As the rest of us lament the end of Colorado's growing season, buying up the last of the state's summer produce to make gazpacho and ratatouille (and anything that lets us satiate our taste for vegetables straight from the ground until next spring), Dakota Soifer and his kitchen at Cafe Aion, 1235 Pennsylvania Avenue, have other plans.
The DIY crew has been buying up vegetables, too, but for another use: canning. The restaurant, which builds its seasonal menu around available harvest from local providers, is stocking up for winter, making jams and pickles, which it will proffer in addition to house-cured meats.
But that's not all the restaurant has been up to as the weather turns cool and students return to school: In August, the spot opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week; and in September, it added a Tuesday all-night happy hour offering snacks like fried almonds, an eggy Spanish tortilla and crisp, puffy chicharrones -- all for $4 or less.
In fact, all of Aion's offerings have gotten more economical. No tapa on the dinner menu is priced above $9, and the kitchen has added platters to share, which include sizable entrees and sides. A Wisdom Farm half chicken, for example, with potatoes and greens. Or a hefty portion of paella, studded with spicy sausage and clams.
Those platters seem like a perfect way to spend a cool night tucked into one of the window seats with a date, sharing a bottle of wine.
Cafe Aion will also throw a final summer send-off on October 9 at Flatirons Neighborhood Farm, the urban farm it uses for much of its produce. For more information on that event, go here.