By Philip Poston
By Jonathan Shikes
By Noah Reynolds
By Gretchen Kurtz
By Kate Gibbson
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Patricia Calhoun
Movers and bakers: In an attempt to save the noble art of pie-making from extinction, Scott Meyerson opened Granny Scott's Pie Shop at 3333 South Wadsworth a few weeks ago. Although there's no actual Granny here--just Scott, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and former pastry chef for Blue Point Bakery, and his wife, Maryjoy--it looks like someone's grandmother donated her dining room to the cause. One side of the shop is quaintly decorated with rose-colored paint, lace tablecloths and antique-looking furniture; the other side features several display cases filled with beautiful pies, most of them available by the slice to enjoy with a cup of caffeine. The Meyersons also offer a limited selection of bread and pastries, but for the most part, the pie's the limit.
"People never want to take the time for pies anymore," Scott says. "And if they do, it's filled with cornstarchy goo and canned fillings. I won't use that stuff. It's gross." We tried four variations: the caramel Granny Smith apple, the nut and brandy, the ricotta cheese and berries and the Colorado rhubarb and berries. All slices cost $2.45, and whole pies are available for $9.95 to $11.95--not a bad deal, considering the quality of the ingredients and the marvelous crusts. Although the promised caramel--or any sweet flavor, for that matter--wasn't evident in the fresh-from-the-oven apple pie, the other three slices surpassed all expectations. Our favorite was the nut and brandy, made from an old New Orleans recipe that mixes macadamias, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts, along with an unusual touch of white chocolate, into a creamy filling that isn't teeth-numbingly sweet. The ricotta-cheese pie was topped with very fresh kiwi fruit, strawberries and pineapple; strawberries also sweetened the rhubarb in our last piece.
Scott also makes a mean cookie ($1.50): a huge wheel of dark, milk and white chocolate and macadamia nuts barely held together by a soft, chewy dough. But while a roll baked with sun-dried tomatoes and basil (75 cents) was flavorful, the loaf of decent challah was overpriced at $3.50.
The breads coming out of Campagna, on the other hand, are all worth the dough. This new venture at 1719 South Broadway by Pasquini's Pizzeria owner Tony Pasquini is bound to do as well as his popular restaurant. The breads, displayed in surroundings evocative of a Tuscan villa, are made with organic flour and fresh herbs. The rosemarino ($2.75 for a one-pound loaf) is killer, as is the sun-dried tomato with garlic ($3.25). All of the breads have a great texture and tons of flavor, and although the bakery claims the loaves are meant to be eaten the day they're baked, I found that the heartier breads such as the rosemarino still tasted fresh several days later and made exceptional toast for a week.
Burning the candle at both ends: Denver's newest restaurant, an outpost of the oddly named Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, made its debut in the old Armadillo space at 15th and Market streets on January 17. That's the same day RosaLinda's Mexican Cafe, at 33rd Avenue and Tejon, marked its tenth anniversary, but it's celebrating all month by rolling back prices to 1985 levels.