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.
Some girlfriends and I stopped in for dinner and drinks at Sauce (Fourth and Central) last Monday night and were pleasantly surprised to find that the bill came to less than half of what we were expecting. I had forgotten that Sauce's happy hour (4-8 p.m., Monday through Saturday) includes free wood-fired pizza. This isn't stale slices lined up on a buffet table, I mean you get to pick a pizza off the menu! Monday night is also “service industry night” so if you flash your alcohol servers' certificate you'll get your drinks for one-third less. It's an absolute steal.
Speaking of compost, (as we did last week) did you know that the leftovers from making beer can be added to your compost pile or applied directly to your garden's soil? The most common ingredients, barley, wheat and hops, are discarded after being crushed and mixed with water to extract their flavor. What's left, a fibrous blend of little husks, is often fed to pigs or cows. In fact, farmers often collect the waste from local brewpubs. If you make beer at home, by all means save this stuff and apply it to your pepper plants. If you like to drink beer but not brew it, then make an inquiry at your watering hole. I talked to Andrew Leith at Rio Grande Brewing who encouraged interested parties to call him (or any of the local brewpubs, really) and arrange to come and collect some of the stuff.
Gold Street Caffé (218 Gold) is now open for dinner. For details, see the interview with Chef Matt Nichols, below.