Table Talk for August 21, 2007

August 2007
NEW: IZAKAYA DEN HITS THE MARK The brand-new Izakaya Den—a second South Pearl Street offering by Sushi Den owner Toshi Kizaki—was too tempting to pass up in its first week open. This isn't Sushi Den Take 2; rather the menu is a sampling of sushi, rolls, sashimi, and fusion small plates, and we weren't disappointed. Two hits: the heavenly—and summery—seared Kobe beef medallions topped with edamame and watermelon, and the Dragon Roll, a shrimp tempura take on Sushi Den's popular eel house roll. Plus: Kudos to the wide-open design which eliminates any packed-table claustrophobia, the woven bar-top rather than the typical marble and wood, and the laid-back and chill outdoor patio. 1518 S. Pearl Street, 303-777-0691 COOL SIPS: BEAT THE HEAT It's been one hot summer, and to cope I use two drinks of choice: A smooth, caffeine-charged iced hazelnut latte from Xpresso Drive Thru Cafe (the location at Colorado Boulevard and Cherry Creek Drive South is my favorite), and the limey mojito at Mezcal (3230 E. Colfax Avenue, 303-322-5219). Though this Colfax hotspot is best known for its margaritas, I'm hooked on their perfectly muddled concoction of mint, lime, sugar, soda, and rum. RECIPE: A TASTE OF COLORADO What does summertime taste like? Sunshine-filled Palisade peaches, sweet Olathe corn, crisp farmers' market green beans, and juicy Western Slope plums. To celebrate the season we crafted a meal of pork chops with peaches (for more juicy bites check out our "31 Days of Peaches" story on page 78 of the August issue), and we added a corn salad and steamed beans, plus a plum shortcake for dessert.

Pork Chops with Peaches (From Grilling: Food Made Fast, a William Sonoma cookbook)

(Serves 4)

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder or other chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 bone-in, center-cut loin pork chops (about 3/4-inch thick)
canola oil
2 large, firm-ripe peaches, halves and pitted

1. Prepare the grill Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct grilling over high heat. If using a gas grill, turn one burner on medium-low and the other burner(s) on high. If using a charcoal grill, spread the coals into a slope.

2. Prepare the pork chops and peaches: In a small bowl, stir together the chile powder, the cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the garlic powder. Brush the pork chops on both sides with oil and sprinkle with the chile mixture. Brush the peaches lightly with oil. Set aside.

3. Grill the pork chops and peaches Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the pork chops over the hottest area. Grill until the undersides are seared with grill marks, about two minutes. Turn and grill about two minutes longer. Move the pork chops to the cooler area of the grill and cover. Grill until the chops feel firm and spring back when pressed in the center, six to eight minutes longer. During the last five minutes of grilling, place the peaches, cut side down, over the hottest area of the grill and grill until the undersides are seared with grill marks, about three minutes. Grill until heated through, about two minutes longer. Transfer the peaches to a cutting board and slice into thick wedges. Serve the peaches alongside the pork chops.

—Amanda M. Faison