When I win the Powerball, I'm going to quit this job and live a life of self-indulgence and shameless excess. Sleep ’til noon! Tuaca shots and table dancing all night! A fleet of Hummers in the seven-car garage of my Pueblo-Gothic mansion! But when I get tired of all the partying, I'll do some volunteer work. My first philanthropic effort will be to rewrite the menu of pretty much every restaurant in town. I will strive toward organization, simplicity, accuracy and correct spelling. No longer will Vietnamese cafés list 132 items, 42 of which are rice vermicelli and meat in different combinations. You will simply order vermicelli and then make your own combination from the list: beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu, egg roll. You want enchiladas? You won't have to read three pages of menu, just make a small series of decisions: yellow or blue corn tortillas, beef or chicken, red or green, rolled or stacked, à la carte or plate. I'll give unusual dishes appetizing names and descriptions that actually mean something (I'm sure there's a better way to describe a bowl of soup with well done beef, tendon, tripe and fat). And I'll ban overly confusing terms from the menu. If Scalo wants to serve poussin, fine. But I'm calling it young chicken.
March 12 was the last day of lunch service at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Monte Vista NW). Chef Tony Nethery decided to focus his efforts on the already tempting dinner menu and expand the upstairs bar's snack menu. The restaurant now opens at 5 p.m. “Dinner-only is a blast,” Nethery says. “I'm really working on the bar menu, making more nice, small plates. They're not tapas, but like that.” Ted Nicely, Monte Vista's pastry chef, says he's happy to have more time for one of his favorite activities: making ice cream. Nicely offers four or five ice creams and about as many sorbets, in flavors ranging from milk chocolate-hazelnut to raspberry balsamic, guava and pecan praline. His ice cream sandwich is made with flourless chocolate brownies flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and pistachios, on either side of a disc of Earl Grey and coffee-cardamom ice cream. Go ahead, pause for a moment and try to imagine how all those flavors come together. I, for one, plan to take one for the team and try it out in person.
A chat with Matt Nichols, chef and general manager
Gold Street Caffé (218 Gold SW), a popular sidewalk spot for breakfast and lunch, began serving dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. This development is one of many changes Matt Nichols has planned for the coming months.
Our guide to some of the most appetizing possibilities
Few things work up a bigger appetite than a hot, sunny day spent sitting in church, making the family rounds and chasing after a gaggle of pint-sized egg-hunters who are deliriously hopped up on sugar. After you factor in the time it'll take to clean the puddles of food coloring and egg bits off your floor, you've got to wonder if your sanity is worth a few more hours spent in the kitchen. (It's not). Maybe you can't cook in the first place. Maybe the glare of your mother's pristine cast iron skillet taunts you every morning with memories of perfectly flipped pancakes that you'll never be able to reproduce. No matter. Easter is the brunch holiday, so do it up! This year, leave the work to the professionals and start a new family tradition at one of these excellent restaurants. Or make plans to dump the kids off with relatives and take a few hours of mimosa-induced respite with your loved one. Either way, someone else gets stuck with the dishes.