Alto exterior Denver June 2009Alto
1320 15th Street (between Market and Larimer)
downtown Denver
Alto closed the last week of June.

Everything about Alto is beautiful: the restaurant, the bar, the servers, the food.

I went there last Wednesday to attend a reading arranged by Lighthouse Writers Workshop to show off the work of participants in the summer Lit Fest. I was one of the first people there, around 7:30 on a weeknight. The bar wasn’t busy, but it looked like a great place to have a drink. Alto bar Denver June 2009Toward the back, past the end of the bar where the servers hang out when they’re not busy, patrons can lounge on couches.

The reading was set up in the third room, separated from the middle room by a sheer curtain.Alto back room Denver June 2009

By the time the reading started at 8, people had filled up all the tables in the long, narrow room, and I was contemplating my dinner of two sides, mac and cheese and grilled asparagus.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to characterize Alto’s menu. You can get pork loin or mussels or BBQ ribs or pasta or salad or a burger. Several dishes seem Italian-influenced, but that’s as far as I’d go.

As is trendy these days, the macaroni and cheese was very rich. Alto mac and cheese and asp Denver June 2009I can’t identify all the cheeses just by tasting, but there was some kind of blue cheese in there, and the crust on top contrasted with all the gooiness underneath. The asparagus spears were crisp and tasted grilled. That lovely, filling food cost $10, but then I managed to spend 200 percent more on wine. What can I say? The waitress kept asking me if I wanted anything … and apparently I did. And from the look of the wine rack near the entrance, there certainly are wines-aplenty.

The Paul Dolan chardonnay was a bit too citrusy to stand up to the meal, but the Colores del Sol Malbec Reserva was big and fruity enough to do the job.Alto wine rack Denver June 2009

It was a nice evening, full of poetry and fiction and good food and wine. I got to catch up with old friends and make a new one. And it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do a mac-off around Denver to see which restaurant has the best mac and cheese. So far I’ve had the dish at 4 restaurants, but I’m sure that’s only a drop in the bucket. Maybe at the end of the summer I’ll start writing mac-off Mondays. I’ve written nearly 40 MonHaibuns, and, frankly, I just don’t give a damn anymore.
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Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL June 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    ‘I’ve written nearly 40 MonHaibuns, and, frankly, I just don’t give a damn anymore.’ LOL!

  2. Beth June 25, 2009 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Yeah, Bernard, I’m thinking I need some fresh inspiration. As a poet yourself, you know how that goes. I just came across a book of haibun reviewed in Frogpond, and I think I’ll read that to see if that man’s approach is different from mine. My haibuns have gotten stale.

  3. Mary June 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I love the mac-off idea — brilliant! Although I have to say, I just recently googled haibuns after reading yours and have been digging those posts as well.

    Maybe you can have regular “Mac-off Mondays” and offer a periodic “Holiday Haibun” feature.

  4. Beth Partin June 26, 2009 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Mary, glad you liked the haibuns. I think I need to get out of the box I’ve put myself in.

    Also, I’m not sure I could eat mac and cheese EVERY week…but you never know. 🙂
    .-= Beth Partin´s last blog ..Crazy About Denver: Capitol Woes =-.

  5. Vicki H. June 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Did you hear Alto has closed? You got there just in time.

  6. Beth Partin June 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Unbelievable! You’d almost think I personally jinxed it! 🙂
    .-= Beth Partin´s last blog ..Poem by Another: “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde* =-.

  7. […] 10 days after I first visited Alto Restaurant and Lounge on June 17, it has closed. I was looking forward to spending more time in the […]