February 22 2005, 10:00 PM
Trading wine for tortillas...Last week we reported that revered sommelier Chris Farnum was leaving the grape biz (his last day at Adega is Feb. 26 and he'll finish up at Mirepoix in March). He's off to Chipotle, where he'll be director of operations for the monster burrito's Midwest division. Farnum's charge is to double Chipotle's number of stores (currently 40) in Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine, Wis. The position sends Farnum closer to home (he and his wife, Gina, both grew up in the Midwest) and gives him a chance to be a better family man -- no more late nights six days a week. As for missing the wine industry, Farnum says wine will always be a hobby. Denver diners will miss his expertise -- stay tuned for his replacement. All hail the queen...Rioja's Jennifer Jasinski was named American Culinary Federation Western Regional Chef of the Year. Come July she'll compete against three other regional winners for the ACF Chef of the Year award in San Antonio, Texas. In the meantime, we'll be cheering her on over bites of pansoti at Rioja. 1431 Larimer Square, 303-820-2282, www.riojadenver.com. New kid on the block...Boulder's L'Absinthe Restaurant is finally open for lunch and dinner. French chef and owner Maurice Courtier hails from Aspen, where he owns Ute City Bar & Grill. He was also reportedly the personal chef for King Hussein of Jordan -- how's that for a reference? Look for French international cuisine with items such as roast Colorado pheasant, Colorado lamb, and Kobe beef steaks. Wash those gourmet eats down with sips from a list of 300 wines. 1800 Broadway, 303-442-6777. Ready, set, eat...Denver Restaurant Week is February 26-March 4 and it'll only cost you $52.80. That mile-high price (which doesn't include tax or tip) will buy you two multicourse dinners at more than 80 of the city's top restaurants including Bistro Vendôme, Zengo, Del Frisco, and Strings. A full list of participating restaurants is available at www.denver.org. Table Talk is 5280's weekly free newsletter highlighting Denver's latest restaurant and dining news. To receive Table Talk and other 5280 newsletters before they're posted online, subscribe here.