Pulling up the stakes...Denver Woodlands, one of the metro area's best Indian restaurants, closed its doors on Dec. 15. But the eatery isn't gone for good, says owner Kannan Alagappan. Woodlands (which 5280 named as one of the best restaurants of 2004) will reopen—most likely with a new name and new menu—in Castle Pines Village come May. The Aurora strip-mall location was tough on business and Alagappan hopes Castle Pines, one of the fastest growing Front Range communities, will offer a steady stream of diners. The new restaurant—situated near a Rodney's, a Tony's Meat Market, and an as-of-yet undetermined steakhouse—will seat 130 (rather than 60), offer a full bar (another change), and feature a patio with mountain views. Plus, says Alagappan, "There's no Indian restaurant within a 10 mile radius." Alagappan, who is hiring a chef from the Copper Chimney in New York City, plans on changing the menu from 100 percent vegetarian to a blend of veggie and meat dishes. 880 Happy Canyon Road, Suite 150, Castle Rock.
Bottoms up...There's good nog and there's bad nog, but this weekend we stumbled upon Wholesome Dairy Products eggnog—and it's the best we've ever tasted. Could be that's because it's as thick and creamy as melted ice cream, or that it's processed just up the road in Fort Collins. But we think it all comes down to the milk—which goes from cow to bottle in just about a day. Bonus: a nostalgic glass bottle and a logo with a cow standing under mistletoe. Find Wholesome Dairy Products' eggnog at Sunflower Markets and Marczyk Fine Foods, www.wholesomemilkproducts.com. Pho lunch...Parallel Seventeen, the newish Vietnamese restaurant and lounge in Uptown, hardly looks like a typical noodle joint. The chic, modern space has exposed brick, minimalist tables and chairs, and thumping beats. But listed on the lunch menu you'll find pho, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. We order pho as often as possible, usually frequenting noodle houses along Federal Boulevard, but P17's offers something special: Co-owner and Executive Chef Mary Nguyen simmers a northern style of the soup (reminiscent of what you'll find in Hanoi, the soup's birthplace). Nguyen uses oxtail for depth and dashes of nutmeg, star of anise, and black peppercorns for complexity. The result: a darker, richer, and more flavorful broth than the southern (and more ubiquitous) version. In Vietnam, pho is slurped any time of day, but at P17, you can only get it from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. 1600 E. 17th Ave., 303-399-0988, www.parallelseventeen.com.