October 24 2006, 10:00 PM
NEWS: ADAM MALI RETURNS TO DENVER The metro area lost one of its most gifted chefs in June 2005 when Adam Mali closed the doors of Restaurant Kody in Evergreen. In search of jobs, Mali, wife Mary, and daughter Hana moved to Basalt, where Mali headed up the kitchen at Aspen's infamous Ajax Tavern. But yesterday I received exciting news: Mali has accepted a chef position at Montecito, the new Denver restaurant by Mel and Janie Master (of Mel's Restaurant and Bar). Mali, who is now a father of two little girls, says he's already hunting for places to live and the family will move back to town as soon as they find a home to rent. Montecito is expected to open before Christmas. 1120 E. Sixth Ave. OPENING: BOULDER'S BLACK CAT Eight years ago I dined at Gold Lake Resort and Spa outside of Ward, and while the rustic lodge was charming, it's chef Eric Skokan's cuisine (mainly his seared ahi tuna with pine nut salad and roasted tomato au jus) that's stuck with me all these years. Now there's an easier opportunity to experience the chef's talentslast night marked the opening of his Boulder restaurant Black Cat, an intimate spot with a seasonally focused menu. Look for dishes such as risotto of bay scallops, country ham, and rapini with lemon ($17), and artichoke flan with slow-roasted vegetable casserole, tomato, and rosemary ($9). 1964 13th St., 303-444-9110, www.blackcatboulder.com. COOL STUFF: BEER-FLAVORED LIP BALM Just up the road in Lyons, you'll find Oskar Blues Brewery, home of award-winning Dale's Pale Ale and Old Chub Scottish ale. Now those crafty gurus have whipped up the Old Chub Stick, a beer-flavored lip balm formulated with Old Chub Scottish ale, almond and macadamia nut oils, beeswax, cocoa, malt, and hops. It smells and tastes just like the ale and "it's the world's first beer-flavored lip balm" says Marty Jones, lead singer of the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys and marketing voice for Oskar Blues. Beer lovers can buy the stick for $3 on the website or at the pub, though Jones aims to get Old Chub into ski shops, health food stores, and other specialty shops. www.oskarblues.com.