It won't fly: While waiting for a noteworthy chicken-fried steak at the Cherokee Bar and Grill last week, I had the good fortune to eavesdrop on some particularly interesting conversations. On one side of the room sat a large group from the Denver Aviation Commission discussing, among millions of other DIA-related things, the fact that they don't want to alienate the concessionaires (many of them extremely sad, would-be restaurateurs). Then who should walk in but several members of the Denver City Council, whiling away some extra time before their Monday night meeting (the Cherokee is also a favorite spot for post-council-meeting libations). The councilmembers, who positioned themselves as far from the first group as possible without sitting in the kitchen, chewed over an equally hot topic: how to pay for DIA. Bartender Louie and I thought about suggesting a variation on the charity promotion the Cherokee is running right now, in which a dollar buys a paper cutout of a balloon with your name on it. DIA could use these little airplanes...

Better fed than read: By the time this issue hits the stands, the new labels required by the Food and Drug Administration will be slapped on all food packaging. I've been deluged with press releases from the FDA and other organizations warning that you, the reader, won't be able to decipher the information without explicit instructions complete with pie charts from me, the food writer. So, in the interest of the public good, here's how to read those labels: If you wear glasses, put them on. Then pick up the food item. Look at the new label. Read where it says "total fat." Decide if that's more fat than you want to consume at this time. Same goes for sodium. If you have time to do more than that, get a job, you lazy bum.

Working with the pros: Ever since I narrowly escaped disaster while attempting to plan a chef apprenticeship program (the problem was my choice of chefs), I've been especially grateful to the folks at the Colorado Chefs de Cuisine, a dedicated group that tried like the dickens to help me. So I'm pleased to finally return the favor: On May 12 the group will sponsor the First Colorado Celebrity PRO/AM Cooking Classic at the Denver Athletic Club. For their $50 entry fees (the proceeds go to fifteen nonprofit organizations), guests can sample beef dishes prepared by such chefs as Rene Weder from the Brown Palace Hotel and the Denver Post's John Kessler. A silent auction, wine tasting and live jazz augment the festivities. For tickets, call 571-5653.

Scraps: Manager Jerry Link still protests to the contrary, but insiders all over town are saying that Morton's Steakhouse is moving--this time I heard it from a reliable executive chef whose restaurant was once in the Tivoli...On June 6, Baci in Golden will host an opera night, something part-owner Peter Wolfgang Schlicht always wanted to do at Compari's. The evening is a benefit for the Children's Hospital Foundation; call 526-9497 for more info...Mexicali's on Larimer has revamped its menu, as has the Black Swan at Scanticon...Bianco's Ristorante, at 7180 East Hampden, is now open for lunch.

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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner