Side dish: Curry Leaf on the move

| January 12, 2012

Leaf blows north

In what should prove an interesting study of the old axiom, "Location, location, location," Sri Lankan superfood giant the Curry Leaf (curryleafrestaurant.com) will be moving from 26 S. Wahsatch Ave., to 321 N. Tejon St., this week, and aiming to reopen Monday, Jan. 16.

That new address should sound familiar: It has been occupied by now-defunct operations Flavors on Tejon and Crêpes Française. Doubters of the location's viability obviously don't include Curry Leaf owner Lana Hillstrom, who confidently made a formerly lame location work over the past three years and has built a loyal clientele.

The good news for those loyals and newcomers alike is that the much-larger new space will allow Hillstrom to premiere menu items such as Sri Lankan barbecue; empanada-like stuffed meat appetizers she calls "patties"; and a mango cake. She anticipates also having a liquor license shortly, and hopes to retail Sri Lankan spices on site, in markets and online sometime later this year.

Say Soirée

We can't all have fun titles like "magical maestra of extraordinary things," mainly because Imagination Celebration can only employ a set amount of creative types. One of them is theater organizer Michaela Hightower.

An event planner on the side for the past 14 years, Hightower is also working toward her second-level sommelier certification, and occasionally teaching blind wine classes at Swirl Wine Emporium. She'll apply experience from both of those endeavors at her new, "intimate" events venue and arts space called Soirée (coloradospringsvenue.com), which she plans to have open in the former Nemeth's El Tejon at 1003 A&B S. Tejon St., as of late February.

Past the wedding parties and whatnot for between 10 and 100 people, the site will offer a monthly Curious Palate Tasting Club, with samples of everything from spirits and wine to sake and beer for $25, light food pairing included.

As Hightower describes it, each second Tuesday class (except for the planned Feb. 21 launch) will go from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and will feature an educational component, often with guest speakers, that includes history, tasting methods and more. "It's about exploration," she says, "... to find out what you like and don't like ... it's not going to be intimidating ... it's also about having a good time."

It all kicks off with "All American Whiskey," to be followed in coming months with topics like "Hollywood's Finest" and "Ladies Cocktails" (as well as "Gentleman Cocktails").

CMB on the move

As we told you back in September, before Colorado Mountain Brewery (11202 Rampart Hills View, cmbrew.com) sees its second anniversary pass, it'll see its second location open at the historic Midland Terminal Railroad Roundhouse (600 S. 21st St.), former home to Van Briggle Art Pottery.

An update on that, courtesy of CMB service manager and event coordinator Andrea Stiles: Those doors could open softly as early as May, with a grand opening to follow in June. With an eye toward the expansion, the outfit has been tinkering with new recipes and testing food concepts at catering gigs. Some of what customers will see on a new menu being released Monday, Jan. 16, is the result of that experimentation. "We're really trying to hone in on what Colorado cuisine is," says Stiles.

Look for new plates such as crab cakes, seared Ahi tuna and a bison meatloaf Wellington, joining fixed favorites like the house ribs, fish 'n chips and an array of burgers named after Colorado fourteeners. And on that note, expect a new peak-burger on the list: Mount Massive, featuring two burger patties with bison pastrami on a large Kaiser roll.

CMB's brew operation has also kept an ambitious pace lately, continuing its weekly Brewer's Whimsy releases every Tuesday at 5 p.m., on top of up to five seasonal tap specialties plus five flagship house ales.

Swirls and scrubs

Dig the tagline: "A balanced diet is a cupcake in each hand."

That advice comes from The Cupcake Doctor (thecupcakedoctor.com), actually "medical research scientist turned cupcatier" Desirae Leipply, who with her mom Rosemarie's help, launched her baked-good delivery business this past September. It's based out of You and I Caterers on Omaha Boulevard, and offers next-day service on custom orders, with "gluten-free, corn-free, vegan, allergy-friendly and sugar-free recipes available for our happy patients."

Additionally, items are made without preservatives and artificial food coloring — Leipply makes her own colors with natural fruit reductions and the like. Take a tour of a scientifically organized and catalogued website to view an expansive cupcake list that includes alcohol-containing "happy hour" cupcakes and fun oddballs like a plantain and avocado flavor. Assorted dozens with up to three flavors cost $25, while like-flavored dozens cost $21, including delivery.

You'll also find cookies, brownies and muffins for sale, all designed by Leipply. "I've always approached my cooking the same way as my career," she says. "There's been a whole lot of trial and error. I have the equivalent of lab notebooks of recipes I've worked on."

She adds that since she sees cooking as a science, cupcake-cooking isn't a complete departure from her full-time day job.

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