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Mouthing Off

Getting juiced up: If you haven't heard the ads or seen the trucks, then surely you've noticed the colorful display cases full of Odwalla at area grocery stores. Remember the brief smart-drink phase? Odwalla, the juice of the Nineties, pulls from some of the same natural sources--ginseng, megadoses of vitamin C, spirulina--and usually goes a step further by making them not only palatable but sometimes unbelievably delicious.

The Odwalla enterprise started in 1980 in Southern California (of course) and has since expanded to five Western states; the company has doubled its revenue over the past year ($18.1 million to $36 million). As I watched co-workers snatch up a whole crate of recyclable plastic bottles full of Odwalla in a matter of moments, I realized why: People love these juices. I sampled every one of the vitamin-packed elixirs--Blackberry, Fruitshake, Raspberry Smoothie and Strawberry C-Monster, with 2000 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, were my favorites--and with the exception of the lemonade (too watery) and the Superfood (with spirulina, which may be great for the body but tastes like green chalk), they taste just like the fresh fruits they're made of. Which brings up Odwalla's two drawbacks: The juices are highly perishable, staying fresh unopened for only a week or two at the most and only a few days once opened. And they're expensive, with the price for sixteen ounces ranging from $1.89 to $3.50. On the other hand, three or four of these drinks a day and you probably could stop eating solid food.

Ch-ch-ch-changes: If you still insist on taking in actual food, the buzz is that the Hornet, at 82 Broadway, might not be a bad choice, at least not since they brought in new chef Chris Rogers. After terrible reviews from the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post (both loved the groovy dining room, hated the food), the Hornet, a venture among Brewster Hansen, David French and Paul Greaves, had to do something. LoDo habitues might remember Rogers from her Blue Point Cafe in the Icehouse, which closed late last year. More recently, Rogers opened the Articulate Cafe at 595 South Broadway, which she has left to her trusted employees while she revamps the Hornet's menu and injects some of her flavor-savvy cooking.

Meanwhile, the Augusta at the Westin Hotel, Tabor Center recently lost executive chef Roland Ulber, who's rumored to be looking around Palm Springs. Taking the Augusta's helm is James Footit, who comes straight from the Century Plaza Hotel and Tower in Los AngelesEBourbon Street Original Pizza Bar, at 5139 South Yosemite in Greenwood Village, is closed for now, but the message on the restaurant's answering machine claims it will reopen a mere seven doors away by the end of AprilETwo other restaurants have disconnected their phones: Cafe Brokaw, 311 East County Line Road in Littleton, and Narayan's Nepal Restaurant at 921 Pearl Street in Boulder. Your guess is as good as mine.

And hey, if you're itchin' to be a restaurant critic, here's your chance: the second Zagat Rocky Mountain Survey. Locals make it happen by filling out a form about their favorite restaurants. No pay, but you can get a free guide. Send an SASE to: Zagat Survey, 9457 South University Boulevard, Littleton, CO 80126, by April 1.

--Kyle Wagner

 
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