OPEN: MEL’S OF GREENWOOD VILLAGE
This spring saw the closing of Mel’s Bar & Grill and the loss of the 12-year-old fine-dining institution left a hole in the Denver food scene. But now that Montecito Southone of Mel and Janie Master‘s other restaurantshas been relaunched as Mel’s of Greenwood Village, displaced diners can take heart. A short drive south to Orchard and Holly is rewarded with dishes such as Mel’s legendary mussels “La Cagouille” and the iconic roast chicken. The dining room, accented by twinkle lights and framed vintage posters, feels as cozy as the original Mel’s. Even the chef is familiar; after spending several months cooking in France, Chad Clevenger (formerly of Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe) has returned to man the burners. The menu is a collaboration of favorite dishes from over the years, many now with a Southwestern twist a la chef Clevenger. 5960 S. Holly St., Greenwood Village, 303-777-8223, www.melsbarandgrill.com
BEST BITES: THE KITCHEN’S PORK SANDWICH
A recent weekend found us in Boulder hoping to hike, but when the weather turned cold we sought refuge in the Kitchen‘s warm dining room. This Pearl Street restaurantknown for its commendable eco-practices and excellent fooddid not disappoint. We ordered the salmon with tomato-chorizo risotto and the Long Farm pork sandwich with salsa verde off the brunch menu. The porktender and slow-roasted, piled on Udi’s bread, and served with rustic potato saladwas the star of the meal. The secret to the dish’s success lay not just in top-tier ingredients but also the housemade salsa verde. Executive chef and co-owner Hugo Matheson adds a briney punch to the tangy mustard-herb blend with anchovies and capers. Bonus: Check out the Kitchen’s website for Matheson’s recipes for these dishes and others. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973, www.thekitchencafe.com
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TREAT: GELMAN’S PEANUT-BUTTER COOKIES
Several months ago, a friend introduced me to Gelman’s homemade desserts. My favorite sweet at this northwest Denver deli and market is the peanut-butter sandwich cookiefall-apart-soft cookies glued together with a peanuty-creamy filling. The experience is complete peanut overload (make sure to order a glass of milk), and I’m hopelessly addicted. Now, with Halloween upon us, the bakery case is stocked with these goodiesoriginal or drizzled with chocolatedecorated like Jack-o-lanterns. 2911 W. 38th Ave., 303-458-1163, www.gelmansmarket.com