The group that lambasted Chinese food last year has now spent still more money (purportedly in the "public interest") to learn that fettuccine Alfredo is like "a heart attack on a plate" and that spaghetti with tomato sauce is low in fat. I'm so surprised. You mean a dish made with nothing but cream, butter, cheese and sometimes eggs has a lot of fat? And a dish made with tomatoes, a little red wine, onions and garlic has almost no fat?

Interestingly, I found the same results after investing about $4 and ten minutes in a call to my best friend's grandmother in Philadelphia:

"Grandma Ciccola? This is Kyle."
"Kyle Wagner? How are you, sweetie? Where have you been? You talk to Jacquelina?"
"Yes, she gave me your number. Listen, I want to ask you: Is fettuccine Alfredo bad for you?"
"Oh-oh, you stay away from that. It's very bad for you."
"In Modena [Italy], did you eat it a lot?"
"No, no. Maybe five or six times in my whole life."
"So what did you eat on a daily basis?"
"Oh, we had tomatoes, lots of things with tomatoes. And lots of vegetables and meats. But good meats, not like here. And a pasta dish with everything."
"So you ate a lot of pasta with red sauce?"
"What about heart disease? Any heart disease in your family?"
"Oh, no. Grandpa, he's so healthy, no troubles with his heart. He's going to be 87 in February. You want to talk to him?"
"No, that's okay. It's not necessary."
Sort of like the survey.

The raw and the uncooked: I stopped in at Sushi Zanmai, at 1221 Spruce in Boulder, and was amazed at the rapid-fire sushi-making. The place was busy for a Monday night, but with Zanmai's reasonable prices and super staff it's not hard to see why. When our order was delayed, sushi-maker Amy-chan sent us a bottle of warm sake that also warmed our hearts. And the California roll and egg omelette were worth the wait.

Wine dinner alert: Cliff Young's will feature Sterling Vineyards at its January 27 tasting dinner. The five-course feast begins at 6:30 p.m.; the cost is $60 per person, 831-8900.

Open: Marsala's, named after the owner's native city in Sicily, cooks up traditional Italian specialties (some high in fat, some low; you take your chances), plus homemade bread, at 12041 Pecos Street. The nine-item regular menu is supplemented by an ever-changing, fifteen-item list of specials. Closed: Atlantic Pearl, at 1795 Pearl Street in Boulder; the place has reopened as the Barrel House Amusement Hall sports bar.

Ch-ch-ch-changes: Champion Brewing Co., 1442 Larimer, has revamped its menu, adding a slew of new stuff and increasing the portions (and the prices) of some old stuff. One must-try item: the buffalo blue-corn-tortilla lasagna ($7.75)--buffalo meat layered with red peppers, chiles, onions and tomato chunks, tucked between blue-corn tortillas and covered with a pungent salsa chock-full of tomatoes and avocado.

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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner