Experience Walnut Brewery’s White Pelican Pilsner, benefit a good cause

You like a locally crafted beer. You like putting money toward a good cause. Do both at once this Thursday! On May 27th, the Walnut Brewery (1123 Walnut Street, Boulder) will host a special tapping event beginning at 6:00 PM. For every pint of their special seasonal White Pelican Pilsner that they sell, 25 cents will benefit CareConnect, an organization helping seniors with disabilities in Boulder County. Do follow the link and read all about ’em; they do good work in the neighborhood.

Even if you miss the May 27th event (I’m going to, I’m afraid), make plans to come in for a pint of the White Pelican sometime in the next few weeks. Walnut Brewery will continue socking away the per-pint-proceeds for CareConnect until the pilsner runs dry. But if you can attend, do. It looks like you’ll get a free pint just for stopping in on Thursday.

For more information, the Daily Camera’s got the goods. So has the official Downtown Boulder website. (Did you know we had one of those? We have one of those.) Clicky clicky!

Wednesday Farmer’s Market Begins This Afternoon (Boulder)

Boulder’s Saturday Farmer’s Market has been operating for a month now. Tonight, the Wednesday edition starts up. If you’re looking for salsa for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or if your pantry’s in need of fresh veg, head on down to that block between the park and the Dushanbe Teahouse (13th b/n Canyon and Walnut) and visit your community of local growers and producers.

The market will be open from 4 PM to 8 PM every Wednesday afternoon through October 6. And of course the Saturday market is from 8 AM to 2 PM and runs through November 6.

See you there!

Friday 4/30: DeVry sponsors free career workshop in Westminster

If you’re out of work and hitting dead ends, head over to the DeVry University Westminster Campus tomorrow afternoon for some help figuring out where to go next. Katy Piotrowski, founder of the Career Solutions Group and author of the Career Coward guides, will be presenting four 40-minute career skills workshops along with local business and economic development leaders. You’ll also get a chance to try out the interactive Career Profiler and Personality Assessment tool which “will match individual personalities to in-demand careers.”

Here’s the hour-by-hour schedule:

1:00 p.m. – Check-in
1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Resume Writing Clinic
1:20 p.m. – Kickoff Presentation
1:35 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. – Workshops:

  • Resume Writing and Interviewing with Danielle Schmidt
  • Networking and Utilizing Social Networking with David York
  • Career Direction and Consultation with Elizabeth Rescigno
  • Powerful Trends for Professional Growth with Katy Piotrowski

4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Networking and Prize Giveaway

The DeVry campus is at 1870 W. 122nd Ave. in Westminster. (Click for Google Maps.) Good luck!

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Spend Earth Day With Oskar Blues and Left Hand Brews

If you’ve driven from Boulder to Longmont anytime over the past year, it can’t have escaped your notice that the old silo now resembles a can of Dale’s Pale Ale. Lyons-based Oskar Blues, provider of “homemade solids and liquids,” now has a home in Longmont. (Not that I could tell from looking at their website, though. The “Venues” page only seems to mention the one in Lyons.)

And their Longmont location will host a fantastic beer-pairing dinner this Thursday night:

Left Hand Beer Dinner
Date: Thursday, April 22, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM
Limited Seating; Advanced Ticket Purchase Required

(Not that you could tell from the Music & Events Calendar on their website. Which at least appears to color-code events that are on the calendar as to whether they take place at “Grill & Brew”/Lyons or “Liquids & Solids”/Longmont. I think.)

For the price of $55 per person, attendees will be served a 3-course meal, each course paired with a particular Left Hand Brewery creation. The entire menu is listed here. (It is not accessible from the calendar, but rather from the blog, which you get to by hovering over “NEWS” in the top menu. I found it by searching Google.) I’m told there will also be live music, but I don’t know who’s playing.

Oskar Blues Liquids & Solids is in Longmont at the complicated corner of South Hover Road and Diagonal Highway and Ken Pratt Boulevard and 95th Street. There’s plenty of parking. You can also get there from Boulder by riding the BOLT, which will drop you off right in front of the big silo that looks like a beer can.

As of Monday around about oyster bar time (3:00 PM), there yet remained ten or fifteen or so tickets. Move fast! Call 303-485-9400 to reserve your seat. They will take credit card over the phone but would prefer you then show up and pick up your tickets in advance of the event.

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TONIGHT: Boulder Pride Community Forum on Faith & LGBTQness

Warning: This is a very very last-minute event announcement. Read quickly.

You’ve probably heard about Boulder Sacred Heart’s appallingly bigoted decision to punish a couple of lesbian parishioners for their sexuality by denying their preschool daughter a place at their school. Well, in the wake of that outrage (and knowing that it’s only the most recent example of a depressingly common trend), one might wonder why would that family would want to remain Catholic when the Catholic Church sees fit to treat them this way.

That question will be addressed in tonight’s Boulder Pride Community Forum: “I’m LGBTQA and Religious–Ask Me How! (and Why)”

The forum will be held from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Wesley Chapel (1290 Folsom Street, Boulder). Panel members representing diverse faiths as well as points along the LGBTQA spectrum will share their stories. After the panel there will be time for questions from the audience.

An in-depth list and description of the panelists can be found on Facebook, but you’ll have to log in to view the page.

Just to reemphasize: the panel is tonight, Thursday, April 15. Hopefully some of you still have time to run on over for some great community and conversation!

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Dining Out For Life: April 29, 2010

That new restaurant you’ve been thinking of checking out. That splurge you’ve been owing yourself for months. That person you’ve been meaning to ask out to lunch ever since they first caught your eye. That early morning breakfast date you and your spouse have long said you ought to incorporate into the weekly before-work routine.

You know what would be a great day to finally go ahead and do it?

On April 29, 2010, over 300 participating restaurants will agree to donate 25% of their food sales to Project Angel Heart. Diners simply eat out for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner at participating restaurants. By eating out on Dining Out for Life® day, they support their favorite eateries, enjoy delicious food, and benefit Project Angel Heart, all at once.

Project Angel Heart is all about making sure those enduring difficult times have, at the very least, the support of a good square meal. They deliver meals to those suffering from HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses, ensuring that their immune systems get the right nutritional support. It also goes a long way toward reaffirming that someone cares.

During eighteen years of phenomenal growth, our goal has always remained the same: ‘meals with love’ for men, women, and children living with life-threatening illness.

Feeling cared about has an impact on how well one responds to medical treatment, on how well one’s immune system stands up to illness. So that, too, is a sort of “nutrition” that Project Angel Heart delivers. And since their services are free of charge, they help lighten the financial load that dealing with illness imposes on sufferers.

For over 800 clients served each week, Project Angel Heart embodies stability and hope by providing nutritious meals, free of charge, and specifically prepared to meet the nutritional needs of each individual client. Life-threatening illnesses can drain a person’s energy and finances, threaten their dignity, limit their independence, and leave them feeling alone and vulnerable. Project Angel Heart provides life-saving nutrition necessary for physical, emotional, and financial health.

On April 29, go out and enjoy yourself, and know a portion of your tab is going to good use.

Find a participating restaurant here.

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“Standards of Ethical Conduct” Now Online For Your Viewing Pleasure

Just a quick post today to alert y’all to an online development you might find interesting. So, last year, early Junish-or-thereabouts, Denver saw the premier of locally produced office comedy Standards of Ethical Conduct. Did you manage to get out there and take it in? If not, you aren’t too late. Now you can watch it online. As filmmaker Roman Hargrave puts it, “It will finally be seen where it was intended to be seen – while sitting in your cubicle.”

Economists fret as worker productivity is in an unprecedented free-fall, while bandwidth usage is skyrocketing. Office managers around the country are also reporting higher than average hostility towards human resource managers….

In “Standards of Ethical Conduct”, a 45-minute office comedy, filmmaker Roman Hardgrave presents the story of Heff, a cubicle-dweller who finds himself in conflict with his company’s nightmarish Standards of Ethical Conduct after an unfortunate incident at the annual company Halloween party. “Last Comic Standing” semi-finalist Chuck Roy co-stars as Heff’s stoner roommate, a man pursuing a very different sort of American Dream.

The movie has an extensive online presence, with the official site at www.StandardsOfEthicalConduct.com, the director’s blog at blog.dozapictures.com, and a YouTube Partner channel at http://youtube.com/dozapictures.

I can’t give you my own review yet, because I still haven’t sat down and watched it. Which is absurd, in that I work from home and don’t have to worry about the boss catching me goofing off. But there it is. I am remiss, and have only a self-imposed daily grind to blame for it.

However, I ran over to the Doza Pictures blog, and I have to say I’m intrigued by Roman’s guerilla marketing strategy.

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Creativity Workshop This Sunday in Broomfield

If you’re up Broomfield way this weekend, and if you’re an artist of any stripe, there’s a workshop going on Sunday with your name on it–

Wait. Back up a step. “If you’re an artist”–don’t let that phrase exclude you. Perhaps it’s better to say, “If you’re an individual with a creative bent–”

But, see, even that can be daunting. For every working artist out there, whether putting together his or her latest literary venture in a coffee shop or blazing out strokes of vibrancy on the canvas, there’s the friend or acquaintance or stranger who watches them and says, “I wish I was creative like you.”

They’re only a change of mind away from having their wish, because they already are creative, if only they would believe it! We all are creative. You are, too. Look: You are an individual human being. Being human means being a creator. And original? Of course you’re original. No one else speaks with your voice, takes in the world with your physical sense, parses that data with your brain. Every single one of us, and that means you and you and you–we are each a storehouse of creative works, of art, that only each one of us can bring to life.

Hence, this workshop, aimed to reconnect participants with that drive to create, because creating things is fun and is the natural human response to the world.

Loosening Your Creative Voice: An Interactive Workshop
Sunday, March 28, 2010, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Broomfield Auditorium Lobby Gallery
3 Community Park Road, Broomfield

Join us for this two-hour workshop that will nourish and loosen our creative voice, that inner conversation which too often is squelched by the busy demands of our everyday lives.

During our time together, we will explore activities that call attention to who we are and how we express our individuality. We will write, create a sand tray scene, listen to music and poetry, and connect with the physicality of creative expression.

There is no right or wrong here – just fun, introspection, and a sharing of our discoveries in a safe place. We’ll learn more about how we observe and how we respond to the immediate world, both around us and within us.

Workshop facilitators are my good friend Karen Douglass, an exquisite poet whose most recent book is The Great Hunger (Plain View Press, 2009); and musician and visual artist Ellen Laverdure, whose works in watercolor and pastel you can see at her website.

Workshop fee of $20 may be paid at the door, but do please register ahead of time to reserve your spot by call the Broomfield Cultural Affairs, 303-464-5835, or by calling Ellen, 303-495-3150.

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Amazon to Colorado Associates: “You’re Fired!”

Amazon.com continues to demonstrate their willingness to play the bully and to take hostages in their business dealings. Remember when they attempted to strong-arm the publisher Macmillian into pricing ebooks their (Amazon’s) way by deactivating the BUY buttons on all of their (Macmillan’s) authors, a tactic whose main victims were authors (who lost sales and possibly future publishing contracts thereby) and Amazon Associates affiliates (whose links suddenly were all broken), neither of whom had any say in the pricing scheme Amazon was supposedly protesting?

Not having yet learned how stupid it is to hurt the public whose opinion you hope to sway, Amazon have done it again. On March 8, they closed all Amazon Associates accounts owned by Colorado residents (some of whom aren’t even Colorado residents anymore, real smart there Amazon, there’s an extra helping of failsauce on your failburger) because they didn’t like the recent Colorado tax legislation:

In response to recent legislation in Colorado (HB 10-1193), Amazon.com has sent a letter to its affiliates in Colorado informing them that the on-line sales giant will no longer be advertising through businesses in the state that that make money by referring buyers.

In order to close a $1.5 Billion budget gap, Colorado Democrats this session have passed a law that would make it possible to collect sales taxes on on-line purchases by creating an economic nexus between state residents and on-line retailers.

The bill, which was part of a package of tax measures aimed at increasing revenue, originally sought to create a nexus between the state and on-line retailers based on their ties to local affiliate websites, which link to products. The bill was ultimately altered due largely to fears that retailers like Amazon would simply cut ties to Colorado companies that make money by referring buyers.

(Huffington Post, “Amazon Reacts To Colorado Internet Sales Tax Measure By Firing Its Colorado Associates.“)

So. Let me get this straight. To begin with, Amazon think they have as much right to influence Colorado legislation as do Colorado constituents, despite them not being Colorado constituents. Strike one. And they attempt to exert this right to influence Colorado legislation by essentially firing all their Colorado affiliates, and telling them that if they don’t like being fired, well, they should pressure their Colorado legislators into repealing HB 10-1193. Strike two. And they tell their Colorado affiliates this not back when the new bill was in the works, when a campaign of phone calls to legislators might have been a useful thing to organize, but instead on March 8, well after the new bill became law–and several hours after actually killing all the hostages. I mean the Associates accounts. Such that on March 8, with no warning, a whole bunch of Coloradans found themselves with broken links and a loss of revenue. Strike freakin’ three.

Given that HB 10-1193 was altered so that it would not affect affiliate referrals, why did Amazon still decide to fire their affiliates and yet still sell products to Colorado residents? Seems like, if you don’t want the burden of all that extra paperwork involved in either “collecting sales taxes or provid[ing] a summary of people’s web purchases in the state,” you stop doing business in that state so as not to be subject to that burden anymore. Why hurt an entire class of Colorado resident whose hurting gets you nothing but a loss of their good will? It would have made as much sense for Amazon to stop selling books by say, Connie Willis and other authors living in Colorado, and say that Colorado’s legislators “forced” them to do that.

Clearly, Amazon know better than to cut off their nose to spite their face. Thus they opt to spite their face by cutting off other people’s heads.

And for even richer irony, Amazon want you to think they oppose HB 10-1193 because it hurts small businesses. Newsflash: Amazon hurt small businesses by killing all Colorado-based Associates accounts.

There is, no doubt, a valid argument to be made against HB 10-1193. There are several arguments, ranging from “Not more tax-and-spend! Get out of my paycheck, big government!” to “Aren’t sales tax on online purchases prohibited by federal legislature?” to “Sales tax in any form is regressive and no state should levy it.” There are also arguments for HB 10-1193, such as “Online retailers, by not having to charge state sales tax, have an unfair advantage over local retailers, which advantage they enjoy at the cost also of everyone living in the state who relies on local infrastructure getting the funds allocated from sales tax in the state.” As I say, there are arguments in either direction.

But I’m not going to get into those arguments. I’m going to just point out the inarguable: Amazon think they are entitled to get their own way in all things, and are quite content to use hostage-taking tactics to get their way, hurting the very people who they ought to have sought as allies. Look, Amazon have actually managed to piss off opponents of HB 10-1193. That’s stupid of them.

I made very little with my own Associates account. I believe I had about $3 in there before they instituted a quarterly fee and reclaimed my meager earnings for themselves. And I had changed all my own Associates links into IndieBound Affiliate links back when Amazon, over Easter weekend 2009, suddenly delisted all search rankings for GBLT-related material as being in the “adult” category (because Heather Has Two Mommies = gay pr0n, right?) and subsequently tried to blame it on some dude in France. And the Macmillian incident only increased my resolve to close my Associates account. I aspire to be published by a Macmillian subsidiary myself, and I dislike having the validity of my links subject to sudden piques of Jeff Bezos’s temper. March 8, Amazon spared me the bother of closing my account myself. Amazon, you are dead to me. Good night, sweet prince. By which I mean “good riddance, you jerk.”

(Have you tried IndieBound, by the way? IndieBound helps you find books at, or refer people to, local, independent booksellers who actually have a stake in Colorado’s well-being! Unlike Amazon, who don’t even appear to have a stake in books!)

But I seriously feel for all those individuals and small businesses in Colorado for whom the Amazon Associates program provided a non-trivial portion of their revenue.

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Alpacas! In Longmont! So! Cute!

Alpaca at the 2008 Extravaganza

Alpaca at the 2008 Extravaganza. Photo snagged from Avedaggio's collection because the ones I took seem to be missing. Click for more.

…And soft, and fluffy, and did I mention cute?

This weekend is the annual Alpaca Extravaganza at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. As you may or may not know, Colorado is home to oodles of family farms where people raise a variety of animals–sheep, goats, llama, even yak–not only for meat or milk but also for their huggable, cuddlable, spinnable fur. Alpaca seem to be one of the most popular of these fiber animals. They’re docile, they make great pets, and they require very little space as far as grazing animals go. This weekend is your chance to get out to Longmont and meet some of them.

Seminars continue throughout the Extravaganza. The first, “Ranch Set-up for Efficiency and Ease,” is today at 10:00 a.m, followed by “How to Choose Your First Alpaca” at 11:00. The last will be tomorrow’s 2:00 p.m. “What to Do With All That Fiber,” which, if your fiber stash looks anything like mine (mega-voluminous, practically exploding out of the closet), you might find helpful.

Roxxane (baby alpaca) and Me

Another one of Avedaggio's photos from the 2008 Extravaganza. That's me in the green cap wearing the ''dead from the cute'' expression.

But a bigger attraction than the seminars are the animals themselves. Some 15 or so participating farms will be there with their critters, and you can walk right up to the pens and get all gooey-eyed looking at (and if you’re lucky, petting) the absolute adorableness of them. And as if alpaca weren’t heart-melting enough, there’s paco-vicuña, an alpaca-like animal bred for the qualities of its shy and endangered ancestor, the Andean vicuña. If you get a chance to touch the show-and-tell paco-vicuña fleece, don’t pass it up. (Me: “It’s so soft I don’t quite know when I’ve started touching it.” My husband: “It’s like touching the idea of softness.”)

To reiterate: All these awesome farms, animals, fiber and information are on display for your education and entertainment this weekend at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. On Saturday, February 27, hours are from 9:00 to 5:00; on Sunday, from 10:00 to 4:00. You can call (970) 484-9420 for more information or visit the Alpaca Breeders Alliance of Northern Colorado on the web.

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Fundraiser for Earthquake-torn Bhutan (Boulder)

First off, I know what you’re thinking. “When did Denver Metblogs turn into Boulder Metblogs?” Because today’s post is going to be about another Boulder doin’. Look, don’t ask me, there used to be like five of us blogging, all representing different areas of your basic Denver-and-surrounding. Then everyone sort of fell off the map what with life and stuff. Now I’m back (Hi!) and if no one else is yet they probably have good reasons.

So. Boulder! Tomorrow! Fund raiser for Bhutan!

The tragedy in Haiti has gotten a lot of air-time, and rightfully so. But a sad effect of big famous tragedies is how they obscure also big (in terms of human impact) but less famous tragedies. Sort of like after Hurricane Katrina, most of news was about New Orleans and not about, say, towns in gulf-coast Mississippi that had gotten wiped off the map.

The point isn’t to complain about this effect, but to do something about it. And some very good people are indeed doing something.

Bhutan has suffered three (3) major earthquakes in the past four (4) months (see September 2009). That’s a whole lot of shaking in not a lot of time, and the damage to infrastructural necessities has been immense. To raise money to help re-build, an event is going on tomorrow, Friday, February 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Unity Church of Boulder (2855 Folsom Street). The cost is $35, which covers food, drinks, and your seat in the audience for some wonderful cultural performances. All proceeds go directly to aid the rebuilding efforts in the affected communities.

The flyer says to RSVP by today, Thursday, February 25th, which is sort of almost over. (Sorry. I found out about the event late myself.) But I doubt anyone will turn your money away at the door–every cent will help so much. But to be safe, you might want to call ahead first:

Arunama: (303) 514-4177,
Akayah: (720) 839-6266

Even if you can’t attend, you might want to call to find out how you can help in other ways. (Also, see TLC Bhutan on Facebook.)

Please spread the word as much as you can. Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow: Alpacas! In Longmont!

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Homelessness In Your Community: Discuss.

Restoring the Soul, an organization facilitating the service collaboration of faith congregations, has been hosting a series of monthly community forums for several years now. In the organization’s own words:

One aspect of Restoring the Soul: Faith and Community Partnership’s mission is community education on crucial social issues. These Forums present current information via local, expert panelists who are personally involved with the topic issue. The Forums address the information needs of congregations, service agencies and the general citizenry.

(Emphasis mine.) February’s forum is on a topic near and dear to my own heart. It’s called “Homelessness: Compassion and Tension in Community.”

Tension is an appropriate word. I was here in early 2000 when the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless was struggling desperately to find a more adequate location than the converted motel they used to subsist in way up north on Broadway. A facility became available, one that would allow them to multiply their nightly beds, greatly expand their program helping residents transition into independence, and, being more centrally located, give residents better access to jobs and services–but it was too close to a middle school for Boulder parents’ comfort. Because homeless people are scary, dontcha know, they might sneak up to the fence and sell our kids drugs or, y’know, be visible…

The Shelter is in a much better facility now, but it’s still way the hell north on Broadway, at the very last stop of the SKIP route, far enough north that even the “Uptown” residents don’t have to be acutely aware that homeless people exist.

Well, they do exist, and there but for the grace of our paychecks go most of us. No matter how we may like to pretend it can’t happen to us because we’re good, hardworking people who would never bring the problems of homelessness and poverty on ourselves by being lazy and getting drunk or whatever–it can happen to anyone. All it takes is one unaffordable emergency, one medical diagnosis, one divorce, one abusive family member… And if it happens to you, do you think you’re going to suddenly turn into an amoral predator apt to corrupt children through a schoolyard fence? Would the inability to make the rent turn you into an urban danger overnight?

See also: Being Poor.

So. Important topic. Important forum. Open to the public. If you’re reading these words, you’re invited.

It’ll be this Thursday, February 25th at Congregation Har HaShem (3950 Baseline). The panel, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will be facilitated by Greg Harms, Executive Director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Panel members will be Joy Eckstine (Carriage House), Joe Pickett (St. Andrew Presbyterian Emergency Warming Center), and Jim Budd (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow). After the panel there will be half an hour for Q&A.

For more information about attending or how you can listen to a recording of the forum afterwards (via KGNU or online), please visit Restoring the Soul’s informational Forums page.

And thank you for reading.

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Elven Career Day Delegation to Visit Boulder Baptist Church


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Time for Health Insurance Reform

I am so frustrated I could spit!

At my company, we are going through our annual health insurance renewal process.  Our health insurance company (who shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty) raised our costs by 28%.  It should be noted that their original proposal was for a 33% increase and they “kindly” reduced it to 28%.

In my opinion, that is outrageous.  No other costs are increasing at that rate.  It is an extreme hardship on our staff and a boat anchor for our business.  We will never be able to get the economy going again if businesses across the US are forced to increase their health insurance costs by 28% a year.

My company essentially split the cost with our staff by absorbing a 14% increase in the premiums and passing on the additional cost to the heaviest users in the form of higher deductibles.  The only winner here is the insurance company.

Here is an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the same topic.

The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.  I don’t know if the health insurance legislation that is stalled in Congress is the answer, but I do know that they need to do something – and do it soon.  The Republican approach of denying and delaying is absolutely unconscionable.

Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila House

Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila HouseAgave had been “coming soon” to Boulder for the better part of a year since La Maricopa left the corner at 28th and Valmont. (You know the place. That’s where Gondolier used to be before they moved into where Magic Mushroom Pizza used to be.) Then, about three months ago, I saw Agave posting Now Hiring ads in the paper. And yesterday a friend told me they’d been open for a little while now.

I finally had a chance to try them out today.

The restaurant pings my “fine dining” radar, first with the fancy-schmancy name (“Bistro” tends to mean “add ten bucks”), then with the dimly lit interior, the dark wood veneer tables, and of course the top shelf tequila. (My dining companion and I did not sample the tequila. Next time.) Also, the availability of table-side guacamole reminded me of the high-priced Cantina Laredo Gourmet Mexican Food (“Gourmet” is sort of like “Bistro”) down on the 29th Street Mall. But our bill turned out to fall somewhere between a Cantina Laredo splurge and a Casa Alvarez comfort food dinner: $31 for the two of us, post-tax but pre-tip.

We each had a $10 tamale plate. For me, the omnivore, there were Tamales Rojos y Verdes: one chicken tamale smothered in a delicious green chili, one pork tamale in a slightly bitter (mole, I’m guessing) red enchilada-style sauce. For my vegetarian dining companion, the Tamales Agave, two tamales stuffed with black beans and spinach and covered in green chili. The tamales were presented beautifully, lying atop their corn husks, garnished with cubes of tomatoes and mango.

The dishes came with a common bowl each of beans and rice to share. We had our choice: for beans, refried or black or… I forget what they called it, but it involved chorizo; for rice, Mexican or lime-cilantro. We had Mexican rice and refried beans. The latter came garnished with queso fresco. We ended up needing extra rice (hot tamales!). They didn’t end up charging us extra.

For dessert, we split the fried ice cream ($7). It was just the right size for two people who weren’t sure they had room for dessert. It was everything fried ice cream should be: vanilla bean ice cream served in a tostada shell, covered with the requisite crunchy stuff, topped with whipped cream, garnished with mint and a sliced strawberry, and drizzled with a chocolate sauce so rich it verged on alcoholic.

So the food was awesome. The service was too; we felt more than adequately taken care of and never spent an uncomfortable time waiting for anything. My only complaint, if I had to complain–if you twisted my arm and said, “Complain! Complain, or else!”–was the noise level. We sat in one of the booths near the bar, and I could hear the conversation from the booth behind my friend better than I could hear my friend herself. Our own conversation involved a moderate amount of bending our heads over the table and going “What?” To mitigate this complaint, I should note that there was a party of eight having a grand old time at the big table nearby. And the restaurant was full up, prime dining hour full. So I’m not surprised it was noisy.

Before we left, we made sure to check out the happy hour specials and hours. It’s from 3 to 6 on weekdays, there’s half off of appetizers, and there are beer and margarita specials that I didn’t look too closely at. I mean, after all, we were going to be back soon. We could investigate more closely then, right?

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