Some say a discounted wine list means a restaurant in trouble, but I think it’s a smart way to drive business on slower nights and build customer loyalty. Case in point: last Tuesday I dined at L’Atelier, Chef Radek Cerny‘s 50-seat restaurant in Boulder. As we sat down, our server announced since it was Tuesday bottles of wine were half-off. We expected just a handful of deals but the list was long and deep with hundreds of choices (only five wines were not available). We happily decided on one of our favorites, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir by Panther Creek for $22.50 (normally $45), and got down to business figuring out what to order. Dinner was excellent and I’ll be sure to visit againprobably on a Tuesday. 1739 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-7233, www.latelierboulder.com.
There are restaurants where we dine in anticipation of always ordering the same thingat Lucile’s it’s the beignets with strawberry-rhubarb jam, or the red-pepper jelly and breadsticks at Frasca. Certain restaurants know we’re suckers for the details, and some have bottled the coveted condiments so we can savor the taste from the confines of home. Now Café Bisque is stepping into the ring and selling jars of the lavender honey that’s served alongside so many of the bistro’s breakfast dishes. The golden, deep ambrosia honey comes from Lyonsand it’s good on anything, especially toast, pancakes, or waffles.
Lucile’s strawberry-rhubarb jam: $3.95 for 8 ounces, www.luciles..com
Frasca’s red-pepper jelly: $9 for 9 ounces, www.frascafoodandwine.com
Café Bisque’s lavender honey: $12 for 8 ounces, www.cafebisque.com
Now that it’s April the countdown has begunLoLa reopens in 16 days. When we spoke to chef and co-owner Jamey Fader last week, he was walking through the new space at Boulder and 15th streets in East Highland. He told me about the chef’s table (which can seat 10 people), the double-sided bar (one inside, one outside, a la Rhumba), and the comfy lounge area.
Come April 20, says Fader, patrons can have different LoLa experiences: they can dine at the bar, on the patio, in a private booth, in the dining room, at the chef’s table, or downstairs. Also new: The traditional menu will be supplemented by small plates and what Fader calls the taqueria with lobster tacos and barbecue mahi mahi tacos. On Sundays, brunch and dinner will be served all day. That’s a lot of change for little LoLa, but we can’t wait to see the final product and once again order a potent caipirinha. Other new ventures: Fader and his wife Gail are expectinga little girl, due two weeks after the new LoLa opens for business. 575 Boulder St., www.bigredf.com
-Amanda M. Faison