There was a time when fortune cookies contained messages imparting ancient Chinese wisdom, little snippets of philosophy to digest along with the food. But as times change, so do our concerns for the future -- which Dragon Cafe recognizes with fortunes that are right on the money. And so when you break open a cookie here, you'll get the message loud and clear: "You'll have more money than you can spend," "Your fortune will come from scratch," "Your forgotten collection will bring you a great fortune," "The experts at Wall St. will be shocked by your financial success," and, finally, "A large sum of money will be deposited in your account weekly." We can live with that.

Mondo Vino
Courtesy Mondo Vino Facebook page
You've got the whole world in your hand when you're holding a bottle at Mondo Vino, a new wine shop whose contents span the globe. Every major wine-producing country is represented here, and owner Duey Kratzer, a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers, is more than happy to spend a few minutes -- or a few hours, if you really get him going -- chatting about the wines he's chosen for his beautiful store. There aren't any stickers or hang tags proclaiming Wine Spectator awards or Robert Parker adjectives, but then, none are needed, because Kratzer and his staff selected every single bottle personally. Feel free to browse amid the Australian-pine wine racks on the smooth hardwood floors; the warm, open space has been set up like an old library, and there's no need to fear that you're going to knock a hundred bottles down with a single butt shot. Mondo Vino delivers, too, and consults on restaurant wine lists around town. If it's good enough for Denver's top tables, Mondo Vino's certainly good enough for you. What a glass act!

You've got the whole world in your hand when you're holding a bottle at Mondo Vino, a new wine shop whose contents span the globe. Every major wine-producing country is represented here, and owner Duey Kratzer, a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers, is more than happy to spend a few minutes -- or a few hours, if you really get him going -- chatting about the wines he's chosen for his beautiful store. There aren't any stickers or hang tags proclaiming Wine Spectator awards or Robert Parker adjectives, but then, none are needed, because Kratzer and his staff selected every single bottle personally. Feel free to browse amid the Australian-pine wine racks on the smooth hardwood floors; the warm, open space has been set up like an old library, and there's no need to fear that you're going to knock a hundred bottles down with a single butt shot. Mondo Vino delivers, too, and consults on restaurant wine lists around town. If it's good enough for Denver's top tables, Mondo Vino's certainly good enough for you. What a glass act!

Funky Buddha Lounge
The Funky Buddha may be named for a chubby Eastern avatar, but what's really worshiped inside this happening club is the martini. The cocktail menu boasts a dizzying number of variations on the ol' James Bond standby; deciding between "shaken" and "stirred" is the least of your worries. Whatever you choose, you'll be able to sip your drink in style. The Buddha's glamorous but comfy vibe is a welcome combination of downtown chic and youthful kitsch. The bar is hip, to be sure, but not to a fault; the urbanite clientele is stylish, not snobbish, and often beautiful. Just remember this one noble truth: Don't forget to tip your bartender.
The Funky Buddha may be named for a chubby Eastern avatar, but what's really worshiped inside this happening club is the martini. The cocktail menu boasts a dizzying number of variations on the ol' James Bond standby; deciding between "shaken" and "stirred" is the least of your worries. Whatever you choose, you'll be able to sip your drink in style. The Buddha's glamorous but comfy vibe is a welcome combination of downtown chic and youthful kitsch. The bar is hip, to be sure, but not to a fault; the urbanite clientele is stylish, not snobbish, and often beautiful. Just remember this one noble truth: Don't forget to tip your bartender.
Pita Jungle
It would be annoying that chef/owner Sam Kraydie keeps announcing that Pita Jungle is the best Middle Eastern restaurant around -- if it didn't also happen to be true. This vibrantly decorated, fern-draped eatery boasts the town's top baba ghanouj -- the eggplant charbroiled for extra flavor and mashed with lots of lemon -- as well as killer kabobs, homemade lebni (the creamy Middle Eastern yogurt) and heavenly hummus. And when he wasn't boasting, Kraydie was out procuring a pizza oven where he could make his own pitas. They come out of that oven fresh, hot and delicious, just ready to scoop up some well-seasoned shawarma.
It would be annoying that chef/owner Sam Kraydie keeps announcing that Pita Jungle is the best Middle Eastern restaurant around -- if it didn't also happen to be true. This vibrantly decorated, fern-draped eatery boasts the town's top baba ghanouj -- the eggplant charbroiled for extra flavor and mashed with lots of lemon -- as well as killer kabobs, homemade lebni (the creamy Middle Eastern yogurt) and heavenly hummus. And when he wasn't boasting, Kraydie was out procuring a pizza oven where he could make his own pitas. They come out of that oven fresh, hot and delicious, just ready to scoop up some well-seasoned shawarma.
Denver's never been overrun with Southwestern eateries, but we'd gladly surrender to this one. Everything in Julia Blackbird's pays homage to the Southwest, from the bright, colorful art and knickknacks -- the decor duplicates the owners' home -- to the chile-infused food made by chef/part owner Julia Siegfried-Garrison. The menu is basic, there's no liquor license (although we hope that may be coming), and on weekends, it's standing room only. But the place is packed for a reason: Siegfried-Garrison makes food that hits the soul, from complex chiles to Navajo stew, blue corn-coated chiles rellenos to zippy salsas. Creamy queso fresco adds richness to her enchiladas, the hearty posole will cure anything that ails you, and the pine-nut-packed chocolate cake is a perfect finale to any meal. It's the shortest distance between here and Sante Fe as the blackbird flies.
Denver's never been overrun with Southwestern eateries, but we'd gladly surrender to this one. Everything in Julia Blackbird's pays homage to the Southwest, from the bright, colorful art and knickknacks -- the decor duplicates the owners' home -- to the chile-infused food made by chef/part owner Julia Siegfried-Garrison. The menu is basic, there's no liquor license (although we hope that may be coming), and on weekends, it's standing room only. But the place is packed for a reason: Siegfried-Garrison makes food that hits the soul, from complex chiles to Navajo stew, blue corn-coated chiles rellenos to zippy salsas. Creamy queso fresco adds richness to her enchiladas, the hearty posole will cure anything that ails you, and the pine-nut-packed chocolate cake is a perfect finale to any meal. It's the shortest distance between here and Sante Fe as the blackbird flies.
The barrio in Sevilla, Spain, called Triana is colorful and lively, the birthplace of famous bullfighters, a mecca for poets and folksingers, and quite possibly the original home of tapas. The restaurant in Boulder called Triana is colorful and lively, a mecca for foodies, the birthplace of Boulder's most well-rounded Latin scene and quite possibly the purveyor of the most authentic tapas this area has ever seen. Running the show at Colorado's Triana is James Mazzio, one of Food & Wine's top ten up-and-coming chefs in 1999 and a marvel at all things Mediterranean. Not only does his new restaurant offer an extensive roster of tapas -- crispy clam strips sprinkled with sugar and salt and served in a brown paper cone, a tequila-spiked salmon "margarita," almond-stuffed dates wrapped in smoked bacon -- but it also features a heavenly array of Spanish dishes that stimulate the senses and soothe the soul (try the Mallorcan vegetable curry with cinnamon-flavored, golden-raisin-studded rice). All of this goodness is served amid concrete-topped tables, bullfighting-inspired wall art and the colors of Spain: blood red, midnight-sky blue, harvest-sun yellow. Add interesting Spanish wines and live flamenco music on the weekends, and all we can say is Olé!

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