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  • Restaurants: Right Place - Right Time
When we're worn out, the only thing we want to do for dinner is eat over the kitchen sink at home. Unfortunately, it's hard to find friends who want to do that with us. So on those nights, we ask them to meet us at Roaring Fork, where it's almost as comfortable, casual and homey. These people understand the need to feed at a low-key bar. It's still pretty, in one of the most bustling, beautiful people spots in the Valley. And it's still got some of the most interesting, delicious, well-priced nibbles to be found anywhere. The "saloon" menu is available in the bar only, from 7 to 10 p.m. It includes thrills like green chile pork stew with jack cheese and buttered flour tortillas; a half chicken rotisserie-roasted over pecan wood with queso anejo and charred tomato salsa; or smoke-roasted barbecued pork ribs braised in Dr Pepper and chiles. Best of all, the plates run less than $10 each, and we don't even have to do the dishes.

When is something old actually something new? When it's old as in authentic, but when it's new to Valley taste buds. And the Mexican food served at Los Sombreros is excitingly new. This isn't the typical gringo ground beef taco with Cheddar cheese, but the regional cuisine of and around Oaxaca. That means some exotica in ingredients, like cotija (dry crumbly white cheese), rajas (poblano chile strips), string-style white Oaxacan cheese, and cilantro crema. That means deep ethnic food, with things like mole poblano, a Puebla dish incorporating some 30 ingredients. That means high-class staples, like free-range chicken from Young's Farm in Dewey.

Often, dishes are unexpected, like tacos de birria de chiro (braised goat), and chilaquiles de camarónes (a comfort casserole of corn tortilla strips and shrimp simmered in salsa verde, jack cheese and crema). Even dessert is different here, so old, so new, with homemade vanilla ice cream spiked with toasted pumpkin seeds. It's a brave, nueva frontier here at Los Sombreros.

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