t order it again but was glad that she tried it. 

Nick ordered corned beef hash ($12.95), under the Tangerine House Specialties, as well, but opted for the veggie option which was made with tempeh in place of the corned beef and bacon. The dish included tempeh, crispy sweet potatoes with a house spice blend, eggs, and house-made butter pickles. He enjoyed the crunchy pickles and thought the whole dish was delicious. 

Overall, I enjoyed the Tangerine experience and would definitely eat there again. The check for three people was $59.47, which is pretty consistent with other brunch restaurants I have visited before.  I did find the portions somewhat less than other places, but the dishes did fill everyone up.  I also liked that most of the ingredients, including the coffee, were locally sourced and fresh. I would most definitely recommend Tangerine to anyone asking for a fun, tasty brunch in Lafayette and feel that it deserves a B.



Grade: B

Where: 300 S. Public Rd, Lafayette, CO 80026

Hours: Open Daily 7am to 2:30pm 

Food: Breakfast/Brunch

How much: $6-$16

Information: (303) 443-5100

April 28, 2019

Porco Rosso, An Exciting and Solemn Adventure (Spoilers review)

By Madison Otten

 Porco Rosso is a high-flying adventure from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Misazaki, who also created and directed other works such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro. Porco Rosso premiered in 1992 and earned $59 million while on a ¥9.2 million budget ($85,836 USD). Featuring voice talents such as Micheal Keaton, Susan Eagon, Brad Garrett, and Cary Ewles to help bring the multilayered and charming characters to life. This film is often overlooked for it’s ‘odd’ premise, but if you can move past the cover, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning and heartfelt film with a grand adventure that has been sorely lacking in modern cinema. Beware, spoilers are ahead, so I encourage you to watch this movie any way you can.

Beware, spoilers for the film are ahead. If you haven’t watched it, I sincerely recommend it. 

 Set in 1930’s Italy, we follow the story of one Marco Pagot, a renegade former Italian air-force pilot turned air pirate pursuing the bounty hunter who goes by the moniker ‘Porco Rosso’ or Crimson Pig. At some point after he left the air force and before becoming a bounty hunter, Marco was cursed with the face of a pig, and from that point he declared himself a pig. Hence the name, Crimson Pig. By day he hunts air pirates, but by night he spends time with his old friend (and unrequited love), Madame Gina, who runs the Hotel Adriano. All is well until a cocky American pilot / screenwriter / actor by the name of Donald Curtis shoots down Porco’s plane in a bid to win Gina’s affection. 

The story picks up as Porco travels to Milan in order to get his plane fixed by his trusted engineer, Mr. Piccolo, who has his niece, Fio Piccolo, aid in redesigning and improving it. Porco returns home with his new plane and Fio who insists to be brought along both for the adventure and to badger Porco about his hefty bill, ionly to be immediately challenged by Curtis in a duel. The bet consists of Curtis taking Fio’s hand in marriage if Porco loses, against Curtis paying the (very high) bill for Porco’s new plane if Porco wins. The competition itself is a good, old fashioned, one on one, dogfight; last man standing. The bet is facilitated and hosted by the very band of air pirates that Porco hunts. 

The battle ensues against two equally skilled pilots as they try to down the other plane; the battle moves from air to sea after both of their guns jam simultaneously, and the two duke it out in an old fashioned boxing match. The fight ends when Gina arrives informing the fighters and the crowd that the Italian air force is on its way, and Porco wins by being the first one up after a knock out hit. The movie ends with Curtis upholding his end of the bargain then going on to be a Hollywood star, and Fio becoming a full-fledged airplane engineer, inheriting the family business. It’s to be assumed that Porco and Gina got their happily-ever-after together, though the scene is cut in the English dub of the movie.

Porco Rosso is not a sweeping epic, nor is it a serious, gritty thriller. It’s a short glimpse into someone’s life. All of the characters have a certain feeling to them: old, like they’ve seen much of what life has to offer. This becomes especially evident when Porco shares the screen with Fio and Curtis, assumably the youngest of our cast of characters. When Porco’s with Gina or Piccolo, people he’s known for years, you can feel their history; he’s more open and relaxed, whereas with Fio and Curtis, it’s a completely different story. 

Curtis and Porco don’t share much screen time, but we can see that Curtis is a young upstart with big dreams and bigger ambitions. He flies in the sun to avoid being seen by his prey. His only reputation is his nationality, the hot-shot American pilot with a Hollywood dream, and everything else we know of Curtis comes from his own mouth. Nobody really gives him the time of day, so he has to interject himself into scenes to be acknowledged. 

Porco’s almost the exact opposite: he’s notorious, well respected but feared. His feats of honor and valor are known amongst the pirates, so they and people around speak of his deeds, whereas Porco, himself, never really says anything about his past, aside from his talk with Fio on the beach. Even that wasn’t about great deeds, if anything it was his greatest shame, being the sole survivor of his fleet, and what would ultimately trigger his evidently self inflicted curse. You become what you perceive yourself to be. 

(A small side note, if anyone has seen Miyazaki’s other film, Howl’s Moving Castle, based on the book by Dianne Wynne Jones, you can definitely see some parallels between Sophie’s and Porco’s curse; they’re both based upon self-perception. When Porco isn’t thinking about himself or at least is lost in thought, his face returns to that of man’s, as seen within the movie.)

Fio is like Curtis in some regards, an aspiring airplane engineer who is relatively unknown. Fio is a young engineer in a man’s world, Porco even turns his nose up at her when she offers to design his plane. But by using her wit and charm, she not only gains respect from the pirates after giving them a thorough tongue lashing but also gets an essential verbal letter of recommendation from Porco on her skills as an engineer. Unlike Curtis, she doesn’t need to fight to be acknowledged, her presence demands it. The pirates maintain distance upon first encounter while they dogpile Porco, Porco is caught off guard by her guile and is convinced to let her design his new plane, and Curtis is immediately smitten with her and agrees upon a gentleman’s agreement with her, not Porco, who would be the actual participant. 

With these characters, the past and the future are constantly in play, with the old and new pilots duking it out, the old enginers pasing down their craft to the next generation, it’s a transitional period between the worlds of the old and new. Which can be said for literally any movie, but I feel that Porco Rosso handles it in a more interesting manner. As I said earlier, it’s not a gritty serious war movie; it’s just a fun, and at times, silly adventure movie that’s made with the characters’ integrity in mind. Porco is not a fun, dumb, annoying animal sidekick whose sole purpose is to make bank on that sweet, sweet merchandising money; Fio is not a Strong Independent Woman™, who occasionally says something trite and contrived to make sure the audience knows she is a SIW™; Curtis is no typical hero. Hell, this movie doesn’t even really follow the traditional hero’s journey (which, might I say, is as refreshing as a glass of water in the desert). All the characters are human; they have substance, history, flaws, and an overall sense of life. They feel like characters from old movies like Casabalnca or even some of the old Westerns. They feel real. And it’s something that’s sorely lacking in modern media.   

Porco Rosso is a fantastic story and is often overlooked. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and is looking for something made with love and dedication.

OER helps reduce students’ textbook burden

Written by Lori Robinson

In late 2015, FRCC English Professor Kelli Cole came across a New York Times article about homelessness among struggling college students.

“(H)igh rates of food and housing insecurity among hard-working college students indicate that the nation faces a serious crisis,” Sara Goldrick-Rab and Katharine M. Broton wrote in the Dec. 4, 2015, op-ed headlined “Hungry, Homeless and in College.” 

In the past two academic years, 17 percent of college students surveyed reported experiencing homelessness over the prior 12 months, according to the national #RealCollegeSurvey, now in its fifth year and administered by Temple University. Statistics for students experiencing food and housing insecurity in the same survey improved slightly this year to 39 percent and 46 percent respectively.

While more than a third of the students who participated in the survey continued to struggle with food security and almost half surveyed faced housing insecurity, “(o)ver the past decade,” the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported in January 2018, “textbook prices (have) risen more than four times the rate of inflation.”

Enter Open Educational Resources — OER

Here at Front Range, Cole and fellow English Professor Michelle Medeiros are in their third semester of using Open Educational Resources in their English composition classes, thanks to a $3,200 grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. OER are free and low-cost, high quality texts and instructional materials available on the internet. 

“This is one of the most meaningful projects that I’ve ever been on,” Cole said.

The number of Open Educational Resources has been growing in a national movement over the last several years, recent State of Colorado legislation shows. Colorado joined the OER movement in 2017 when then-Governor John W. Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-258 into law. The new law commissioned Colorado’s Open Educational Resources Council to study OER and create access for Colorado students and instructors.

The following year saw House Bill 18-1331 signed into law, by which Colorado dedicated $550,000 to grants for public colleges throughout the state. Cole and Medeiros are among five small group and faculty grantees at state public colleges, alongside 15 institutional grantees and three recipients of professional development and travel grants, the Colorado OER Council showed in its October 2019 report, “Colorado Rises: Transforming Education Practices through Open Educational Resources.” The state OER Council estimates the grants will save Colorado’s public college students $3.4 million in textbook costs by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Depending on whether her students chose to rent or purchase, and whether they got used or new textbooks, before she began using OER as her primary text, Cole said her students would have to spend anywhere from $27.25 to $96 for the class textbook. Likewise, the College Board says the average student budgets more than $1,200 on textbooks and materials each year. 

Cole’s students who use OER pay zero dollars for their texts.

“I so believe in the power of education to transform lives,” Cole said. “And so if I can take away even the slightest barrier for my students, that just feels really wonderful.”

Student Kayla Parrett is a fan of OER. “I tend to enjoy them. I thought the geology book we had last year was very helpful.”

The OER cost Parrett zero dollars. “This semester, the textbook was $100, with no option to rent. Making the switch to OERs would improve the system.”

Parrett said her textbook savings last year went to food and bills. 

Two more students, Donovan Lo and Shqiponja Howison, were pleasantly surprised with an OER for their English Composition class this semester. “I think it’s really helpful,” Lo said. 

If colleges in the United States adopt OER for their core curriculum, students could save $1.5 billion, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group estimated in its 2018 report.  

Howison enjoyed her savings this semester, if only momentarily. “I bought other textbooks,” she said.

Renegade Burrito Review

Written by Ricky Valadez

Illustration by Madison Otten

New to Colorado or looking for a new little secret burrito place to try out? Check out Renegade Burrito, established in 2017 by a Colorado native originally in Westminster, CO. Renegade is looking to provide the highest quality fast-casual Mexican Food in a trendy environment. 

Upon arriving at the location, you are welcomed with a quiet, comfortable environment. Comparisons could be made to other trendy businesses, such as Starbucks, Chipotle, and Qdoba. Lighting is at a somewhat dim level, perfect for those late night dine outs, or even a place to do some school work. The furniture is modern and gives a comfy feel towards the customer. Now, the two times I have visited Renegade Burrito, there weren’t any people. So, take note that your experience may be different. 

Now to get an idea of the menu, here are your breakfast protein options: chorizo, sausage, bacon, or eggs. Each of these come with potatoes cheese, and two toppings. The price for these will range anywhere between $4.99 to $5.99. The toppings are the basics: sour cream, hot sauces, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and fajita veggies. If the breakfast options are not your thing, then try out their other choices: veggie, chicken, renegade chicken, chile verde, carnitas, or steak guisado. These do come with the choice of two fillings: seasoned potatoes, pinto beans, black beans, cilantro lime rice, and Spanish rice. The price for these alternatives can range anywhere between $6.79 to $7.99.

My first time there, I decided to order a chorizo breakfast burrito. I could taste the well-seasoned and tenderness of the potatoes, which, by far, were my favorite thing about the burrito. The eggs were soft and gave off a radiant yellow look, and the chorizo was well cooked; the toppings that came along gave the flavor a nice touch. However, the salsa was loose, making the burrito a bit messy. (I’d advise not wearing light jeans or white shirts.) The burrito was a filler for its size, which was nice. 

My second visit, I took my family, and we ordered about five different burritos. They all had the same toppings but the protein portion of each gave me a different perspective about the food. The chile verde was the best among the ones we ordered; it gave my mouth a punch of spicy flavors that give Renegade Burrito the Mexican feel. The chicken renegade, carnitas, chicken, and steak guisado were all bland. They could’ve been cooked a bit longer and seasoned more, nullifying the plain taste. The salsas were all hot, which did help with the bland taste of the proteins. However, I would recommend going for the breakfast options, since they’re freshly made in the morning, though they do serve breakfast all day. 

When ordering, the process is similar to that of Chipotle and Qdoba which is simple and quick. This can be a great place if anyone is in a rush to grab something on the run, or if you need to order takeout/catering; these are other great options this small business has as well. 

Renegade Burrito also has a reward system for those junkies that love earning points. Work your way up to 100 points, and you’ll get a free full-sized burrito! And just in case you become a fan of the place, they even provide gift cards and apparel. You can send them an email for more information.

Burrito Renegade is a small secret place that some people may not know about. Its modern comfy interior and variety of food is a good combination that attracts customers. While my experience has been pleasant, it still needs some tweaks on their menu in order to get to that next level. Although the business is fairly new, there’s no doubt in my mind that Renegade Burrito will become something very tremendous in the future. 

Renegade Burrito Information (Based on the two places I went)

Grade: B+
Where: Thornton (A), and Westminster (B)


-A) 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Opened all week

-B) 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Opened all week

Food: American/Mexican

How Much: $5~$25

Of note: Relaxed counter-served spot for California-style burritos with diverse fillings and other Mexican fare


-A) (303) 280-7052

-B) (303) 287-7486

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Experience, opportunities, and summer jobs through STEM Internships

Written by Joe Fisk


Internships are a way to acquire a summer job and gain experience in your field, however they are often overlooked, or not researched by students. On Jan. 24 and 28, instructors from science, technology, engineering and math departments promoted internships from local and national levels to Front Range Community College students. Over 20 internships span from various fields of STEM, including software development, aerospace engineering, data science, health, etc… 

Max Miller, of FRCC’s science and technology department recognized the goal of the event was to connect students to STEM internships and encourage them to think about their futures beyond school.                                                                                                         

“We’re trying to get students to be aware and connected to internships in different STEM fields,”  said Miller. “Mostly local internships, but also some nation-wide ones to get students thinking about their career beyond school. There are a lot of studies that have shown students that pursue internships are more likely to graduate and to pursue graduate work or careers in STEM if they did intern work as a college student.”

STEM instructors handed out flyers with details of internships to students at tables outside of the Student Organization Center, where they were asked questions and received information for various internships. Many were drawn to those in engineering, health, nursing and biology.

“We had a lot of people stop by asking about astronomy, physics and aerospace engineering on Thursday,” said Miller. “It seemed like… today still a lot of engineering and on both days a lot of health, nursing and biology, which fits with what most people are majoring in typically.”

FRCC student and prospective applicant, Noah Duncan collected information on multiple internships from the tables. He hoped to gain experience and a summer job through these internships. 

“I’m looking for a new job, and this happened to fit the bill because they’re all paid internships,” said Duncan. “I kind of want to test out some science fields and internships are a good way to do that, to know what I’m doing before going and getting the full degree for it.” 

Gaining experience in the field can be important to students deciding on a major. Duncan, who considered changing his major collected flyers from two different fields,

“There’s one for neuroscience that I picked up,” said Duncan. “I’m also considering changing to computer science, so I found a hardware internship, as well.”

Not only are internships a way to obtain experience and a job, but they also encourage students to stay in STEM fields and earn a degree. 

“It increases student retention in STEM fields to go on and get a bachelor’s degree, or masters, or doctorate,” said Miller. “It also helps students get practical experience in the field. So when they graduate, they have laboratory or field experience that can make them more employable.”

Students who are looking for internships but did not attend the event or are not in the STEM fields should ask instructors in their field about internship opportunities. 

“Talk to your instructors in your field,” said Miller. “They may be able to connect with internships or have advice. If you’re looking for something specifically in STEM, stop by the math department or the science department and talk with some of us about it.”

Students in general science fields can find additional internships at the National Science Foundation and for students in health fiends at the National Institute of Health.