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Side Dish

Culinary crumbs and gastronomic gossip



Give it a swirl
Manitou Springs is about to get its first fine wine boutique in the form of Swirl Wine Emporium, a new venture by former Mona Lisa sommelier Sharon Erale-Palmer.

A grand opening will take place June 7 after a tentative May 1 opening at the venue, located on the east side of the Wheeler Bank Building (717 Manitou Ave.). In addition to future wine classes, Swirl will sell beer, accessories and gift baskets as well as unique small-vineyard wines.

Erale-Palmer, 30, who originally went to school for fine arts and later graduated with a finance degree before discovering a wine passion, says finding good, inexpensive wine, ranging from $8 to $50, will be one of Swirl's missions. Visit (coming soon) for more.

Heart transplant
Following up on last week's news that the Heart of Jerusalem Caf is being evicted from its current 906 Manitou Ave. location due to a complaint over cooking smells: Owner Hussein Abukhdeir says he now has until April 14 to clear out, and that he will re-open across the street in The Tiny House building, at 919 Manitou Ave., sometime next month.

"It doesn't quite fit me," says Abukhdeir, "but I'm going to make it fit."

Abukhdeir, concerned over losing a month of early spring revenue, says he'll likely have to eliminate his ice cream service. He adds that he'll probably spend about $10,000 to install equipment and renovate before opening. Abukhdeir had considered Blue Vervain's old location at 56 Park Ave., but found it too large and expensive.

The move to The Tiny House at least ensures visibility and should cater to the same sidewalk demographic of locals and tourists. The only question that remains: Will the grass be as green on the other side of the street?

Let the eater say 'Amen'
Indy founding editor Kathryn Eastburn's second novel, A Sacred Feast: Reflections on Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Ground, hit bookstores on April 1 ($24.95, University of Nebraska Press).

Beyond documenting the folk-hymnal singing tradition, the work captures communities from across the country's culinary traditions via recipes from dishes served at their noontime feasts. Of local interest: Eastburn includes a chapter that covers both Colorado Springs and Boulder's Sacred Harp communities.

On a cursory thumb-through, dishes with charming names like "Ivalene Donaldson's Lazy Man Fruit Pie" (from Birmingham, Ala.) beg to be tested. A Sacred Feast appears equal parts historical documentary and cookbook, with the pensive, yet lively and descriptive writing for which the author is regarded.

We're the guinea pigs!
We usually shy from culinary news about fast-food chains, but we just couldn't resist spreading the word about KGC: Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

Yes, KFC is going to get its "G-thang" on with a new line of grilled chicken, and the company has announced that in 2008, Colorado Springs will be one of five test markets nationwide. Assuming all goes well, the product should launch nationally in 2009.

Here's your long-awaited chance to influence change on the poultry scene, people don't chicken out.

Take note
The fourth annual Colorado Springs Fork & Bottle will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on April 12 at the Smokebrush Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave.). The benefit for the Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School will feature appetizers and desserts prepared by local caterers and restaurants paired with more than 30 international wines. Tickets will run $40; call 636-3084 or visit for more.

Ritz Grill (15 S. Tejon St.) will hold one of its rare, five-course wine dinners at 6 p.m., April 17. Kristin Marchesi of Montinore Winery in Oregon will be present for chef Jay Gust's culinary pairings, to include elaborate clam, scallop and salmon dishes. My favorite tease: "Gorgonzola stuffed nectarine gratinee with star anise honey and poppy seed hippin mas." (I'm sure he'll explain ...) Seats will run $65 plus tax and tip; call 520-5733 or 635-8484 for more.

Three Old Colorado City businesses will take part in the Independent Restaurant Trio Progressive Dinner at 6:30 p.m. on April 17. Six wine-paired courses will be divided between Paravicini's Italian Bistro (2802 W. Colorado Ave.; appetizer and pasta courses), Jake and Telly's (2616 W. Colorado Ave.; salad and poultry courses) and Gertrude's (2625 W. Colorado Ave.; main course and dessert). The gourmet food crawl will cost $60 plus tax and gratuity; contact any of the restaurants for more.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey recently garnered a gold medal and Best of Class award in the ros category at Southern California's prestigious Jerry D. Mead International Wine Competition. Holy Cross' community-grown Wild Cañon Harvest wine is to thank for the honor. Bottles ($11) are still available in the winery's tasting room (3011 E. U.S. Hwy. 50, Cañon City). Call 877/422-9463 for more.

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