November 15 2005, 9:00 PM
Build it and they will come...We're happy to report that A La Tomate has graduated from struggling cafe to full-fledged restaurant. The European sidewalk bistro and tarterie along 17th Avenue houses a full bar and offers two happy hours, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. From 5:30 p.m. to close on Tuesday, November 15 and Wednesday, November 16, order a dinner entrée and sip on a house-infused spicy pear vodka martini free of charge. That's an extra incentive to check out A la Tomate's yummy goods such as steak au poivre or pan-seared maple leaf breast of duck with cherry sauce. 1618 E. 17th Ave., 303-333-9555, www.alatomate.com. Brava!...Denver chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano recently won a culinary competition put on by the American Culinary Federation for Chef of the Year in Colorado. In February she'll compete again in Hawaii for the Western Region of the United States Chef of the Year. And if she prevails (chefs are judged on creativity, knife skills, taste, and textures) Wiggins will continue to the national competition in Philadelphia in July. Last year Rioja's Jennifer Jasinski (formerly of Panzano) roasted the state and regional competitions but was ultimately defeated in the finals. Taking the stage...Highland Pacific, already one of our favorite seafood restaurants, is looking to add Thursday night acoustic blues to its repertoire. The Highland neighborhood spot has applied for a standard cabaret license (the hearing is next week) but they're already working to secure Tori Pater from Polytoxic Man, Adam Stern from Double Parked, and Bill McKay from Leftover Salmon. We'll keep you posted as to whether the good times will roll or not. 3934 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-6644, www.highlandpacific.net.