It’s been open less than a week but Osteria Marco is already generating buzz. The Italian tavern is chef-owner Frank Bonanno‘s third Denver restaurant but don’t go expecting Mizuna or Luca d’Italia. Where Bonanno’s name has become synonymous with fine dining, the casual Osteria offers a menu of cured meats and cheeses (many of which are made in-house), paninis, pizzas, and salads. “This is the way the Italians eat,” says Bonanno, who for years has wanted to open such a spot. By definition, an “osteria” is a humble place to gather and enjoy wine and food. Osteria doesn’t disappoint—we’re still making our way through the menu (and the exciting all-Italian wine list), but we’ve already found a few staples: red-wine cured bresaola, housemade mozzarella, and perfect meatball sliders. 1453 Larimer St., 303-534-5855

I headed to Platte Street yesterday looking to stock up on goodies from Will Poole‘s newly opened Wen Chocolates shop. But when I found the store closed (it’s open Tuesday–Sunday), I ducked next door into Savory Spice Shop Inc. I’ve been in before but always on a mission: Looking for Black Hills barbecue seasoning, cacao nibs, or crystallized ginger. But this time I had time to browse and, along with a few recipes, I found a new nibble in the freeze-dried corn. Similar to popcorn but sweeter, the snack tastes just like corn cut from the cob. Savory recommends adding the ingredient to salads, soups, cornbread, muffins, or pancakes, but I like it straight out of the bag. 1537 Platte St., 303-477-3322,

As we usher in November, so comes the second-annual First Bite Boulder. From November 3 to November 10, dine at any of the 40 participating restaurants for a three-course, prix-fixe dinner for $26—a steal. Our picks: the seasonally minded Black Cat, Colterra, and the Kitchen, Latin-influenced Centro, Italian-based Radda, and the cozy West End Tavern. We recommend fitting in one restaurant each night, because when else can you eat so well for so little?

—Amanda M. Faison