It’s been open less than a week but Osteria Marco is already generating buzz. The Italian tavern is chef-owner Frank Bonanno‘s third Denver restaurant but don’t go expecting Mizuna or Luca d’Italia. Where Bonanno’s name has become synonymous with fine dining, the casual Osteria offers a menu of cured meats and cheeses (many of which are made in-house), paninis, pizzas, and salads. “This is the way the Italians eat,” says Bonanno, who for years has wanted to open such a spot. By definition, an “osteria” is a humble place to gather and enjoy wine and food. Osteria doesn’t disappoint—we’re still making our way through the menu (and the exciting all-Italian wine list), but we’ve already found a few staples: red-wine cured bresaola, housemade mozzarella, and perfect meatball sliders. 1453 Larimer St., 303-534-5855

I headed to Platte Street yesterday looking to stock up on goodies from Will Poole‘s newly opened Wen Chocolates shop. But when I found the store closed (it’s open Tuesday–Sunday), I ducked next door into Savory Spice Shop Inc. I’ve been in before but always on a mission: Looking for Black Hills barbecue seasoning, cacao nibs, or crystallized ginger. But this time I had time to browse and, along with a few recipes, I found a new nibble in the freeze-dried corn. Similar to popcorn but sweeter, the snack tastes just like corn cut from the cob. Savory recommends adding the ingredient to salads, soups, cornbread, muffins, or pancakes, but I like it straight out of the bag. 1537 Platte St., 303-477-3322,

As we usher in November, so comes the second-annual First Bite Boulder. From November 3 to November 10, dine at any of the 40 participating restaurants for a three-course, prix-fixe dinner for $26—a steal. Our picks: the seasonally minded Black Cat, Colterra, and the Kitchen, Latin-influenced Centro, Italian-based Radda, and the cozy West End Tavern. We recommend fitting in one restaurant each night, because when else can you eat so well for so little?

—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.