In the beginning, there was Spago, and it was good. If you were a 76-pound Hollywood starlet, that is. Or one of those power-lunch types. Or Harvey Weinstein. After Spago came more Spagos, and more Spagos. Then there were cookbooks, the Food Network shows, the lines of frozen foods and spices. Wolfgang Puck -- the charismatic, Austrian-born, French-trained super genius held almost singularly responsible for what we now call "California cuisine" -- was on the fast track toward his ultimate goal of total culinary world domination.
But then he realized something. His influence wasn't being effectively transmitted down to the little people. That's right -- the children. Sure, absolute dominion over the hearts and tummies of the adult population was all well and good, but without winning over the next generation to the joys of chez Puck, it would all come to naught in the end.
Hence a scheme was devised. What do kids like? Kids like pizza. What was Puck famous for back in his glory days? His gourmet pizza. So now, Wolfgang Puck's Grand Cafe (500 16th Street, in the Denver Pavilions) is letting kids ages five to twelve make their own pies every Sunday from noon 'til 6 p.m. For just $5.95, the cafe will provide the ingredients, the dough, the oven to bake the pies, and a small ice cream sundae, while parents are welcome to order from the regular menu. Thus, a guarantee that the Puck brand name will continue and flourish even after Wolfgang himself has sloughed off this mortal coil and gone where all former celebrity chefs go to spend eternity: working the Riblets station during lunch rush at the Camden, New Jersey, Applebee's.
World domination never tasted so good. -- Jason Sheehan
Olde Tyme Is New
Englewood turns back the fundial
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Can less be more? Organizers of today's Englewood Funfest believe it can. Faced with trimming what had previously been a two-day event into a single session, organizers decided to turn the dial back a hundred years and have an "Olde Tyme Fair" complete with the simpler sorts of activities people pursued in the days before cell phones and the Internet.
"We wanted more of an old-time feel," says city spokeswoman Pauletta Puncerelli.
Time travelers wanting to celebrate Englewood's centennial need only show up between 10 a.m. this morning and 7 p.m. tonight at Miller Field, 3600 South Elati Street, for a stroll into the past. Visitors can saddle up a camel, bounce on a bungee trampoline, save face in a pie-eating contest, dip in the dunk tank or compete in potato-sack races. There will also be a firefighter relay, an old-fashioned printing press and a tribute band on hand to entertain the crowds. For details, call 303-762-2660 or log on to www.englewoodgov.org. -- Ernie Tucker