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Natural mystics

As promised last week, we made contact with the folks from Naturally's Health Food Store & Café (naturallys.net), who say they're tentatively planning to open either the first or second week of February in the former Adam's Mountain Café spot at 110 Cañon Ave. in Manitou Springs.

Owner Ronda Burke, who's run the 30-year-old business in Texas since 2004, describes it as "a mini Whole Foods without produce." In addition to grocery items, it will serve a full menu from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with items like smoothies, breakfast plates, soups, sandwiches, pizza and much more.

Burke, originally from Wisconsin, earned her teaching certificate from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs many years ago, and recalls a fondness for Manitou Springs. On a recent trip, she revisited and felt "called to be here," and decided to make it happen: She and her husband Terry left a "dream home half a block from the beach," three businesses and five yet-unsold properties behind.

Her sister Laura Deck and her sister's husband Josh also made the move, and will help manage the store. Burke says it's "as much a spiritual thing as a business thing for us." Visit our blog at csindy.com for more on the business (and more food news).

New star at Blue Star

Earlier this week, the Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., thebluestar.net) announced that it has hired Lyon, France-born Daniel Gerson as its new head chef, following longtime chef James Davis' departure in late 2009 and chef Brent Beavers' very brief holding of the post shortly thereafter. Gerson brings international experience as well as a degree from Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts school in Paris.

In addition to other upcoming special dinners, the new crew will prepare a rich, five-course chocolate and wine dinner Wednesday, Feb. 23; seats are $70 plus tax/tip.

À la carte

Dick's Dogs & Diner (dicksdogsanddiner.com) recently opened at 101 N. Tejon St., offering breakfast all day, subs and a creative, internationally themed hot dog menu.

• Longtime Garden of the Gods Gourmet (2528 W. Cucharras St., godsgourmet.net) owner Sandra Vanderstoep announced Monday that she has partnered with husband-and-wife team Lynn Schlemeyer and Mike Cookson, who bring more than 50 years' combined "corporate executive level experience" to the venture. Expect expansion in several areas soon.

• The chef who holds the world record for the largest fruit sculpture display, Daniel Bartlett, will host a free, live, interactive cooking show at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2, in Colorado College's Gaylord Hall (902 N. Cascade Ave., chefdanielbartlett.com).

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