By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
y the time you read this, Duy Phamwill have left Flow, the downstairs restaurant at the four-month-old Luna Hotel (1612 Wazee Street). The twenty-something chef cooked one of the top five meals of my life when he was at Opal (100 East Ninth Avenue), then left to take over the kitchen at Flow before the ink was even dry on the Best of Denver 2003, in which Opal won top honors as Best New Restaurant -- and all because of Pham's cooking.
After weeks of rumors, Pham gave his notice to the hotel's owners last week. And now he's looking for a new place to call home.
Pham's departure wasn't the only shakeup that the hipper-than-thou Luna has experienced -- just the most recent and most critical. Last month the place lost both general manager Brian Shorter (who bailed leaving no forwarding address, just a mention that he was off to pursue other opportunities) and champion barman Oran Feild, who took his alcoholic alchemy to the longbar at Brasserie Rouge(1801 Wynkoop Street). And word on the street is that employees of all descriptions are still jumping ship like crazy, as though the owner had changed Luna's name to the Titanicand steered it toward heavy seas.
800 Coffman St.
Longmont, CO 80501
Region: Northern Colorado
Just last week, for example, replacement GM Scott Tallman (formerly of Panzano, the restaurant in the Hotel Monaco, 1717 Champa Street) went overboard. And there will be lots more news to come -- especially after Flow lurches through its first weekend with no staff in the kitchen.
Pete's, re-Petes and PETA:If, like me, you sometimes find yourself wandering the city's grayer quarters at odd hours of the night and recently spotted the warm glow of neon and incandescent lights spilling out of Pete's Kitchen (1962 East Colfax Avenue) around three in the morning on a weekday, you weren't hallucinating. Everyone's favorite late-night breakfast spot recently made the jump from being a weekend-only all-night destination to a 24/7 outpost for Denver's nightcrawlers, vampires and insomniacs. Which means I can now get a fix of avgolemono(Greek lemon, chicken and rice soup) and homemade cherry pie whenever I want it -- and that makes me a happy little restaurant cricket.
What is it they say? That God never closes a door without opening a window? Well, that rule apparently applies to college bars, too, because while the student union on the Auraria Campus lost the Boiler Room a few weeks ago, Johnson & Wales University just opened Pete's Pub. Named for Pete Coors (yeah, the guy with the beer), this new college bar hosted an invite-only grand opening last Thursday, with Coors himself pulling the first pint from the new taps. According to Lindsay Morgan, J&W's spokeswoman, it took a long time to get Coors's name on the door. "Peter Coors has given so much time and service to the university," she says, "but he's kinda shy. He says getting your name on things isn't the point of philanthropy. We pitched him for four years just to get him to agree to have anything named after him."
If only the Coors Twins were so humble...
In the July 24 Bite Me, I talked about how People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had filed suit against KFC Corp., claiming that KFC misrepresented itself and its treatment of chickens bound for your bucket of extra-crispy. PETA's lawsuit charged that KFC was making "significant misrepresentations and outright false statements that conceal from the public the horrific suffering endured by chickens raised and killed for KFC." The suit, as well as a months-long boycott of the chain and its parent company, Yum! Brands, was supposed to make the business improve the way its chickens were kept, raised and slaughtered, PETA reps explained.
Well, the lawsuit has been dropped -- but not because KFC has changed the way it treats its chickens. (Actually, the company insists that it was never doing anything wrong and says that the information on which PETA had based its claims was outdated to begin with.) Instead, KFC agreed to stop making allegedly "false statements" and to refrain from instructing customer-service representatives to tell callers that PETA's charges about the company's chicken-processing methods were untrue. KFC also removed information from its Web site claiming that its chickens suffered no pain or injury; that suppliers were prohibited from giving chickens growth-promoting drugs; and that it has adhered to a strict animal-welfare policy for the past decade.
When the Alec Baldwin-narrated Meet Your Meat, a DVD from PETA, arrived in my mailbox the other day, it looked like money in the bank -- an easy couple of column inches poking fun at the Hollywood star and lefty mouthpiece, then closing with a brief screed on how much I hate it when celebrities try to tell me how to live my life. Of course, being a good little journalist, I figured I'd better actually watch the thing first. You know, just in case Alec actually had something to say.
What followed was probably the most uncomfortable thirteen minutes of my life. Worse than getting my first look at hard-core porn at far too young an age. Worse than when one of my psychopathic friends talked me into watching one of those Faces of Death videos. Worse than an all-night marathon of Suzanne SomersThighmaster infomercials. It was everything you might expect from a PETA-produced effort -- full of jerky, poorly lit footage of people doing the most horrible shit to animals that you can imagine. Yeah, it was biased. It worked hard to make viewers believe that every cow bound for our tables is a tortured, broken-leg cripple covered with pus-filled tumors; that every pig meets its end screaming and still half-alive in the boiling water of the hair-removal vats; and that the only mercy a veal calf ever gets is one behind the ear from the barrel of a pneumatic bolt gun.