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Nacho ordinary sports bar chef? 

Dine & Dash

Sometimes we get tips from readers on dining spots not to miss, but rarely are they as funny as a recent e-mail promoting the new leader of Will's Sports Pub's kitchen.

A snippet, verbatim: "The new dishes which I have tasted tonight, where not just from a Pub cook. They where definitely from a 'Chef.' His name is Nacho. Chef he is definitely, Chef Nacho."

With advice to try his "unique Nachos" — featuring a "unique flare [sic] of spices" — or "ceviche on top of a small flour tortilla," we simply couldn't resist.

Thus we bring you the results, as well as what we found up the pass and just down the road.

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Will's Sports Pub

424 S. Nevada Ave., 475-2122

A few years ago, Will's offered a unique blend of gourmet food and sports-bar atmosphere. But a breakdown in the partnership between Fanz Bistro and the pub's ownership changed all that. A recent e-mail (see introduction) made us think that the food situation may have improved — the offered shrimp ceviche ($8.95) served as an encouraging sign.

Alas, Will's generally continues with its basic pub grub, even under chef Ignacio "Nacho" Baltacar.

Nicely presented in a cocktail glass, the ceviche's shrimp almost bounced with rubbery chewiness, though the acidity in the tomato, green pepper and onion mixture pleased. The nachos ($7.95) proved as unique as a Bud Light, arriving covered in a house-made red chili with onions, tomatoes and shredded cheese. No harm no foul, here, but no reason to leave the house, either. — Bryce Crawford

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Yummy Yaki Japanese Restaurant

1534 S. Nevada Ave., 227-0214

After 16 years serving Japanese staples at Yummy Yaki, Thai/Vietnamese owner Vinichai Seangsoy, at friends' request, began dishing Thai food a couple months ago. As explained by co-chef and manager Leo Weinman, the only trouble is that they only have one wok station devoted to it currently, and it'll likely be early 2012 before they add a second.

Since they can't afford to bog down lunch, Yummy Yaki serves Thai only from 3 to 8 p.m. on weekdays (all day on weekends). When we visited one night, we waited nearly 40 minutes for our entrées. The Khang Pineapple ($11.95) largely proved worth it, though, with the sweet fruit playing wonderfully with fresh kaffir lime leaves and basil strands over shrimp in a tomato-y coconut milk broth. Though ordered "hot," it wasn't very. — Matthew Schniper

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The Wines of Colorado

8045 W. U.S. Hwy. 24, 684-0900, winesofcolorado.com

Wines of Colorado, the creekside eatery on the way to Woodland Park, gives off a warm glow from an iron stove and a thick wood-smoke scent from an on-site smoker. On the cool, cloudy day I visited, it all led me to select the smoked salmon caesar salad ($11.95). It wasn't quite the perfect choice I hoped it'd be; though nicely seasoned, it was a touch dry.

A ribeye steak sandwich ($9.95), however, was better, delightfully tender and loaded with a flavorful and juicy mix of sautéed mushrooms, onions and medium-heat roasted green chilies.

With both our meals, we enjoyed samples from an array of Colorado wineries. A wine guide took us through the aisles, relaying detailed descriptions on the different varietals, with one simple request: "Forget the rules; drink what you enjoy." So we did. — Monika Mitchell Randall

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