Colorado Springs welcomes Motif Jazz Cafe where craft cocktails, small plates and jazz dominate
You may remember Jean-Paul Devarenne from his days as a bartender at the Wobbly Olive. Now he has been recruited by Steve Draper to be the beverage director for Draper's newly opened Motif Jazz Café, 182 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.
Devarenne will orchestrate a craft cocktail playlist, which will resonate with spirit connoisseurs. Richard (Skip) Curtis, executive chef, doesn't miss a beat with dishes to pair with Devarenne's drinks. Think cucumber papperdelle ($11) with acidulated creme frâche, baby tomatoes and avocado powder, paired with lemon basil margarita ($10). Devarenne infuses his own spirits and strives for balanced sippers. Don't even think of ordering a dirty martini made with brine from a huge jar of olives.
"Most bars buy large jars of olives that might be months old," he said. "I want fresh olives so we only have jars that can be used in a few days. And, we would never used the brine from the jar. I'd use a little sea salt instead."
Learning details of the food and beverage program was just the tip of the iceberg of what makes this such a unique spot for Colorado Springs. Draper, a professional jazz musician, insisted the interior be specifically designed to be acoustically superior for performances. Currently the lounge and supper club is open 4 p.m. to midnight Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There are plans to have special dinners and wine tastings Mondays through Wednesdays. Sunday brunch will be offered in the future. And a sandwich shop will open in a small space to the side of the lounge with a separate entrance in the coming months. It will be a daytime option run by Draper and partner Carolyn Hill. Details: 645-8000, motifjazzcafe.com.
Food science 101
If you missed Alton Brown, television personality, author and Food Network star, the last time he brought his fun performance to the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., you have a second chance to catch the show. "Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science," hits the stage at 4 p.m. on April 2. Brown has a knack for mixing science, music and food into two hours of pure entertainment. Details: 477-2121, pikespeakcenter.com.
Plan to sample multiple food vendors and beverage suppliers at the Pikes Peak Food and Wine Expo at the Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., noon to 3 p.m. March 19. For $45 per person browse and dine while watching the chef-media competition where chefs show off knife skills for the chance to win the traveling trophy. Enjoy watching bartenders compete in the craft cocktail shakedown. Details: 216-2978, ppcra.com.
Oui to St. Paddy's Day
La Baguette French Bistro, 4440 N. Chestnut St. offers a special St. Patrick's Day four-course menu with seatings at 5 and 7 p.m. March 17. Cost is $38 per person (plus tax and 20 percent gratuity) for carrot, pea and potato-leek soup, a choice of Irish boiled corned beef and cabbage, Irish lamb stew or Dublin roasted salmon fillet on top of "La Ratatouille" vegetable stew. A mixed greens with shredded cabbage salad will be served after the entrée. Dessert is a choice of key lime or pecan pie. A glass of white or red wine and a Jameson Irish coffee is included. Details: 599-0686, labaguettefrenchbistro.com.
The winners of the Manitou Springs Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-off on Feb. 25 included: Jason Miller, executive chef at Springs Orleans, as first place for the professional category. He's taken the top honors several years in a row. He also was picked as the People's Choice winner. The Iron Springs Chateau placed second in the professional category and Alchemy - Not Just a Pub took third. In the amateur division, Hot Stuff Cajuns, lead by Amy Milne, of Old Colorado City, was the first-place winner. Second place went to Paul Haas with the Bayou Boys; and Jose Gonzalez Jr., with Colorado Bayou came in third. The Showmanship Award went to the Bayou Boys. There were 15 amateur and six professional teams who competed.
'KVOR Table Talk'
Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:
- Kathy Anderson, a personal chef, talks about the American Culinary Federation's Culinary Passport at St. Paul's Church Julie Penrose Hall, 9 El Pomar Road 6 to 9 p.m. April 29. The event benefits Seeds Community Café. Cost is $45 per person. Visit pikespeakchefs.com.
- Eunice Bluhm, with Sons of Norway, talks about Frokost, a Norwegian cold-style breakfast at Viking Hall, 1045 Ford St., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 2. The buffet features various meats, salads, cheeses, breads, lefse, seafood, desserts and side dishes. Cost is $20 for members, $22 for non-members, and $10 children under 12. Reservations required by calling 266-9592. Visit sonsofnorwaycs.com.
- Franco Pisani, owner of Paravicini's Italian Bistro, 2802 W. Colorado Ave., talks about the addition of Sopra Antipasto and Wine Bar, which is located above his restaurant. The menu will feature Italian-style tapas. Details: 471-8200, paravicinis.com.
- Brian Mark, general manager of Rock Bottom Brewery, 3316 Cinema Point Drive, talks about donating 25 cents for every beer pint sold through March 26 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He will also talk about a beer tapping and chili cook-off that took place on Feb. 21 and yoga sessions on Sunday mornings. Details: 550-3586, tinyurl.com/j4l6b9h.
Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to firstname.lastname@example.org, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney