Bawk is cheap: A crew of media cheapskates--myself not included, although I have firsthand reports from reliable sources--met recently at the Broadway Brewing Company to swill microbrewed beer and conduct a blind (as opposed to blind-drunk) taste test of three rotisserie chickens. Bird #3, which was later unveiled as Boston Chicken, was moist but disappointingly flavorless except for a faint, honeylike taste. Bird #1 was decadently greasy, with skin that stuck to the gums and so much spice that the "MSG rush started before we even got up from the table," reported one taster. "That familiar feeling and flavor could only mean one thing: Kentucky Fried Chicken."

But Bird #2 was a particularly plucky model, a plump, moist chicken with fabulous, crisp skin. The clear winner, it turned out to be the version offered every day in the Broadway's restaurant (a quarter is $3.75, a half $5.25 and the whole chicken--available to go--is $8.50). Although cook Liane Whelpdale was sparing in her details of the secret recipe, the crucial component is clearly the orange pepper sprinkled over the skin, which Whelpdale has made to order at the Colorado Spice Company. A combination of tang and bite, it's truly something to crow about.

Thai'd in knots: "You asked for it, you've got it." That's how Aurwan "Noy" Farrell, named the best cooking instructor in this year's Best of Denver (she teaches classes at the Seasoned Chef, which is offering two Farrell classes in October, and also in her own home through Colorado Free University), announced that she'd finally started her own restaurant. But when Farrell opened Taste of Thailand at 504 East Hampden Avenue two weeks ago, she got a lot more than she bargained for--specifically, the same shingle-fire-tainted water that was giving other Englewood restaurant owners fits. (In the introductory flier sent out to cooking-class alums, Farrell had even boasted about her place's "smoke-free surroundings.")

Farrell wound up serving bottled water alongside her fabulous traditional Thai cuisine, including excellent curries and a killer phat thai. And as a complimentary dessert, she offered small dishes of surprisingly candylike fresh squash slices in coconut milk. The squash came from Farrell's own garden, as do many of the ingredients in her dishes. Sample them at Taste of Thailand Monday through Saturday; the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. For more information call 762-9112.

Where's the beef? At a joint known for its steaks, interestingly no meat will be offered at Morton's of Chicago's "World's Largest Winemaker Dinner" featuring seven courses and wines from Freemark Abbey on September 13. The Morton's at the Tivoli (it's not scheduled to move to 17th Street and Wynkoop until early next year) will be one of 27 Morton's restaurants across the country hosting the dinner, which costs $85 per person. Call 825-3353 for more information or to make reservations.

Cliffhanger: Hey, everybody, calm down. Although Cliff Young is opening a new restaurant, his namesake Cliff Young's, on 17th Avenue--which he no longer owns--remains open.

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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner