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History Center opens with a bang

Wednesday’s grand opening celebration of the History Colorado Center was filled with all the theatrical elements an event could muster: drama, comedy, tragedy, melodrama and denouement.

The evening’s plot opened with a welcome speech by the Center’s CEO Ed Nichols, who addressed the VIP crowd that was invited an hour prior to the party for regular ticket holders.

Nichols acknowledged the companies that were pivotal in the making of History Colorado: Tryba Architects, Trammell Crow developers and Hensel Phelps Construction, whose work force spent more than 700 man years building the building.

“Our aim is not to teach history here but to create excitement about history,” Nichols said. “It’s time to celebrate with you who invest in Colorado’s future every day.”

The History Center opens to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday. Two more phases are to open in 2013 and 2014.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to shy away from a microphone, delivered the message that “Colorado state is more defined by its future than its past. That doesn’t mean that our past isn’t incredibly important.”

He inadvertently provided comic relief for the evening by saying, “Let me introduce our state governor Joe Garcia.”

Lt. Gov. Garcia quipped, “Thank you Lt. Gov. Hickenlooper. I will be brief because the governor wasn’t.”

Mayor Michael Hancock was next up in the batting order. “This has been the longest soft opening I have ever seen,” he said “I have been here for at least 20 events since January. … Congratulations, and let’s get this damn thing open!”

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The plot thickens

Attendees of the History Colorado Center grand opening celebration noshed on bountiful bites provided by K-M Concessions, the center’s exclusive caterer and food vendor.

Passed appetizers included skewered strawberries with prosciutto, mascarpone and fig puree and braised pork belly bites.

The saloon set on the second floor housed a real saloon along with buffets ladened with charred asparagus shooters with lemon caper burre blanc, caprese stack on mini baguettes, bison sliders on brioche, lamb chops with vegetable risotto and mini chicken osso buco with green chili grits.

Melodrama

Denver proprietors of competing houses of ill repute took their differences to a duel during the History Colorado Center grand opening festivities.

The two ladies of the night, in a dispute over the affections (and financial support) of gambler Cort Thompson, decided to put to rest their differences through a duel with pistols at 10 paces.

Thompson, ever the gentleman, “loaded” the wooden guns with rubberband ammo. The ladies, back to back, paced off 10 steps and turned, pistols pointed at each other. But in a dramatic twist, working girls Kate Fulton and Mattie Silks aimed straight at Cort. “It’s all your fault!” they shrieked as they fired the rubberbands.

Truckin’

The first food truck party Rollin’ Against Hunger, a fundraiser for Food Bank of the Rockies, rolls out from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at 2920 Larimer St.

Master chef Jake Gandolfo and his wife, Erin, are on a “culinary crusade” traveling the U.S. in a 32-foot RV while cooking and rallying to stamp out hunger.

Mile High Spirits is hosting the mini food truck party along with Crock Spot, Street Eats, NZ Smoking Guns, Mestizo’s, Aiko Pops and United We Feed.

Disco Inferno

Burn baby, burn. Got disco fever? Cherry nightclub at 231 Milwaukee has the cure with a disco tribute to the infamous New York hot spot Studio 54 to celebrate the long-gone club’s 35th anniversary.

So put on your boogie shoes and get your groove on from 6 this evening to 2 a.m. Saturday. More information: cherrydenver.com.

Good eats

Here’s a recap of places where I’ve nibbled and noshed recently:

* The Wooden Table, 2500 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village. Chef Brett Shaheen, formerly with Sambuca, Luca d’ Italia and Osteria Marco, and business partner Jane Duncan met at Sambuca and always knew they would open an eatery together.

They’ve created a culinary oasis in the middle of Greenwood Village in the shopping center that shares space with TJ Maxx Home Goods.

Shaheen insists on making all the pastas by hand, and the entrees including the bass and rabbit two ways are outstanding. Duncan is a pastry whiz whipping out housemade limoncello cheesecake and tres dulces cake; woodentablerestaurant.com.

* EDGE in the Four Seasons Denver Hotel, 14th and Arapahoe. Executive chef Simon Purvis and his team have created a spring/summer lunch menu at EDGE that’s filled with fresh ingredients indicative of the season.

Try the spring pea soup, frisee and arugula salad with strawberries and housemade ricotta, heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, make your own burger from the burger bar, and top it off with a Nutella marshmallow shake.

The EDGE “business quickie” menu includes a cup of roasted tomato soup, choice of sesame chicken salad, tamari glazed salmon or kobe slider, and chocolate brownie for $18. More at fourseasons.com/denver.

* Ambria, 16th Street Mall and Larimer St. I’ve loved this restaurant since it opened with chef Jeremy Kittleson, who’s since moved on. New chef Gabe Balenzuela from The Oceanaire Seafood Room is now putting his own stamp on the menu by bringing in more fish and shellfish dishes. Plus, the restaurant hired new marketing man Jim Guttau who threw a killer party Monday to show off Balenzuela’s kitchen skills.

The menu is eclectic new American with an outstanding halibut and granola-encrusted lambchops. Lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, brunch Saturday and small plates Sunday. Happy hour 2:30 to 6:30 Monday through Saturday with $5 glasses from a choice of 10 wines. Parking validated after 4 p.m. in the Tabor Center; ambriadenver.com.

* Margs Taco Bistro, two locations: 1519 Wynkoop and 200 Fillmore. Margs is part of the street taco craze, along with Pinche Tacos, El Diablo and the up and coming T|ACO from Troy Guard and the H Burger boys.

Margs goes beyond the Mexican borders to translate taco technology into global cuisine. Tacos include Italian caprese, asian chicken and slaw with peanut sauce, bietnamese banh mi, Korean portk, Caribbean jerk and Indian chicken vindaloo; margstacobistro.com.

Eavesdropping on a wife to her husband: “Honey, the Today show says you’re supposed to ask me how I’m doing and say that you love me three, four or five times a day.”

“Good gawd!”

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Lemocello cheesecake, unreal!

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Walnut apple tart

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Tres leches cake, all house-made desserts

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Duck, two ways

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Ravioli

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Black cod with cauliflower

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Salmon with spring peas

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Arugula with prosciutto

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