Sicilian Breeze

If you're like me (and there's no reason you shouldn't be), you yearn for a return to basic values. This means you think that pros playing in the Olympics (especially hockey) was the primary reason that TV ratings for the Winter Games hovered somewhere between those of Supernanny and Fox's latest, Discipline Swap: Meet Your New Dominatrix. You also prefer Peaberry Coffee over Starbucks because the former is a Colorado company and you're pissed off that Starbucks keeps buying local coffee shops only to gut them and open new coffee shops -- when there's already a Starbucks so close that the only reason you can't spit on it is that it's around the corner, and not even a guy who's grown up having spit wars with three brothers can make a loogie turn a ninety-degree angle.

You don't only want local coffee; you also want food prepared at a locally owned restaurant where the proprietors had some role in creating what they're hawking. At a barbecue place, you should be able to smell the smoke and picture the manager toiling over the coals in a sweaty, stained wife-beater. At a French restaurant, the host should be so snotty that you want to punch him in the mouth, even though he'll probably surrender before you can. And at an authentic Italian joint (not one named for the infamous Macaroni, Carrabba or Olive Garden crime families), you should barely understand the owner -- but also know that you're in for a hell of a meal, just because he's so damn passionate about whatever that night's special is. Fiorenzo Bettoni's Ti Amo Ancora (translation: I love angora), at 122 West 10th Avenue in Silverthorne, is one of those joints.

This may have been the only place in Summit County not jammed with spring-breakers from Texas or elsewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line, probably because it's one of the few places in the area that requires you to eat with utensils. Even so, we opted to wait for takeout in the easy-access bar, since the only hygiene we'd seen in three days was bath by chlorine in our hot tub; we wouldn't subject the other patrons of this very nice restaurant to someone whose hair was so gnarly that it actually hurt. But since Fiorenzo Bettoni and his friendly staff didn't seem to mind our slovenliness, we stuck around for a few beers.

I can heartily recommend Birra Moretti, a northern Italian beer, and there's also Peroni, another genuine Italian brew -- but a real beer drinker doesn't trust anything in a green bottle. Plus, I think Moretti has a much more interesting label, featuring a guy who's able to do something few men can: sport a mustache and look like something other than a porn star. In this, he joins the ranks of such rare guys as Magnum P.I., Goose Gossage, Sam Neill, Ron Burgundy and Earl Hickey.

Apparently, the bottle model is some random Italian guy who just wanted another Moretti in exchange for the use of his picture. You don't hear such inspiring stories of basic values -- or see such impressive mustaches -- often enough these days. All the more reason to visit Ti Amo Ancora.

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Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine