By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
Currently, the taco truck -- which made a very successful debut appearance at the Westword Music Showcase on June 17 -- is being kept in an undisclosed location, under constant surveillance. The front quarter is still more Bondo than body panel and the finishing work isn't done, but the tale of El Mariachi is already one that will be recounted for generations by fry cooks everywhere. It's a classic. Like The Dirty Dozen, only without Nazis.
The moral of this story? Never discount a guy's criminal history when considering him for a cooking gig. Never think that cooking is all you'll be called on to do after getting that C-school diploma. And oh, yeah: Always keep a tow rope in your vehicle. Because you never know when something like that is going to come in handy.
Leftovers: While a recent visit to Frisco'sproved disappointing (see Second Helping), there's lots more action at Belmar -- including a new Tacone Flavor Grill at 7007 West Alaska Drive, the first Colorado link in a 24-outlet chain out of California. It's kind of a Mexi-Caribbean/Asian-American/California Cuisine sandwich shop and gourmet wrap restaurant with smoothies and rotisserie chickens, Thai cucumber salad, smoked-gouda quesadillas, amazing sweet-potato fries and homemade tortilla chips, as well as a "Tacone's Signature Flavor Bar." Trademarked, of course.
Not far away, the Sullivan Restaurant Group -- a burgeoning empire in its own right -- just opened a second Emogene Patisserie et Cafe at 433 South Teller Street. Here you can not only get gourmet sandwiches and smoothies as well as pastries and coffee, but also Floot, thanks to a recent deal cut by Leigh Sullivan (chief flak for the kingdom ruled by her father, Jim Sullivan).
And what is Floot? Floot is champagne in a can. Actually, sparkling white wine in a can, but you get the idea. It's pretty decent -- for wine in a can, anyway -- and looks exactly like an energy drink, which means you can walk down the street carrying champagne in full violation of all Denver's open-container laws.
How do I know this? I tried it last week, along with two of Westword's less law-abiding editors. We popped our Floot tops in front of the office, then took them over to the vendor cart outside the Sports Authority Castle (formerly Gart's). We ate hot dogs and drank champagne in full view of at least two cruisers, and no one said boo.
Just down the street from Westword, at 846 Broadway, the Minturn Saloon has been taken over by the folks from the Giggling Grizzly and renamed the Moon Time Bar and Grill. Seriously.
A few blocks away, at 603 East Sixth Avenue, Emma's Restaurant has gone dark -- temporarily -- for a remodel. Emma's voice-mail message directs potential customers to Mona's, Emma's sister restaurant, at 2364 15th Street. Of course, Mona's only does breakfast and lunch, so if you're looking for a spot for a romantic dinner, you're out of luck.
The folks behind Magnolia and Sushi Mara in Lafayette ("All Things to All People," February 23) are getting ready to open their newest restaurant: Tahona Tequila Bistro, at 1035 Pearl Street in Boulder. The debut is scheduled for July 1, and as things now stand, it looks like they're going to make it. Tahona (not to be confused with Tacone) is an upscale-Mexican concept, focusing on the foods of the Yucatan peninsula -- where executive chef Chris Pierce was stranded while doing research last year, thanks to Hurricane Wilma -- and featuring not only weekly wine and tequila tastings, but a chef's table, as well.
Finally, since the smoking ban looks destined to go into effect July 1, I'm sharing an excerpt from the one and only letter -- and an anonymous one, at that -- I received in response to "Down But Not (Yet) Out," the June 8 Bite Me, describing last-minute attempts at anti-ban injunctions and ballot initiatives by the good people of Colorado:
"I typically LOVE reading Sheehan's columns every week, but this is one of the few times that I was very disappointed. I am so sick of hearing smokers bitch and moan about how their God-given right to smoke is being taken away. What about my right to breathe clean(ish) air? If I want to go to my favorite bar and drink a beer, I don't want other people's vices causing health problems for me. I can do that all on my own! Frankly, I can't wait for the day when I can wake up the morning after going out without having a scratchy sore throat and red, swollen eyes."
Gotcha. In fact, that seems to be the prevailing sentiment these days. But Anonymous, I just hope you're as pleased with yourself when the foie gras ban comes down (as it already has in Chicago), when unpasteurized cheeses are banned (as they have been in England), when junk food is criminalized and booze is outlawed (again), and all we're left with is soylent green and food pills and Kool-Aid to drink on Friday nights. So congratulations: The forces of protectionism and discrimination and nagging have triumphed over the big, bad smokers. I can't wait to see who's next.
In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be on the patio.