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From Maison to Bistro

Great news for Francophiles and gourmands: La Petite Maison, after a four-month hiatus that was supposedly permanent, has reopened with some minor renovations as Le Bistro (1015 W. Colorado Ave., 634-0400).

Chef Henri Chapéront says that having been laid off from his position as food and beverage manager for an upcoming downtown hotel venture, he's decided to give the location another go with a bistro concept, built around a cheaper menu.

You'll still see some signature items like a $32 rack of lamb, but Chapéront says other entrées cap off at around $16, with several new small-plate options.

"We still want people to come for birthdays and anniversaries," he says, "but we're trying to get people coming more casual and more often."

New arrival: OCC tea

Old Colorado City saw the opening of Organica Herb & Tea Co. (12 S. 25th St., two weeks ago, adding yet another new spice and gourmet culinary outfit to the area. (Extraordinary Ingredients, Savory Spice Shop and the Olive Tap preceded Organica.)

Owner Clara Paulson, who previously ran a similar store in Billings, Mont., has 26 years experience in the industry. She specializes in international culinary and medicinal teas (loose-leaf, blooming and aged), blends, powders (for personalized herbal formulas), spices, seasonings and exotic salts — all organic. Organica also features a sitting area for tea and coffee.

Expect specialty packaging items (decorative jars, etc.) soon and a grand opening celebration near summer's end.

À la carte

• In Café Banzai's former spot (230 Pueblo Ave.), another Japanese/Korean fusion spot called Sushi & Teriyaki House (227-7357) has opened. Owner Mia Pong says the family outfit makes everything from scratch, with a menu featuring roughly 20 sushi rolls and lunch specials as low as $5.99. Look for a 2 a.m. closing on Friday and Saturday nights.

• Acacia Park will host a farmers market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays, June 7 though Oct. 14. Platteville-based, pesticide-free Miller Farms ( will be the primary produce provider. Operations manager Dave Patterson says that years ago, Miller operated a market in Acacia for 15 consecutive years, and he expects this new market to "be a long-term deal."

• Chef James Davis amicably departed Crêpes Française (321 N. Tejon St., 473-6999) last week to pursue personal endeavors. Owner Florence Reinhardt has made new hires, including two refugees of Myanmar whose upcoming daily specials will help further Reinhardt's mission of bringing new international cuisines here.

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