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Bite Me

Space Invaders

No one expected that one, either. And as the ball sailed clear over the left-field fence, the crowd went wild.

Leftovers: I'd brought two chef buddies to the Menu Affair, in case we had to pinch-hit because of baby Bonanno. When it became clear that Frank would go the course (the newest addition to the family, Marco Douglas Drake Bonanno, was born Friday evening), I set my friends -- retired line guys now doing what most retired cooks do: selling used cars -- loose with instructions to bring me the best and the worst of everything that was on offer. Open bar? Free grub? Bring it on!

Kudos to India's, which served its wonderful saag paneer to all comers; Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai, which ran out of food early, it was going so fast; and Seven 30 South, which created a lobster bisque so good I heard one (only mildly inebriated) young lady say she would have taken a bath in the stuff if they'd let her. LaMar's Donutswas also doing a booming business -- but what crowd doesn't dig free doughnuts?

But what is the Art Institute of Colorado teaching its students? Those little tart/profiterole things it was serving tasted like they'd come from the back of a freezer at Sam's Club. Somehow, Hanson's managed to break a red sauce, which takes effort (although the meatballs in it were okay). And Blue Moon Saloonwas serving cold chili to all those willing to stand in line and wait for it. Ugh.

In better news, Wynkoop Brewing Co.is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary with beer and menu specials all week. The festivities culminate outside the restaurant, at 1634 18th Street, on Saturday, October 25, with the annual "running of the pigs" -- which no longer involves running the porkers, but does involve eating them. And the Wynkoop recently gave us more reason to celebrate with the resurrection of the Beerdrinker of the Year contest. Unlike the January 2003 version -- when Bite Me World HQ operatives were able to snag this snapshot of Wynkoop founder and long-shot candidate John Hickenlooper weighing in at the finals -- the 2004 contest won't feature Hickenlooper, because he's put his restaurant empire into a trust while he does his mayoral thing. But everyone else is welcome. Applicants for the contest must send their "beer resumés" to the Wynkoop by December 31 in order to be considered for the finals, which will be held there on February 21.

The winner gets free beer for life at the Wynkoop. That should get you rummies up off the La-Z-Boy.

Or you can get up to check out Ristorante Amore, opening next month in the former Cafe Paradiso space at 2355 East Third Avenue. Inspired by the fare at Ti Amo, Amore will offer classic Northern Italian cuisine in an intimate cafe setting. Chef John Smilanic-Beneventi will man the stoves; owner Greg Goldfogel will sign the checks. A few doors away, at 2445 East Third, Y Lo Epicure is set to debut soon, too. Chef/owner Yvonne Lo promises gourmet paninis, soups, salads, pastries, Illy coffee and Chinese flower teas.

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