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Denver Restaurant Week, Day Five

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A special report by Amy Haimerl

Ugly Americans.

That's the only way to describe the party that was celebrating a fiftieth birthday at Bistro Vendome last night. Of course, if we'd really been sitting on the patio of a Parisian bistro, we'd be saying "Ugly Americans" with an accent and that condescending snobbery perfected by the French. As it was, we were in Denver and still prepared to pretend we were Canadian in sympathy with our surroundings.

The place was packed on day five of Denver Restaurant Week, and we were eating in the enclosed space outside the restaurant -- where the acoustics were perfect for accentuating every cackle, snort and howl that the group made. Every smart remark, every one of the many, many speeches. If we were one of those couples who'd spent months saving for a special dinner at what we'd heard was one of the best restaurants in town, that seating would have left us very disappointed. Hell, we felt that way even with the special Restaurant Week pricing. Particularly when the boob cake came out.

"Ugly Americans" was the only possible response.

But then came the crepes Vendome filled with chicken, tangy olives, tomatoes and capers, topped by a fried egg and bearnaise sauce. The dish was light and perfect, with each of the flavors popping and then melding into one delightful mouthful. It confirmed that France makes the world's greatest food, and that Bistro Vendome does a very good job of translating that cuisine for this country.

The crepes didn't end global warming or bring peace to Iraq, but they did make our dining companions fade into the night as we closed our eyes and savored each bite. — Amy Haimerl

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