By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
"The key," he concludes, "is to avoid ever even being in that situation."
Guy talk: How long you should be able to claim a table isn't the only question readers are asking. Robyne, who requested that I not use her full name, wanted to know when "guys" became acceptable server-speak for all genders. "'Hey, guys, are you ready to order?' and 'Hey, guys, how is everything?' is very annoying," she wrote. "And even more so in proportion to the cost of the meal. I appreciate the casual atmosphere of most local restaurants, but not the 'familiar' attitude of the staff." A week later, Andrea Frank voiced a similar concern. "Whatever happened to some semblance of respect when someone is paying upwards of a hundred bucks a person?" she asked. "I was in a pretty upscale Denver restaurant last night, and the server kept calling us all 'guys.' We were five women who spent $500 on food and wine, and we were very put off."
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Deborah McDaniel had her own criticism of server-speak: "I'd like to tell all servers that if you think I'm finished with my meal, please do not ask me, 'Are you still working on that?' I come to a restaurant to dine. Dining does not equal work. A simple 'Are you finished?' or 'May I take your plate?' would suffice."
On these matters, I didn't even need to call answer-man Imbergamo. "Guys" is only appropriate at a truck stop. "Are you still working on this?" makes it sound as though getting through a restaurant meal is akin to childbirth. I wouldn't cut a place from my dining list because of either server-speak infraction, but I sure wouldn't think very highly of its management.
Win-win situations: If the Olympics have you hungering for more competition, consider these culinary events. On March 2, Westword's very own Steel Chef Competition joins the lineup at the sixth annual Artopia, an event that fills the Temple Events Center (1595 Pearl Street) from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. with art exhibits, a fashion show, live music, and food and drinks from local eateries. The Steel Chef challenge will pit area chefs -- including Frank Bonanno of the aforementioned Mizuna, Matt Selby of Vesta Dipping Grill (1822 Blake Street) and Sean Yontz of Tamayo(1400 Larimer Street) -- against each other in an Iron Chef-like format, with members of the media and Johnson & Wales University faculty serving as judges. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door; visit artopia2002.com or call 303-777-6887.
On March 4, chef Victor Matthewswill host his first Champion de Cuisine from noon until 6 p.m. at the Hospitality Expo at the Broadmoor Hotel (1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs). Matthews, who is brilliant and probably a little crazy, owns the Black Bear Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls (10375 Ute Pass Avenue, in case you're in the neighborhood), which is too far away for my tastes. Eight chefs -- most from the southern part of the state -- will join in his competition, creating dishes based on secret ingredients that will be revealed as they go along. Although it's all a little exclusive and doesn't involve any chefs from Denver (Cook Street School of Fine Cookingchef Michael Comstedt is one of the judges, though), the event still promises to be a wild ride for foodies.
And I'll bet no one will be asked to leave.