An update on the former Metropolitain space (101 N. Tejon St.), now The Rabbit Hole Dinner and Drinks: Owner Joseph Campana has named current (soon to be former) Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse and Pub chef Josh Beemer as new executive chef. Beemer will be supported by chef de cuisine and menu collaborator (as well as former Indy writer) Aaron Retka, who's hopping from TAPAteria to join the late-night venture.
Retka shared a sneak peek of the outfit's tentative menu with us (view it in full on our blog). It fittingly features rabbit meatloaf and a carrot ginger bisque house soup, but also amusing items like Pabst Blue Ribbon mussels marinière and a white cheddar Jucy Lucy burger with jalapeño marmalade (a spin on the Minneapolis-born burger immortalized for putting the cheese inside the patty).
"We wanted to do a menu where every item has some element of surprise, whether it's an ingredient, or method of preparation or presentation," says Retka. "Stuff that's playful, but approachable."
Retka reiterated Rabbit Hole's focus on Colorado products and Campana says he'll know after a May 20 liquor board hearing whether he'll be able to open closer to June 1 or by the middle of the month.
Makin' whoopie (pies)
I'd never eaten a whoopie pie until this week, having not grown up in New England where they're ubiquitous, and having just heard about the nearly year-old Mile High Whoopie Pie Company (milehighwhoopie.com) that's now based out of the Gotta' Love It! Kitchen.
As 40-year-old owner and part-time massage therapist Mike Buzzell describes on his website, his preservative-free pies consist of "two cake-like cookies" with a powdered sugar and veggie shortening-based cream filling between them. (They're soft, airy and super sweet.) Typically chocolate with vanilla filling, Buzzell has created some 160 combos, ranging from coffee and maple chocolate chip cakes to peanut butter and strawberry fillings. He's also created gluten-free options, a S'mores pie and special flavors for two Pikes Peak Derby Dames he sponsors.
In addition to taking online orders and selling from the market, Buzzell can be found at derby matches and local farmers markets (check his Facebook page for info and specials). Pies sell by the half-dozen online for $7.50 and $1.50 each, or four for $5 at events.
À la carte
• Crystal Park Cantina (formerly the Mission Bell Inn) is now open for dinner at 178 Crystal Park Road in Manitou Springs. Breakfast and lunch will follow shortly.
• The Summit Brewfest (summitbrewfest.com), which benefits local military charities, will be held at Norris Penrose Event Center (1045 Lower Gold Camp Road) from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 14. Tickets to sample 30-plus local breweries are $20.