Totally Sconed

Instead of shelling out the big bucks for scones at Whole Foods Market (see review), check out the ones at Full Measures Bakery, 1730 East 17th Avenue. Owner John Stamper -- with a little help from friends Michael Clark and Karen Leufvenius -- makes 'em fresh every morning, right there in the little bake shop's kitchen, instead of having them shipped in from a regional Bakehouse.

Stamper opened Full Measures about three and a half years ago, after twenty years as an insurance investment executive started getting old. "About ten years ago, I had gone to Emily Griffith's cooking school under Hans Doberman, and he taught me everything I know," Stamper says. "I was particularly interested in the pastry work, and so that's where I decided to focus my energies."

And focus he does, especially on the scones ($1.95), which were rich and creamy-textured, but still fluffy, and filled with whatever the fresh fruits of the day are, such as raspberries and blueberries. The muffins ($1.85) were special, too -- moist and crumbly, and in the case of the blueberry ones, not only dense with fruit but marbled with juices. The blueberries also starred in a coffeecake ($1.75 a slice; $17 for a whole one that could easily feed twenty), with a most delectable sugary topping on it.

It wasn't nearly as sugary and buttery as the topping on the sticky buns ($2.25), however. These compact-disc-sized rolls were soft bundles of cinnamon-laced dough covered with a half-inch-thick layer of butter and sugar that fairly melted in my mouth. A cup of Lavazza latte ($2.25) on top of all that sugar put me in the zone for most of the day.

In addition to the baked goods, Full Measures offers lunch, which includes sandwiches -- made on the bakery's homemade bread, of which the hearty potato loaf is my fave -- and soups created by Leufvenius, a former executive chef for several eateries and country clubs around town. You can eat in or take out; the roster varies daily, but Monday's Maverick Ranch prime rib ($6.25), extra lean and sliced to order, is worth a stop. (Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.)

Doberman, by the way, retired as the head chef at Emily Griffith Opportunity School's cooking program several years ago, but he lives near Full Measures, and Stamper says he drops by now and then for some bread. "That's the best compliment he could pay me," Stamper says. "It sort of makes the circle complete, you know?"

Cinnamon rolls are the specialty at Duffey's Bakery Cafe (4994 East Hampden Avenue), which offers six different kinds, in three sizes, every day. The store appears to be suffering from the usual staffing problems, exacerbated by a clerk who seems to be on the phone a lot, typically right at the time when there's a line out the door: between the peak bakery hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., just as folks headed into work are stopping to pick up a roll and coffee for the ride or, like I was recently, to get some goodies for the office.

Once they'd made it to the office, though, there were no complaints about the soft, chewy cinnamon rolls. I'd ordered the medium-sized ones ($13.45 a dozen) in all of their possible flavors, and the consensus was that the original, a plain, sugar-and-cinnamon-crusted ball of butter, was the best, followed closely by the icing-slicked Grand Marnier-spiked orange roll and then the super-sweet Mountain Maple. Duffey's also does a mocha java, with a Ghirardelli chocolate glaze and ground espresso-bean sprinkles, as well as a pecan-roll-like pecanilla-crunch version, which combines the nuts with their vanilla glaze.

Downtown, Panera Bread, a 227-store chain out of Missouri, has moved the opening date for a store at the base of Capitol Heights Condominiums (1350 Grant Street) to January. It was supposed to open in October, but as anyone who drives past the condos every morning knows, that building ain't anywhere near completion. If you've been to a Panera in one of the 27 other states in which they operate and just must have their fabulous French onion soup in a sourdough bread bowl ($4.29), you can get it at their first Colorado location, at 12293 East Iliff Avenue in Aurora.

Culinary Calendar

December 24: Christmas Eve dinner at Tante Louise. Four courses for $55 per person. Tante Louise, 4900 East Colfax Avenue, 303-355-4488.

Ongoing: Ultimate Dinner at Del Frisco's, a benefit for the James Beard Foundation, through January 31, 2001. Nightly special includes an appetizer, steak with sides, dessert and one ounce of Louis XIII de Rémy Martin; $150 per person. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, 8100 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, 303-796-0100.

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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner