What’s cookin’…Does your family swoon over your gnocchi? Do neighbors line up at the door for your eggplant Parmesan? Maybe it’s time to add a little fame to your plate by entering the sixth annual Maggiano Little Italy’s Best Italian Cook Contest. The winning home chef gets a trip to Napa Valley, plus his or her dish on Maggiano’s menu for a month—and each time it’s ordered, the restaurant will donate $2 to the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Find out if your recipe is destined for greatness—enter by Friday, March 10 and don’t forget to include the story (the whos, the whats, and the whys) behind the dish. The competition is stiff—Maggiano’s receives close to a hundred entries each year—may be the best cook win. Find an application at www.postnewsads.com/cookcontest.

Pleased to meet you…Denver Woodlands, the fantastic Aurora Indian restaurant that closed in December, is getting closer to reopening. But there are changes: A new location in Castle Pines where owner Kannan Alagappan hopes to have a corner on the Indian food market; a new name, Chutney’s, which plays off the many sauces that accompany the cuisine; and a new menu that Alagappan calls exotic and different from other Indian restaurants. Alagappan is shooting for opening the week of Mother’s Day. Until then, we’ll just have to wait—anxiously. 880 Happy Canyon Road, Suite 150, Castle Rock.

Italian feast…If you and cooking go together like oil and water, but you crave homemade Italian eats, stake out a table at Armando’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Aurora. The restaurant, a stand-alone shop along Smoky Hill Road, doesn’t look like much from the outside but inside, Armando and his family turn out meatballs the size of baseballs, as well as thick strands of spaghetti, stuffed ravioli, and baked ziti that’s out of this world. And the garlic rolls…I suggest ordering extra. Until this weekend, Mikey’s Italian Bistro (4140 W. 38th Ave.,) was my favorite down-home Italian restaurant, but now Armando and Mikey are in a dead heat. 16611 E. Smoky Hill Road, Aurora, 303-690-6660.

-Amanda M. Faison

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