June 21, 2008

Owens ‘Doing the Do’ at the Zoo

By Penny Parker

It would be tough to say which gubernatorial offspring are better looking: the Owenses or the Ritters.

"That's a close call," said former Gov. Bill Owens during Do at the Zoo, the annual food fest at the Denver Zoo, which this year benefited Asian Tropics, a 10-acre exhibit devoted to endangered Asian species. "But I know who the better-looking governor is."

"And who would that be?" I teased.

"Ah, don't make me state the obvious," Owens joked back. He was "doing the Do" with daughter, Monica, and oldest son, Mark, who both could be models.

Bill and Monica are about to leave for a trip to Russia, where the senior Owens will combine business and pleasure; Mark is traveling to India this summer. Former Colorado first lady Frances Owens chaired this year's zoo event, which attracted a record 48 restaurants to the sip-and-snack soiree.

The only hiccup is that it seems to rain on the occasion more often than not. The skies opened briefly, causing all the cocktail- dress-clad gals scurrying on their stilettos to take cover.

"I'm a tree-hugger all of a sudden," one woman quipped as she huddled under a tree. The rain reminded attendees that this is where animals call home. "Ahhh, the sweet smell of elephant," one man said when the rain enhanced the scent.

FIRST-CLASS FLAMINGOS: Haselden Construction honcho Ed Haselden is such a devout Denver Zoo supporter that he loaned his company's private plane to fetch a flock of flamingo eggs from Miami.

Thirty soon-to-hatch birds are the offspring of the famed flock of flamingos at the Hialeah Race Course. They were featured in the opening credits of TV's Miami Vice.

As society types were drinking and eating at Do at the Zoo, the eggs were en route to their new home.

PARENTS PLEASING: Since when does Parents Magazine give its stamp of approval to a burger chain? When that burger chain is Greenwood Village-based Red Robin, which was named one of the 10 Best Family Restaurant Chains in the U.S.

Red Robin was lauded for its family friendly atmosphere, an online kids club that gives a free meal on birthdays, a new menu that includes trans-fat free items such as macaroni and cheese and veggie burgers, detailed food allergy information, and its annual The Next Gourmet Burger Kids' Recipe Contest. More in the July issue currently on newsstands or at parents.com.

THE SEEN: English rocker Robert Plant, in town for a Red Rocks concert tonight, dining Thursday night at the Boulder ChopHouse.

EAVESDROPPING on a woman talking to a bartender about the band Starship at Do at The Zoo: "When was the last time you heard the song Sara?"


Originally published by Penny Parker, Rocky Mountain News.

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