There were plenty of happy slurpers at the recently opened Rooster's House of Ramen, 323 N. Tejon St. And why not? Who doesn't enjoy tucking into a steaming bowl of noodles, fresh veggies and pork belly? This may be the first eatery devoted to ramen, the classic comfort food of Japan, to come to Colorado Springs. We can thank Mark Henry, who won segments of Food Network's "Chopped" and "Cooks vs. Cons" last year. He has been a chef at several notable eateries, including Brother Luck Street Eats.
Henry has kept the Rooster's menu short and tasty. Of the four appetizers, the two sampled included shishito peppers ($7), with teriyaki and lemongrass aioli topped with tuna flake, and grilled octopus ($9) with sticky rice, egg, Furikake (a seasoning of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar and salt) and bulldog sauce. Each offered interesting elements. For instance, the tuna flake had a visual "wow" factor as it gently "danced" on top of the ramen.
"We call it dancing," Henry said, "because the dried fish flakes are so thin that the steam from the soup makes them move."
On the octopus plate, the "egg" appeared to be slices of something like bread. According to our waitress, the eggs had been cooked like an omelet and sliced.
The menu offers three Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches): pork belly, kimchi chicken and bulgogi meatball ($9 each) and five ramen bowls from $11 to $15. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. Details: 578-3031, tinyurl.com/ksqp9a9.
Enrico Romagnoli and Molly Hamlin, owners of Carbonella Creations, have closed the tiny 390 N. Circle Drive location. They have moved their two Big Green Egg grills to 1169 N. Circle Drive. In this much larger place, Romagnoli will once again prepare his authentic Italian house-made pasta, fresh seasonal vegetables, house-made sausages, grilled meat and fish plates. An opening Monday is the plan. They are available for catering jobs currently. Once the new eatery is open, cooking classes will resume. Details: 213-1097, tinyurl.com/k4dyoyw.
The Crafts & Drafts passport, presented by the Colorado State Tourism Office, is online and ready for you to tap into specials for craft libations at 14 locations. Pound a path to at least five locations to enter a sweepstakes for prizes including a two-night stay in the region. Go to visitcos.com/crafts-drafts to download a passport and map to embark on your boozy trip through July.
Mother's Day deal
Mimi's is offering a three-course menu and complimentary raspberry brown butter seasonal bread for $18.99 per person. Start with a house salad, Caesar salad or cup of soup. Then select from six entrees and choose chocolate chip croissant bread pudding or seasonal muffin sundae for dessert. Moms also get a wildflower seed card. But there's more: When you dine at Mimi's on Mother's Day, you can come back to the eatery between Monday through May 28, which is Mother's Day in France, for a free entree (with purchase of a second entree and two beverages). Details: 3005 New Center Point, 622-8600; 7133 N. Academy Blvd., 590-1357.
'KVOR Table Talk'
Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:
- Damon Lavigne, executive chef at N3 Taphouse, 817 W. Colorado Ave., talks about the new eatery and the menu, which is decidedly more upscale fare than seen at most watering holes. Think steak Diane tenderloin filet with a classic French brown sauce or Colorado pan-seared striped bass with a miso-honey glaze finish. Pizzas are a big part of the menu and are made in a wood-fired pizza oven, which delivers puffy, crisp pies. There are 30 rotating tap beers in the upstairs and downstairs bars to wash down the good eats, along with a full bar and cocktails. A soft opening is underway with evening hours. Lunch is coming in the near future. Visit n3taphouse.com.
- Barbra Gibb, Colorado metro marketing and community relations director for Whole Foods Market, talks about the new taqueria concept that is being tested in 11 Colorado stores. She will also talk about other food concepts available in the prepared food area as well as upcoming events. Details: 531-9999, wholefoodsmarket.com.
- Natalie Seals, market manager for Colorado Farm and Art Markets, talks about the startup of the farmers market season and the vendors who will participate this year. Details: 640-6154, farmandartmarket.com.
- Eileen Tully, Colorado master gardener with the Colorado State University Extension, 17 N. Spruce St., talks about a series of gardening classes offered at the extension service including "Strawberries: Make and Take a Planted Strawberry Container" and "Herbs: Make and Take a Container Herb Garden." Details: 520-7690, elpaso.extension.colostate.edu.
Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to firstname.lastname@example.org, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.