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Side Dish

Culinary crumbs and gastronomic gossip



Diamonds aren't forever
The American Automobile Association awarded The Broadmoor's Penrose Room a five-diamond rating this past week, making it the first dining establishment in Colorado to receive such a prestigious rank.

Of 60,000 AAA-rated hotels and restaurants across North America, fewer than 50 deliver "the highest restaurant experience possible," in the eyes of AAA.

The distinction was celebrated by an exquisite press luncheon on Nov. 8, in which chef de cuisine Bertrand Bouquin and his sizable, accomplished staff demonstrated their culinary prowess via everything from richly dressed quail eggs to black-truffle gnocchi.

(I enjoyed negotiating the pairing of each course with the correct piece of silverware; 10 were set. I think I did OK nobody laughed or pointed, and taking back the lobster bisque like a shot sure felt high-society to me ... )

"It means the world to us and recognizes Colorado as a world-class destination," says director of food and beverage Craig Reed, who notes that the Penrose Room missed earning the distinction last year by a mere two-tenths-of-a-percent. (This year they scored a 4.8 out of 5, on overall marks from service to dcor to food quality.)

But "this isn't like winning the Hall of Fame," says Reed. "We've got to earn it every day." AAA could award the establishment four diamonds again should future reviews dictate. Call 577-5733 or visit for more.

Inside the Tuscan Sun
A new sandwich shop, Tuscan Sun, has opened at 2501 W. Colorado Ave. #108, in the Old Town Plaza. Owner Becky Ray McCain serves authentic Tuscan bean soup and a handful of true Italian sandwiches, as well as more East Coast American-influenced paninis. The current menu is tightly focused but will soon expand to offer alcohol, salads, pastas, daily specials and more. Call 630-1223.

Thanksgiving out
If you don't want to do Thanksgiving at home this year, the Stagecoach Inn (702 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs) is offering a traditional dinner with all expected items for $22 ($15 children) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 22. Call 685-9400 for more.

The porter's new clothes
Members of local arts organizations recently served as judges to select a label design for Bristol's upcoming Smokebrush Porter. The verdict is in, and the design and beer will be celebrated at a release party at Smokebrush Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave.) from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 18. Call 444-1012 for more.

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