New Discovery: Grilled Skewer
While New Saigon ( on Federal Boulevard will always be our go-to spot for Vietnamese food, Grilled Skewer is an excellent option for those on the east side of town. The family-owned restaurant opened in the fall and though the menu is small, it’s packed with terrifically fresh eats. Our favorite dishes include the combo rice bowl with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and an egg roll, and the healthy grilled shrimp and rice-noodle lettuce wraps. For those on the hunt for a bánh mi (French-inspired baguette sandwiches), Grilled Skewer’s version is tasty with barbecue and steamed pork (or chicken or beef), cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeños, carrots, and onions stacked inside a soft baguette. 890 S. Monaco Parkway, 303-320-1935, —Amanda M. Faison

In the Works: TAG
Now that chef Troy Guard has projects such as Nine75 and Ocean long behind him, we’ve been waiting for the chef to resurface. And, finally, he has. We learned last week that he’s thisclose to signing a deal on a new space downtown. Details are vague but we did learn that the restaurant’s working name is TAG (Guard’s initials), and it’ll showcase “continental social food.” By that Guard means a menu that pulls from all over the world. “[TAG] will reflect my travels,” he explains. “I want to do a little bit of here and there.” Expect an approachable price point; the opening date is set for November 1.
Meanwhile, a recent dinner at Nine75 (executive chef Charles Sinden now mans the kitchen), indicated that the quality of cuisine has gone downhill. The once addictive lobster tacos were tasteless, the signature flash-seared yellowtail sashimi arrived cooked through, and the miso black cod was overly fishy. That said, the restaurant still jumped with business, with diners streaming through the door to pack tables. —AMF

Good Stuff: Gumbo’s Happy Hour
We do love Gumbo’s Louisianna Style Cafe‘s happy hour specials. Sip on $4 martinis, half-priced beer, or discounted wine—and dine on a complimentary cup of the smoky gumbo. Monday–Friday 2 p.m.–6 p.m., 1530 16th St., 720-956-1490 —AMF

News: College Dining
Last week, the New York Times reminded the foodie world that college dining is no longer a matter of instant mashed potatoes and canned veggies. Instead, cafeteria choices now include pho and lobster. Throughout the article, a couple colleges in particular stuck out for their culinary excellence. One of these was Bowdoin College, Maine. Of course, that didn’t surprise us one bit. Both Denver Post dining critic Tucker Shaw and I attended Bowdoin, as did local cookbook author and instructor chef Elizabeth Yarnell, who penned Glorious One Pot Meals. “When I was in college in 1986, Bowdoin already had a reputation for superior dining,” remembers Yarnell. We do, though, see a bit of irony in all this. A small East coast college goes big in the food world, but its students move West to share their culinary knowledge. —Kazia Jankowski

Brew of the Month: Liquid Poetry
“A small measure of twilight, foamcapped/throat coating, hurry, mollify my belly.” So begins “Pour Me,” the ode to beer by Denver Poet Laureate Chris Ransick. Want to read more? Slide on to a barstool at the Wyknoop Brewery Company where the LoDo bar celebrates its April-only brew—the Liquid Poetry ale—and Ransick’s poem decorates the commemorative National Poetry Month glasses. 1634 18th St., 303-297-2700, –KJ

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.