For weeks now, I’ve been wanting to revisit Mad Greens and Wine, at 12th and Acoma in the Golden Triangle over by the Denver Art Museum (whose acronym lends itself to lots of stupid jokes).
I convinced my husband to join me there, but first I had a solo “splurge hour” at Gateaux down on Speer between 11th and 12th.
I wanted to see if I could match Timothy Ferriss’s record for cupcake consumption that he mentions in The Four-Hour Workweek (12 cupcakes in one day). But I have to confess I am a wimp when it comes to sweets: I could only manage 1 double-chocolate cupcake, 1 white chocolate peach torte, and 1 frosted cookie. Clearly, I require more training.
One question that recurs to me as I haunt Denver is this: “How do these small shops earn enough money to pay their bills?” I was in Gateaux for a little less than an hour on a Saturday, and at least 7 other customers came through the door, one to pick up a custom-made cake. I spent $14 on 3 pastries and a cookie (keeping up with Ferriss is not cheap, plus Todd required a cherry pastry), and I think one of the customers dropped $30 on a smallish cake. So the store brought in perhaps $50 in that hour? In an eight-hour day (and Gateaux is open only 5 days a week), that would be $400, or about $8,000 a month, not counting large orders like wedding cakes.
Half of the customers were white women and half were black; some were overweight, and some were skinny. One said, “If I worked at a place like this, I’d weigh 5,000 pounds ’cause I’d always have to taste everything.”
I guess that wouldn’t be as much of a problem at a place like Mad Wine. If you tasted everything there you’d be too drunk to keep your job. Though I wouldn’t say that Mad Wine has a large selection, I did enjoy the 2007 Muga Viura Malvasia from the Rioja region of Spain. (Wasn’t that a tongue twister? Viura, and, I guess, Malvasia, are the grapes here.) And I got the 2007 Montes Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley in Chile for half price. It was drier than the Muga, and better, I thought.
It wasn’t exactly a wine tasting, since Todd was immersed in his Cobb salad. Or I guess you could say he tasted the white wines I chose, and I finished them. Is that like being a cleaner? Or do you need French wines for that?
Our waiter/bartender/general party tender took good care of us. When this cheese plate came with Brillat-Savarin triple cream (France, on the left), Cana de Cabra (Spain), and Pecorino Ginepro (Italy), and I said, “I ordered the Manchego” (from Spain), he brought me a fourth cheese without apologizing overmuch.
I liked the first two, the soft cheeses, better than the other two. The Cana had a nice bite to it, and of the hard cheeses, the Manchego lived up to its nutty description from the menu. I think they might have paired better with red wines, but I ordered whites because Todd prefers them.
The last time I was in Mad Wine, I sat alone on the wine side of the restaurant, and the place was just about empty. This Saturday afternoon, there was a party in the main section of the wine bar and people getting coffee and salad and whatever else was to be had. More people milled around in the sculpture-laden space between the restaurant and the art museum. There was a busy, friendly feeling in the air.
So of course we had to spoil it by going to see a movie with incubi* in it.
*It just now occurred to me that the translucent square plates in front of the incubi faces might have been inspired by their name. And when they took off the plates, their eyes glowed like headlights (on buses?).
I think I’m taking this just a little too far.