At Two Bitts Bistro on Baseline Road, we became concerned that the kitchen was baking brownies just for us, so slow was service on two desserts well after the lunch rush had ended. Were they worth the wait? You bet. The brownie in the sundae ($4.25) was a triangle of chewy cake almost half the size of the plate, slathered with a buttery caramel sauce and a hot fudge so thick you could write your name in it. I like some ice cream with every bite of brownie, so the one scoop of vanilla was a bit shy, but I made do with the huge glop of whipped cream. And I could always sneak bites of my companion's moist and not-too-rich mocha torte ($4.25), which sat in a delicious pool of strong mocha anglaise.
The real treat, though, came from the surrounding conversations. Behind us, two gentlemen discussed "nutritional therapy" (considering what we were eating, we probably could have used some). One actually said, "There's nothing wrong with effulgence," which my dictionary says means "radiant splendor; brilliance." Amen, brother. To our right, two women discussed the lack of decent Porsche mechanics; to our left, two women in their mid-fifties talked about how the feminist movement has put too much pressure on men their age.
The scene at Espresso Roma, a steamy coffeehouse on the Hill, was markedly different. Along with our double espressos ($1.19)--the strongest and best-brewed this side of Italy--we were treated to a woman crocheting an afghan (for a "really big couch") who informed us, unasked, that being a reformed smoker allowed her to "swing both ways" when it comes to restaurant seating. A few tables away sat a Rastafarian version of the Spin Doctors' Christopher Barron, who blurted out a manic laugh each time another customer passed his table. To his left sat two college-age hippie wannabes discussing whether Jimi Hendrix was black enough.
Make that espresso to go.
In a pickle: A California company that makes New York-style kosher pickles will host a contest at a New Orleans-themed restaurant in Denver. Hey, I don't make this stuff up, I just print it. The truth is, the pickles are great--they come from DZ Pickles out of L.A.--and so is the restaurant, Bourbon Street Original Pizza Bar at the corner of Belleview and Yosemite. To enter the contest, you have to describe what makes a great pickle on an entry form you can get only at Bourbon Street; while you're there you can pick up a few free samples. The contest winner, who gets a year's supply of the pickles, will be announced at the restaurant on May 9, and you must be present to win. I've had DZ's Mexicali pickle, a fiery, red-chile-powered dill whose potency is augmented by lots of garlic. The pickles are available only by mail and cost about $15 a jar--mighty pricey, you say, but not too much for a half-gallon of pickle nirvana, I say. And if you order a jar now, you can get a second jar at half price; call 1-800-