New Belgium Brewing Company
500 Linden St., Fort Collins, 970/221-0524, newbelgium.com
If you didn't catch one of the Shift Pale Lager launch parties that occurred at area bars near the beer's April 2 release, you can find 16-ounce tall-boy cans in four packs everywhere now ($9.91). And that's basically the big news, as the brewery has also phased in Fat Tire and Ranger IPA tall boys in tandem with the launch.
Shift, playing on the concept of a "shift beer" at work's end as well as the "shift" to the new packaging format, is an easy-drinkin' session beer at a relatively low 5 percent ABV. The pale lager style tends to achieve surprisingly big malt flavors considering its light color, and this beer follows suit. Bitterness is scant, but hop aroma presents along with a certain Pilsner-esque crispness. As for helping craft breweries re-legitimize the reputation of the tall boy (to paraphrase a recent Food Republic blog), that's just one more meaning for "shift." — Matthew Schniper
Olde Town Creperie
Mobile food cart, 439-5298, oldetowncreperie.com
Among the crêpe choices staring me in the face were an asparagus, ham and Swiss cheese concoction and a strawberry cheesecake option. But hot and spicy was the want, so we went with Old Town Creperie's savory Southwestern chicken crêpe ($7), throwing in hot Hatch green chilies for 50 cents extra.
This proved a wise move, creating a throat-burning mix of gooey Jack and cheddar cheeses studded with the chilies and broiled chicken cubes sporting a mesquite char, all wrapped inside a soft, but firm enough, 16-inch, neutral-tasting pancake (made with egg whites).
Sides of sour cream and picante accompanied but were largely unnecessary; mostly all you need for edible enjoyment is to find this credit-card accepting trailer in the first place. Hint: It's usually at the North Academy Boulevard Big Lots. — Bryce Crawford
5166 N. Academy Blvd., 268-9288
If you hate giant portions at reasonable prices, don't go here. Seriously, I'm consistently vexed at how much food one gets at the average Chinese place for cheap. At Overseas, an eight-year presence in the Springs, they even throw in a cheese wonton with the standard soup, rice and egg roll that accompany entrées, and an almond shortbread cookie with the fortune cookies. (Yes, I have a "magnetic and charming personality" — in bed. Tell me something I don't know.)
I took the chef's recommendation of the sesame chicken ($8.95), and the bone-in, crispy duck ($11.50). The latter is marinated, steamed, then grilled over a 48-hour period, rendering delightfully crunchy skin and soft, dark meat (a few pieces dry) served with a mildly tart, plum-y sauce. The chicken is wonderfully fluffy-skinned from a heavy batter, and sauce-sweet from clear sugar presence, over wonton noodles and a few veggies. MSG in all the soups: con. Super-nice staff: pro. — Matthew Schniper
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