June 21 2005, 10:00 PM
Beat the heat...No AC? Seek refuge at Espo's Cucina Dolce for a cool scoop of homemade gelato. Our favorite licks are the refreshing lemon cream and rich chocolate, but 80-some rotating flavors means endless choices. The gelato alone is worth the trip (free parking, too) but while you're there order the fire-roasted pepper panini with a side of Italian potato salad for lunch. 2810 Larimer St., 303-410-2848, www.esposgelato.com. For the lunch crowd...Steak au Poivre, the new French bistro in the old Manhattan Grill spot, is now open for lunch. Managing partner Marco Colantonio (think Tamayo, Cielo, and Vega) and executive chef Yoann Lardeux have cooked up quite a menu. Offerings include mussels (marinière, pesto, or curried cream), frog legs ProvenÂ?al with pernod, and my most favorite of all French foods: croque madame (country ham and cheese sandwich on brioche with mornay sauce and a fried egg). 231 Milwaukee St., 303-333-6444. A change for the better...On Thursday, June 23, for the first time since Prohibition was repealed, Argonaut Liquors will host its first in-store spirits tasting. In 2004, the Colorado Legislature amended the state's liquor laws to allow spirits tastings in retail stores (aka liquor stores and wine shops). Reap the benefits of the new law and taste up to six quarter-ounce shots of Bourbon and Caribbean rums. 3 to 7 p.m. 718 E. Colfax Ave., 303-831-7788. The good life...June 21 is the first official day of summer and The Palm celebrates the season by launching a summertime feast: A complete lobster dinner for two for $70. You and a date can dine on a four-pound Nova Scotia lobster, enjoy two salads, two side dishes, and coffee or tea. Or if indulgence is the name of the game, order the five- or six-pound lobster for $80 or $90. Get your fix of sunshine and lobster doused in butter between now and August. The Palm, 1201 16th St., 303-825-7256, www.thepalm.com.