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Side Dish: Canyon's fresh vision

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Deeper Canyon

If it's been a while since you've visited Canyon Coffee & Café (1791 S. Eighth St., canyon-coffee.com), newly appointed executive chef Jake Ainsworth, formerly a garmache chef at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, wants you to know that it's a vastly different eatery and drink shop than you may remember.

Perhaps a chef being here at all, given that the spot's generally been regarded as a coffee shop, hints at the change. Owners Matt and Kimberley Carlson, who took over around mid-2010, remain in the process of overhauling the "vision" of the place, says Ainsworth, starting with elevating the level of cuisine. Though the atmosphere and décor remain relaxed and casual, with the food Ainsworth aims to "take something elegant and bring it down to an everyday eatery — like more of a bistro setting."

Breakfast currently brings smothered burritos and huevos rancheros, and lunch offers diverse sandwiches (with a gluten-free bread option). Daily specials and expanded Sunday specials deliver eclectic pizzas, omelettes and sweet options like banana bread French toast with bourbon maple syrup and cream cheese frosting. A dinner menu planned for springtime may bring items like house-butchered pork chops and a salmon platter.

As for the coffee, Canyon has switched from High Rise Coffee Roasters to Washington-based Dillanos Coffee Roasters, which promotes small-production sourcing.

Taste of Texas

Meet the $9.25 Driftwood Sandwich: sliced beef and Chappell Hill sausage covered with Texas chili or green chile on jumbo jalapeño Texas toast. That's just one of the star sandwiches at Wood's Barbecue and Burgers (6620 Delmonico Drive, woodsbbqandburgers.com), which opened in early October in the former Everything Fajita space.

Brothers Darren and Dennis Lemons operate the outfit, using dry rubs and a proprietary blend of four woods to smoke their meats. They formerly ran a metal fabrication company in Houston, but spent more than 15 years at family barbecues and special occasions perfecting their recipes — many of them inspired by their travels, says Darren.

Pumpkin patches

If you're still scrounging for a sip of this year's Bristol Brewing Company Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, your best bet at this juncture (to avoid absurd prices at select liquor stores) is likely a special tasting.

Building on last year's lively event (see "The Great Pumpkin visits The Broadmoor" on our IndyBlog), the West Lobby Bar (1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com) offers a sampling from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28. For $35 (inclusive), guests each get a bomber plus unlimited snacking on small plates prepared with ingredients from Venetucci Farm.

Side note: Bristol's Christmas Ale (not a far cry from VPA if you like baking-spice notes) releases the following night at 5 p.m. in the brewery's tasting room (1647 S. Tejon St.).

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