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Best Bites: Pappardelle’s Pasta
If you shop the farmers’ markets, you might already be familiar with Pappardelle’s dried pastas, but did you know the pasta maker also has a retail shop along Colorado Boulevard? Inside, bins of dried pasta line the walls and a fridge-freezer is stocked with fresh-frozen raviolis, sauces, and pestos. Shop for olive oils, locally made Belfiore sausage, and pasta flavors as straightforward as organic whole wheat or as inventive as orange Szechuan and dark chocolate. Our picks: sweet potato orzo, organic whole wheat, and the fresh-frozen Tuscan white-bean ravioli. Bonus: These pastas make pretty hostess giftsmake sure to include a recipe or two from Pappardelle’s website. 4980 Jackson St., 303-321-4222, www.pappardellespasta.com
Tip: Market Central’s Knife Sharpening Service
With the holidays officially under way, make sure your kitchen knives are primed and ready for the season. Market Central, a Ballpark neighborhood gourmet market, takes the guess work out of shopping for a knife sharpening service. (This in addition to whipping up a mean fig and Brie sandwich and dishing up sorbet from Sorbeteria.) On Tuesdays, the shop brings in Rolling Stone to overhaul customers’ knives for $3 per blade. Drop off knives before 9 a.m. for same-day pickup. Hint: Market Central’s free parking lot is located at 21st and Larimer streets. 2046 Larimer St., 303-293-8888, www.marketcentraldenver.com
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Road-trip Restaurant: Su Casa in Aspen
When Aspen’s long-loved Mexican restaurant La Cocina closed two years ago, it left a hole in the dining scene. Ever since, Su Casa and the Cantina have vied for “La Co’s” dinersand each has carved out its own dining niche (Cantina for the tourists and Su Casa for the locals). At Su Casa, no one will mistake the eats for authentic, but the prices, the atmosphere, and the margaritas make up for any gaps in authenticity. When we dine, we order a la carte from the lengthy taco menuour latest favorites include Maria’s (poached fish with cooling cucumber salsa), Baja (shrimp with pico de gallo) and the grilled hangar steak with spicy tomatillo salsa. Those, plus a liter of margaritas and the bottomless chips and salsa, make for a good night. Hint: Su Casa’s tiled floors and walls can make for a deafening meal, but you can beat some of the noise by sitting in the bar. 315 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, 970-920-1488