Have you been yet?…Our favorite coffee house of the moment: Monkey Bean in the Ballpark neighborhood. The way-cool, laid-back coffee shop offers up much more than just java (including free Internet access and a sweet patio with tons of sun umbrellas). On the menu, check out the ricotta cheese pancakes with strawberries and maple syrup or the radicchio, fontina, goat cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar flat-bread pizza. In the sweets department, we can’t resist the monkey bean ice cream: banana ice cream with chunks of homemade peanut butter brownies and a chocolate ganache swirl. And then there’s the pastry case—full of freshly baked goodies (although we’re not sure what to think about the “monkey balls.”) 2470 Broadway, 303-296-9559, www.monkeybean.com.

Beat the heat…When it’s too hot to eat outside, seek refuge at Highland Pacific, the Highland neighborhood’s answer to seafood. Go during happy hour for oyster and drink specials and stay for dinner. Our favorite dish on the summer menu: chef Ed Kammerer‘s yellow-fin tuna served atop a cilantro-risotto cake with jicama and grapefruit salad. The light dish gets its pep from the lively, fresh citrus sauce made from the juices and zests of lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. 3934 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-6644.

Back to school…Help needy kiddos with new backpacks and school supplies. Your reward: Good karma and a $20 gift certificate to LoDo’s McCormicks’ Fish House and Bar or McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant in the Tech Center. The kids at Schenck Elementary School in Southwest Denver are the recipients of your generosity. School supplies requested: spiral notebooks, blunt-blade scissors, crayons, Peechee pocket folders, glue, plastic rules, and colored markers. Drop off backpacks stuffed with supplies to either McCormick’s location by August 15. Call either location for more details. McCormicks’ Fish House and Bar, 1659 Wazee St., 303-825-1107 or McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, 8100 E. Union Ave., 720-200-9339.

Tequila sunrise…Gather your friends, it’s a tequila sipping—yes, sipping—kind of night. Like fine wine, good tequila has a dynamic flavor profile that demands more attention than a down-the-hatch shot of Cuervo. Tamayo introduces tequila flights—three, 3/4-ounce tequilas in mini-snifter glasses. You pick your poison: “horizontal” (three tequilas from the same style: blanco, repesado, or anejo for $14), “vertical” (one from each of the three styles for $16), or distillery (three from one distillery for $18). Since it’s still tequila (and bound to turn your mouth inside out), flights are accompanied with lime and lemon wedges, rock salt, and sangrita. 1400 Larimer St., 720-946-1433.

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