Gust blows south

I didn't live here at the time, but I'm told that 15 to 20 years ago, Maxi's Lounge in the DoubleTree World Arena (1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., coloradospringsworldarena.doubletree.com) was the place to go on the south end. Well, it may be ready for a renaissance with the mid-November arrival of chef Jay Gust, coming off a year-plus at the Antlers Hilton with former Plate World Cuisine and Walter's Bistro chef Ryan Blanchard.

Gust, who's best-known for nearly 13 years as executive chef at the Ritz Grill, says his first mandate is similar to the one Blanchard got at the Antlers: Revamp banquet service, then jazz up the daily offerings.

That said, Gust's already put together a new menu that will debut at Maxi's in January. A sneak peek reveals signature martinis (thank you, Ritz experience), small plates such as mahi mahi tacos and Kobe beef sliders, and entrées like pepper steak, ahi and salmon plates, topping out at $26. In the Atrium Café, expect starters, salads and sandwiches mostly in the $7 to $10 range for lunch; as far as the Atrium's breakfast goes, modest tweaks will preface a full overhaul down the road.

Gust has also prepped two holiday meals: a Christmas in the French Quarter buffet from 1 to 5 p.m., Dec. 25 at the Atrium ($29.95) and a New Year's Eve celebration beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 ($75 dinner for two, room packages available). For both, reservations are suggested.

Hot meals

The National Restaurant Association (restaurant.org) recently released a chef survey titled "What's Hot in 2010." Good news for greenies: The Top 20 trends include locally grown produce (No. 1), locally sourced meats and seafood (No. 2), sustainability (No. 3), locally produced wine and beer (No. 5), sustainable seafood (No. 10), and organic produce (No. 12).

Also of note: Gluten-free/food allergy conscious foods placed No. 9 in the survey. Boxed wine, we're sorry to report, landed at No. 207.

À la carte

• Get out the goblets: The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (3011 E. U.S. Hwy. 50, Cañon City, 877/422-9463) has released its yearly Wild Cañon Harvest Wine. With last year's batch winning a gold medal from the Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, demand is high. This year's blend ($12/bottle) combines 22 grape varietals into a light, fruity wine ideal for rich food pairing.

• Attend the final two samplings of Summit at The Broadmoor's (1 Lake Ave., 577-5896) new winter menu from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday Dec. 16 and 23. $20 seats include demos and food and wine tastings.


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