By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
"You'll still be able to get steaks," Spencer assured me, laughing. "And anything else you want."
Now if I could just figure out how to get that $600,000...
Chain gang: I could have invested in Chipotle, of course. Come October, McDonald's plans to be fully divested of its interest in Chipotle. Now, I have no idea what that means, burrito-business-wise (except that Chipotle is anticipating picking up a couple million dollars' worth of employee benefits and insurance packages that were previously handled by Mickey D's), but I do know what it means food-wise: Chipotle will no longer be a part of the Evil Empire, and that's a good thing.
501 W. Florida Ave.
Denver, CO 80223
Category: Sports and Recreation
Region: Southwest Denver
The bad news? McDonald's is doing this because the corporation has had such a successful year that it wants to buy back a whole bunch of its ownstock. How successful? A 57 percent rise in quarterly profits, according to Reuters. And with the sale of its Chipotle stock giving McDonald's roughly another $800 million to play with -- which it can then use to pick up its own shares tax-free -- that means Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar all stand to make about...well, a whole freakin' shitload of money.
The folks behind Chipotle, meanwhile, have already made a whole freakin' shitload of money. And now they're actively courting regular joes like you and me to scout new locations for them. Dig this note from Chipotle's website: "Do you know of an available site that might suit Chipotle? After reviewing our criteria below...send us a recommendation. We will answer you with many thanks and send along your suggestion to our real estate folks in your area."
I've suggested a site right across the street from my house, explaining that the only complication is that they'd have to boot out the Wing Stopthat's already there. Though I haven't heard back yet, I'm confident the Chipotle black-ops team should be by any day now.
While Chipotle continues to conquer the world, another chain is moving into town. Bandana's Bar-BQ, which opened an outpost at 195 South Union in Lakewood this summer, is a St. Louis-based company founded by the Seitz family, which has four generations of experience. That experience shows in the Southern-style barbecue and in a menu heavy on smoke and short on sides (although the roster does include boiled peanuts and Brunswick stew). I've tried the pulled pork and the ribs, the baked beans and the fries, and if the portions on the combos seemed a bit small (not enough for leftovers, which always makes me a bit nervous), I found everything else at Bandana's in line with my requirements for true barbecue craftsmanship -- though the signs imploring customers to vote for Bandana's as Denver's best barbecue in the next Citysearch poll seemed a little presumptuous.
Still, does Bandana's use real wood? Yes, a proprietary mix of hardwoods that keeps the smokers fired day and night. Is there a line? Yes, a pinkish-purple smoke line that shows how deeply and how long the smoke has penetrated the meat. Most important, are the ribs and pork shoulder cooked dry? Yes again: Bandana's uses only a dry rub while the meats are in the smokers, then offers sauces on the side or in large packets for takeout.
Which means my kitchen now has a drawer full of barbecue sauces (since I didn't need them for leftovers), perfectly preserved and ready for whatever natural (or unnatural) disaster might befall the region. Hey, you have your emergency kits, I have mine.
Leftovers: Colorado may well become an "epicenter for new thought," thanks to the arrival of the Chopra Center and Spa, which will no doubt make us all better people, align our chakras, unbungle our chi and do whatever it is that ayurvedic medicine, cranberry bliss balls and leek chutney (both recipes from the Chopra Center Cookbook) are supposed to do.
But until that happens, we Coloradans can take heart in knowing that we're the least grossly obese state in the nation, according to a report filed last week by Trust for America's Health, an advocacy group. While the fatty-fatty fat-fats over in Mississippi topped the scales this year with 29.5 percent of its adults considered obese, Colorado came out looking lean and mean with just 16.9 percent of our citizens in the danger zone.
But that means 17 percent of this state's population -- nearly one person in every five -- is still suffering from a serious health problem that has the potential to kill. To be considered obese, you need a Body Mass Index higher than thirty -- which is really big. For example, if you're 5'6", you've got to weigh in at almost 200 pounds before you're considered obese. And almost 17 percent of our population is.
I don't know. Maybe those cranberry bliss balls aren't such a bad idea after all.
Restaurateur Jay Chadrom has brought in some outside help for Aqua, his new fish emporium at 925 Lincoln Street. Adde Bjorklund, who's been more or less out of the scene since the closure of his half-eponymous Bistro Adde Brewster in Cherry Creek a couple years ago, is now handling front-of-the-house and floorman duties.