Outside, the temperature was dropping -- but inside Lola, we might as well have been on a beach in Mexico. That's because chef Jamey Fader and guest chef Roberto Solis were hosting a Yucatan dinner, full of the tastes of that region
. "We're all just chefs," Fader said as he introduced Solis, owner of Nectar in Merida -- but not every chef will garnish sweetbreads with fish scales, as Solis did. (Lola didn't have the equipment he needed to make the promised "beer fluid gel," though.
Or follow Fader's amuse of "spicy cucumber water" -- essentially a bay scallop ceviche -- with a liquid codzito appetizer, with tomato jelly and a tortilla mousse that looked like melted ice cream and tasted like a fried pork rind milkshake.
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Or offer up deer with an ashes sauce, pairing charred herbs with bright, fresh cilantro for a sauce that played off the rich venison.
Still, the favorite dish at our table was Fader's Munson Farms late season corn broth, with crab and huitlacoche dumplings -- and so much chicken fat that it tasted like the most comforting, creamiest soup ever concocted. It might not play in the Yucatan, but it definitely worked on a cold night in northwest Denver,