With fall in the air, I find myself booking every patio I can to eek out a few more al fresco dinners. One of my favorite spots this time of year is Colterra’s tree-lined courtyard. Century-old trees provide a natural canopy over the Niwot restaurant’s outdoor space and live jazz twinkles from the patio steps—both details set the stage for chef Bradford Heap 's harvest flavors. The halibut (pictured) is particularly noteworthy: Beautifully encrusted with salty pistachios, the tender fish plays nicely off the earthy new potatoes, crispy pea pods, julienned carrots, and a silky beurre blanc. The dense pistachio crust helps the dish move from summer to fall.
Another favorite is the duck breast accented with sweet, caramelized local honey and a raspberry and black pepper gastrique, served with garlic-tinged local chard, and two pieces of crispy polenta.
Event: Make reservations for Colterra’s five-course Provence wine dinner on September 19. The dessert—palisade peach  galette with Domaine de Fenouillet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2012 —alone might be worth the $65 price tag.
210 Franklin St., Niwot, 303-652-0777