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an epicurean experience - s u m m e r 2015 -

THE VAIL VALLEY’S BEST RESTAURANTS

BEAUTIFUL BACON It’s here to stay

CHASING THE WOLF Foraging in Eagle County


ART

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Serving the Vail Valley since 1972

810 Nottingham Road, Avon • 970-949-5390 • ruggsbenedict.com


VAIL DAN TELLEEN

Creating Heirlooms Since 1970

Photography by Brent Bingham/Vail Valley Magazine

Freshwater Pearls, 18k Gold Clasp

VAIL VILLAGE 970.476.4760


$65 Session • Where the Local’s Go 9 505 S. Main St. Station, Breckenridge 970.547.0900

8 25 Hurd Lane Avon, CO 970.748.1600

Holiday Inn West Vail, CO 970.476.7223


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VAIL DAILY MAGAZINE GROUP GM Susan Ludlow | sludlow@vaildaily.com

EDITOR’S LETTER

EDITOR Wren Bova | wren@vaildaily.com

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Stephen Lloyd Wood | swood@vaildaily.com

ART DIRECTOR Carly Arnold | carnold@cmnm.org

PHOTO EDITOR Dominique Taylor | dtaylor@vaildaily.com

MARKETING DIRECTOR Mark Bricklin | mbricklin@vaildaily.com

AD DIRECTOR Patrick Connolly | pconnolly@vaildaily.com

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Karen Suing | ksuing@vaildaily.com

NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Allison Zweig | azweign@vaildaily.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Charles Townsend Bessent, Kim Fuller, Katie Coakley, Kimberly Nicoletti, Caramie Petrowsky, Suzanne Hoffman, Traci J. Macnamara, Ashlee Bratton, Kristin Anderson, Melanie Wong, Nina Riggio, Polina LaConte

DESIGN TEAM SUPERVISOR Afton Pospíšilová | apospisilova@cmnm.org

DESIGN TEAM Ashley Detmering, Darin Bliss Madelyn LyBarger, Malisa Samsel

ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Krystal Brunell | kbrunell@vaildaily.com

ACCOUNT MANAGERS Beth McKenzie, Carole Bukovich, Chris Jacobson, Eric Burgund Heidi Bricklin

CIRCULATION MANAGER

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O O K I N G S H O W S PA I N T A S K E W E D P I C T U R E : that passion and creativity are all it takes to become an amazing chef. And extra credit for name-dropping. But as

any chef in the valley can attest, it’s long hours and back-breaking work that ‘s responsible for the proficiency their customers demand. We might see them as artists from the dining room, and there are certainly dishes that look more like paintings than dinner, but all chefs are cooks. And cooks are tradesmen and tradeswomen. Chefs might be lauded, but aching feet and raw hands don’t necessarily feel celebratory at midnight when sleep is still hours away, and tomorrow’s prep work looms. But despite this setup, chefs are a passionate lot. And creative, too. And it is downright gratifying to visit their taste-making temples and enjoy the fruits of their labor. We have chefs in this valley who order a whole pig and break it down in the kitchen not once but weekly. Chefs who have cultivated their own gardens, who travel for culinary inspiration, who take the time to greet the people in their dining room every night. Chefs who are willing to take our comfort into their scarred hands and both treat and delight us. In this edition of EAT, we visit many of the valley’s best restaurants. These aren’t critiques: The restaurant staff knows we’re coming, and they usually do the ordering for us. We taste things, we ask questions, we get to both participate and observe — and then we write our stories. We strive to give you an overview of each place, so you can make an informed decision about where to dine. But you don’t have to take our word for it — just go EAT. Wren Bova EDITOR

David Hakes | dhakes@vaildaily.com

VAIL DAILY PUBLISHER Don Rogers | drogers@vaildaily.com

SWIFT COMMUNICATIONS PRESIDENT Bob Brown | rbrown@swiftcom.com

COLORADO MOUNTAIN NEWS MEDIA GM Jim Morgan | jmorgan@cmnm.org

COLORADO MOUNTAIN NEWS MEDIA PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Bill Walker | bwalker@cmnm.org •••

an epicurean experience - s u m m e r 2015 -

COVER PHOTO BY

THE VAIL VALLEY’S BEST RESTAURANTS

charles townsend bessent

The mixed green salad at Mirabelle Restaurant in Beaver Creek is the essence of summer with pristine herbs, vegetables and a light vinaigrette.

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Publication Printers, Denver The Vail Daily is a wholly owned subsidiary of COLORADO MOUNTAIN NEWS MEDIA 200 Lindbergh Drive | P.O. Box 1500 Gypsum, Colorado 81637 p. 970.328.6333 | f. 970.328.6409 Copyright ©2015 Colorado Mountain News Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

BEAUTIFUL BACON It’s here to stay

CHASING THE WOLF Foraging in Eagle County

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9 PHOTO GALLERY Before pleasing the palate, these dishes delight the eyes. BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR & CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

15 THE EAT COMPENDIUM Snapshot views of the valley’s best restaurants. BY EAT STAFF WRITERS

60 THE WILD EDIBLE ADVENTURE Wolfgang Überbacher can eat his way up one mountain and down another — and teaches others to do the same. BY TRACI J. MACNAMARA

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BACON ... OR NOT?

BITE SIZED

A story of two Beaver Creek chefs, cured pork belly and the anti-bacon.

Something to nosh on…

BY STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD

BY WREN BOVA

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KIMBERLY NICOLETTI

WREN BOVA Editor Spice du jour: Cardamom. Best pick-me-up: Black tea with too much sugar. Or bourbon. Guilty pleasure: Indian buffets. Culinary hero/personality: The women — my sister, my mother, my grandmother. Cookbook of the moment: “Genius Recipes,” by Food52. Summer culinary goal: I’m not just going to buy the zucchini at the farmers’ market. I’m going to cook it, too. “I make perfect sourdough waffles.”

MELANIE WONG Writer Spice du jour: Fresh basil. Best pick-me-up: Vietnamese iced coffee. Guilty pleasure: Green-tea ice cream. Culinary hero/personality: Anthony Bourdain — how do I get his life?! Cookbook of the moment: “Momofuku,” by David Chang. Summer culinary goal: Grow a ton of mint on my deck and make some kick-ass mojitos to serve at my wedding. “I make perfect eggplant parm.”

Writer Spice du jour: Love. Best pick-me-up: Dancing to wild music in my kitchen. Guilty pleasure: Dark chocolate and kettle corn. Culinary hero/personality: My husband. Cookbook of the moment: Makin’ it up as I go along ... Summer culinary goal: To master gluten-free crepes. “I make perfect um ... powder turns? (Nothing is necessarily perfect in my kitchen).”

ASHLEE BRATTON Writer Spice du jour: Lime zest. Best pick-me-up: An excellent bowl of French onion soup. Guilty pleasure: Dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel. Culinary hero/personality: The classically quirky Julia Child. Cookbook of the moment: Cindy Pawlcyn’s “Cindy’s Supper Club: Meals from Around the World to Share with Family and Friends.” Summer culinary goal: To use up all the beets in my garden “I make perfect pour of a glass of wine.”

PAGE MCCLEAN

KIM FULLER

CONTRIBUTORS

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Writer Spice du jour: Curry powder. Best pick-me-up: Cappuccino. Guilty pleasure: Triple-cream cheese. Culinary hero/personality: Remy from "Ratatouille". Cookbook of the moment: “Tasting Colorado: Favorite Recipes from the Centennial State,” by Michele Morris. Summer culinary goal: Start making jam. “I make perfect granola.”

STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD Writer Spice du jour: Dry miso. Best pick-me-up: The Hendricks Gardener cocktail at Matsuhisa Vail. Guilty pleasure: The Masterpiece sandwich at Big Bear Bistro, Vail Village. Culinary hero/personality: Anthony Bourdain — he’s the best thing on TV right now. Cookbook of the moment: “The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces,” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Summer culinary goal: To make better sauces. “I make perfect green chile chicken enchiladas.”

Writer Spice du jour: Lemon peel. Best pick-me-up: Iced coffee. Guilty pleasure: Dulce de leche by the spoon. Culinary hero/personality: Dan Barber. Cookbook of the moment: “Jerusalem,” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Summer culinary goal: Bust out the ol’ Donvier and make some homemade ice cream! “I make perfect quiche.”

CHRISTINA HOLBROOK Writer Spice du jour: Thyme, fresh or dried. It grows wild in the field behind our house. Best pick-me-up: Any black tea brewed with cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, a slice of ginger, and a few whole cloves and black peppercorns. Wow! Guilty pleasure: Steak & a martini. There, I’ve said it. Culinary hero/personality: M.F.K. Fisher. I first read her book “As They Were” in High School, about living and cooking and eating in France. I began to understand that how you eat is also how you live, and how you love. Cookbook of the moment: Googling recipes online!


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KATIE COAKLEY Writer Spice du jour: Allspice. Why have just one spice when you can have all of them? Best pick-me-up: Dirty chai: a chai latte with a shot of espresso. Guilty pleasure: The breakfast burritos at Village Market. Culinary hero/personality: The last person that I watched on “Mind of a Chef.” Cookbook of the moment: “How to Cook Everything,” by Mark Bittman. Summer culinary goal: Become a grill master. Or, just be better at grilling. “I make perfect deviled eggs.”

TOWNSEND BESSENT Photographer Spice du jour: Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. I put it on everything — everything. Best pick-me-up: A wheat grass shot from the Green Elephant! Or anything coffee-wise from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. I hate to admit it, but Starbucks has a mean cup as long as it comes out of the Clover Machine. Guilty pleasure: Reese’s peanut butter cups. I was addicted to them in college, but I’ve curbed my habits to once a week or so.

Culinary hero/personality: John D. Folse is a great start. My mother is number one though. She doesn’t ever follow the recipe, but it’s always exquisite. Cookbook of the moment: “The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine,” by John D. Folse. Summer culinary goal: I want to make a deep fried peanut butter and jelly pancake sandwich. I’m gluten-free intolerant. “I make perfect chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.”

Cookbook of the moment: My great grandmother’s hand-written cookbook. Summer culinary goal: Cook the best hand-caught and smoked troat with a mango salsa. “I make perfect eggplant Parmesan.”

TRACI MACNAMARA

SUZANNE HOFFMAN

CARAMIE SCHNELL Writer Spice du jour: Curry. Still. Best pick-me-up: Iced coffee with honey and half and half. Guilty pleasure: Noosa yogurt. Cookbook of the moment: I haven’t. Random Internet recipe searches have replaced this habit lately. Summer culinary goal: Try a new recipe each week — something that used to be commonplace but went by the wayside after our daughter was born. “I make perfect stir-fry.”

NINA RIGGIO Photographer Spice du jour: Oregano. Best pick-me-up: Vista’s Hole 19. Guilty pleasure: Snak ums pudding cups. Culinary hero/personality: Massimo Bottura.

Writer Spice du jour: Ginger. Best pick-me-up: Peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich with glass of cold milk. Guilty pleasure: Epoissés with crispy baguette. Culinary hero/personality: Chef Elide Cordero of Ristorante il Centro in Priocca d’Alba, Piemonte. Cookbook of the moment: “Jerusalem,” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Summer culinary goal: Grill baby grill! “I make perfect baba ghanoush.”

Writer Spice du jour: My sister’s handmade gin sea salt blend. Best pick-me-up: A craft cocktail from The Rose in Edwards. Guilty pleasure: Homemade macaroni and cheese. Culinary hero/personality: My mom. Cookbook of the moment: Deb Perelman’s “Smitten Kitchen” cookbook. Summer culinary goal: Use fresh herbs from my window box whenever possible.

CARLY ARNOLD DOMINIQUE TAYLOR Photo editor & writer Spice du jour: Thai basil. Best pick-me-up: My morning homemade vegetable fruit juice and French press coffee. Guilty pleasure: Salted caramel gelato. Culinary hero/personality: Anyone with imagination and passion for cooking. Cookbook of the moment: “The New Best Recipe Book.” Summer culinary goal: Eat more salad and gelato. “I make perfect banana bread, even though I don’t like bananas.”

Designer Spice du jour: Anything in my Penzey’s spice set. Best pick-me-up: Juicing — it makes me feel healthy and energized. Guilty pleasure: Macarons. Culinary hero/personality: Anthony Bourdain. Cookbook of the moment: Bon Appetit magazines. Summer culinary goal: To grow more herbs and vegetables in my garden. “I make perfect spicy basil shrimp on the grill — my Mom’s recipe.”

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CONTRIBUTORS

Summer culinary goal: Eat lots of local fresh produce, in as many different ways possible. “I make perfect bread.”

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SUMMER O F S H OWS

ARTIST IN RE S ID E NCE

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

Dennis Sheehan

Fourth of July weekend through the Fall

970.476.4851

Anke Schofield July 17 & 18 Britten July 24 & 25

970.477.0600

James Jensen July 10 & 11 Devon July 25 & 26 970.476.5619

Anton Arkhipov September 5-7


PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

The olive-oilpoached halibut at Zino Ristorante is succulent, a nice foil for the tomato brodo and asparagus puree.


Chateau's masterful duck presentation includes layers of apricot, onion and scallions.

PHOTO BY CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

Splendido at the


Caprese gets a twist at Toscanini Ristorante thanks to the house-

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

made zucchini pickles.


Colorado Ceviche, Bol-style, means striped bass, squid, gulf shrimp, grilled hearts of palm and

PHOTO BY CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

sweet potato.


Yama Sushi’s silky and sweet live scallops make a pristine canvas for Chef Brian Jenkins’

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

geometric presentation.


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EAT HERE NOW VAIL 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 42 53

Grill on the Gore Elway’s Vail Big Bear Bistro Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant Vail Chophouse The Fitz Lounge Matsuhisa Vail La Tour Bōl Atwater on Gore Creek Bistro Fourteen Blu’s Restaurant Yama Sushi The 10th Flame at the Four Seasons Lancelot Game Creek Restaurant Tavern on the Square Blue Moose Pizza Old Forge Pizza Company

BEAVER CREEK 19 Beaver Creek Chophouse 33 Mirabelle Restaurant 34 Spago at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch 35 Hooked 36 Beano’s Cabin 37 Bachelors Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch 38 Black Diamond Bistro 39 Splendido at the Chateau 40 Toscanini 41 Buffalos at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch 42 Blue Moose Pizza 43 Revolution

AVON 44 Kiwi International Delights & Coffee Co. 45 Boxcar Restaurant & Bar 46 Green Elephant Juicery 47 Vin48 48 Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilería 49 Castle Peak Grille

EDWARDS 50 Zino Ristorante 51 The Rose 52 52 Grouse on the Green & Mirador at Cordillera 53 Old Forge Pizza Company 54 TimberHearth 55 The Gashouse 56 Delite and Bowl Noodle House 57 Vista at Arrowhead

WOLCOTT 58 Wolcott Yacht Club


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GRILL ON THE GORE

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1778 VAIL VALLEY DRIVE / VAIL GOLF COURSE 970.477.5264 / GRILLONTHEGORE.COM

VAIL

by KATIE COAKLEY photos by HANNA KING

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n a town that’s understandably proud of its patios, there’s one location that hovers under Vail’s radar. Folks in the know extol the virtues of this small space, but you’ll have to twist some arms to be let in on the secret: Grill on the Gore, located at the Vail Golf Club, has some of the best views in town, with a straight-on shot of the Gore Range welcoming golfers and non-golfers alike; it’s simply a matter of making your way over. Frequented most often by those who measure their lives nine holes at a time, Grill on the Gore is a bit difficult to describe: It’s a new restaurant in a well-known space; the menu is replete with classic American fare, yet there are subtle twists that make each dish unique; it’s open until 7 p.m., but technically does not serve dinner as the lunch menu is served all day, in addition to a developing après menu. Yet, for all of the seeming contradictions, it works. Chef Rick Ammer knows what his guests are looking for and he’s happy to provide it. He’s focusing on solid, archetypal dishes like the Reuben sandwich, but twisted into a panini. Instead of a chopped Cobb salad, Ammer’s version is almost re-constructed, with large pieces of chicken, whole slices of

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hardboiled egg and big chunks of bacon on a bed of mixed greens. These little touches are evident almost from the moment you settle onto the sunny patio, ready for the roasted tomato and corn salsa served with homemade potato chips, or the restaurant’s signature house-smoked wings in traditional buffalo, sweet

chili lime or jerked style. As a selfproclaimed wing-guy, Ammer says he’s worked a lot of recipes over for just the right taste and texture. “We’re creating a lot of our menu in-house and we’re really focusing on quality,” Ammer says. “Some people look down on cooking a burger, but we make it the best burger we possibly can. It may be simple, but it’s high quality.” Simple may not be the best word to describe the burger — perhaps savory, sumptuous and satisfying are more apropos. A half-pound of natural Angus beef cooked to a perfect medium temperature with cheddar, bacon, barbecue sauce and crispy onions, the Par 4 is best enjoyed after 18 holes of golf, or a particularly grueling hike or bike ride. The word is getting out about the Grill on the Gore, spreading on the warm summer breeze that blows in from East Vail and over the manicured greens of the Vail Golf Club. So make your way to the patio for lunch or gather with friends for après — no irons or clubs necessary. •

The Par 4 Burger includes bacon, crispy onions, cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. left The seafood special changes weekly, and features everything from trout to shrimp. above

PRICE

Apps: $3.95-$10.95 Entreés: $10.95-$15.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Laid-back and friendly •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Cobb salad; Par 4 Burger •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

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ELWAY’S VAIL by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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f there’s one word to describe the attitude at Elway’s Vail about its menu based primarily around thick, juicy, indescribably delicious USDA prime cuts of red meat, it’s unabashed. Everything about the sleek, contemporary restaurant, from its open kitchen and bar area to its extensive lists of cocktails and wines to its signature seasoning, succulent sauces and side dishes, is geared toward that moment when mouth meets meat, every cut a masterpiece of quality, selection and preparation. Sure, you can fool around with some very fine ahi tuna, salmon or a roasted half-chicken, or even take the “all steaks can surf” option that adds a Maine lobster tail to any item on the meaty menu. But, if you truly want to experience what the namesake Broncos quarterback had in mind when he opened the place in the Lodge at Vail in 2011, you’re better off surrendering to a full rack of Colorado lamb, a prime 13-ounce bone-in prime filet or, unabashedly, an 8- or 16-ounce New York strip — with all the trimmings, of course. “The No. 1 question we get here is, how do you guys do it?” says Adam Brown, executive chef, stressing how his entire staff is “well-educated” on

174 EAST GORE CREEK DRIVE / LODGE AT VAIL, VAIL 970.754.7818 / ELWAYS.COM/VAIL

how each and every item is prepared and served. “We just take the time to make sure everything is done perfectly.” Take the cocktails, for instance. Bartender Mel Szabo is a master at one of the establishment’s most popular cocktails, the Hunter S. Thompson, made with Woody Creek vodka, freshsqueezed grapefruit juice, ginger and a dash of Aperol; and she’s got Negroni, a sinfully smooth elixir of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, developing in a small oak barrel on the back shelf. Appetizers, such as the grilled artichoke with garlic aioli, drawn butter and lemon, then set the stage for scrumptious salads, such as the “new-and-improved” house offering, chopped to perfection with mixed lettuces, cherry tomatoes, bacon and egg, topped with shaved radishes

PRICE

Apps $14.50-$23.50 Entreés $18.50-$63 and lemon croutons and tossed with a perfect parmesan vinaigrette. “It’s the dressings that nail these,” says Chef Adam. Then there’s the wine list, renowned for its roughly 650 different labels in high season based specifically around what this fine steakhouse has to offer. Sommelier Dave Meirowsky, successor to the beloved Jim Lay, says he’s broadening the selection for “balance, having something for everyone while introducing new ideas.” Value-conscious diners, he suggests, should take advantage of Elway’s extensive wine-by-the-glass program. “With any dish, no one wine pairs better,” Meirowsky says. “They all pair differently.” In the end, however, there’s no bones about it: Those flawless, hand-cut

•••

AMBIANCE

Contemporary steakhouse •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Prime 13-ounce bone-in prime filet, New York strip or Colorado rack of lamb •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Think cookies and ice cream for dessert

steaks — rubbed with Elway’s famous seasoning, perhaps smothered in a peppercorn sauce that’s three days in the making and accompanied by an a la carte menu of eternal classic trimmings like sautéed asparagus and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes — are the real stars here. Unabashed, indeed. • The U.S.D.A prime, 13-oz, bonein filet, with a selection of sauces and sauteed mushrooms. top right Elway’s “new-and-improved” house salad of mixed lettuce, tomato, radishes, bacon, egg, grated parmesan, lemon croutons with parmesan vinaigrette dressing. left The grilled artichoke with garlic aioli, drawn butter and lemon. top left


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297 HANSON RANCH ROAD, VAIL 970-445-1007 / BIGBEARBISTRO.COM by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n a resort town known for its posh restaurants, jewelry shops and real estate offices, sometimes it’s nice just to sit outside on a street-side patio and sink your teeth into a delicious deli sandwich. That experience, and a whole lot more, is on offer at Big Bear Bistro, right on Seibert Circle near the top of Bridge Street in Vail Village. “Locals know we have the best sandwiches in town, and that we do breakfast all day,” says Vidette Gehl, who opened the bistro in 2008 with her husband, Mike. “What’s new is the patio, where you can relax with a beer or a glass of wine and watch the world go by.” Perhaps the most fun you can have between two pieces of bread comes with biting into the aptly named Masterpiece — an artfully crafted combination of maple-glazed ham, prosciutto, cappicola, salami and provolone cheese carefully layered around a central soul of arugula glazed in honey balsamic vinaigrette and tangy banana peppers — all on a warm, fresh-baked, organic ciabatta roll from Avon Bakery. The accompanying slice of pickle will knock your socks off. There are other sandwiches, too, of course, like the classic turkey Club; the Ultimate Grilled Cheese, a four-cheese medley with tomato; and the Mo, a vegetarian delight of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and sweet fresh basil pesto. All meats at Big Bear Bistro, along with that pickle, come from the Boar’s Head Brand, an icon in gourmet meats and other deli delicacies since they first delivered products by horse-drawn wagon in New York City in 1905. Many gluten-free and vegetarian items are on offer, as well. “Boar’s Head is the best you can get,” says Gehl, a Vail local for 30 years. “I have New Yorkers tell me these are the best sandwiches they’ve

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BIG BEAR BISTRO

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PRICE

Breakfasts: $8-$10 Sandwiches: $9.50 Salads: $7-$11.99 Après: $8-$10 Beers: $2-$5 Wines by the glass: $5-$12 •••

AMBIANCE

Delicatessen/coffee shop/ local’s hangout for breakfast and lunch •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Masterpiece Sandwich •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Oh yeah

had since they left the city — and they know their sandwiches.” Soups and salads abound, too, as well as a hearty morning menu complete with Italian Lavazza coffees, custom breakfast sandwiches and burritos, even sweet and savory crepes made by hand on an old-fashioned crepe maker. Afternoon on the patio? Try the charcuterie plate, with “very highend meats and cheeses,” says Gehl, or one of three tasty bruschetti. It’s all made even more appealing by the

bistro’s selection of fine wines by the glass, from sparklings to reds and whites, even rosé, from $5; local microbrews, such as Crazy Mountain and Bonfire, can be had for $4; or there’s always “PBR” for just $2. “If you’re hiking, biking, going to concerts, whatever,” Gehl says, “this is a great place to pick up a sandwich, chips and a drink for a picnic on the mountain.” Big Bear Bistro is open every day this summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ... or later for concert-goers. They’ll deliver anywhere in Vail Village, as well, even to the base of Gondola One. •

top The Masterpiece Sandwich includes maple-glazed ham, prosciutto, cappicola, salami and provolone, as well as honey-balsamic arugula, banana peppers and cracked-pepper aioli. above The chocolate-strawberry crepe is best with a cup of coffee.

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PRICE

Apps: $6.50-$17.50 Entreés: $20 - $36 •••

AMBIANCE

Warm and welcoming with a European sensibility •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Wienerschnitzel; jägerschnitzel; apple strudel •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, certainly

PEPI’S BAR & RESTAURANT by KATIE COAKLEY photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n the corner of Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive, in the very heart of Vail Village, a building shines. This radiance is not only due to the bright yellow paint that covers the façade and reflects the summer sunlight like a golden beacon, but it’s also because of the feelings that this structure evokes: nostalgia, joy and a full stomach. Sitting on the patio at Pepi’s allows you to capture the perfect summer memory: bright sunshine, the bustle of people as they stroll along the cobblestones (Pepi’s holds a prime location at Vail’s foot-traffic crossroads) and a meal that firmly ingrains itself in your taste buds’ long-term sensory storage. “I ate here seven years ago,” my dining companion told me. “You remember that trip — I ate at a lot of places. But this meal, the mushroom strudel at Pepi’s — that is one of the two I remember.” It’s true — that visit is one that sticks out in terms of the gastronomical heights that were experienced; just about every restaurant in Vail was sampled. But that’s what Pepi’s is all about — a blend of traditional Austrian cuisine and creative dishes that have guests returning year after year to submerse themselves in the flavors that are both familiar and new.

“It is like a little challenge because of that,” said Helmut Kaschitz, executive chef at Pepi’s. “There are certain items on the menu that have to be on there. If you take them off, people are going to mutiny.” Abandon all thoughts of mutiny— there is something to delight almost everyone on the menu. Start with the beet salad, a colorful blend of red and golden beets that are perfectly roasted and burst on the tongue like a ray of sunshine. The apples perfectly complement the texture and sweetness of the beets while the arugula provides a spicy contrast that keeps the entire dish balanced. It’s a dish that celebrates the summer in both color and flavor. The entreés vary from the traditional favorites, like wienerschnitzel and jägerschnitzel, to internationally inspired dishes, like the rack of lamb or the pepper steak “Madagascar.” There is also a variety of wild game on the menu, an extension of the Antler’s Room menu, a popular winter dining destination. “We decided to put a few items (from the Antlers menu) on in the summertime to see how it goes and I have to say, very surprisingly, it goes very well,” Kaschitz explains. “The venison is something that we took over from the winter to the summer. It looks like it’s working. We’re very happy with how everything goes.”

The venison is superb. Incredibly tender, the deer must have been sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic because it’s an almost veal-like tenderness that you don’t get in truly wild venison. The medallions rest on a bed of rosemaryspiked roasted potatoes with a wild mushroom sauce that warrants a judicious mopping up of the plate.

231 EAST GORE CREEK 970.476.5626 / PEPIS.COM

Pepi’s, located at the Hotel-Gastof Gramshammer, has been a Vail icon for more than 40 years. The hotel was built more than 50 years ago, recently celebrating a golden anniversary with the town. And though Vail has changed, there are some elements that remain bright and sharp in your mind — undiminished by the gradual softening of memory and time. Pepi’s is that memory. If the polka dotted umbrellas or smiling, dirndl-clad waitresses don’t immediately evoke the gilded light of summers past, simply have a seat on the patio and order the wienerschnitzel or indulge in a bite of apple strudel. Culinary time travel achieved: You’re transported. • above Herb-crusted rack of lamb, potato puree, baby carrots, natural jus and chimichurri. left Skillet-seared scallops, grilled polenta, tomato confit and rustic tomato vinaigrette.


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BASE OF THE GONDOLA, LIONSHEAD / 970.477.0555 / VAILCHOPHOUSE.COM BASE OF CENTENNIAL LIFT, BEAVER CREEK / 970.845.0555 / BEAVERCREEKCHOPHOUSE.COM

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ummer evenings move at a slower pace, one that invites you to eat dinner as late as you want, or play an extended game of bocce at the base of Beaver Creek mountain while basking in the alpenglow. With their slopeside locations perfectly suited for summer fun, both the Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse locations invite a festive feel. So don’t be surprised if you linger outside on the patio, and don’t worry, either, because the fun will follow you straight to your table. At both Chophouse locations, in-house magicians will amaze kids, and the kid inside of every adult, five nights a week throughout the summer season. Plus, every Wednesday night is Oyster Night, complete with drink specials, freshly shucked oysters, grilled oysters, and oyster shooters. But even if you miss out on Oyster Night, you can experience the incredible variety of the Chophouse

seafood bar when you order its showstopping seafood stack, a platter that’s loaded with fresh oysters, mussels, shrimp, lobster tail, crab legs, and the best crab and avocado cocktail you’ve tasted. The Beaver Creek Chophouse location features the C Bar, which gives a casual and contemporary feel to a space recently remodeled with inspiration from Beaver Creek’s sister resort in Lech, Austria. The C Bar is where you’ll want to have a fresh summer cocktail such as the City Mule, a play on a classic that contains whiskey instead of vodka, housemade peach puree, peach bitters, and ginger beer. This space is cozy enough that you’ll want to stay--and you can--but more magic happens in the main dining room, too. The Chophouse is, at its heart and center, a meat-lovers place. While the menu is chock full of tantalizing choices that range from fresh seafood entreés to gourmet sides (Bacon and Blue Mac n’ Cheese, anyone?), steak is what the Chophouse does best. Embrace it, and order the 20-ounce bone-in ribeye,

and let each bite elevate you to some version of a carnivores-only heaven. In addition to its standout steaks, Corporate Chef Jay McCarthy attributes the Chophouse’s success to its team members, several of whom have known each other for more than a decade. “You’ll find a bunch of people here who have the hospitality gene,” he says. “We’re happy to serve you a salad and also recommend a fly fishing guide or a favorite bike trail at the same time.” Seeing Beaver Creek’s Fourth of July celebration fireworks from your table might make the sweetest ending to a summer night at the Chophouse. Special-occasions aside, there’s always the ice cream sundae cart to elicit squeals from kids who love sprinkles, or the triple-layer chocolate cake to make you weak in your knees. • The Seafood Stack features the best — and freshest — from the sea. top right The Ultimate Bloody includes shrimp, a Chophouse Slider and a jalapeño bacon strip. top left

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by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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PRICE

Appetizers: $8-$17; Entreés: $16-$59 •••

AMBIANCE

Fun and festive slopeside dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Steaks, summer oyster frenzy, and gourmet sides •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, very. Tableside magicians. Need we say more?

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PRICE

Appetizers: $7-$12; Entreés: $12-$28 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual, creek-side deck dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Saffron carbonara pasta •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, a special kids’ menu is available

THE FITZ LOUNGE MANOR VAIL LODGE 595 EAST VAIL VALLEY DRIVE / VAIL, COLORADO 970.476.5000 / MANORVAIL.COM by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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othing speaks of summer more than the sound of a murmuring creek, and from the main dining deck of Manor Vail Lodge’s The Fitz Lounge, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of Gore Creek as you sip craft cocktails or take a break from other activities to dine in a stunning location. At The Fitz, which has a great Tuesday Taco Night and live music nights, too, you’ll experience the full meaning of the restaurant’s tagline, “Comfort Food, Elevated.” Plus, its second, slopeside deck is complete with fire pits and overlooks Vail Mountain’s Golden Peak. With Manor Vail’s fine dining restaurant Lord Gore open only for special events and private bookings this summer, all focus is on The Fitz, and Executive Chef Weston Schroeder is excited to have the extra creative time in the kitchen. Inspired by a

recent trip to Italy, house-made pasta dishes that contain simple, classic ingredients make a showing on the summer menu alongside some amazing comfort-food concoctions. “I grew up in a house where everyone cooked and where food was the social center of our home,” says Schroeder. “We just wanted good food, and that’s what we do at The Fitz, too, with highquality ingredients and a fun, laid-back atmosphere.” Fun is exactly what you’ll taste when you start out sipping the Watermelon Cadillac, a twist on the classic margarita that contains fresh squeezed lime juice and watermelon puree. The salted rim of your glass complements the drink’s fruity sweetness, as if you’re eating a luscious slice of watermelon sprinkled with salt. Exciting sandwiches such as a fried green tomato BLT and a buttermilk chicken sandwich are comfort food selections that will leave you feeling more than satisfied if you choose them for a main course. And if you’d like to

go for something beyond finger food, then choose the crab cakes or one of Schroeder’s signature summer pasta dishes. The perfectly plump crab cakes arrive atop a friend green tomato on a plate strewn with pickled cucumber and drizzled with bacon vinaigrette. And in the pasta dishes, you’ll discover the artistry in simple ingredients whose sum equals more than the parts. With the Manor Vail bridge crossing Gore Creek just below The Fitz’s main dining deck, you’ll find that a stop at The Fitz is certainly warranted on your way

to visit the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens or to enjoy the many events held this summer at Ford Amphitheater. It’s in the best location for a drink, snack, or meal on the way, but it’s also the kind of place you’ll want to make a part of your summer routine even if it’s not en route to your next adventure. • Slow-roasted pork tacos, salsa, asadero cheese, pickled red onion, chili crema. above Fried green tomato BLT with thick-cut bacon on artisan wheat bread with arugula and lemon-garlic aioli. top


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MATSUHISA VAIL

141 EAST MEADOW DRIVE / SOLARIS / 970.476.6628 / MASTUHISAVAIL.COM

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by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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erhaps due to the namesake, Nobu, being virtually synonymous with the world’s best sushi, it’s easy to feel a bit intimidated, at first. But once you settle in at a table and start the process of enjoying what the place has to offer — including the best views of Vail Mountain available from any restaurant in town — you soon appreciate an experience far different than any other: the art, and heart, behind Matsuhisa. “Even if you were able to follow my instructions faithfully, using precise amounts of identical ingredients, I am quite sure that you would never be able to perfectly recreate the same flavors and textures,” says Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, famous worldwide for his Asian-South American fusion cuisine. “I always put something special in my food — my heart, or kokoro as we say in Japanese.” Nobu, a native of Saitama, Japan, first established himself as a sushi chef in Lima, Peru, before moving to Los Angeles and starting what’s become an international empire of more than two dozen traditional sushi restaurants, from Malibu to Milan, Budapest to Beijing, Honolulu to Kuala Lampur, as well as grand hotels in Las Vegas and Manila. The Vail restaurant is one of only five that carry his last name, Matsuhisa. It’s their term for serving food family style, where members of a party can easily share the food and the experience — less traditional than a sushi bar, yes, but more open to creativity, which is what fusion cuisine is all about. In Vail, this fusion comes to fruition at the hands of Brian Busker, head kitchen chef, and Toru Watanabe, head sushi chef. There’s no better way to enhance your understanding of fusion — combining elements from different cultures and culinary traditions — than with Matsuhisa Vail’s very own Hendricks Gardener cocktail, made of Hendricks gin and lime juice with serrano pepper, ginger and cilantro all muddled together in a martini glass. “Powerful and super-fresh, and every sip is better than

the last one,” explains Austin Smith, 23, a server here for two years, though his knowledge of the menu and how each dish is meticulously prepared seems far more mature. Cheers to fusion! For starters, Smith recommends the signature yellowtail jalapeño sashimi, “the No. 1 most popular dish in all the Matsuhisa restaurants,” comprising six exquisite pieces of hamachi, a Japanese yellowtail, topped with a touch of garlic pureé and a wafer-thin slice of washed-

and-seeded jalapeño and finished with “a very high-end” yuzu citrus soy sauce. The chefs recommend a leaf of cilantro on each piece, Smith adds, and you’ll appreciate why. Smith’s favorite menu item — “it’s going to blow your mind,” he says — is the Bincho Dry Miso, a fusion of Asian and European flavors comprising half a dozen pieces of seared white albacore tuna topped with tiny piles of dry red bean miso powder and chives and finished with a wonderful yuzu truffle dressing. “The dry miso gives it really nice salt, crunchy texture and you have that really silky smooth, buttery truffle oil on the bottom and the yuzu to balance it out.” Looking for a substantial piece of fish? It’s not on the menu, but you can ask for the broiled, then seared, Yellowtail Collar, served with a real fork instead of chopsticks and sided with tangy ponzu. Or, if you’re hoping to wow your party with presentation alone, ask for another off-menu item: the Chef’s Sashimi Sampler, a doubledeck array of three

items — always including the toro tartare, or finely chopped tuna belly, with white sturgeon caviar and wasabi — suspended on ice and illuminated from underneath. Intimidating? Not really. • The chef’s sashimi sampler, with toro tartare and white sturgeon caviar as the centerpiece, is quite a presentation. left The yellowtail collar, broiled then seared, is served with a tangy ponzu sauce. above

PRICE

Apps: $11-$34 Chef’s Tasting Menu (Omakase) $125-$175 Dinners: $29-$42 •••

AMBIANCE

World-famous JapanesePeruvian fusion cuisine in a super cool contemporary setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Yellowtail Jalapeño •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely, something for everyone!


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LA TOUR by MELANIE WONG photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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a Tour Executive Chef Thomas Newsted believes in layers of taste and attention to details — which is why even ordering a somewhat common appetizer of tuna sashimi is an unexpected experience. The rich red cubes of fish come sitting on a delicate bed of pea shoots, scallions and avocado, marinated in a Pan-Pacific inspired tangerine poke sauce. It’s all sitting inside a sealed mason jar, which

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122 E. MEADOW DR. / 970.476.4403 / LATOUR-VAIL.COM PRICE

the server pops open to release a lazy trail of smoke and a pleasant whiff, like some kind of sweet-smelling campfire. Newsted believes it’s playful presentations such as these and the dexterous use of flavors and spices that make a meal special. That creativity is also what keeps things fresh at La Tour, a Vail Village mainstay. “I love aromatics, spices and herbs. My dishes have a lot of layers to them,” Newsted says. For the perfect warm-weather dish, try the melt-in-your-mouth pan-roasted halibut served with a summer ratatouille

and topped with roasted truffles. You’ll smell it before you ever see it, and it pairs perfectly with a glass of chilled white Burgundy. (By the way, don’t forgo a glass or bottle of vino at La Tour, as the restaurant has cultivated one of the most impressive wine lists in town.) While La Tour has its roots in “modern French” cooking, diners will find global fare for a variety of palates. In fact, Newsted says his menu is guided less by a type of cuisine and more by seasonality and availability of ingredients. “The idea is taking advantage of what’s available and fresh right now,” he says. “Summer brings lettuces and carrots from Palisade, and soon I’ll be getting some mushrooms. Then I’ll have a truffle guy who brings me truffles. You just go with the time of year and roll with it, and it’s fun.” Take the grilled 7x skirt steak, a Waygu-style beef from cows bred and raised in the fields of Hotchkiss, Colorado. The exquisite beef is nestled between a Colorado-grown shishito and eggplant puree, and offset by a potent roasted red pepper paste. The result? Your taste buds will be kept on their toes. La Tour puts a Colorado twist on a French-style dish with the oh-sorich buffalo petit filet. The Castle Peak buffalo is served with Marchand de Vin sauce, sitting on a sinful slab of bone marrow and mashed potatoes.

Apps $12-$19, entreés $27-$37 •••

AMBIANCE

Relaxed elegance in the heart of Vail Village •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pan-roasted halibut or buffalo petit fillet •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, ask for the kid’s menu

Wash it down with a glass of Rioja tempranillo and you’ll be in heaven. Hang on! Before you wrap up dinner, you must try a couple bites of La Tour’s house-made madeleines. These soft little cookies are doused in powdered sugar and served with a lemon curd sauce. You dessert stomach will thank you. • Cold-smoked yellowfin tuna sashimi served with “smoke.” top right Lobster and avocado with toasted almonds, jalapeño and coconut white gazpacho. top left Grilled octopus, charred scallions and Aleppo aioli. top left


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141 EAST MEADOW DRIVE SOLARIS, VAIL 970.476.5300 / BOLVAIL.COM

PRICE

Apps: $10-$20 Entreés: $16-$70 Pizza: $15-$22 •••

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

AMBIANCE

World-class contemporary cuisine … and bowling

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o experience bōl is to witness something seemingly from another planet compared with anywhere else in the Vail Valley … or anywhere else, period. Set deep inside the monumental Solaris complex — dubbed Vail’s new centerpiece when it opened in 2010 — this sleek, contemporary restaurant with a front door on the central plaza offers the most sophisticated cuisine imaginable, made from the freshest local ingredients possible at a level that could be described as experimental. Venture past the 60-foot long bar to the other end of bōl’s vast, clean, well-lit, relatively quiet, full-service dining room, however, and you enter the cacophonic ruckus of what they call “the most exquisite bowling alley in the world.” “The exciting part about bōl is you can lounge and enjoy appetizers with bottle service while you bowl, have dinner in the dining room, or just relax at the bar,” says Julian Smith, executive chef since the beginning. Chef Julian is no stranger to contemporary cuisine, coming from stints at Restaurant Kelly Liken down the street and Le Cirque in New York City. His menu at bōl, renowned for being “young, healthful and inspired by world flavors presented in a fresh, comfortable style,” runs the gambit, from tasty appetizers like the ever-popular hoisin barbecue duck buns to sumptuous salads, artisan pizzas and the restaurant’s signature, 25-ounce Eaton Ranch tomahawk steak in béarnaise sauce. It all changes with the seasons, too, as he continues his mission to source as many ingredients as possible from very close by. In summer, for example, the corn in bōl’s corn soup, laced with chorizo, cotija cheese and lump crab, comes fresh from Colorado’s eastern plains; the fresh fungi behind the Fun Guy pizza are hand-foraged in the local mountains; and virtually every piece of beef, including the tenderloin carpaccio dressed with arugula, crispy shallots, parmesan, tarragon, whole grain mustard, truffle oil and sherry vinegar, comes from cattle raised exclusively for bōl

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SIGNATURE DISH

The Eaton Ranch tomahawk steak with béarnaise sauce •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Definitely

at Eaton Ranch, in nearby Edwards. “We have that opportunity because we have the best customers in the world, the best location in the world,” Smith says, “and money’s typically not an issue.” This summer, Smith is especially proud of his sesame soba steak salad, a bed of buckwheat noodles in a pool of black tahini sauce under a medley of basil, mint, cilantro and radish, all topped with slices of exquisitely grilled hanger steak; and he’s looking forward to offering guanciale carbonara, tiny cubes of cured-and-aged cheek meat rendered in a pan “real slow,” combined with a velvety egg-and-cream sauce and green peas on pasta propping up a perfect, plump Gold Shrimp. The whole bōl dining experience — available at the lanes, in the dining room or at the bar — wouldn’t be quite the same without other-worldly cocktails, the domain of Tacy Roland, bar manager and a former “best mixologist in Colorado.” Her obligatory, Bombay Sapphire-laced Vegas Cocktail won the state’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition, sponsored by GQ magazine, last summer; and her dizzying specialty cocktails menu carries bombs like the Campfire Cocktail, Mother’s Mercy and

Christmas in July. The list of wines and beers, meanwhile, is extensive, with more than 400 labels on hand. Bōl welcomes kids; just about anything on the menu can be prepared glutenfree; and free parking is available in the Solaris complex, with validation. •

top Fun Guy pizza with forest mushrooms, black truffle, sunnyside-up egg and cherry tomatoes. above Forest mushroom chile relleno poblano with Broken Shovels Farm goat cheese, black lentil salad and coriander salsa.

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ATWATER ON GORE CREEK 1300 WESTHAVEN DRIVE VAIL CASCADE RESORT 970.479.7014 VAILCASCADE.COM/ATWATER

by CHRISTINA HOLBROOK photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ur menu is a collaboration,” says Chef d’Cuisine Jay Spickelmier of Atwater, when asked about the creative genius behind Atwater’s delicious menu. There is an American focus, and a very regional Western one at that. Yet an intriguing combination of ingredients lends an exciting international flavor to every dish. Responsible for the menu are Executive Chef Chris Bates, Sous Chef Nick Seavey and Spickelmier himself. Clientele are part of the collaboration, too. “I like to say that the guest writes the menu and we give it color,” quips Spickelmier. Located in the Vail Cascade Resort, Atwater is perched above the Gore Creek — which was running high the evening we visited for dinner. Diners are greeted by a knowledgeable wait-staff who discuss menu options and offer appropriate drink pairings. The restaurant specializes in craft beer selections, with five craft beers on tap and over two dozen bottled choices. Begin your dining experience with steak skewers paired with an Odell 5 Barrel pale ale from Ft. Collins. Here, mouthwatering grilled steak is combined with a savory hunk of baked cheese and given a Southwestern flair, complete with sweetchili pineapple sauce. An India-inspired cool cucumber raita finishes the dish. For soups, a must is the roasted corn bisque blended with coconut milk and topped with English pea salsa verde. The grilled watermelon with blistered grapes and nasturtium leaves is not only a sensory delight — the watermelon has a warm caramelized outside and a cool refreshing inside — it is visually a work of art. Each dish comes with a craft beer recommendation. “We are shooting for accessibility with familiar dishes, and then adding surprising ingredients that make the taste experience unique,” says Spickelmier. Nowhere is this more true than with the selection of entreés: blackened red drum fish atop grapefruit beurre blanc is made

PRICE

Appetizers: $9-$16 Main Course: $20-$54 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale casual dining with creek views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Red drum fish; sweet pea ravioli; braised pork shoulder •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

They go above and beyond

dramatic and tasty with forbidden black rice pilaf and pineapple pico de gallo; delicate sweet pea ravioli and Maine lobster are enhanced with tarragon broth. A menu favorite is the braised pork shoulder — the addition of a slice of crispy pork belly, salsa verde, pickeled red onion and coriander parsnip puree make this a taste sensation. And beef enthusiasts will love the Colorado Kobe

beef from the grill, with asparagus and Argentinian chimichurri sauce. After dinner, kids can enjoy s’mores by the creekside bonfire, or watch movies on the nearby outdoor deck. Adults will have some tough dessert choices to make: the tart cherry pie with pistachio ice cream? Or passion fruit mousse for a light finish? But what about the triple layer gluten free chocolate cake?

One thing is certain — Atwater will beckon you back for another beautiful evening, so you don’t have to fit it all into one dinner. • top Blistered grapes adorn the grilled watermelon with salsa verde and cotija cheese crumbles. above Braised pork shoulder with crispy pork belly, salsa verde and parsnip puree.


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BISTRO FOURTEEN EAGLES NEST VIA EAGLE BAHN GONDOLA / VAIL MOUNTAIN 970.754.4530 / VAIL.COM

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR and JESSE STAR, VAIL RESORTS

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ocated atop Eagle Bahn Gondola and adjacent to Adventure Ridge — as well as a number of Vail’s hiking and biking trails — Bistro Fourteen is the perfect place to cap off a day on the mountain or refuel for round two. The restaurant, named after the soaring views it offers of the 14,000-foot Mount of the Holy Cross, is all about adventure, whether it’s of the culinary kind, with bite-sized desserts based on local, seasonal fruit, or of the atmospheric kind, with live music Friday and Saturday nights. In more ways than one, Bistro Fourteen is sure to tickle any taste. “We aim to please a spectrum of palates,” says General Manager John Bailey. “We combine high-quality local products to create a complete dish, and each of our menu items is made in-house from scratch.” Bistro Fourteen’s cuisine revolves around locally grown Colorado products, such as Fort Collins cheeses, Rocky Mountain bison and Vail Valley-grown herbs.

Lighter fare includes a kale Caesar salad; a summer salad with mixed greens, apples pears and walnuts; and the house-smoked turkey, wrapped in a spinach tortilla. For the hearty appetite, Bistro Fourteen features house-smoked baby back ribs, a flank steak sandwich or slow-braised Colorado lamb French dip. “From light salads and seasonal appetizers to hearty soups, buffalo chili, sandwiches, pasta and main courses, Bistro Fourteen is sure to satisfy any appetite,” Bailey says. A few favorites include nachos with house-made chorizo, the famous Bistro Burger, and the baby back ribs, smoked in-house, along with all of the Bistro Fourteen’s smoked meats. Plus, the three-course, $10 kids’ menu provides a full selection from which younger mountain adventurers can choose. But it’s not all about dining inside. As the sunny warmth eases a bit into the evening, huddle around the Bistro’s fire pit and stargaze as you delight in cocktails, coffee or Pastry Chef

Anne Armstrong’s unique desserts. “Anne prepares an incredible variety of mini desserts,” Bailey says. A sampling of her creations include caramelized white chocolate cake with roasted strawberries and balsamic strawberry gelato; Valrhona chocolate cheesecake with salted caramel cremeux and chocolate-dipped potato chips; and a sweet milk tart with toasted coconut, mango puree and chocolate truffle ice cream. While Bailey says Bistro Fourteen is “a great place to take the family for lunch or dinner,” the restaurant is also perfect for a casual, yet sophisticated mountain date night. And, of course, gliding in a gondola on the moonlit ride down simply makes for a great ending to an alpine-inspired night. •

PRICE

Apps: $13-$15 entreés: $17-$32 •••

AMBIANCE

Family-friendly dining amongst majestic views of Colorado mountains •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Sesame-crusted ahi tuna; Bistro Fourteen Nachos •••

Try any of Pastry Chef Anne Armstrong’s desserts, such as the brown butter apple and almond tart with roasted cherry gelato. top right Bistro Fourteen is a great spot for a meal with the family, perhaps after a hike or before a night at Adventure Ridge. top left

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely

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PRICE

Starters: $5.75-$10.50; Entreés: $9.95-$23.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Neighborhood comfort with a family friendly atmosphere •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pistachio-crusted ruby trout •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

YES

BLU’S RESTAURANT by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ast Vail exudes a soft, mountain serenity that isn’t always easy to find on the I-70 corridor of Colorado. This will be the third summer Blu’s Restaurant is serving guests in this quiet and quaint pocket of the Vail Valley, where views of every sunset summon rays of alpenglow onto the Gore Range — an almost surreal backdrop that feeds the soul and nourishes the spirit. Blu’s sits nestled in the foreground of this inspiring setting, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Vail Village. “I have always thought of us as a neighborhood restaurant, and we are in a neighborhood now,” "says TJ Armstrong, owner of Blu’s, located at the Vail Racquet Club in East Vail.“It’s a lovely place, like a little eddy in the Vail Valley, and we are trying to provide a nice place for those who live here and for those who are visiting the area.” The Blu’s menu items that have stayed tried-and-true are always worth another try, including the meatloaf and chicken fried steak, burgers, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas, along with the eclectic-meets-classic dishes

of pistachio trout and Gypsy Schnitzel. For all of the restaurant’s classic and family-friendly offerings, there are just as many options that bring a contemporary angle to the table. “The style is eclectic American, with a diverse menu that has a relatively large range of price points,” Armstrong says. the Vail Racquet Club in East Vail. To start, try the tempura asparagus with bonita flakes, and add in your greens with the spinach salad, mixed beneath pears, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and strawberry vinaigrette. The restaurant has a wellversed and accessible wine list, so accompany your meal with a glass to enjoy or a bottle to share. Specialty cocktails and craft beer options are also a refreshing accompaniment to the restaurant menu staples, as well as Chef Peter Millette’s seasonal creations. The Tuscan marinated New York steak entrée with cannellini beans and grilled tomatoes is hearty and savory, while the grilled salmon on a mix of field greens with roasted seasonal root vegetables and goat cheese

4695 VAIL RACQUET CLUB DRIVE / VAIL 970.476.3113 / BLUSRESTAURANT.COM

is a lighter choice, still full in flavor. “Our motivating philosophy is to put things in front of the public that are a value,” explains Armstrong, “but that are unique and taste great.” Breakfast is served Saturday and Sunday, 8 to 11 a.m., and dinner service begins at 5 p.m. daily. Bring the kids and they can enjoy their very own menu of entreés, with dinner options that include

penne pasta with butter and cheese and a turkey corn dog with fries. All items on the kids’ menu are $6.95, and finish sweetly with an ice cream sandwich. • Blackened tuna sashimi is served rare on crispy wonton chips with avocado and sweet soy. below Bonito-crusted tempura asparagus comes with a zippy Sriracha mayonnaise. above


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168 EAST GORE CREEK DRIVE VAIL / 970.476.7332 YAMASUSHIVAIL.COM

by SHAUNA FARNELL photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ucked into a hip, nightclub-like cubbyhole rich in red and black vinyl, Yama looks and tastes like a boutique sushi joint in Manhattan. The room positively buzzes with energy once it’s dinnertime, with knowledgeable servers delivering an array of beautiful plates to the room. Chef Brian Jenkins, who immersed himself in the Japanese culture and trained under some of the foremost chefs in the country, helms the 40-seat haunt. He has a knack for the unexpected, such as the melding of succulent sea creatures infused with seasonal American flavors, and creating a colorful, geometric

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masterpiece out of every dish. The Omakase is the obvious choice at Yama, placing your palate into the trust of Jenkin’s “made from the heart” lineup of one-of-a-kind offerings dependent upon the fresh catches flown in off the dock from Los Angeles. This could mean that the Alaskan King Crab Claw in all of its meaty glory might

be topped with a few fresh seasonal herbs, veggies and wearing a crown of real gold flakes. If you’re lucky, the final layer might be a soft, perfectly saucy piece of uni. The texture combo of chunky white meat and rich sea urchin is dizzying. When available, the live scallops, sliced into buttery coins and topped with summer heirloom tomatoes and crispy fried scallop twists, are another tonguetingling omakase treat. Silky and almost sweet, the pristine slices of shellfish are a delicious delicacy meant to be savored. A not-to-miss signature dish is the Saikyo Hoison Yellowtail. Yes, it’s just a few bites, but the tenderness of the tuna wrapped around crunchy, just-bitterenough daikon radish is an obvious hit for those of us who always find ourselves munching on the daikon garnish. Offering a similar tongue-charging texture buzz is the Shiso Tuna — delicate yellowfin slices soaked lightly in scallion olive oil and citrus soy wrapped around crunchy cucumber and Shiso leafs, brought to brilliance by a dollop of freshly grated Wasabi. As far as Nigiri or Sashimi, Yama’s standouts are the melt-in-your-mouth cuts of Hirame (flounder) taken from the tender fin area and also the Shake (salmon), packing the perfect melty-meaty bite and only bearing the subtlest taste of the sea. It’s a two-bite embodiment of all there is to love about sushi. Let’s not forget the Kumamoto oysters. Even those who steer clear of bivalves will find themselves hypnotized by the zing — spicy red yuzu kosho, sweet ponzu, cilantro, green onion and

as a rare bonus, a dash of caviar. Depending on your preference for spice or sweet to accompany your protein-packed meal, Mister Sassy — an orange, cilantro and Serrano-seared margarita — is the cocktail of choice for anyone who likes a kick, and the Yamatini, the blueberry iteration of a Cosmo — is ideal for sweet sippers. • Kumamoto oysters with red yuzu kosho, green onion, Japanese mignonette, ponzu sauce and scallion oil. left Grilled Alaskan king crab claw, tempura shishito and micro wasabi greens with truffle ponzu, torched uni and caviar. above

PRICE

$7-$34 •••

AMBIANCE

Sleek, clubby and decidedly red and black •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Saikyo Hoison Yellowtail •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

You wouldn’t think so due to the night club-like vibe, but hit it from 6 to 8 p.m. and it’s full of chopstickwielding young foodies

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THE 10th

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photo by RIC STOVALL, VAIL RESORTS

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he 10th masterfully blends ski and mountaineering history with today’s modern culinary sensibilities. Named as a nod to The 10th Mountain Division, which trained on nearby mountain passes and ultimately played a vital role in World War II by securing northern Italy, The 10th provides awe-inspiring alpine scenery, while bringing the finest European and Rocky Mountain flavors to the plate. Chef Vishwatej (Vishu) Nath studied at L’Institut Hotelier Cesar Ritz in Switzerland, and infuses traditional French, Swiss and Italian cooking with a fresh Rocky Mountain flair. He carries many influences from his early career into the cuisine style at The 10th, with dishes such as his 7X Ranch Brisket, made from Colorado-raised beef, with Muenster cheese and a fresh quail egg on ciabatta.

LOCATED AT THE TOP OF GONDOLA ONE / 970.754.1010 / THE10THVAIL.COM

This summer at The 10th, Chef Nath presents an entirely new menu, highlighting local vendors “and playing up the great products available in Colorado during the summer,” says Jennifer Rizza, General Manager of Fine Dining. For instance, Nath’s light beet and kale salad, sourced from local-grown cooperative farms, features Barely Legal goat cheese from Buena Vista. His striped bass entrée originates in Alamosa, while his Palisade peach tart taps into just one of the many reasons we love summer in this state. Of course, another highlight of Colorado living involves the exact site The 10th sits upon: Mid Vail. With a sunny deck and floor-to-ceiling windows, guests enjoy unparalleled views. “As Vail is predominately centered around Eagle’s Nest and the western side of the mountain in the summertime, The 10th offers a more secluded space for dining, with tremendous views of the Gore Range from the main dining room and views of the Look

Ma trail, wildflowers, and sometimes wildlife from the patio,” Rizza says. Open exclusively for lunch in the summer, visitors can either “work” for their meal by hiking or biking up the mountain, and then settling into the cozy embrace of The 10th, or they can sit back and let Gondola One whisk them up to their afternoon alpine environment. Another option takes advantage of the best of both worlds: Ride up the gondola, indulge in a satisfying lunch, then enjoy the scenery by foot or bike on a downhill adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can also drop by for a drink in the mountain-chic bar. Of course, The 10th makes the perfect location for a private event, wedding or gathering. “With magnificent views from the dining room, a refreshing alpine menu and delightful service,” Rizza says, “your guests will surely remember the special celebration.” • top The 10th offers inspiring alpine views — and serves alpine-inspired cuisine.

PRICE

Price range for apps: $9-$15 Price range for entreés: $17-$28 •••

AMBIANCE

Modern, mountain chic •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Watermelon gazpacho; Wild Thing pizza; Colorado striped bass •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, definitely


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•••

AMBIANCE

Modern mountain steak house •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Wagyu bone-in rib-eye •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, it’s a comfortable dining room

FLAME AT THE FOUR SEASONS ONE VAIL ROAD / 970.477.8650 / FLAMERESTAURANTVAIL.COM

by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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t the base of a sweeping staircase in Four Seasons Resort Vail, Flame Restaurant fires up a scene of refined comfort and elevated cuisine. After a pre-dinner dose of craft cocktails and apps at The Remedy — a new bar and lounge open on the fifth floor above Flame — come downstairs to settle into a cushioned and tall-backed chair. High ceilings and views of Vail Mountain make way for long, family tables in the center of the restaurant, while pockets of intimate, corner tables and inset booths offer cozy ambience. Attentive service makes dining at Flame easy and comfortable, and the menu strides ahead of the average steakhouse, from start to finish. Order a Flame classic for the table to begin. The elk corn dogs are batter-wrapped, house-made elk sausage pieces, served with Flame’s own ketchup and mustard aioli. For a seasonal delight, try the sweet and creamy corn soup,

topped with chanterelle mushrooms and Alaskan king crab meat. The sausages and the soup finish nicely with Scarpetta pinot grigio from Italy, produced by a Colorado winemaker. Meat entrée options run from the traditional, such as top-tier steak, veal and lamb, to the racy, such venison, boar and duck. The 32-ounce Wagyu bonein rib-eye — meant for two — is presented on a large, butcher-block centerpiece. The slab can be set on the surface alone or beside another style of carnivorous indulgence, like lamb lollipops or veal medallions. “Our talented team of servers and chefs will provide customized recommendations of rubs and sauces to add to your meat selection,” explains Chef Marcus Stewart. Trust yourself — and your palate — to the Flame team. You’ll be glad you did. Dashes of a house-made meat rub, followed by a dip into an herb or cream-based sauce highlight each bite of meat with distinctive flavor. Try steak with Flame’s balsamic rub and Black Pepper Love Sauce, and lamb with a slathering of salsa verde. Like each

morsel of meat, a glass of Cotes du Rhone hits the palate with smooth and savory attention. As mains start moving, try them with a side of the grilled asparagus spears, made decadent with the buttery and bright lemon confit sauce. Potato lovers will swoon over the bacon and Haystack Mountain goat cheese mashers, which add a perfect richness to any of Flame’s cuts. After dinner, try a glass of Moscato d’Asti. The gold nectar is great solo, as well as alongside the s’mores cheesecake. It’s a dessert made with hazelnut ganache and cinnamon marshmallow, with a passion fruit glaze that brings the sweet summer evening to an even sweeter finish. •

top Dry-aged Rosen Farms lamb chops, 40-oz. Big T-Porterhouse, and signature Flame rubs and sides. above Alaskan king crab soup with foraged mushrooms.

VAIL

PRICE

Small bites and appetizers: $5 - $18; Mains and shared plates: $26 - $135


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LANCELOT RESTAURANT 201 E. GORE CREEK DRIVE 970.476.5828 / LANCELOTVAIL.COM

story and photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ancelot Restaurant, located in the heart of Vail Village, is part of this resort’s hospitality history, serving its famous, slow-cooked prime rib dinners to locals and tourist alike since 1969 in a comfortable, rustic setting overlooking Gore Creek. While the decor may have changed over the years, the high quality of food and service has remained the same. What is changing, as summer rolls around, is their move towards a wider selection of lighter fare, like seasonal salads and seafood for the health conscious diner who wants to eat light when it’s nice and warm outside, explains owner/chef Werner Schadl. French doors open onto a patio on the banks of the creek, allowing cool air to flow as Lancelot’s friendly staff present an extensive wine and cocktail list and explain daily specials, making you feel instantly at home. The sounds of the creek, along with the steady stream of pedestrians walking by, makes for a perfect summer dining atmosphere. Chef Schadl is Austrian, so the menu has a definite European flavor

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to it, as in warm Haystack goat cheese appetizer served in phyllo cups and topped with Scandinavian lingonberries; or there’s the escargot, served “en croute” with garlic herb butter. For meat lovers, there’s no shortage of tasty classics, such as wiener schnitzel, or the flatiron steak with a port wine reduction, roasted red potatoes and super greens kale slaw. Regular customers, meanwhile, say Lancelot has the best prime rib in town, cooked to perfection for 14 hours and served with natural au jus and horseradish sauce and a baked potato dressed to your liking. Additional surf’n’turf options include lobster tail and Alaskan king crab legs. While you may come for the Prime rib, you just might stay for the seafood and salad options. Warm up with some spicy sautéed garlic chili shrimp with

lime aioli to warm up, then cool down with a lightly blackened salmon salad with arugula, feta and watermelon topped with a lemon zinger vinaigrette. If it’s meat you are still after but looking to eat light, try their tasty new steak salad on mixed greens with avocado and radishes and finished with a radish ginger vinaigrette. “When it’s warm out, like today, I like the Skuna Bay salmon,” Chef Schadl says of fish baked, topped with a mango salsa and served over roasted tomatoes and green beans. Make sure, even if you are eating light, to save room for their apple strudel with almonds, served warm with vanilla ice-cream. Its a classic Austrian dessert and the perfect end to a delicious meal. Lancelot, with happy hour specials in the bar from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and live jazz on Mondays from 6:30-9:30 p.m., promises to deliver a taste of classic Vail cuisine in a quintessential Vail setting. •

Skuna Bay salmon topped with mango salsa, served with roasted tomatoes and green beans. below Steak, avocado and radish salad with a ginger dressing. above

PRICE

Apps: $10-$18 Entreés: $20-$25 •••

AMBIANCE

Mountain rustic •••

SIGNATURE DISHES

Prime rib •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


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GAME CREEK RESTAURANT

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by JACK AFFLECK AND KIMBERLY GAVIN, VAIL RESORTS

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ining at Game Creek Restaurant, whether it’s brunch, dinner or happy hour, provides a well-designed, modern-meetsOld-World mountain experience. The excursion begins as you glide over Vail Mountain’s green runs via the Eagle Bahn gondola. Once you step out of the gondola into the fresh alpine environment, a shuttle carries you to an Old-World-inspired chalet, punctuated by floor-to-ceiling windows and flowerladen decks overlooking Beaver Creek, Meadow Mountain and Mount Jackson. The refined, yet laid-back restaurant, first envisioned by Vail Mountain cofounder Pete Seibert, emulates the European chalets he visited throughout the Alps when he served in the 10th Mountain Division. The cuisine echoes traditional, made-from-scratch dishes inspired by French cooking, and beyond. Game Creek’s Sunday brunches, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., make for a relaxed, indulgent afternoon. Each Sunday, a member of the team

takes his or her turn creating unique American and world-inspired cuisine. The buffet changes weekly, but you’ll encounter flavors like bananastuffed French toast; sweet potato pancakes topped with caramel, pecans and ginger butter; applewood bacon; antipasto platters complete with grilled vegetables, roasted salmon and marinated mushrooms; mouthwatering Kobe beef, lamb, barbecue ribs, shrimp, trout; and a variety of crisp, distinctive salads. And, don’t miss the Bloody Mary bar, which features an array of house-pickled vegetables. Game Creek has long held a tradition of a prix fixe, tasting-style menu, which offers guests an enjoyable way to relish a variety of dishes. Choose from a three-, four- or five-course meal, with starters like caviar or Berkshire pork belly; beet, arugula or sweet corn bisque soups and salads; monkfish accompanied by lobster, tomato, artichoke, saffron, chorizo and fresh herbs from the deck garden, or elk with forest mushrooms, cotija and cilantro. Desserts tempt the taste buds in the form of fruity pear and peach puddings or cobblers; tasty cheeses with truffle honey; and,

of course, a chocolate bomb spiked with espresso and Grand Marnier. “Our style of cuisine is modern American, and there are several global influences guests will enjoy,” says Jennifer Rizza, general manager of fine dining. “We utilize fresh and local ingredients, presenting high quality and refreshing dishes. In the summer, fresh herbs and fruits abound, and we incorporate these wherever possible.” And the refreshment doesn’t end with food. This year, Game Creek has added barrel-aged cocktails to its already flush sippers. “The barrels add depth of flavor to classic cocktails, as well as give our bartenders liberty to play with new creations,” Rizza says. Whether you’re luxuriating on the deck during a sunny brunch or enjoying happy hour with a sweeping sunset, or dining in the cozy mountain chalet for a five-course meal, Game Creek provides a multi-sensory experience for all to savor. • Game Creek Restaurant commands a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. top right Colorado classics such as rack of lamb are menu favorites. top left

PRICE

Deck appetizers offered from 5:30-7 p.m., priced at $8-$14; Prix fixe menu offered, from $70-$105 •••

AMBIANCE

Old-World, European chalet •••

SIGNATURE DISHES

Elk loin, shrimp with chorizo and sticky toffee pudding •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

VAIL

GAME CREEK BOWL, VAIL MOUNTAIN / ACCESSIBLE VIA SHUTTLE FROM EAGLES NEST / 970.754.4275 / GAMECREEKVAIL.COM

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TAVERN ON THE SQUARE

PRICE

Starters: $9-$17 Entreés: $14-$36

675 LIONSHEAD PLACE / THE ARRABELLE AT VAIL SQUARE, LIONSHEAD / ARRABELLE.COM / 970.754.7704

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AMBIANCE by ASHLEE BRATTON photos courtesy VAIL RESORTS and MARLA MEREDITH

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aise one of the orange patio umbrellas and grab a cocktail from one of the servers in sunglasses in homage to another beautiful summer in Vail, Colorado. Cheers — you’re at Tavern on the Square, nestled conveniently within The Arabelle at Vail Square, in Lionshead Village. Sure, you can retreat inside to the safety of the bar, with curved ceilings and tavern-style dark earthy woodwork,

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when the afternoon rainclouds roll in — but look around the crowded patio and it’s not hard to see why people choose the coveted outdoor seating, instead, if anything just to enjoy closeup views of Vail Mountain. Besides, the Tavern just added a refreshing signature cocktail to their menu in tribute to this spectacular vista — the Born Free Breeze; other cocktails are aptly named after ski trails, too, such as Rasputin’s Revenge with Ciroc red berry vodka and Sriracha hot sauce. If the glowing green cucumber and Nolet’s gin isn’t your style, perhaps opt for one of the brews on their rotating handle,

such as the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. A quick look at the beverage menu and the recognizable orange “C” in the Colorado state flag adjacent to each local beer and you can easily choose to support one of Colorado’s fine microbreweries. If surf is your thing, be sure to try the voodoo shrimp and grits with a mango-red chili sauce, roasted peppers and Andouille sausage; or tantalize your taste buds with the herb-laden Ahi tuna poké, featuring two kinds of sashimigrade tuna rolled in sesame seeds atop Ponzu sauce. Gluten-free options include the southwest cobb salad with cotija cheese, black beans, and roasted corn. New to the menu this summer is the BBQ Berkshire Pork Osso Buco, regarded so highly by Executive Chef Douglass Dodd he even ordered custom dishes on which to serve it . “You know it’s good when you go and buy special plates,” he says. “We’re also bringing back the chicken meatball soup from last summer. It’s really nice and light with a lot of veggies … and the meatballs are beautiful. This season we have a variety and everything still fits the tavern theme.” Don’t be surprised if you find yourself fighting over who gets the last baked potato pie with cubed potatoes, cream cheese, chives and bacon served in a skillet alongside the Tavern’s New York strip, complete with house-made steak sauce.

Upscale alpine-inspired tavern •••

SIGNATURE APPETIZER

Ahi tuna poke •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Brussel Sprouts appetizer, BBQ Berkshire Pork Osso Buco entrée, and Guinness S’mores dessert •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

And polish it all off with one of the Tavern’s 13 flavors of ice cream served in actual pint buckets, or their infamous Guinness s’mores with toasted marshmallow sprinkled in graham cracker dust and drizzled in syrupy chocolate. Tavern on the Square is open this summer from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. • Tavern on the Square offers one of the best patios in Lionshead, just steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola. top right The Alpine Skillet, a breakfast classic at The Tavern. left Ahi tuna poke with ponzu sauce and wonton chips. top left


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55 VILLAGE ROAD, BEAVER CREEK / MIRABELLE1.COM

BEAVER CREEK

MIRABELLE by KATIE COAKLEY photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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nce upon a time, in a farmhouse at the base of a mountain, there lived a magician. Yes, it’s the beginning of a fairy tale. But a visit to Mirabelle is like stepping into a fairy tale, complete with a culinary magician who creates charmed cuisine, providing a happy ending for all who dine there. At this boutique restaurant at the base of Beaver Creek Resort, Belgian Master Chef Daniel Joly takes exceptional ingredients and creates a story for your palate. From the opening paragraphs — beef tartare that’s melt-in-your-mouth tender, or a goat cheese salad that’s laced with watermelon and a shot of minted juice — to the apex of the action, every dish is carefully composed of just the right mix of texture, flavor and color. The story changes with the season, and summer is a particularly exciting time of year for Joly — a time for fresh, local produce. Some ingredients could be considered hyper-local, harvested from the garden behind this historic farmhouse. “We cut the herbs before every service,” Joly explains. “You can see the chef go cut the herbs from the garden. I think the later it stays in the ground, it has more flavor. In the winter, you don’t have that luxury.” When speaking about his summer menu, Joly’s face lights up when

describing produce that’s literally ripe for the picking — like the Colorado peaches of which he’s so fond. “The fresh ingredients are really exciting, as a chef,” he says. “You get tomatoes from the farmer and they were in the dirt an hour ago. I put on my boots and get the watercress from the river — I love that stuff.” Wading in the water in Wolcott

for watercress? Sure — why not? That enthusiasm and joie de vivre is just part of the magic that Joly imbues in Mirabelle. Like all fairy tales, there are elements that are instrumental to the plot — the Dover Sole, the lamb chop, the elk. However, each is given a new costume to wear, or a new role to explore. The watercress enters the scene with the arctic char, which has a risotto crust and is served over a spinach and watercress coulis. The fish is flaky and flavorful, standing up to the subtle spice that red pepper imparts to the coulis. It’s a story that I could hear every day and not tire of it. Mirabelle’s pastry chef provides the several options for a perfect happy ending to the tale. Try the strawberry sorbet, which tastes as if you simply spun a strawberry so quickly it transformed into a smooth quenelle. Or, indulge in a peach crumble that is the essence of summer — sweet and sunny and gone all too quickly. Step into the fairy tale yourself this summer — it’s the perfect time to experience this gem. Request a seat on the back deck and you’re transported deep into the woods, an intimate retreat with the susurrus of the river as a soundtrack. Raise a glass, settle in and enjoy the story that unfolds. •

The staff at Mirabelle Restaurant is international, with chefs from Belgium, China and beyond. below Buffalo tartare with pickeled vegetables and homemade potato chips. above

PRICE

Apps: $12-$24; Entreés: $32-$48 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale yet approachable •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Dover sole •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


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SPAGO AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH 0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE / 970.343.1555 / WOLFGANGPUCK.COM

by KATIE COAKLEY photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

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ummer is a season of renewal and growth in Colorado — after all, we don’t have much of a spring to speak of. But the idea of a enjoying a fresh new start, reveling in the joy of seasonality and a desire to eek every sweet and satisfying taste from the short season is universal in the mountains and no one — not even a busy chef — is immune to it. At Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Chef de

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Cuisine Jared Montarbo is savoring summer produce and his menu showcases this most fleeting of seasons. “We’re really focusing on seasonal ingredients and fresh produce,” Montarbo explains. “We have our little garden growing on the terrace: radishes, herbs, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard. We’re doing a lot more local stuff; there’s tons of good stuff out there.” Visiting Spago can be a tumultuous affair at times. The dining room features expansive views of Beaver Creek mountain that vie for your attention while you face the Herculean task of deciding what to order.

Montarbo says he’s focusing on healthy eating and clean food. The increased access to great produce makes it easier to change things up, offering lighter options for the summer. The first course menu glows with descriptions of jewel-like items such as the prosciutto and smoked burrata, accompanied by a Palisade peach and rhubarb compote, petite greens and an ice wine vinaigrette. The local angle is highlighted in dishes like the baby kale salad, served with shaved fennel, mountain blueberries, farro croutons and charred corn on arugula or the salmon served with summer squash and zucchini, pearl onions, radishes and basil pesto. “I like to use local ingredients and whatever is in season,” Montarbo says. “I’m just excited about the produce. I recently went to the first farmers’ market of the summer (in Vail). So much is available.” However, before the idea of making a choice seems too overwhelming, remember that you brought along a guest (or two or three) so that you can sample more options from the menu. Let your date try the Szechuancured Kurobuta pork chop while you journey to a different country of flavors with the grilled tandoori chicken. To add yet another element to your decision-making process, be sure to consider the daily specials, like the

PRICE

Apps: $14-$24; Entreés: $34-$56 •••

AMBIANCE

Refined, yet approachable with a lot of creativity •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Roasted Cantonese duck

whole roasted fish for two or the roasted Cantonese duck, dishes that are truly worthy of the designation “special.” Summer goes quickly in the mountains; the summer menu at Spago is gone almost as quickly. In order to fully experience the ephemeral flavors of local and seasonal ingredients taken to their apex, make a reservation and settle in for an evening of discovery at Spago. • The Spago dining room is the epitome of mountain chic. top right Moroccan lamb chops with cilantro raita. left Pizza with prosciutto, fromage blanc, market peaches and micro arugula. top left


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•••

AMBIANCE

Cozy tiki, without the tiki. •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Omakase, or chef’s choice. •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

A great learning experience …

HOOKED

122 THE PLAZA 970.949.4321 / HOOKEDBC.COM

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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t Hooked, in Beaver Creek Village, it’s all about the fish, the whole fish and nothing but the fish. The sushi chefs here have other options, of course, but what they really want to impart to you is their beloved Omakase process — chef’s choice, the opposite of à la carte, essentially letting them decide what’s best for you. Trust them; you’ll be glad you did. First, right to the table, comes the fishmonger’s platter presenting several fresh, whole fish, from which you choose your meal — Kampachi, Colorado striped bass and other catches of the day, such as American red snapper, highly recommended. While one chef prepares to cook one side of the fish in one of eight “preparations,” your choice, other chefs behind the sushi bar go crazy chopping and slicing, whirling and dicing, preparing and sending to your table an adventurous variety of sashimi options with the other side of the fish. Got it? “We make the sashimi dishes up on the fly, frankly, pairing flavors with how we know the fish tastes,” says Greg Ioki, Hooked’s head sushi chef. “Depending on the size of the fish and the number of people in a party, we can get up to 16 different dishes out of one fish.” Ioki might send you sashimi “flashsmoked” right at the table under a glass

dome; a Nigiri, or thinly sliced sashimi over sushi rice; sashimi under a “foam” of grapefruit, lime and cilantro so light it’s virtually undetectable; a tasty sashimi ceviche with lime, avocado, Serrano peppers, cilantro and red onion; or his personal favorite, a roll, with “cucumber on the inside and fish tempura, southwest spicy mayo, eel sauce and guacamole on the outside.” “We just make this up — half this stuff we’ve never made before,” Ioki says. “But, put it in our hands, tonight, and you’re going to get the best preparations, tonight.” Take your eyes off your food, not easy, and you can watch the whole, fascinating scene behind the sushi bar via Hooked’s “sushi-cam,” a video camera mounted above the chefs fed to a large-screen tele- vision mounted high in a corner — espe- cially entertaining while sipping the house’s signature cocktail, the mai tai, mixed and poured to perfection by Chance Humphrey, bar manager and food server extraordinaire. Just when you’re sure you’ve enjoyed just enough of the very best raw fish imaginable, out comes the other side of that fish you selected — and everything that wasn’t already served raw has been cooked, on the bone, flash-fried, perhaps, and served with a zippy chimichurri, perhaps, or a tongue-popping ponzu sauce, perhaps. Welcome to Omakase, reeled in by Hooked. It’s like that ol’ light beer commercial, back when: It just doesn’t get any better than this. Not into fish? Hooked does offer other options, including the 7x Beef short ribs,

delectably tender, thinly sliced morsels of meat from 100-percent red Japanese cows raised peacefully and organically on a ranch in nearby Paonia, marinated in Korean barbeque sauce, grilled, then sauteéd in its own juices. Other meaty dishes include an ultra premium 7x ribeye; a two-bone rack of lamb; pork belly; buffalo tenderloin; and buttermilk fried chicken. Hooked — created by chef-owner Riley Romanin, a local who honed his skills in California before moving back

to the Vail Valley — is open for lunch and dinner this summer with the entire menu available, all day. The restaurant provides a more pedestrian lunch menu of “mid-day grub,” by the way, such as tacos, deli-style and “po’ boy” sandwiches, and ramen noodle dishes. • top Whole Kampachi, or Hawaiian yellowtail, one side miso-glazed and the other side flash-fried with chimichurri. above Kampachi sashimi prepared four ways.

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BEAVER CREEK

PRICE

Apps: Starting at $7 Entreés: $22-∞

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BEANO’S CABIN

by KIM FULLER photos by ANTHONY THORNTON and SEAN BOGGS

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p on Beaver Creek Mountain, at 9,200 feet above sea level, Beano’s Cabin executive Chef Bill Greenwood and his crew have a garden to tend, and it’s no tiny task. “We built the Beano’s garden a quarter-acre bigger this summer, so guests will be able to have an even wider selection of fresh garden-to-table ingredients, shown throughout the menu and prepared on our woodoven grills,” Greenwood explains. Beano’s menu is ever-evolving, always based on the freshest ingredients and products available each day, giving every guest ample opportunity to enjoy a variety of Colorado summer harvests, including farm-fresh baby vegetables like peas, beans, carrots, beets, radishes and turnips, 15 kinds of heirloom lettuces, cucumbers and squash and herbs like lemon, dill, cilantro and basil. “From all line-caught fish to scallops

BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN VIA HORSEBACK OR SHUTTLE 970.754.3463 / BEANOSCABINBEAVERCREEK.COM

we shuck ourselves to meat from Colorado organic farms, I’m very proud and excited about our summer offerings,” Greenwood says. Locally inspired items, like Colorado lamb cheeks with braised French shelling beans, olive lemon gremolata and pea tendrils, grace the menu and are always evolving. Even dessert dishes, like honey-glazed cornbread with blueberry compote, honey ice and basil, are like a spoonful of summertime in the Rockies. The palate-driven experience designed in Beano’s open kitchen will make memories of its own, but the idyllic alpine atmosphere of the high-mountain cabin is something worth experiencing at least once. The bartenders at Beano’s, meanwhile, are always muddling and mixing from seasonal inspiration, resulting in some tasty and creative elixirs and craft concoctions. Access the cabin in summer with an hour-long horseback ride that winds through the aspen groves, or jump on a shuttle departing from Beaver Creek Village.

“Guests will not only experience a unique arrival by horseback or shuttle to our beautiful cabin, but they will also relish our menu options for all ages,” says Greenwood. “We try and spoil you here at Beano’s Cabin.” Leave it to Beano’s to cultivate the declaration, “I’ll be back,” every single time. The rustic and delightful experience of dining at Beano’s Cabin never seems to dissipate, and that’s why we all return for more memories in the making. • Wood-grilled organic egg with Sea Island white flint grits, jowl confit and Fruition Farm cacio pecora. top right Colorado lamb with a fried squash blossom. above Arrive by horseback to a gourmet, five-course, Colorado prix fixe dinner. top left

PRICE

Five-course dinner, $99; three-course dinner for kids, $50; horseback ride, $35 •••

AMBIANCE

Mountain elegant •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Rocky Mountain venison flank •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Well behaved, yes


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•••

AMBIANCE

Upscale cozy meets luxurious living room •••

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL

Bachelor •••

SIGNATURE VAPORTINI

Grand Marnier

BACHELORS LOUNGE AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH 0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE / 970.343.1087 / RITZCARLTON.COM/BACHELORGULCH by PAGE McCLEAN photos by DON RIDDLE

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nce the home of Ritz Kids, the Bachelors Lounge has since been remodeled for grown-up tastes. However, the transition to a space dedicated to top shelf liquor, cigars and hookahs isn’t as surprising as it might seem. Bachelors Lounge is designed to be the cool hang out spot for the 21-andover crowd, with every whim and desire met by the exquisite quality and service for which the Ritz-Carlton is known. There are two spaces designed for evening revelry. Inside, the feel is upscale lounge with a nod to the West. The air is filtered, the bar glitters in full view, and a piano stands alone, waiting to play a jazz standard. Step through the automatic glass doors to greet the night air. The semi-enclosed space is dark, lit by warm candles and firelight. Large enough to mingle, but intimate enough for an evening tête-à-tête, this is where you will want to while the night away. Both spaces are ideal for private events or a simple after-dinner sip and smoke. Like a glamorous living room,

chess, backgammon and dominos are available, and you are welcome to stay until last call. “It’s more intimate (than other lounges) and that’s why people like it. … If they want to hide out in the corner, they can do that,” says Heather Carey, Food and Beverage Supervisor. The options available at the lounge are unique. Always limited edition, the cigar selection sometimes only lasts two weeks. “We get exclusive and very rare cigars that no one else gets.” Bachelor Bourbon is bottled exclusively for Bachelors Lounge by Breckenridge Distillery, and is brought in two barrels at a time, so one can age while the other is enjoyed. Alexandra Kaplan, Bachelors Lounge Concierge, says the bourbon “blends incredibly well.” Bourbon fans will enjoy sipping it neat, but others should try the Bachelor, which has been on the menu “season after season because everyone loves it,” says Carey. While mostly frequented after dinner, there is a small bar menu available. The signature dish is the Colorado cheese board, which Kaplan pairs beautifully with Colorado beers or imports. Glasses and bottles of wine and spirits are also available.

If tobacco isn’t your thing, be sure to try the vaportini. Made by heating up liquid, the vapor is inhaled through a straw over the course of an hour or so. When made with cordials, the vaportini provides the perfect after-dinner drink experience. Open five nights a week during the summer, Bachelors Lounge is

a temple to high-end drinks and smokes. Says Carey, “We offer an amazing experience and ambiance that you can’t find anywhere else.” • Bachelors Lounge is both cool and intimate. Many of the cigars on offer are extremely exclusive; some sell out within weeks.

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Apps: $14-24 Wine by the glass $ 12-30 Beer $7-14 Elevated Libations $22 Cigars $17 and up Cigarettes $15 Cigarillos $17-23


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BLACK DIAMOND BISTRO

PRICE

Apps: $7-14 Entreés $13-27

THE CHARTER AT BEAVER CREEK / 120 OFFERSON RD / 970.845.3198 / FACEBOOK.COM/BLACKDIAMONDBISTRO

•••

AMBIANCE by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ust a few minutes’ walk from the heart of Beaver Creek Village — preferably through the resort’s lush central park on its namesake stream — the Black Diamond Bistro, up in The Charter at Beaver Creek, is taking great strides as “one of the valley’s best-kept secrets.” Helping a continued focus on offering locally produced items both on the menu and at the bar, floor-to-ceiling windows highlight expansive southwest-facing views of the entire resort, but you might want to reserve summery afternoons for happy hour, 3-6 p.m., outside

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on the lofty, revamped deck, where Executive Chef Dan Kent is growing herbs fresh for his Colorado creations. “It’s going to change with the seasons,” says Kent, a product of Sweet Basil and Larkspur, who’s been working the kitchens at The Charter for five years. “Our vision for the summer is to have our standard menu with another five or six small plates, specials, dessert specials, drink specials. People seem to like smaller fare in the summer.” Cocktail? The bistro’s bartender, Cassandra Staub, has not one but three summery concoctions up her sleeve, all featuring fine Colorado spirits. Her Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, with berries and lemon juice, is spiked with bourbon from Peach

Street Distillers, in Palisades; her Breckenridge Manhattan, with bourbon straight from just the other side of Vail Pass and a crystalized amarena cherry, is smooth and sophisticated; and her Blueberry Press, with muddled fruit and a shot of Woody Creek vodka from the Roaring Fork Valley, makes the perfect summer spritzer. Fancy beer, instead? Half a dozen of Colorado’s finest microbrews are on tap, from Bonfire to Crazy Mountain, New Belgium to Oskar Blues and others. For starters, the chef suggests an artisan-style pizza “made from scratch,” such as “the Italian,” with salami, red peppers, olives, ricotta cheese and roasted garlic on a thin-but-crispy gourmet crust. Or, perhaps some fresh greens: The arugula salad, topped with juicy orange supremes, Kalamata olives, fried shallots and pepitas “for some extra crunch,” plays well with its “bright-andsummery” citrus vinaigrette dressing; and the heirloom tomato salad, with torn fresh basil, English cucumbers and toasted crostini from house-made baguette, puts a local twist on the classic Caprese. Moving on, Chef Dan has developed a couple of special new entreés for this summer. The Colorado striped bass, farm-raised in the San Luis Valley and on Seafood Watch’s “Best Choices” list, is a wonderfully crisp creation topped with orange slices and shaved fennel on a bed of Israeli couscous, zucchini and broccolini, the hint of licorice from the fennel blending perfectly with the fish. The tasty, panroasted Colorado half chicken — from the

Contemporary American with an emphasis on Colorado •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Colorado striped bass with Israeli couscous, fava bean & fennel salad •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Pizza, pizza!

Boulder area, natural and hormone-free — is marinated in oil with Chimayo chile and fresh herbs, hand-rendered “so it stays nice and crispy” and served on a bed of fingerling potatoes, zucchini, fresh corn and poblano peppers “for that little extra zip.” Gluten-free and vegetarian diners, meanwhile, have a wide variety of other dishes from which to choose, all marked clearly on the menu. Desserts, such as the tangy cherry galette with Maker’s Mark gelato or the rich-and-creamy chocolate marquise with almond brittle and crème Anglaise, are to die for. So, take a stroll over to the Black Diamond Bistro. Free valet parking is available on-site, as well. • Juicy orange supremes top the arugula salad. top right The Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar. left The pan-roasted half-chicken is hand-rendered, “so it stays nice and crispy.” top left


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17 CHATEAU LANE, BEAVER CREEK 970.845.8808 / SPLENDIDOBEAVERCREEK.COM

by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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he nightly piano riffs that float across the Splendido dining room are as soft and pleasing as the peach light of a mountain sunset. Warming streams of rhythmic consistency fill the space with exquisite nostalgia — a timeless longing for the beauty and grace to linger a little longer. This is Splendido’s 20th summer in Beaver Creek, marking two decades of divine dining. White tablecloths and fine art still adorn the restaurant, accompanied by the familiar sweep of ivory keys that keeps the resonance real, year after year. There’s always a seasonal flare to the menu at Splendido, where tomato salads aren’t served in February, and squash isn’t roasted in June. The fine dining restaurant has traditional roots, but there’s an innovative, contemporary undercurrent that keeps the classic establishment everlasting — and fun. Very fun. “Left to my own devices, I would cook very classic French, or eat classic French, all the time,” shares Splendido chef-owner, David Walford. “Of course, that’s not very popular anymore, and even though I love that kind of cooking, I know I have to speak to a wide audience.”

The menu speaks volumes, and each plate delivers its promise. Start with the Hawaiian Kampachi crudo, set on an earthy and bright green apple and celery broth, served with meyer lemon, shiso, ginger and basil on top. A crisp Austrian white wine pairs beautifully with each butter-like bite of the raw fish, cleansing the palate while prepping it for more. Have Brian Rhodes, dining room manger and beverage director, pair a taste of sake with the miso-grilled asparagus salad. The summer vegetable is placed on a white miso sauce, creamy and rich, which is cut perfectly by each sip of the rice wine. The smallest of details on every dish, crafted by Walford and his team, including Chef de Cuisine Brian Ackerman, add textures and flavors that only taste buds can translate, and yet the beauty of each presentation is as awe-inspiring as each bite. Seafood connoisseurs will devour the Alaskan black cod with clam and celery root broth. It’s reminiscent of an East Coast chowder, served with crab, pancetta and Old Bay potatoes. Leave it to oak for a perfect wine

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PRICE

First courses: $16-$22; Entreés: $36-$54 •••

AMBIANCE

Ingredient-inspired, elegant fine dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Whole Dover Sole a la meuniere •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes — sometimes they get a kitchen tour

paring here, with a chardonnay from Sonoma. The duck at Splendido astonishes. Try this delicate and savory breast with a glass of robust red wine, like Rhode’s choice of a Napa Valley cab franc and merlot blend. The dish is accompanied with orange and apricot accents, and is served skin down — a salty component that makes the rich meat more mouthwatering. The flavors are tantalizing, complete with baby green beans, onions, leeks and chive blossoms. For dessert, warm brown butter s’mores are melt-in-your-mouth delectable, and, of course, leave you craving more. A petite syrah port sings praises to the milk chocolate cremeux, placed alongside graham cracker ice cream and toasted marshmallow. I’ll have some more, please … merci. •

top Long Island duck breast with orange and apricot. above The Hawaiian Kampachi crudo shines with a green apple and celery broth, Meyer lemon, shiso and ginger. left Strawberry rhubarb pavlova comes with verbena sorbet and lemon-yogurt cream.

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PRICE

Pasta, Pizzas and Entreés: $9-$38 •••

AMBIANCE

Mountain-influenced Italian •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Veal scaloppini with beef short rib and morel ragu, pappardelle and brown butter •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes — specialized “Bambini” kids’ menu

TOSCANINI by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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tep into the heart of Beaver Creek and find Toscanini’s attentive staff waiting to offer seating with a view of the village center and surrounding art galleries. Sit outside and enjoy the fresh mountain air while watching ice skaters glide by on the year-round rink, or choose to dine indoors and enjoy the panoramic view of the square through picturesque windows that span the entire length of the restaurant. Located an escalator away from the Vilar Performing Arts Center, Toscanini offers a family-friendly “Bambini” kids’ menu with terrific options such as grilled chicken and risotto and a variety of macaroni with protein add-ons. But whether or not you’re dining with kids, everyone at the table will be happy with the inspired menu and excellent execution. It’s not just about the food, though. For 16 years, the Wine Spectator has given its Award of Excellence to the restaurant’s 100-percent-Italian wine list. With a culinary style inspired by the Mediterranean and southern European regions and the cultural blending over time, the results are not only historically fascinating but delicious as well. Local farms,

60 AVONDALE LANE / BEAVER CREEK PLAZA, BEAVER CREEK 970.754.5590 / TOSCANINIBEAVERCREEK.COM

fisheries, dairies and ranchers supply momentum and amazingly fresh ingredients. Local goat cheeses made in Basalt are brought in from goats that are raised and grazed on farm and dairy in Paonia, the heart of Colorado’s farm-to-table movement. The Toscanini culinary team, headed by James Beard award-winning Executive Chef Paul Wade, delivers an artisan “craft” interpretation, including scratch-made pastas, hand-crafted cheeses and charcuterie such as sausage, prosciutto, pastrami and terrines. “We’re having a great time and taking it to a new place,” says Chef Wade. “The goal is to elevate the food style and modernize the typically historical fare. We’re giving it a shift.” He goes on to explain that the majority of sausages and salamis and a variety of cheeses are done in-house in conjunction with this transition, pulling culinary notes from FruiuliVenezia and Tuscany. (This is not unusual for Wade — he is known for a predilection for making ingredients most people are happy to buy.) Commence your evening at Toscanini with one of the acclaimed antipasti selections paired with prosecco or a signature bellini. Enjoy the arrosto ostriche — roasted oysters with leeks, chives and lemon sabayon or the arrosto aglio of roasted elephant garlic presented in a sizzling skillet that

highlights the aroma of the bulbs. Or go with one of the more traditional options of caprese insalate or prosciutto de parma with grilled asparagus and apple-rosemary marmaletta. Move along to one of their signature entreés and partake of the quadrefiore with house-made sausage, radicchio and grilled eggplant or the alto adige pasta rustici with rustic pan noodles and luscious lobster. All of these reflect the northern alpine-centric influence and quality ingredients Chef Wade is excited for this season. And with any fine dining experience

comes an equally fine selection of desserts and sweet treats. Just try and resist the budino tropicale banana bread pudding or selection of sorbets. Whether seated in the main dining area or outdoor patio overlooking the popular skating rink, savor the results of Wade’s culinary leadership and passion of modern Italian faire. • Beef tenderloin carpaccio, olive oil pearls, avocado aioli, quail egg and crispy potato. below “Caffe crudo degli alci,” with coffee-cured elk loin, citrus shoots, quinoa tabbouleh and a cherry-huckleberry conserve. above


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AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH / 0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE 970.748.6200 / RITZCARLTON.COM/BACHELORGULCH

by PAGE McCLEAN photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ike the eponymous bison, summer is Buffalos’ time to graze upon Colorado’s great bounty. For a restaurant focusing on local sourcing and inspiration, the season brings out the best of the staff’s creativity with a palette of produce, homemade ingredients, and wild fish and game. Katie Dirkes, Food and Beverage Coordinator for the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, describes Buffalos as “all about local, any which way possible, at reasonable prices.” Portions are generous and filling, but carefully crafted. Even the humble french fry gets the royal treatment with summer’s black truffle slices, tossed herbs and shaved Parmesan. “We try pairing good ingredients with the fall of the seasons,” says Chef Steven Sterritt, mastermind behind Buffalos’ signature flavors. One must-try summer dish is the heirloom tomato and burrata salad. A whimsical riff on the now-tired caprese, this plate features four full ounces of burrata as the centerpiece, topped with olive oil “caviar,” a

PRICE

Apps: $10-$17 (includes shareables) Entreés: $15-$60 •••

AMBIANCE

Log cabin luxe, with the impeccable service and quality of The Ritz-Carlton •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Buffalos Signature Burger •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, down to “nibbles for the little kids,” featuring small portions of homemade creations to educate your child’s palate

nice aged balsamic and sea salt, surrounded by red and yellow local heirloom tomatoes, arugula pesto and homemade toast points and lavash. Order this for the table to share. Save room for the Signature Buffalo Burger, which the chef describes as “eating a buffalo ribeye for lunch.” Or wait until the evening and order the real deal, the 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye bison steak, which often appears as a dinner special. If you want to eat outside the box, opt for the Land and Sea Tartares, which features both bison and ahi tuna. “The restaurant was built upon the whole beer pairing concept,” says Garret Cosgrove, chief mixologist at Buffalos. Every beer on tap, including Tommyknocker’s Root Beer, is from Colorado. Ask about his craft cocktails and

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he will wax poetic, conjuring up the sights and scents that inspired them. Reflecting the homegrown luxe of Buffalos, Cosgrove makes his own infusions and simple syrups with Colorado ingredients to create complexity and character in his drinks. “I try to approach cocktails with balance.” They are a perfect summer apéritif — light and refreshing, and not too sweet. Visit early and often this season, as he will feature several limited-edition cocktails throughout the summer. Wine is also available by the glass or bottle.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Buffalos is the bedrock of Bachelor Gulch dining and should be part of your Colorado experience — simple, fresh ingredients, carefully prepared, and inspired by local colors and flavors. • top Three Oysters & a Shot includes poached shrimp and a Bloody Mary shot. above The Buffalos Signature Bison Burger with crispy onions is served with black truffle french fries. left House-made burrata is glorified with heirloom tomatoes and olive oil caviar.

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PRICE

Apps: $2.95-$9.95 Pizzas: $12.95-$22.95 Other Entreés: $9.95-$13.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Fun, family-style pizzaría, with restaurants in Lionshead and Beaver Creek villages •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Hand-tossed, New Yorkstyle pizza •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

You bet

BLUE MOOSE PIZZA by POLINA LACONTE photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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nstead of breadsticks and tablecloths atop tables at Blue Moose Pizza, it’s crayons and white coloring paper. That’s right. Family fun is the focus at this local pizzaría, with restaurants in both Lionshead and Beaver Creek villages — but did you know a big part of the restaurant’s family-focused fun this summer is also free? Throughout July and August at Blue Moose Pizza’s Lionshead location, as a part of the Lionshead Family Fun Fest, the fun heads out on to Vail Square on Saturday afternoons with pizzatossing contests and do-it-yourself pizza-making clinics. Kids participate for free — and even get to make and keep their own pizzas — under the careful watch of a team of Blue Moose chefs and managers. “The Blue Moose team and I make sure to send the kids back to Mom and Dad with smiles on their shirts and sauce on their faces,” says host Brian Hall, a local legend among children for his Beaver Creek Children’s Theater Company, which has been putting on shows for nearly three decades. “Or was that the other way around?” All this and more are part of a local

focus that makes Blue Moose a restaurant you want to support as you make the choice where to enjoy a pie. The art on the walls, for example, is from Eagle County fifth-graders; and on tap at the bar is beer from local breweries Crazy Mountain and Bonfire, with smallflight tastings available during Happy Hour, so you can try them all responsibly. Oh, and did we mention pizza? Adults can enjoy a fun — and healthy — menu of pies that includes modern options like the Mediterranean, served on a stone-ground, whole wheat crust with pesto hummus as the sauce, or a gluten-free “salad pizza,” with traditional red sauce, fresh baby spinach, black olives, red onions, roasted peppers and mozzarella, all on a gluten-free crust. Order the Vintage meatball pizza, meanwhile, and Blue Moose will donate $1 to benefit Eagle Valley

675 LIONSHEAD PLACE, LIONSHEAD / 970.476.8666 76 AVONDALE LANE, BEAVER CREEK PLAZA 970.845.8666 BLUEMOOSEPIZZA.COM

Senior Life, a nonprofit organization providing programs and resources to help older adults thrive in the Vail Valley. Blue Moose recently did this with its Vonnderful pizza, raising more than $13,000 for SOS Outreach, another local nonprofit selected by local skiing legend Lindsey Vonn. Tuesday’s are Family Night at the Blue Moose, with family specials on pizza

and salads, and happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m. every day, with $4 Colorado draft beers and the restaurant’s famous three-pizza sliders, also $4. • top The Mediterranean pizza is made with whole wheat crust and a hummus base. above Boulder residents Stella, left, and James Laird participate in a recent pizza-tossing competition in Vail Square.


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26 AVONDALE LANE / INSIDE THE BEAVER CREEK LODGE 970.845.1730 / REVOLUTIONDINING.COM.

by CARAMIE PETROWSKY photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ut down your smart phone, there’s plenty to hold your attention at Revolution, the newest restaurant in Beaver Creek. Exhibition dining is alive and well at this gastropub where plenty of the plating happens right before your hungry eyes. “Meat jockeys” donning pinstripe aprons and loose ties cut up rotisserie-tender meats and vegetables at a cart rolled tableside. They carefully add the finishing touches — a sprinkle of salt, the squeeze of a lime, the final sauce — a few feet from diners. Or artfully construct steak nachos or the porchetta poutine in front of you, sans plate. The broth for the tortilla soup is poured tableside; likewise, the decadent caramelroasted bananas are drizzled atop the milk chocolate dome dessert. The Revolution concept is ChefOwner Riley Romanin’s brainchild and his second Beaver Creek restaurant. He also owns nearby sushi and seafood joint Hooked, where he learned firsthand that dining well is much more than food on a plate. “I saw that people enjoyed the entertainment value,” he says. “There’s an excitement that comes with seeing your food prepared right in front of you.”

Start your meal with a cocktail, either a refreshing caiparinha, a Brazilian specialty made with cachaca, muddled palm sugar and lime, or opt for one of three housemade mixers — blueberry lemonade, basil strawberry or watermelon black pepper — paired with either vodka, gin, rum, bourbon or tequila, all from Colorado Spirits. Our waitress, Anna, recommended pairing the watermelon black pepper with tequila. She’s a genius, that one. Back to those nachos. The impetus came from previous poor nacho experiences: either naked chips or, worse yet, soggy specimens at the very bottom of the pile. Freshly fried corn chips are spread evenly on a foil sheet in front of you, and topped with bite-sized hunks of rib-eye beef, five types of salsas and sauces, including a smoky red chile salsa, cilantro cream sauce and a housemade chili-cheese sauce and then finished with diced tomatoes, jalapeños and black olives. Each week Mountain View Farms delivers a whole, just-butchered heritage pig to Revolution, where every part of the animal is used in dishes ranging from the guanicale potato gratin, to the rotisserie achiote pineapple pork. The loin and the belly meat are used to make the signature porchetta, which is brined, air dried, marinated and finally rubbed with “a

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brown sugar mustard glaze and cooked on the rotisserie for 6 hours until it’s fall-apart tender, but still juicy because of the rotation,” Romanin says of the traditional Italian specialty. A thick slice of the meat — essentially juicy loin surrounded by a thick slab of bacon — is served with a yogurt whole grain mustard sauce, a family recipe straight out of Romanin’s childhood, which took place here in Eagle County. It’s the rotisserie 7X Japanese beef, which comes from Hotchkiss, Colo. that makes us swoon, though. Layered on the restaurant’s homemade na’an bread with both caramelized and crispy onions and drizzled with one or two of the restaurant’s dozen homemade sauces, perhaps the honey horseradish or the midnight blue aioli, and this will be one revolution for which to be grateful. • The R1 7X Japanese beef, served with horseradish sauce, is both food and entertainment. left Tortilla soup, served table-side. above

PRICE

Apps: $4-$20; Entreés: $14-$55 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale but familyfriendly •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Mountain View Porchetta with yogurt mustard sauce, $25 •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

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DELIGHTS & COFFEE CO.

142 E. BEAVER CREEK PLACE, AVON / 970.949.4777

by POLINA LACONTE photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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lot of people who visit Kiwi International Delights have a similar reaction: “Why don’t they charge more?” Indeed, it’s a great question. Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, international coffee, natural juices and smoothies, salads, crepes, wraps, specialty pastries, soups, tamales, all are homemade right there in a familyowned shop in Avon. The gelato, sorbet and ice cream are made from organic ingredients with honey and agave nectar — no white processed sugar is used. The crepes are gluten free. There’s no artificial colors or flavors added or preservatives in anything. Nothing is frozen or stored. Only 100-percent-organic dairy is used with plenty of non-dairy options available. It’s the type of place where, if it were located in Manhattan or Washington D.C., it would be a topdollar establishment, or at least have a line out the door and down the block. But it’s located in Avon, and it’s extremely reasonable to the point where it’s almost suspicious.

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PRICE

Apps: $6; Entreés: $10 •••

AMBIANCE

Hip Mom & Pop with an international flair •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Homemade gelato •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Extremely

“It could take us three days to make one kind of ice cream or gelato,” says owner Martha Trillo. “So why, then, is a kid’s scoop with a gluten free waffle cone only $3.65?” would be an obvious response. “We want people to get to know us first,” says Trillo. “Get to know the quality of our products.” Trillo says everything they make,

they make the same way as if they’re cooking at home for their children. “The era that we’re living in right now, everybody is taking care to eat healthy, so we want people to know that coming here is not unhealthy,” she says. Rotating soups of the day include such flavors as roasted pumpkin

cream with feta cheese, carrotginger-coconut, potato leek and other tasty varieties. And even if you don’t see them on the menu, ask about the tamales — pork and red chile, or cheese and green chile. Both are handmade and completely delicious. It’s also quite an international experience, as the name suggests. It’s the only place in the valley where you can have a Turkish coffee from a copper dish served with a traditional Turkish delight served on the side. Their Vietnamese and Japanese coffees are authentic, as well. “Everybody can find something that they like,” says Trillo. And that includes moms. As a mother herself, Trillo knows what she likes to see in the places she takes her family. “For our toppings, we use almonds, pistachios, hemp seed, coconut and granola that we make here at home,” she says. “You don’t have to fill your ice cream with gummy bears. You can use almonds instead.” Kiwi International Delights is amazing, pure and simple. • Mint, basil, parsley and avocado gelato. Nutella, strawberry, banana glutenfree crepes with strawberry ice cream and Vietnamese coffee, Mexican Three Delights coffee and Turkish coffee. top

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BOXCAR RESTAURANT & BAR

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AVON

by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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von’s neighborhood gastropub is where beer lovers and cocktail connoisseurs unite, where a single bar diner swirls wine for its notes, and where a foodie brings his first date. It’s the place you can come for popcorn and pretzels, and the place you’ll stay for burrata, mussels and chicken liver mousse. Boxcar’s menu plays to a pub scene, with a diverse list of bottled brews and drafts, innovative craft cocktails and from-scratch comfort food. The food and drink offerings change with seasonal inspirations, but you can always trust your palate in the hands of the co-owner and chef team, Hunter Chamness and Cara Luff. Their experience shows, not only in the creativity and professionalism served on every plate, but with the streamlined cadence and flow of their establishment — which has been open since the spring of 2014. Go casual at the long, butcher-block community table, near the door and perfect for a social gathering, or sit in the back near the open kitchen, where (thanks to a large, beautiful mirror), every seat provides a view of the artists in action. Order from the list of snacks and small plates to share some starters, namely the roasted cauliflower with black garlic, lemon and gremolata, and the burrata small plate, served this summer with perfectly pan-seared gnocchi, corn and cherry tomatoes on

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a lovely rendition of tomatillo sauce. “We are looking forward to implementing all the great summer ingredients that are coming in right now, which allow for a lot of creative versatility when it comes to playing with the summer menu,” says Chamness. The bartenders work closely with the kitchen as well, developing cocktail recipes like the simple and fresh Field Blend with pear brandy and

reisling — a bubbly and light apertif. Wash down the hearty large plates, like the grilled pork chop, or Boxcar Bacon and Cheddar Burger, with a top-shelf (of the cooler) beer. There are many, many options, so let a server help you choose from the domestic and international lineup. “The patio is finally here, and the sun’s out now, so we are really interested to see how that is going to develop,” Chamness says about Boxcar’s new outdoor space. “It’s an amazing place with a fantastic view of Beaver Creek, and we are beginning to develop a very energetic atmosphere on our patio, and it’s starting to catch on.” The weekend patio brunch experience at Boxcar is like the cherry on top of a sundae, oozing with summer’s sweet touch. To complete a perfect Sunday patio session, order a Bartender’s Breakfast bourbonbrewed coffee cocktail, and finish it all off with a pink peppercorn and coriander zucchini cake, served with velvety smooth mascarpone cream and a pear and pine nut crumble. • Chicken liver mousse with kumquat marmalade, pickled Fresno pepper and currants. left Burrata takes center stage amongst panseared gnocchi, corn and cherry tomatoes. above

PRICE

Snack and small plates: $4-$16; Large plates: $16-$33 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual like a nice pub, with contemporary and creative cuisine •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Boxcar Bacon Cheddar Burger and fries •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

YES

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GREEN ELEPHANT JUICERY by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ook for the Green Elephant everywhere in the Vail Valley — on cars, water bottles, random posts, parking garage meters — because stickers promoting this juicery’s giant vegetarian muse have been stuck all over the area, along with the growing demand for more green. Completely organic and plant-based, Green Elephant’s menu has grown from its bread-and-butter products, or coldpressed vegetable and fruit juices, to include made-to-order smoothies, foods, snacks and desserts, all packaged to-go. “Quick and easy, that’s our thing,” explains Co-owner Leo Flynn. “We hate

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to say the ‘fast food’ word, but we are a grab-and-go, healthy, organic, fast option.” The flagship Green Elephant is in Avon, but there’s a convenient, food-on-the-fly stop in Lionshead, as well. Flynn says the next big offering is going to be delivery, with a subscription service available for repeat orders. There’s even a special phone app, like a loyalty program with discounts and special offers, which customers can use in-store for purchases or to order fresh juices and foods delivered straight to their work, home or hotel. All the products coming out of Green Elephant are vegan, but even meat eaters will be excited about the menu. Just try the homemade hummus for a snack, the peanut soba noodles for a taste of Thai, or take some sips of the

150 E. BEAVER CREEK BLVD 970.470.4042 / GREENELEPHANTJUICERY.COM

cucumber avocado gazpacho from an 8-ounce bottle. The southwest kale salad and strawberry walnut salad are staples, and the Mexican walnut-stuffed pepper and almond burger hummus wrap are filling enough for a full meal. “You just have to find the right combinations out there; it’s stuff that we try, and it’s recipes we have acquired,” says Flynn. “There are vegan dishes that have been around for a long time at nice vegan restaurants and small vegan cafes, but mainstream doesn’t really know about them.” Meet your sweet cravings mindfully with Green Elephant’s vegan cheesecakes, made from ingredients like cashews, coconut milk and maple syrup and served as a choice between vanilla, blueberry or cacao flavors. Try the raw maca cacao truffles, too, made with dates, cacao, coconut oil, maca and salt. “There’s always a demand for sweets,” Flynn says. “We have options that taste good and make you feel good.” Keep an eye out for more Green Elephant footprints all over the valley, and especially for the new juice bike — a converted icicle tricycle — that will be cruising around Avon on deliveries. Grab your green fix from one of their vendor booths at the Avon Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer, or at other special events around town. •

PRICE

Juices and Smoothies: $9.50; Foods and snacks: $3.95 - $9.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Healthy cafe with grab-and-go convenience •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Almond burger and hummus wrap •••

SIGNATURE JUICE

Packie, with apple, lemon and lots of greens •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

Green Elephant offers a menagerie of delectable grab-and-go options, such as fresh, all organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and one-ounce shooters in bottle form, ready for your on-the-move lifestyle. top right A quinoa bowl with broccoli, kale, beets and tomatoes. left The strawberry walnut salad with spinach and cucumber and a cashew balsamic vinaigrette. top left


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48 E. BEAVER CREEK BLVD. AVON, COLORADO 970.748.WINE / VIN48.COM

by SUZANNE HOFFMAN photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ollow the locals. That’s useful advice travelers seeking delicious food and wine experiences should follow. In the Vail Valley, one of the places savvy locals frequent is vin48 in Avon, the front porch of Beaver Creek. On warm summer evenings, when the glass wall is opened and the dining room and patio merge, partners Greg Eynon, Collin Baugh and Charles Hays welcome guests to their al fresco dining oasis. A 32-bottle Enomatic machine dominates vin48’s signature bar. The preservation and dispensing system allows Wine Director Eynon the opportunity to offer an array of wines by the glass, great for happy hour or when consensus can’t be reached at the table on that baffling question: red or white? Not enough choices? Eynon gladly will recommend something from the cellar stocked with over 500 distinctive labels, mostly from family-owned wineries. Like the menu, the wine list changes with the seasons. Eynon notes, “I try to maintain a year-round core list, but I do change up the by the glass offerings in the summer to lighten things up.” He believes red wines are well-suited for summer when he leans toward “brighter, livelier reds with vibrant red fruit and nice acidity.” Vin48 is as much about food as it is about wine. Eynon and Executive Chef Hays skillfully marry the two crucial gastronomic components of a great dining experience. Hays describes himself as a “sponge” who loves plowing through cookbooks and magazines for culinary inspiration. It shows in his eclectic, seasonally changing menu. “Being a locavore in Colorado is difficult,” he acknowledges, “but summer provides an opportunity to incorporate fresh, local ingredients into my menu.” Once the snow melts and green replaces the leaden colors of mud season, light fare perfect for warm summer evenings dominate the menu. For his twist on sashimi, Hays unites delicate slices of Kona Kampachi, a popular ocean-farmed fish from Hawaii, topped with black Kilauea salt for a crunchy contrast, with fried julienne

carrots, sweet-and-spicy pickled Fresno peppers, Hearts on Fire micro greens, shiso oil and a palate-cleansing slice of house-made pickled ginger. Eynon recommends Salomon Undhof Riesling as a vinous companion “to tame the heat and balance the sweetness” of the dish. “Peaches” is the prized member of Hays’ culinary team responsible for the restaurant’s signature grilled meats. “She” is actually an “it:” a peach wood fired grill used to produce succulent, delicately smoked grilled meats and fish. One popular grilled item this summer is the 7X short rib. For this delectable “East meets West” dish, Hays pairs the prized Colorado high country beef with a combination of Korean flavors, including spicy pickled daikon and shiso leaf and scallion salad. For this dish, which Eynon says “has a lot going on,” he recommends Provencal AIX rosé that possesses a “slight herbaceous quality that plays well with the shiso salad.” Daily specials give the entire kitchen staff the opportunity to contribute their ideas and stretch their creative muscles. “I prefer this approach,” Hays explains, “because the staff is able to take ownership and pride in a dish they create, which ultimately benefits guests.” Take locals’ advice this summer and escape to vin48 for Rocky Mountain vinous and culinary adventures. Kona Kampachi crudo with Fresno peppers, carrots, shiso oil and micro greens. above Roasted baby root vegetables with snow peas and z’aatar-spiced yogurt. right Pan-seared cobia basted with tarragon butter, served with purple potato hash and pepper puree. top

PRICE

Small plates: $9-$15 Large plates: $26-$32 •••

AMBIANCE

Energetic locals’ spot with great views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Meats and fish grilled over peach-wood fire •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

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MAYA MODERN MEXICAN KITCHEN & TEQUILARÍA

by MELANIE WONG photos courtesy RICHARD SANDOVAL RESTAURANTS

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othing quite says summer in the valley like drinks and dinner on Maya’s expansive deck looking out on the green slopes of Beaver Creek Resort, enjoying the Colorado skies and listening to the rush of the Eagle River. Cozy up with your date by one of the fire pits, cocktail in hand, or gather the friends and family around a long table for a hearty meal. Let’s just say there’s a reason this restaurant, at the Westin Riverfront Resort, in Avon, has become a hotspot for locals looking to make the most of a summer evening. Once you’ve settled in with your view of choice, leave all your preconceptions about “modern” Mexican cuisine at the door — starting with their creative cocktails. Our favorites include the Prickly Pear, a sweet citrusy tequila drink, and the Mercado, a colorful cocktail topped with hibiscus foam that will transport you straight to the beach. Not a cocktail drinker? Try one of Maya’s tequila flights, a fun and unique way to taste the restaurant’s signature spirit. You’ll work your way through three or four carefully chosen tequilas, with delightful slices of citrus and spicy tomato juice to

cleanse your palate along the way. Start your meal off with one of Maya’s mixed guacamoles — we recommend the tuna tartare variety, especially if you like fish — served with their sinful, fried tortilla chips; or share a spicy shrimp quesadilla, complete with chipotle aioli served right at the table. Maya offers a modern twist on favorites like enchiladas, guacamole, even tacos, dazzling the eyes as well as the taste bud with colorful

126 RIVERFRONT LANE, WESTIN RIVERFRONT RESORT & SPA / AVON / 970.790.5500 / RICHARDSANDOVAL.COM/MAYABC

presentations and hearty helpings. Take the chicken enchiladas, for example, smothered in a tangy, bright green, inyour-face tomatillo sauce. Or, if you’re looking for something more traditional, try the skillet pork carnitas, a generous serving of slow-roasted meat jazzed up with lime juice and peppery mojo sauce; you can further dress it to your taste with a spread of tomatillo sauce, habanero salsa or guacamole. We also swear their marinated flat-iron steak, the carne asada, will win the hearts of even those who usually wouldn’t order steak. You’ll most certainly be finishing every last bite of the bacon-wrapped, cheesestuffed Fresno chile that comes on the side like a little surprise gift. While most of the recipes at Maya come from Richard Sandoval, one of Mexico’s top celebrity chefs, look for some flavors from the heart, as well. Sous Chef Angel Muñoz got his start cooking in Tijuana with his mother and sisters, and he brings that experience and love of good food to Maya. “The passion of

PRICE

Apps $9-$18, entreés $22-$48 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale Mexican food; great deck •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Carne asada; skillet pork carnitas •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

cooking I get from my mom,” he says. Look for personal touches from Muñoz and Executive Chef Kevin Delonay this summer, including some Baja-style ceviche and Yucatán-inspired dishes. • Maya’s bar area is modern and energetic. top right The Pepino uses serrano-infused tequila. left Guacamole is made tableside; try it with tuna tartare. top left


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•••

AMBIANCE

Casual, slightly irreverent neighborhood dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Penne prosciutto a la vodka and Snake River Farms Kobe flank steak •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, down to child-sized corn hole and coloring book menus

CASTLE PEAK GRILLE by PAGE McCLEAN photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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eneral Manager Nicole Everard describes Castle Peak Grille as a neighborhood bar and restaurant offering “comfort food with a twist.” The menu is diverse and extensive, welcoming the gamut of someone who wants to watch the game over wings and beer, or those more interested in fine dining and conversation. Inside, the brick walls, tiled floors and open kitchen lend a bistro feel to the restaurant. When the weather is fine, ask for a table on the large patio, preferably in the back, where you can look up at the green hills of summer. The restaurant is debuting a fullservice outdoor bar this year, which is a real treat at sunset or under the twinkle lights at night. Sip a michelada or house-infused cocktail while you tap your foot to the familiar classic rock tunes. You might be inspired to take on the neighborhood kids at corn hole. Chef Mike Irwin takes restaurant standards and adds his own spin. The House Caesar, for example, features baby kale greens and fried capers

instead of the traditional romaine and anchovies. Originally from outside of Pittsburgh, dishes like the Steel City sandwich, the traditional cheese steak, and the house-made cheesecake reflect his upbringing. The Vail Valley dining scene has also left its mark on the menu. “I took everything that I’ve learned from other restaurants and put it in here,” he says. The chef calls it “plate fusion,” and you will find both humble and highbrow influences from around the globe. For some spice, order the tuna crudo, with julienned radish, apple and sprouts atop a crunchy wasabi wonton. Full of balanced flavors and textures, this little number is the star of the starter menu. The restaurant offers several gluten-free options, including pizza, and they can make other items acceptable for gluten intolerance. Designated drivers and kids will rejoice over the long list of delicious nonalcoholic drinks. That said, the beer list is pretty classic Colorado, and not to be missed. And don’t be afraid to ask for help navigating the wine list. In addition to dinner, lunch service features sandwiches, and a killer happy hour deal with some additional bar appetizers. Even the kiddos get

0101 FAWCETT ROAD | AVON 970.748-4848 / FACEBOOK.COM/CASTLEPEAKGRILLE

their own menu, which they can color on while they wait for their food. No matter what time of day you visit, the portions are generous and everything is designed to share. This neighborhood favorite is warm, friendly and unpretentious.

Welcoming to all, they say, “Our biggest rule is: Be nice.” • top Mussels with saffron, white wine, garlic, shallots, chorizo and tomato. above The burger on a toasted brioche bun with garlic aioli, served with fries.

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PRICE

Apps: $7-$15 Entrées: $9-$28

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ZINO RISTORANTE 27 MAIN STREET / RIVERWALK, EDWARDS 970.926.0777 / ZINORISTORANTE.COM

by SUZANNE HOFFMANN photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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here’s dining that’s eating and there’s dining that’s experiencing. At Zino Ristorante, Italian-inspired cuisine is meant to be experienced, not merely consumed. In summer, the experience comes with a strong dose of culinary passion, great service culture and lots of fun for all. Each summer, when the patio opens and the bocce ball pit becomes a hotbed of competition, positive, fun energy flows like the nearby Eagle River that is an integral part of the restaurant’s summer environment. And it’s not just guests who enjoy themselves. Always energetic partner and General Manager Giuseppe Bosco delights in welcoming guests to the great outdoors. Asked why summer is so popular at Zino, Bosco buoyantly declares, “The beautiful nature in front of us — the river and the trees — gives us such a positive energy, so everyone wants to be on our patio!” In the open kitchen, partner and Executive Chef Nick Haley and his culinary team celebrate summer with Mother Nature’s freshest creations, which they employ to produce light dishes exploding with simple, delectable flavors. Ask Haley to name his signature dish and it’s as though

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you’ve asked a dad to name his favorite child. “They’re all my dishes,” he proudly states with a hint of frustration, “and since we’ve just rolled out the new menu, it’s hard to say which dish is the most popular.” The locals likely would name burrata, pasta and the restaurant’s wildly popular, hand spun, wood fired oven pizzas, all house made daily. Polipo e Seppie, new to Zino’s summer antipasti selection, is a classic Italian amalgam of sea and garden comprised of grilled octopus and cuttlefish atop cannellini beans, fresh pea shoots and roasted red pepper. Piadina offers diners something beefier to stir their taste buds. Colorado free range Prime New York beef carpaccio shares its bed of house-made flatbread with tender mâche leaves, crunchy garlic, thin summer radish slices, capers and a skillful dash of truffle oil. The tender beef is reminiscent of classic Piemontese carne cruda, but the synergy of tender raw beef with crunchy toppings is pure Chef Haley. Since its opening five years ago, Zino’s pasta fatta in casa has provided the foundation for many classic Italian dishes. This summer, Haley married saffron with pasta to create Linguine alla Zafferono. Eggs infused with

saffron for 24 hours impart a rich golden hue to the pasta served with tender fava beans, grilled sweet corn (Olathe will be used when available), pea shoots and juicy Manila clams. Line-caught Alaskan halibut poached in olive oil stars in Haley’s light pesce entreé selection. Haley plates the succulent fish on asparagus puree and tomato brodo and tops the fish with a dollop of wilted baby kale to create a dish brimming with fresh, simple flavors. Creative cuisine needs a creative wine list filled with appropriate partners for Chef Haley’s dishes. Naples-born Bosco delivers. His wine list reflects his passion for serving high quality labels at prices fair to consumers and to wine producers alike. Whether seeking spirited libations with small bites or a full-on meal, Zino’s patio is a popular summertime meeting spot for locals and valley guests alike. •

PRICE

Apps and Salads $11-$15 Pizzas, pastas and entreés $16-$35 •••

AMBIANCE

Lively summer fun •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Burrata (semi-soft white Italian cheese), Palisade peach wood-fired pizzas and pasta fatta in casa (fresh pasta made in-house daily) •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Warm, fun welcome given to kids of all ages

Polipo e seppie: grilled octopus and cuttlefish, briased cannellini beans, pea shoots and bell pepper. left Linguine allo zafferano: Manila clams, bottarga, grilled sweet corn, fava beans and pea shoots. above


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EDWARDS

THE ROSE 97 MAIN STREET / EDWARDS 970.855.0141

by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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f you are looking for a taste of urban flare in a cozy atmosphere, head to The Rose in Edwards. Located in Riverwalk across from the movie theater, the intimate restaurant and bar offers guests creative cocktails and cuisine to surprise and delight almost any palate in an eclectic, casual and friendly setting. Bryan and Jessica Redniss, the husband-and-wife team behind The Rose, are both artists. Reclaimed wood, their own original artwork and a surprising mix of lighting from antique birdcages to modern snowflake-like light fixtures set the stage. Cocktails are served in a creative assortment of antiquelooking glasses that seem to match the different characters of each drink. Even the friendly staff, following the owners’ lead, rock their own distinct style instead of uniforms. The effect is a modern, comfortable space that buzzes with creative energy as the room fills up. With local mixologist Mark Summers behind the drink list, The Rose is well known for its craft cocktails. Libations such as the First Word, made with mescal, Aperol, Chartreuse and lime, offer a complex flavor profile that changes as you drink it. One of Jessica’s favorites, she describes it as a smoky sipper that just gets better with every layer. “For me the second one is even better,” she says. They also offer a full list of classic cocktails including old favorites like the Tom Collins and the Moscow Mule. The food menu, which changes every other month, is full of delicious surprises at a very reasonable price. It’s Bryan’s domain, and he takes his inspiration from around the world — and from his staff. The result is a health conscious menu that uses fresh local produce as much as possible to create a unique blend of texture, color and international flavors. “That’s always been our thing, the sweet and savory, the play on textures,” he says. Take the pickled watermelon and pork belly salad — it was inspired by

PRICE

Appetizers $10-$13 Entreés $15-$22 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual, cool, creative •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Crispy pork tacos

Jessica’s trip to New Orleans and bar manager Jeff Sandoval’s discovery of the Egyptian spice blend dukkah. A delightful summer salad full of produce from Gypsum’s own Green Wagon Farm, the quick-pickled watermelon adds a juicy and sweet balance to the savory kick of the pork belly. Served over arugula, mint and lemon basil, the sprinkling of dukkah adds a nutty spice to the dish that helps cool down a hot night. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try the Duck Duck Goose. Named after the childhood poem, it is a huge portion of bonein crisp duck confit with a sprouted mung bean salad and garlic brown butter mash. Finished with foie gras snow, it will leave you sinking into your seat in savory satisfaction.

Finally there are the locals’ favorites like the Buffalo cauliflower, which is a play on Buffalo wings, and crispy pork tacos that Bryan is incredibly proud of. These are small, simple dishes built on really good ingredients that speak volumes in flavor. “I just want the flavors and the produce to speak for themselves,” he says. (Though some would say they holler.) For both Jessica and Bryan, as

artists, the most important thing is to keep things fresh. As Jessica explains, “If you keep renewing things that inspire, and are open to what the chefs and the guys at the bar have to say, it kind of fuels that creativity and you can taste it.” • top Pickled watermelon and pork belly salad. above Both the First Word cocktail and the crispy pork tacos are signature items.


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PRICE

Mirador entrées $18-$36 Grouse on the Green entrées $12-$24 •••

AMBIANCE

Mirador — upscale rustic Grouse on the Green — cozy pub •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Mirador — TBD Grouse on the Green — fish and chips •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

GROUSE ON THE GREEN & MIRADOR AT CORDILLERA

2205 CORDILLERA WAY / LODGE & SPA AT CORDILLERA / 970.926.2200 / CORDILLERALODGE.COM

by KATIE COAKLEY photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n the Vail Valley, there are plenty of restaurants with spectacular views. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find an unattractive spot in the area. However, a visit to the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera will convince you that you’ve discovered not one but two secret gems — restaurants that provide exceptional service, creative cuisine and expansive, sweeping vistas that might make you forget to finish your meal. But you don’t forget, and you dig in for just one more bite.

MIRADOR

While the preparations, accompaniments and overall flavor profiles may change with the seasons, the focus on high-quality proteins and produce remains constant. Entrées can be

described as “upscale rustic,” creating well-balanced, satisfying flavors from seemingly simple preparations. On a recent visit, we tried an exotic salad that’s served in a baby coconut shell. Edible flowers are interspersed with a variety of homemade chips — beet, taro, lotus root — with pea shoots and microgreens providing both color and flavor. The peppered cashews give a surprising pop of crunch and spice. Skim the menu and your eyes might light on bison, skewered and charred, served with chilies that have received the same treatment. Or you might choose the candied salmon, which arrives arranged on a bed of wild mushrooms — a sight that would make a mycologist swoon. But no matter what you choose, you’ll give yourself a pat on the back between bites — you made the right decision for dinner. Mirador and the Lodge & Spa at

Cordillera are pleased to welcome longtime local chef Michael Joersz to the kitchen. Joersz, who most recently headed the kitchen at the Wolcott Yacht Club, is excited about the journey to come. “We are diligently determining what the future will bring,” Joersz says. “I’m looking forward to developing Mirador with this team and marrying the food with the views.” It’s a short journey to Cordillera and Mirador, but it’s most definitely an elevated experience. GROUSE ON THE GREEN

Finding Grouse on the Green at Cordillera is like finding the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — without any leprechauns to spoil it. An authentic Irish pub — it was transported, stone by stone, from the Emerald Isle

— Grouse on the Green has everything that you’d want from your “local”: Guinness on tap, stand-out shepherd’s pie and fish and chips that’ll have you adopting a brogue for at least an hour. However, it also has some things that you might not expect, like incredible views of the Rocky Mountains and a putting green within a club’s length. It’s a perfect spot for après anything — golfing, hiking or an afternoon at the pool. Wander in and order a pint; sit on the patio and take in the views. Come on Wednesday afternoons for live entertainment and food specials and stay for the golf tips, dispensed by a real-life pro. It’s a warm and friendly place that’s decidedly cool. • top Served in a coconut, this salad includes edible flowers and beet and taro chips. above Candied salmon with wild mushrooms.


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34295 U.S. HIGHWAY 6, EDWARDS 970.926.2220 2161 N. FRONTAGE ROAD, VAIL 970.476.5555 OLDFORGEPIZZACO.COM

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n a day and age when great things are copied, stamped out and aligned with a plethora of other choices in a stale attempt to please the masses, it’s nice to know there’s a place right here in the Vail Valley you can get a simple, fresh, custom pizza — or handmade lamb tacos. That’s right. Old Forge Pizza Company, named after a small, turn-of-the-20thCentury Pennsylvania community of Italian coal miners, has always taken pizza seriously, making it in trays the old-

fashioned way. And now, this summer, the company’s new owners since December — Laura Lopez and Alejandro Flores, longtime locals and restaurateurs from Michoacán, Mexico — are adding Mexican cuisine to the menu, mainly on weekends. “We’re very excited,” says Lopez, adding the local Hispanic community has long been a large part of Old Forge’s business in Edwards, particularly

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on Sundays. “We’re keeping the pizza — a lot of our customers love it — but now, they’re all asking us, when is the Mexican food coming?” The pizza, a tasty mainstay in the valley for 10 years, all starts with the “basic tray,” for that “perfect balance” of sauce made from vine-ripened Stanislaus tomatoes with a homemade blend of Wisconsin cheeses. From there, you can create your own, custom pie with a variety of meats, including ham, meatballs, applewood-smoked bacon, chicken or anchovies; options for toppings range from basil, banana peppers and jalapeños to roasted vegetables, spinach and arugula. Want a classic? Old Forge has always had its “signature” pies, from the simple-but-classic margherita with fresh mozzerella, roma tomatoes, basil and garlic to the hard-working Jack of All Trades — blended cheeses and crushed tomato sauce with heaps of Italian sausage, pepperoni, applewoodsmoked bacon, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers and Kalamata olives. Lopez says a Mexican-style pizza, with steak, onions, tomatoes, green pepper and chorizo, will soon be on the menu. Old Forge’s salads and sandwiches remain, meanwhile, joined now with lamb tacos, posole, and other classic Mexican dishes. With one restaurant in The Riverwalk at Edwards and another in the West Vail Mall — the latter with no Mexican options in the works, at least anytime soon — this company has always taken food seriously, whether you dine in, take it home or have it delivered. They highly recommend

PRICE

Pizzas: $6-$24; slices from $5 Sandwiches and salads: $8 Mexican dishes: TBD •••

AMBIANCE

Casual pizzeria … with Mexican food, too •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Jack of All Trades pizza … and lamb tacos •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Are you kidding? Of course!

their Bake at Home options, with which you can enjoy their food fresh out of your own oven in just minutes. Order by phone, straight off their website or via Yelp’s eat24.com service. The former beer-and-wine list has been upgraded, too, to include liquor and, of course, cocktails. On Sunday mornings, only in Edwards, Old Forge Pizza Company will be opening at 6 a.m. offering menudo, long-believed to be a hangover cure. • Jack of All Trades pizza. House salad with baby spinach, romaine, roma tomoatoes, cucumbers, red onions, mandarin oranges and toasted almonds.

above left

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TIMBERHEARTH

655 CLUBHOUSE DR., CORDILLERA 970.926.5500 / CORDILLERA-VAIL.COM

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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esplendent in the natural beauty of the area, the aweinspiring three-story river rock fireplace and large picture windows of Cordillera’s TimberHearth restaurant unveil the truly remarkable panoramas of the Hale Irwin-designed golf. With the stunning mountain and alpine forest as its backdrop, the Mountain Course is also home to the warm and inviting TimberHearth at the Club at Cordillera. Along with the majestic TimberHearth setting, private dining rooms are available. Membership is not needed to make reservations. Inside the dining room with oversizedchalet references, flavorful Colorado cuisine can be found specifically designed by Executive Chef Daniel Woodbridge. This season, the all-time-favorite dinner menu remains true to its mountain character offering up Colorado lamb chops and Boulder natural chicken. Redesigning the menu, Chef Woodbridge personally chose to add several dishes that appeal to guests of all backgrounds, including the “oldie but goodie” Kurobuta pork tenderloin in a curried apricot glaze. “Our pork tenderloin is full of lots of bright colors and bright flavors, and the Timber team is ready to deliver,” boasts Woodbridge. Use the personalized iPad wine app available at each table to choose from one of their 27 chardonnay options listed by region, or complement your meal with one of more than 300 wine options selected by TimberHearth’s knowledgeable sommelier, Cory Melroy. And for that special Colorado feel, TimberHearth offers local microbrews as well as a specialty drink list not to be missed. A lot of the seasonal menu brings in coastal influences with their blackened ahi and arctic char, along with diverpicked scallops flown in the same day. But a taste of Colorado comes in strong waves with the Black Angus filet and the truffle cauliflower soup artfully sprinkled with pumpkin seed drops. Even the complimentary amuse-bouche palate cleanser is skillfully crafted to prep the taste buds for delicacies such as the bison tartare paired with date mustard and herb-infused quail yolk. A TimberHearth experience not to miss is the delectable strawberry shortcake created with a salty-sweet buttermilk

PRICE

Apps: $8-20, Entreés: $22-$40 •••

AMBIANCE

Mountain Golf Club •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pork tenderloin with Brussels sprouts and bacon, strawberry shortcake with buttermilk biscuit •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

biscuit, coupled with a chamomile flower glaze and smoked vanilla bean ice cream. Chef Woodbridge and TimberHearth at the Club at Cordillera offer members and guests culinary delights that satisfy any appetite. Breathe deeply and let the cool, crisp mountain air invigorate your mind, body and soul and begin life anew at one of the country’s most magical locations. TimberHearth masterfully delivers a uniquely Vail dining experience nestled in the back canyon of Cordillera that is tastefully combined with an authentic mountainside clubhouse experience. The Club at Cordillera is proudly managed Troon. • The Kurobota pork tenderloin is a beautiful dish with Brussels sprouts, bacon lardons, purple braised cabbage and curried apricot glaze. right Served in a dill yogurt broth, the arctic char has a beautifully crisp skin. above


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•••

AMBIANCE

Rustic mountain cabin with laid-back energy •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Ultra Game Grill; any of the weeknight specials, including bison burgers, live lobsters, Wagyu tenderloin and prime rib •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Definitely

THE GASHOUSE by WREN BOVA photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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ame on — wild game, that is. When you walk into The Gashouse in Edwards, there is no mistaking where you are: not Miami, not Seattle, not even Denver. No, The Gashouse is as Rocky Mountain as it gets, from the mounts on the walls to the food on the plates. In fact, there’s so much going on with every wall in the joint you don’t even have to like your dining companions to remain entertained — though it certainly helps when you’re trying to share a plate of clams casino or baked wasabi honey-crusted oysters while waiting for your entrée. “The building is so unique, people really enjoy it,” says Andy Guy, the consummate host who co-owns the restaurant with Connie Irons. “The history of the valley, the old skis, the artifacts — everyone really enjoys it.” Throw in the patio, an unexpected floral oasis, and a massive menu created from both the comfortable and the exotic, and it’s easy to see why The Gashouse has been a Valley mainstay for 33 years. “The menu — it’s a big menu,” says Guy casually. “We’ve got everything from burgers and pastas, to game and seafood, so if you

34185 U.S. HWY 6, EDWARDS 970.926.3613 / GASHOUSE-RESTAURANT.COM

get a group coming in, everybody can find something they enjoy.” That’s an understatement. Guy and his crew are passionate about the quality of their ingredients, and nothing comes frozen. They receive fresh seafood deliveries “every day but Sunday.” “In the summer I bring in more seafood — four types of oysters, four types of fish, a lot of shrimp, lobster, live soft shell crab,” Guy says. But no matter the season, the Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes are a house specialty, a family recipe courtesy of Irons — they are perfect in their simplicity, making the sweet shellfish the star. Have them as a starter, as a main course or add them to another entrée — just make sure you have them. Same goes for one of the many specialty cocktails, which are based on herbs grown on the premises. But no trip to The Gashouse is complete without a saunter down the wild game options. Though their hand-cut aged prime beef is on offer, the buffalo rib-eye is the number-one steak these days. “Game has been a lot more popular,” says Guy. “Being here in Colorado, a lot of our visitors want to eat the local fare. We have so many mounts on our wall, it kind of lends itself to the menu. And besides, wild game is 20 percent lower

in fat, so it’s better for people who want to be health conscious.” Elk filet, venison rack, buffalo rib-eye, quail — the menu is deep with game. And for those who are curious, but don’t want to commit to an entire main-course serving, there’s a mix-andmatch option that allows for a variety of 4-ounce servings of this and that for a fully custom experience. Though this writer recommends letting It does bear noting, too, that nothing is more local than the lamb they serve — often seen grazing up above Singletree and all the way to Rabbit Ears Pass. Though the restaurant has a special every day of the week, from live lobsters to prime rib, make sure to stop in on Sundays when the patio is rocking with live music, and Monday seems really far away. •

top Both the flower-filled patio and the jumbo lump crab cakes are popular in the summer. above Mix it up with surf and turf — great with a grilled lobster tail, Cajun shrimp and an elk filet.

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PRICE

Apps $7-$20 Entreés $15-$40

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DELITE AND BOWL NOODLE HOUSE 175 MAIN STREET #107 / EDWARDS, COLORADO / 970.855.0335 / DELITEANDBOWL.COM

by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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hile Delite and Bowl Noodle House in the Edwards Riverwalk area may be small on size, it’s big on fresh, healthy, and authentic Chinese-style soup bowls and Szechuan plates. And with Executive Chef and Manager Brian Doi new to the Delite kitchen, the menu has expanded to include exciting entreés that extend well beyond noodle house basics. “The meals we create here complement a balanced, healthy life,”

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says Delite owner Xin Barron. “Our menu showcases Chinese and Asianinspired cuisine that’s light, organic, and responsibly sourced.” With a menu that offers several salads containing vegetables every color of the rainbow, Delite fulfills Barron’s vision while distancing itself from other Chinese restaurants where deep fried foods doused in sauces may be more common. For a healthy starter, choose a classic such as the shrimp spring rolls, which wrap a variety of crunchy vegetables into thin rice paper for a fresh, Vietnamesestyle treat. The entrée salad selections include a shitake mushroom salmon

salad bursting with color and a succulent piece of poached salmon that’s cooked slowly at low temperature to retain a moist, buttery texture and lots of flavor. Choose this salad for sharing if you’d like to experience one of chef Brian Doi’s new entrée additions next. Doi is new to the Delite kitchen but not new to the restaurant scene. With French-Asian culinary interests and experience, Doi has worked in Hawaii with star chef Alan Wong and at French restaurant La Tour in Vail. “It’s exciting for me to be involved in opening up the menu at Delite to offer expanded entrée choices and more large salad selections,” he says. At Delite, it’s evident that Doi has the space for creativity and innovation, and you’ll taste it when it shows up on your table. Among the new additions not to miss is the Hong Kong-style Colorado striped bass, an entrée that looks as amazing as it tastes. The mild-tasting bass comes out perched on top of a bed of forbidden black rice, which is rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Bright Chinese greens are layered on top of the fish, providing a flavorful crunch, and the plate is drizzled with soy vinaigrette and a sizzling peanut oil. After eating such healthful, carefully-crafted selections, you’ll feel light and happy enough to take a stroll along the river. In

PRICE

Appetizers: $4.95-$9.95; entreés: $12.95-$25.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual, cozy place to dine with friends •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Hong Kong style Colorado striped bass •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Smaller portions of fresh food that healthy kids love

this way, Delite and Bowl is the perfect place to fuel the summer lifestyle. If you show up on bike or on foot, you’ll feel recharged with such good food in your stomach that you’ll no doubt want to walk, bike, or even skip your way home. • Cold Thai soba salad with Thai peanut vinaigrette. top right Hot and Tender Asian Ribs with a special house sauce. left Chicken noodle soup in a marrow-based chicken broth. top left


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676 SAWATCH DRIVE / ARROWHEAD, EDWARDS 970.926.2111 / VISTA-ARROWHEAD.COM

by CHRISTINA HOLBROOK photos by NINA RIGGIO

PRICE

Lunch: $10-$13 (Summer Only) Appetzers: $9-$18 Entreés: $27-$46

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ista Restaurant at Arrowhead is located in a lush mountainside setting inside the Country Club of the Rockies. On a beautiful afternoon in early summer we began our dining experience at Vista sipping a glass of prosecco out on the deck, amid overflowing baskets of flowers. Spread out before us, the rolling greens of Arrowhead’s signature Jack Nicklaus golf course; and rising in the distance, a panoramic view of the Rockies. It was the perfect setting for a casually elegant summer meal. Janine Glennon, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband and chef, Michael, sets the tone for Vista as she warmly greets guests and stops by tables to answer questions and make recommendations. Marinated octopus with zesty lime juice seemed like a perfect appetizer choice on a summer evening — as did the flash-fried agnolotti stuffed with pecorino cheese and artichoke, and drizzled with local acacia honey. Debating which wine to choose as an accompaniment? Janine is happy to suggest the appropriate wine pairing, such as a crisp sauvignon blanc to accompany light, summer starters. “For summer, we have an all-new menu geared toward lighter seasonal fare. We also have a children’s menu — and it’s not just filled with chicken fingers,” Janine says, laughing. “We

•••

AMBIANCE

Tuscan hospitality in a comfortable setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Osso buco, pork Bolognese and Alaskan halibut with gnocchi and truffle-vanilla bean vinaigrette

include healthy, kid-friendly versions of some of our adult entreés.” During these warmer months, Vista’s menu includes the lighter side of classic Tuscan fare. Chef Michael stopped by our table to see how we were enjoying our meal. “Diners can order our osso buco year-round,” says Glennon, “It’s a perennial favorite.” However, he approved of our slightly lighter menu choices for this summer evening: a salad of gold and ruby beets with arugula, topped with goat cheese, followed by All Natural Pork Bolognese. Vista also offers a number of delicious fish dishes

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perfect for summer, such as trout piccata and Alaskan halibut. There are also mouth-watering specials, and on this particular evening we enjoyed sole stuffed with crabmeat, scallions and asparagus with a yellow pepper coulis. Vista’s extensive wine list offers perfect pairings: A Guenoc Lake County chardonnay is a smooth accompaniment to fish dishes, while the Bordeauxstyle Acturus pairs beautifully with heartier meat dishes. You’ll want to save room for dessert! This summer try the whimsical waffle topped with pineapple and coconut gelato, or a cool and smooth Bailey’s Irish mousse with a dollop of chocolate-infused whipped cream. There’s no doubt that one of the draws of an evening at Vista is the opportunity to sit back and enjoy classic tunes played by the well-known Vail piano man Micky Poage. Poage joined Vista four years ago and performs nightly from 6-9 p.m. Whether he’s playing a personal favorite such as “Rhapsody in Blue” or taking a guest’s special request, it’s clear that Poage is thriving at Vista, which he refers to as “the perfect venue.” During the summer months, Vista is open for lunch as well as dinner. Both menus have been geared to the summer season, and there is also a children’s menu that includes healthy selections perfect for young palates. •

top Petrale Sole stuffed with crab, potato and red pepper, served with a citrus coulis. above Marinated octopus with celery and fennel, spritzed with lime. left Vista’s patio commands a view of the Country Club of the Rockies golf course.

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WOLCOTT YACHT CLUB 27190 HWY 6 / WOLCOTT, COLORADO 970.926.1390 / WOLCOTTYACHTCLUB.COM by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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he painted image of a Hawaiian hula girl stands mid-dance on my clean share plate — the gloss-coated print soon to be filled with bite-sized portions of frisee and radicchio. The greens are served with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm pieces, house mozzarella and slices of orange supreme, all mixed in a fennel-pollen emulsion, the salad dressed as lightly as Miss Hula. When a tiki bar party meets midsummer mountain magic, you know you’ve arrived at the right place. Welcome to the Wolcott Yacht Club. The restaurant has been open for

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nearly 25 years, yet not everyone who has stopped to grab a cone from the club’s roadside ice cream shack knows the deep roots of Wolcott Yacht Club history. The family of owner Jan-Marie Jouflas has been in Wolcott for four generations. She says her grandmothers taught her about food early on — “from planting, to harvest, to skillful preparation, to table.” It’s this true appreciation for quality food products that Jouflas grew up with that is now making a sustainable presence in Colorado’s culinary world. For years, farm-to-table was a lost art, but Jouflas is happy to see it is being found again. “I think there’s a beautiful blend happening right now, with these incredible artisans who are making

delicious things that you can have in a casual atmosphere,” says Jouflas. “That is what we are striving to do here — I don’t want to compromise the quality of what we are doing, but I also don’t want it to feel uptight.” The indoor, farmhouse-style seating and open kitchen should not be overlooked, but outdoor dining is where it’s at on warm and sunny summer days. Start with a Wolcott Mule hand-crafted cocktail in a mason jar, made with a house ginger-lime shrub, soda water and your choice of spirit, adding a touch of Moscow, Kentucky, Mexico or Caribbean. Shared plates, like the Lil’ Lamb Meatballs with sauce raita, are nice to pass around the table, but don’t miss out on the entreés that highlight all the talents of the Wolcott Yacht Club’s three-chef team. The house gnocchi is inspired seasonally, and particularly from veggies and other sauce ingredients sourced from the large, on-property organic garden. The main dish of ruby red trout highlights catch from rivers and lakes of the Rocky Mountains, paired on plate with tri-color mustard scented orzo, atop a carrot-ginger puree, and finished with a soy ginger glaze. It’s easy to sit and stay awhile, especially when live music is added to the mix. Visit the Wolcott Yacht Club for lunch and dinner throughout the

week, and its locally renowned, bandaccompanied Sunday brunches. • Wolcott Yacht Club’s patio is a friendly haven. top right Rocky Mountain ruby red trout comes with a vibrant ginger-carrot puree. left Salads are big on flavor, such as frisee, endive, and hearts of palm served with house-made mozzarella and a fennel-pollen emulsion. top left

PRICE

Shared plate appetizers: $6-$14; Entreés: $21-$31 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual, fun and fresh, like a backyard dinner party •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Rocky Mountain ruby red trout •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

YES


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W O L F G A N G Ü B E R B A C H E R C A N E AT H I S WAY U P O N E M O U N TA I N A ND D OWN A NOTHER — A ND TE ACHES OTHERS TO D O THE SA ME BY TR ACI J. M ACN A M A R A ’m sitting in the passenger seat watching a raven arc across the sky while The Wolf, my driver and guide for the day, categorizes the multiple uses of sagebrush, the aromatic shrub that’s ubiquitous here in Colorado’s high mountain environment. With my window cracked, a cool morning breeze blows across my face, and along with it comes the peppery smell of Artemisia tridentata, the current focus of our conversation. The Wolf tells me that sage has several medicinal uses, and it’s also an effective fly and mosquito repellant. Artemisia tridentata can be dried and made into a tea to soothe digestive issues. When added to hot water, its vapor can be inhaled to ease lung infections and other breathing problems. Plus, the smoke from burning sage can be used to drive out evil spirits. Apparently, Native American cultures have long used sage for this purpose and for its many other benefits as well, but its effectiveness in fending off evil is my favorite among the uses for sage that Wolf has named so far.


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“Can you eat this kind of sage?” I ask, thinking of the culinary sage I grew last summer in a pot on my deck. If I could just go outside of my house, pick this stuff from the nearby open space, and toss it into my omelettes, then I’d forgo growing my own. “Yes, you can eat it, but it’s bitter,” Wolf says. “It won’t taste nice, not like the tender variety you’d use when cooking. Maybe you could use it in a marinade or in a stuffing, but not much more than that.” Oh, well. At least I can still go out and gather a bundle to burn in my home when the energy’s feeling off.

Sage is only one of the plants we’ve been discussing this morning on our exploration of the Vail area’s wild edibles. I’m driving and hiking today with a longtime local expert: Austrian-born Wolfgang Überbacher, otherwise knows as The Wolf, or The Mushroom Man, or simply Wolf. I first heard about him when questioning Chef David Walford of Beaver Creek’s Splendido at the Chateau about his use of local ingredients. Walford is a passionate locavore who sources locally grown produce from the area’s summer farmers’ markets, and he has formed a unique partnership with Wolf, who forages for wild edibles including watercress, asparagus, mushrooms, nettles, herbs, and more. Between Wolf and Walford, respect is mutual.

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Foraging for wild edibles is hard work, and Wolf considers himself both “a mountain man and an environmentalist.” Anytime he’s walking or driving through the outdoors, Wolf remains committed to Leave No Trace principles, and he’s already stopped several times so far on our journey today to pick up glass bottles and other trash that’s been haphazardly discarded alongside the dirt road we’re driving. The farm-to-table movement has increased awareness of the environmental and health benefits of eating locally, and foraging for wild edibles might be about as local as you can get. Sustainability concerns and an eco-conscious ethic motivate chefs like Walford to source food that isn’t shipped, flown or trucked over great distances to reach consumers. That’s the appeal in foraging for wild edibles, a food source that can be as close as your feet can take you.

“Chef Walford is a forerunner in the industry when it comes to using wild organics in creative ways. I have a lot of respect for his commitment to build menus around what can be found nearby,” Wolf says. And while Walford likes to use the ingredients Wolf brings him, he doesn’t necessarily have the time to source them himself. He’s an experienced mushroom forager, however, and he also collects berries, which Wolf predicts will be bountiful this summer given early-season growth patterns. But during the summer season when his schedule is stacked, Walford appreciates the enthusiasm and expertise that Wolf brings into his kitchen. “Wolf knows a hundred times more than I’ll ever know about the herbs and

plants growing out in the hills just near our homes,” Walford says. “He has the skills to find what I love sharing with others, but he’s also concerned with sustainability and caring for the land in the process.” Walford highlights Wolf’s experience and skill in identifying wild edibles, which is definitely important when it comes to eating anything found in a forest. Mistakes in plant and fungi identification can be fatal, so it’s essential to take the time to build expertise.

I’m walking with Wolf alongside a stream when I ask him about how he learned so much about plants. He explains how both plant identification and and survival are in his genes. His father was a mycologist who wrote a book about mushrooms, and his grandfather was a homeopath who was well versed in the medicinal uses of plants. When Wolf’s family was displaced from their Austrian home during World War II, they fled into the


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mountains, where they built a stone shelter and lived off of the land. This early training shaped Wolf’s knowledge and environmental ethos, but he has evolved into a lifelong naturalist who has traveled around the world teaching survival courses and guiding others in natural settings from Europe to Vail, Colorado. As a tour guide with his company Mountain Wolf Jeep Adventures, Inc., Wolf is committed to helping others learn more about nature and about how to preserve natural spaces. Correctly identifying plants and cultivating them once kept his family alive, but now Wolf shares the joy of eating wild edibles with others, and that extends well beyond the survival uses of what he finds. Collecting fraises des bois, or wild strawberries, for example, is a labor- and time-intensive process. But the flavor power in these tiny strawberries that are barely the size of a fingernail adorn desserts in area restaurants. And while mushrooms pop up alongside easy-access hiking trails throughout the summer following rainy spells, most of them aren’t edible. Wolf knows where to find coveted chanterelle and porcini mushrooms, two types of mushrooms that he regularly shares with local chefs.

But there aren’t any mushrooms out on the trail we’re hiking today. It’s too early in the season, and most of the plants around us are just coming back to life after a cold and snowy winter. Even at a time of the year when we wouldn’t expect to find the bounty of midsummer, Wolf has delivered on his promise of identifying at least 50 plants and animals on our morning trip. Marmots, magpies, red tailed hawks, sagebrush, bluebells, chokecherry and the toxic death camas all make my list, as do a host of other alpine plants, herbs and wild animals.

If you want to experience your own wild edible adventure, you can take an educational jeep tour with Wolf, The Mushroom Man, himself, who owns and operates Mountain Wolf Jeep Adventures, Inc. Wolf tailors his summer jeep trips based on requests from his guests, so whether you want to learn how to yodel or how to forage locally for wild mushrooms, Wolf can be your guide. Mountain Wolf Jeep Adventures, Inc. www.mountainwolfjeep adventures.com 970.926.WOLF

After munching on edible plants such as wild anise, mint and tender nettles that lack the stinging qualities of their grown-up counterparts, Wolf and I began the drive back into town. Along the way, he continues to identify plants and animals in staccato-like succession: flame willow, serviceberry, turkey vulture, an unexpected agave. While the sheer quantity of plants I’ve seen in the past few hours is impressive, I’m more impressed with how a little practice has improved my field of vision. My eyes might finally see those chanterelles I’ve been dreaming about stumbling upon in the backcountry. But if I do find my dream mushrooms this summer, I probably won’t tell you where. Instead, I’ll give you some vague clues like the ones Wolf gave me, and I’ll wish you the best on your wild edible adventure.

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BACON … OR NOT? A story of two Beaver Creek chefs, cured pork belly and ‘the anti-bacon’ • BY STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD •

unny how few people typically associate Beaver Creek Resort and its array of fine dining establishments with, well, pork bellies. But why? Bellies from hogs are one of God’s great gifts to Mankind as the source of bacon, the embodiment of wonderfully rich flavor and tastiness, decadence and succulence, even crispiness. Eggs and bacon; bacon burgers; bacon bits on salad; bacon-wrapped scallops — the list of delectable dishes involving bacon is endless. Unless you’ve been dining under a rock lately, however, you’ve surely heard one popular saying going around more than ever before: “Anything’s better with bacon.” Right?

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... RICH FLAVOR AND TASTINESS, DECADENCE AND SUCCULENCE.

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“FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS ‘BACON,’ ANYWAY?” DEFINING ‘BACON’ “First of all, what is ‘bacon,’ anyway? Traditionally, it’s pork, or wild boar? I guess you can call boar ‘bacon,’ right?” ponders Paul Wade, executive chef at Toscanini, the bastion of great Italian cuisine at the heart of Beaver Creek Village. “It’s preserved, meaning it’s cured or salted; generally it’s smoked, a secondary means of preserving.” Real bacon is, after all, part of many gourmet dishes served at Beaver Creek and around the world. And, indeed, Wade’s “big bacon feature” on this summer’s menu at Toscanini is cinghale, or house-cured wild boar belly, served with chestnut gnocchi, arugula and caramelized onion. Very traditional, but on the leading edge of bacon-centric cuisine, as well. Other chefs at Beaver Creek Resort are heavy into bacon-centricity, too. For example, across the street at Hooked, take the “The Crimpster”— a catchy acronym for crab, shrimp and lobster, the lobster’s tail stuffed with tiger prawn, in turn stuffed with snow crab, the whole thing wrapped in bacon, grilled and sauteéd. Designed and tested at a local farmers market by owner/chef Chef Riley Romanin before he put it on the menu, the staff at Hooked calls it “the ‘turducken’ of the sea’” — all four of the above items swimming in a nice beurre blanc “of their own juices.” Delicious.

‘FALLING-APART TENDER’ Romanin, also in charge at Beaver Creek’s newest restaurant, Revolution, at the Beaver Creek Lodge, has another classic dish featuring bacon on that menu he describes as “Canadian bacon wrapped in bacon.” When he couldn’t find the right cut of meat for his signature porchetta, a traditional Italian delicacy, he tracked down a pig farmer in Meeker, Colo., who could. Now, on a weekly basis, Mountain View Farms delivers a whole, just-butchered heritage pig. Romanin then makes use of every part of the animal, butchering the hog in-house, taking care the loin is still attached to the whole belly by the rib meat as one big piece. He brines it in a mustard, salt and sugar mixture for 24 hours, air-dries it for another 12 hours before rubbing it down with garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper, then rolls it all up so the belly hugs the loin and ties it

Revolutions’s porchetta, ‘Canadian bacon wrapped in bacon,’ two days in the making.


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The Crimpster, at Hooked: lobster tail stuffed with tiger prawn stuffed with snow crab, the whole thing wrapped in bacon, grilled and sauteéd.

tight with string to rest overnight. “The next day, we skewer it and rub it with a brown sugar/mustard glaze and cook in on the rotisserie for six hours, until it’s falling-apart tender, but still juicy because of the rotation,” Romanin adds. Thick slices of the resulting masterpiece — essentially juicy pork loin wrapped in a thick slab of bacon — are served with a yogurt whole-grain mustard sauce, a family recipe straight out of Romanin’s childhood, which took place right here in Eagle County. To die for. …

FROM THE BELLY Well, anybody can do that, counters Wade, who we further challenged to create something for diners who can’t eat pork, for religious regions — perhaps they adhere to Kosher tradition, or Halal. Most importantly, to be “bacon,” Wade insists, it must come from the belly of an animal — but it’s surprising how much latitude that offers. “There are three dimensions of

living creatures on this Earth — you have land, sea and sky,” he explains. “From the land, on the hoof, so to speak, there’s lamb bacon, too, because they have a belly. Then there’s the air, like duck bacon, not exciting; and turkey bacon gets a bad rap because it’s really just a byproduct, like ‘tofurkey,’ or tofu and turkey. There’s turkey bacon, but there’s nothing ‘bacon’ about that. Chicken bacon? Forget about it. There’s something there, but there’s not much to work with. It’s pretty thin, and there’s no meat, per se, nothing to go after.” What about “turducken,” or chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, the whole thing roasted whole? “You can take that back to Medieval days,” Wade explains, “when they’d take a pigeon, or quail, stuffed into a larger bird, like a squab, into a pheasant, into a wild turkey or whatever. But that’s not ‘bacon.’”

THE ‘ANTI-BACON’ Still determined, like the next “Iron Chef,” Wade goes for broke.

“IT TASTES JUST LIKE BACON, AND IT MEETS ALL THE CRITERIA OF BACON, BUT IT’S NOT PORK — IT’S THE ANTIBACON!"

“So, how ‘bout something from the sea?” he demands, presenting a plate of wafer-thin sliced salmon belly, or saku — practically transparent, like one finds in sushi bars — tossing a few pieces into hot peanut oil for less than a minute. “It’s cured, so technically we can call it ‘salmon bacon,’ right? And it would be Halal and it would Kosher, right? We’ll call it the ‘bacon of the sea.’ It’s cured; it’s smoked; it’s a belly … except it has fins,” Wade laughs. Yep: Tastes just like bacon … but even better, light as a feather in the mouth, yet somehow with that powerful bacon flavor. “It meets all the criteria of bacon, but it’s not pork — it’s the anti-bacon,” he says. “This would be great on a salad, crumbled, or, instead of lox, on a bagel with cream cheese, or even with eggs for breakfast. “That’s where I would go with this.” Leave it to two Beaver Creek chefs to explore the extremes — bacon vs. anti-bacon. Delicious, in either case. •

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*HOT TIP

A vegan’s new best friend is aquafaba — the liquid in a can of beans. It can be whipped and used to replace eggs in baked goods.

It used to be bridal pie, not wedding cake.

3 OUT OF 4 AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS HAVE A GRILL, SMOKER OR PIT. THERE ARE

TOMATO TOP 5 PRODUCERS CHINA USA TURKEY INDIA EGYPT

Legend says if a double strawberry is broken in half and shared, the two people will fall in love.

7,000

APPLE VARIETIES WORLDWIDE.

Who’s the Queen of Spices? Cardamom.

In Malaysia, it’s illegal to eat a durian in public because they are so stinky.

Carrots turned from purple to orange sometime in the 17th century.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” O S C A R W IL DE , “A WOM A N OF NO IMP OR TA NCE ” SOURCES: XXXXXXXXXXXXX.


WHERE MUSIC MOVES MOUNTAINS One of the top ten can’t-miss classical music festivals in the nation.”

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28TH ANNUAL BRAVO! VAIL MUSIC FESTIVAL July 1–August 6, 2O15

DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA

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307 Rockledge Road Spectacular ski-in/ski-out single family residence. This 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home is the ultimate in contemporary mountain luxury.

254 Beaver Dam Road

With a short walk to Vail Village and magnificent views this 5 bedroom, 7 bathroom residence includes a library/study, media/family room and wine cellar.

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EAT // Summer 2015  

The magazine for eating and drinking establishments throughout the Vail Valley, featuring restaurant reviews, photo essays, food and lifesty...

EAT // Summer 2015  

The magazine for eating and drinking establishments throughout the Vail Valley, featuring restaurant reviews, photo essays, food and lifesty...

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