EAT // Winter 2016

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an epicurean experience - w i n t e r 2 0 16 -

PLATED & POURED The Valley’s Best Restaurants

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Enjoy Rocky Mountain wild game

VISUAL AID

A culinary photo gallery


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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 | taylordmedia@icloud.com

MARKETING DIRECTOR Mark Bricklin | mbricklin@vaildaily.com

AD DIRECTOR Patrick Connolly | pconnolly@vaildaily.com

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

E AT W E L L & R E S T U P

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hat keeps you here?” I asked a local chef on one of those days when he’d gotten home from work after midnight and was back at it by 9 the next morning, looking down

the barrel at an entire season of the same. “I get to cook like this,” he said, waving his arms casually to encompass the whole kitchen, “and I don’t have to be in a city.” I’d never thought about it that way before.

Karen Suing | ksuing@vaildaily.com

The Valley’s restaurant scene is fast and furious during the

NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR

winter season, but it comes with fresh tracks, powder days and

Allison Zweig | azweign@vaildaily.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Kristin Anderson, Charles Townsend Bessent, Ashlee Bratton, Kirsten Dobroth, Krista Driscoll, Cody Downard, Kim Fuller, Kimberly Gavin, Brenda Himelfarb, Suzanne Hoffman, Leigh Horton, John & Polina LaConte, Ross Leonhart, Traci J. Macnamara, Justin Q. McCarty, Page McClean, Scott Miller, Kimberly Nicoletti, Beth Potter, Don Riddle, Caramie Schnell, Ric Stovall, Melanie Wong

DESIGN TEAM SUPERVISOR Afton Pospíšilová | apospisilova@cmnm.org

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

ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Chelsea Rosenthal | crosenthal@vaildaily.com

ACCOUNT MANAGERS

alpenglow. It also comes with built-in breaks — those odd weeks between holidays, as well as time for travel at the end. And all of that opportunity for rest and refreshment shows in the energy and quality of our local restaurants. The Vail Valley is a fun place to dine. Welcome to EAT. These aren’t reviews, but overviews of many of the valley’s dining establishments. From Colorado cuisine to Asian noodles, we cover a lot. This is no anonymous adventure for the writers and photographers — the restaurants owners and managers ask us to come. We do. We eat. We ask questions, and we write. And following are the tales we’re telling. Enjoy your season. And happy EATing. Wren Bova EDITOR

Amanda Picola, Carole Bukovich, Chris Jacobson, Heidi Bricklin, Krystal Brunell, Paul Abling

CIRCULATION MANAGER 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 •••

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COVER PHOTO BY dominique taylor

Alaskan black cod at Splendido at the Chateau is served with king crab and sea beans. The dish is sauced table-side with a rich broth full of Asian influences.

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Rated among the Nation's Top Food & Wine Festivals by Forbes.com, USA Today and the Travel Channel

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9 PHOTO GALLERY Before pleasing the palate, these dishes delight the eyes. BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR & KRISTIN ANDERSON

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

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IT'S GAME TIME!

BITE SIZED

Colorado is a great place to try some of the world’s other great meats.

Something to nosh on…

BY STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD

BY WREN BOVA

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CARLY ARNOLD Art Director Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My husband — he asks for scotcheroos. Three kitchen staples: Olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Favorite indulgence: Chocolate truffles. Winter warmer: Spicy chili. Adult beverage of choice: Gourd Range from Vail Brewing Co.

Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My dear mother, bless her heart. She loves my green chile chicken posole … or anything else not pre-made at Costco. Favorite food-related film: Sideways, basically ‘cause it recreated a trip I made long ago from San Diego to the Sonoma Valley and back with a college buddy in his aging Alfa Romeo convertible — AND there’s that infamous line from the main character, Miles, that made me a Pinot noir lover forever!: "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any (expletive) Merlot!”

Three kitchen staples: Fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar, and aged parmesan… but not together. Food philosophy: Eat it. Like it. Take a picture to remember it fondly. Winter warmer: I can always go for a good bowl of French onion soup. Adult beverage of choice: A good glass of red wine can always be paired with a dish to make me happy.

DOMINIQUE TAYLOR Photo Editor Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My boyfriend, Mike, loves my cooking (I think he just loves that I cook) — my venison shepherd’s pie and my tiramisu. Three kitchen staples: Garlic, ginger, fish sauce. Favorite food-related film: The Hundred Foot Journey. Food philosophy: Don’t waste a meal on a bad dish. Cuisine you wish you could master: Asian food: Thai, Indian, Cambodian, Malaysian, Vietnamese.

Three kitchen staples: Fleur de sel, cumin and sumac. Favorite indulgence: Cheese, the softer and stinkier the better! Favorite food-related film: Kings of Pastry Food philosophy: Uncomplicated, honest and not trendy.

KIRSTEN DOBROTH MELANIE WONG

CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT Photographer Three great kitchen tools: a sharp knife, cast iron skillet and a soda stream. I love bubbles. Fave film where food or cooking is a major theme. Ratatouille, hands down. Food philosophy: Slow and low. Oh, and cayenne isn't a choice, it's an obligation. What warms you up A hot toddy and a warm body? Adult beverage of choice whatever bourbon strikes my fancy at the hour with a splash of Breckenridge bitters.

Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: Italian wedding soup. Your biggest fan at the dinner table: Probably my dog, Kona. She likes anything with cheese, no vegetables, please. Three kitchen staples: Chopsticks, my new chef's knife and a rice cooker. Food philosophy: Be an equal-opportunity eater. Cuisine you wish you could master: Oh the times I’ve burnt or flubbed up brownies … Adult beverage of choice: After this issue, Kikusui Junmai Ginjo sake

Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: The perfect consistency overeasy eggs; if I could make them in my sleep they'd be ready by the time I woke up! Your biggest fan at the dinner table: I'd say I'm more of a baker, and I make a mean chocolate chip cookie. Coworkers are always pretty happy when I decide to bring in the fruits of my labor. Food philosophy: More cheese, please! Cuisine you wish you could master: Pad Thai — all those ingredients always scare me off from trying to make it!

JUSTIN MCCARTY

CONTRIBUTORS

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SUZANNE HOFFMAN

STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD Associate Editor Dish you could make in your sleep: Avocado spread on toast, dusted heavily with turmeric. It’s not just for breakfast anymore ...

ASHLEE BRATTON Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: Mom’s spaghetti with spicy Italian sausage.

Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: Chicken and andouille gumbo. Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My husband, Dani, who requests anything without beets and raw celery.

Photographer Dish you could make in your sleep: Tacos. Three kitchen staples: Coffee, bananas and burritos. Adult beverage of choice: Margaritas. Favorite indulgence: I like to eat powder snow.


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KRISTA DRISCOLL

ROSS LEONHART

Writer Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My husband, Devin, frequently requests chicken squares: crescent rolls stuffed with diced chicken, cream cheese, onions and seasoning topped with crushed croutons. Three great kitchen tools: The biggest cutting board you can find, silicone oven mitts that you can rinse off and beer for lubricating the chef. Favorite indulgence: Gorgonzola gnocchi at Ti Amo or the crazy elaborate Mexican spiced hot chocolate sphere at The Sebastian. Adult beverage of choice: At the moment, I’m digging some well-balanced hoppy beers, like Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Breckenridge Brewery Mango Mosaic Pale Ale and Epic’s Escape to Colorado IPA.

Writer Three kitchen staples: Fresh fruit, hot sauce and Old Bay seasoning. Favorite indulgence: Family-sized bags of candy. Food philosophy: If it tastes good, then it’s good for you. Adult beverage of choice: Jack and Coke.

SCOTT MILLER Writer Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My wife (I suspect it’s mostly so she doesn’t have to cook). Three kitchen staples: Garlic, cayenne pepper and beer (that’s for me). Favorite indulgence: My sister’s pecan pie. Food philosophy: With two working parents and a teenager in the house, it’s got to be quick, good and hearty. Cuisine you wish you could master: Probably New Mexican. Simple doesn’t mean easy! Adult beverage of choice: Craft beer.

KIM FULLER Writer Favorite indulgence: Cheese and charcuterie. Favorite food-related film: Ratatouille. Winter warmer: Talisker 10. Cuisine you wish you could master: Indian. Adult beverage of choice: Red, red wine.

LEIGH HORTON Writer Three kitchen staples: Sriracha, eggs and cheese. Favorite indulgence: Chinese delivery. Cuisine you wish you could master: Thai. Adult beverage of choice: Champagne!

BETH POTTER

BRENDA HIMELFARB Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: Sweet and sour meatballs. Favorite indulgence: Blinis and caviar. Favorite food-related film: Chef.

TRACI J. MACNAMARA Writer Three kitchen staples: Sea salt, garlic and evoo (extra virgin olive oil). Favorite indulgence: Cheese of all types! Favorite food-related film: Julie & Julia. Adult beverage of choice: Gin cocktails.

Writer Dish you could make in your sleep: Sugar cookies. Your biggest fan at the dinner table: My fiancée is my biggest fan – he’ll eat anything! He likes the simple foods in life – scrambled eggs for breakfast and meatloaf for dinner. Favorite indulgence: Cheese – any kind of cheese. Winter warmer: Hot chocolate by a roaring fire.

WREN BOVA Editor Dish you could make in your sleep: Cacio e pepe pasta — noodles with oodles of spicy black pepper and pungent parmesan cheese. Your biggest fan at the dinner table: Grandma Wanda, who left the Dust Bowl for Southern California during the Great Depression. She takes immense pleasure in the fact that she helped raise three generations of crazy and creative cooks. Three kitchen staples: Avocados, eggs and parmesan cheese. Cuisine you wish you could master: Indian, Mexican and Thai. Adult beverage of choice: Red, white and bubbly.

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Food philosophy: If I can make it in 30 minutes, it's a GO! Adult beverage of choice: Prosecco.

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VAIL DAN TELLEEN

Creating Heirlooms

Photography by Brent Bingham/Vail Valley Magazine

Since 1970

A Phoenician Silver Drachm 162-161 BC set in 22k

VAIL VILLAGE 970.476.4760


At The Rose in Edwards, foie gras snow tops duck confit.

PHOTOS BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR


The American galette at Vintage includes bacon, eggs and sharp cheddar cheese.

PHOTOS BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR


Mix and match accoutrements at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, such as bacon-wrapped asparagus, baconcheddar croquettes and bok choy.

PHOTO BY KRISTIN ANDERSON


Grouse Mountain Grill's bacon-wrapped, sausage-stuffed rabbit loin comes with local squash tortellini.

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR


Vanilla gelato and freshly brewed espresso make up the affogato at Kiwi International Delights.

PHOTOS BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR


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EAT HERE NOW AVON Boxcar Restaurant & Bar Maya Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaría Vin48 Kiwi International Delights & Coffee Co. 19 Castle Peak Grille 20 Pho 20 Vietnamese Noodles & Grill 53 Green Elephant Juicery 15 16 17 18

BEAVER CREEK 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 55

Zach’s Cabin Hooked 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill Black Diamond Bistro Allie’s Cabin Grouse Mountain Grill Spago at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor’s Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Daniel's Bar & Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Revolution Beano’s Cabin SaddleRidge Spendido at the Chateau Mirabelle Osprey Fireside Lounge Toscanini Blue Moose Pizza

MINTURN 37 Minturn Country Club

WOLCOTT 38 Wolcott Yacht Club

EDWARDS 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

The Rose Delite and Bowl Noodle House Zino Ristorante Vista at Arrowhead The East Asian Restaurant & Bar Balata The Gashouse Restaurant Mirador Old Forge Pizza Company TimberHearth

VAIL 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71

Matsuhisa Vail The Remedy Bar Flame at the Four Seasons Root & Flower Green Elephant Juicery Elway’s Vail Blue Moose Pizza Atwater on Gore Creek Bōl Vintage Yama Sushi Nudoru Ramen Bar La Tour Big Bear Bistro Campo de Fiori Ludwig’s at Sonnenalp Bistro Fourteen Tavern on the Square The Fitz Lounge The 10th Cucina Blu’s Restaurant Game Creek Restaurant


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BOXCAR RESTAURANT & BAR

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182 AVON RD. | 970.470.4121 BOXCARRESTAURANT.COM

AVON

by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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amed appropriately for its setting near Avon’s railroad tracks, Boxcar is the area’s local gastropub. It’s a place where you’ll find après-ski snacks as varied as popcorn and poutine, plus plates that range from bison tartare to buttermilk fried chicken. A mounted deer head wearing sunglasses announces fun from the moment you see it on the wall in the dining room, and that’s exactly the attitude you’ll discover while dining at Boxcar. “We’re having fun developing our menu with more whimsical dishes while expanding traditional flavors,” says chef Hunter Chamness, who co-owns Boxcar with general manager Cara Luff. “Our kitchen is where we put our minds together to get creative and come up with new ways to challenge the palate of our guests—and our own.” The recent fried chicken and waffles craze, for example, got Chamness thinking about ways to embrace a trend while also moving beyond what has become an established taste. Boxcar’s buttermilk fried chicken small plate does just that by retaining beloved sweet, salty, and crunchy elements and incorporating them into a dish that captures flavors from across the globe with the addition of vadouvan yogurt and a harissa honey glaze.

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While the playful nature of some menu items is immediately apparent, Boxcar also does classics spot-on. The bacon cheddar burger with its caramelized onion draws a loyal crowd, and the braised pork osso bucco is

simply a showstopper. This hearty large plate is perfect after a long day of skiing, with fall-off-the-bone tender pork, creamy Anson Mills polenta, baby carrots, turnips, and a rosemary demi that knits the beautiful flavors and textures in this dish together. From the Boxcar bar, you’ll also discover this mingling of the classic and creative. “We look at what’s tried and true, and then we make it our own,” says Boxcar beverage director and mixologist Gabrielle Page, echoing what Chamness says of Boxcar’s cuisine. “The house margarita is the only drink that we keep on our menu from season to season.” With freshly squeezed lime juice and the addition of a house-made cinnamon and jalapeño syrup, the Boxcar margarita’s definitely a keeper. But inventive updates such as the Newlywed transforms a 1917 cocktail recipe for the Honeymoon into a full-flavored libation that contains cognac, Benedictine, dry Curaçao, and fresh lemon juice, poured over Boxcar’s custom big-block clear ice cubes. Expect more exciting things from Boxcar’s restaurant and bar this winter. Already known for the creativity of its craft cocktails and the wide selection of beer on tap, Boxcar will feature live music on Thursday nights from 8 p.m. to close. In a place that’s already

PRICE

Snacks: $4-$16; Large plates: $16-$31 •••

AMBIANCE

Modern gastropub with food that ranges from fun to fancy •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Bison tartare, beef fat-roasted beets, potato “chip,” and arugula •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Kids menu available

captured the fun vibe, this development gives you another reason to expand and develop your palate while enjoying a new addition to Avon’s late-night scene. • Bison tartare with beef-fat roasted beets, potato "chips" and arugula. left Braised pork osso bucco with Anson Mills polenta, baby carrots and turnips, mustard cabbage and a rosemary demi. above

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$15 to $30 for just about everything •••

AMBIANCE

High-energy tequileria; colorful and comfortable •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Enchiladas and tacos, as well as the tablemade guacamole •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

¡Claro que sí!

MAYA MODERN MEXICAN KITCHEN & TEQUILARÍA 126 RIVERFRONT LANE, WESTIN RIVERFRONT RESORT & SPA | AVON | 970.790.5500 | RICHARDSANDOVAL.COM/MAYABC

by SCOTT MILLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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aya, the restaurant and bar inside the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, bills itself as a “modern Mexican kitchen & tequileria.” That, friends, is exactly what it is, and that combination of the traditional and innovative is how the restaurant delivers delicious surprises with nearly every course. Maya is a big room, but has cozy booths and corners throughout. In daylight hours, massive, south-facing windows provide a great view up to Beaver Creek from just about anywhere in the room. But on a nighttime visit, the view didn't need to wander much past the tabletop. In addition to a focused, but diverse menu, Maya also has a dedication to the diversity available from the agave plant in the form of a tequila list 176 labels deep. The depth of the tequila list shows up in the margarita menu, but so does Maya’s willingness to play with traditional flavors in new ways. A staff favorite is the Pepino margarita, which features tequila infused with serrano peppers in a cucumber-citrus base. The glass is rimmed with a chili-infused salt, creating a spicy, yet refreshing blend.

The infusion and mixing is done in-house, as is virtually everything else at dinner, from the salsa and tortilla chips to the meal-ending desserts. After ordering a drink, Maya’s commitment to fresh flavors starts with guacamole made at your table. The bacon guacamole, which also features crunchy chicharron and cojita cheese, is a tasty blend of crunch and silkiness, smoke and spice all combined in a bowl while you watch your server add peppers, tomatoes and onions to your taste. The countless avocados that flow into Maya every day aren’t just for guacamole. There are fresh slices of green goodness in Maya’s tortilla soup. With its combination of pulled chicken, crema fresca and pico de gallo, the Mexican classic is more like a stew. It's hearty, spicy enough, and delicious. Diners should also try the spinach salad — with a tequila-papaya vinaigrette and chipotle-crusted almonds that would be easy to eat by the bucketful during football games — and the calamari, prepared with a chili-ancho crust and a bloodorange sauce. It's really, really good. Just below the soups and salads on the menu, but first in the hearts of many diners, are Maya's tacos and enchiladas. "Our tacos enchiladas are very popular — we'd like them to be even more popular," Maya sous chef Doug Hudson said.

The enchiladas come in three varieties — shredded chicken, crab & shrimp and the difficult-to-prounounce huitlacoche and wild mushroom. Huitlacoche, by the way, is a corn fungus — a delicacy in Mexico — that blends its flavors well with the wild mushrooms in the enchiladas. The house specialties show the same modern-meets-traditional inventiveness that permeates Maya's menu. We tried the carne asada and the chipotle-rubbed salmon. You should, too. But don't dive too deeply into the dinner menu, because Maya's desserts are worth the journey. Finishing off your meal with a

chocolate decadence, or the caramel crepes will end your meal on a sweet note. And the Mexican fried ice cream — three varieties, served atop a banana smothered in chocolate sauce, is a grown-up take on the banana splits you loved as a kid. Many of Maya's guests stay at the Westin, of course. But the restaurant is easy to get to, and should be a spicy, creative stop on any foodie's exploration of the Vail Valley. • top Braised lamb shank in mezcal mole with Colorado lamb, pinto beans, mezcal mole sauce and smoked lime salt. above Shrimp tamales with sweet corn, garlic shrimp, dehydrated mole and cotija cheese.


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48 E. BEAVER CREEK BLVD. AVON | 970.748.WINE VIN48.COM

by SUZANNE HOFFMAN photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT and DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n Christmas Day, 2007, three local gastronomic entrepreneurs opened Vin48, in the Boat Building at the heart of Avon. Under the creative leadership of the three young owners — Colin Baugh, Greg Eynon and Charles Hays — the spirited spot with expansive views of Beaver Creek’s ski slopes, quickly became a favorite, year-round, culinary and vinous venue for foodie locals and visitors alike. Before the winter and summer seasons, Hayes, the executive chef, takes a culinary backseat to his two talented young sous chefs, Mac Hyde and Brando Woodhall. Hayes, however, is no backseat driver. He’s more of a navigator who loves guiding his two young alchemistic underlings as they create new, seasonal culinary pleasures. “The chefs have fun together, and I have fun with them,” Hayes says of the biannual culinary experimentation ritual at Vin48, a collaborative creative effort that delivers new and exciting gastronomic experiences every season. “My chefs have been with me for several years; so not having to continually train staff gives me time for creativity.” The menu’s structure of snacks, 15 small plates and four large plates provides extensive opportunities for the chefs to innovate — and diners to rejoice. In addition to mainstay favorites,

AVON

VIN48

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PRICE

Small plates: $9-$15 Large plates: $24-$32 •••

AMBIANCE

An energetic locals’ spot with great views of people and landscape •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Meats and fish grilled over fruitwood fire •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

They'll love the sorbets

a new small-plate creation from the chefs’ collective imagination this winter is the cranberry-mascarpone ravioli. The house-made pasta, stuffed with a velvety combination of fresh cranberries cooked in port, garlic and shallots pureed with mascarpone cheese, is topped with sage gremolata and toasted pine nuts. For rich, fresh flavors from the sea, a small plate of three, plump, seared Day Boat scallops, basted in butter over truffled celeriac purée, delivers.

Another new, creative small plate is the house-made Peking duck sausage — packed with Asian flavors, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and soy sauce served over kimchi mixed with baked golden rice. Dollops of housemade spicy mustard and plum sauce complement the sausage with sweet and piquant flavors. “Peaches,” a valuable member of Hays’ culinary team that helped expand grilled meat and fish offerings, will be busy again this winter. “She” is actually the restaurant’s grill, fired with a blend of fruitwoods from Colorado’s Western Slope, including cherry, apple, pear and, of course, peach. New from Peaches is succulent, grilled, marinated swordfish and quinoa cooked a la brunoise ou mirepoix and served with a veal demi glace reduced with chopped Kalamata olives. A thick, grilled Creekstone pork chop brings a taste from the South here to the Rockies Mountains with the addition of

spicy South Carolina vinegar sauce and a flaky, tender apple biscuit made with brandy-rehydrated dried apples. Vin48 is as much about wine as it is about food. Partner and wine director Eynon’s fresh and dynamic list of more than 600 distinct, meticulously chosen labels presents the opportunity for guests to experience new varietals and wine regions; and, if the expansive wine list isn’t enough, guests can choose from 40 different wines by the glass — including sparking and dessert wines — thanks to the establishment’s Enomatic preservation and dispensing system, a dominant feature in the restaurant’s signature bar. Vin48’s warm welcomes begin daily at 5 p.m. Visitors are well-advised to follow locals in from the cold for a Rocky Mountain culinary and vinous experience at this delightful spot on Beaver Creek Resort’s front porch. • Seared black cod with black pepper fettuccine, spaghetti squash, wild mushrooms and a Pernod-herb coulis. left Braised short rib with herb salad, pickled daikon and ssamjang dipping sauce. above

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KIWI INTERNATIONAL DELIGHTS & COFFEE CO. 142 E. BEAVER CREEK PLACE | AVON | 970.949.4777

by MELANIE WONG photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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tepping into the brightly colored, cheery looking Kiwi International Delights is like stepping into a grown-up, sophisticated version of your favorite ice cream parlor as a child. Beautiful gelatos of exotic flavors are displayed under a long glass case, and fresh fruits line the shelves. There’s a pleasant clinking of dishes, and the intermittent squeal of the espresso machine. Maybe most importantly, there’s a constant stream of friendly faces that come through the door — children eager for a scoop of ice cream, or regulars coming in to greet owner Martha Trillo. And as a step up from your childhood ice cream parlor, all the juices, smoothies, gelatos, ice creams, sorbets and coffees at Kiwi are natural, organic and billed as sweet indulgences for the health conscious — plus, there are extensive dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options. Trillo would serve her own children all the fare sold at Kiwi, and that’s a point she’s very proud of. “When you live a certain lifestyle, I think it’s probably reflected in everything you do, and that’s the case here,” says Trillo. The eclectic menu caters to everyone from the chocoholic to the coffee snob to the health nut. As Trillo sees it, kids will come in for a scoop of gelato, and moms might want to order a juice. If you’re coming in for a latte, you might also want a snack, or even a light lunch, so Kiwi offers crepes and other bakery items, as well. An added bonus is the wholesome appeal of it all. The sweets at Kiwi are either sweetened with fresh fruit only, such as the mixed fruit popsicles, or with ingredients like honey, coconut sugar or agave nectar. Not that you could ever tell. The ice creams and sorbets taste rich and velvety in your mouth, and come in 45 flavors. You won't even notice the lack of sprinkles and artificial colors. The approach seems to be working. Not even two years into the business, Kiwi has garnered a loyal following. Coffee connoisseurs should try the international coffee service. Sample coffees from around the world, prepared the ways Trillo learned

when she traveled to different countries, and served with the proper accouterments. There’s the rich Turkish coffee, served with a Turkish delight. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the bold Vietnamese coffee, tempered by a generous amount of condensed milk. Or, try a classic espresso or macchiato. “In our travels, we’ve gotten involved and learned about some different cultures through the food. I love coffee, and wanted to present these drinks in a very authentic way,” Trillo says. • An international assortment of coffees from Vietnam to Turkey and Japan to Costa Rica. right Mint, basil, parsley and avocado gelato. page 13 Affogato is an Italian tradition, with freshly brewed espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato. above

PRICE

$3-$11 •••

AMBIANCE

Ice cream and coffee shop with light fare •••

SIGNATURE DISH

A scoop of artisan gelato — try the avocado for something different •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Most definitely


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CASTLE PEAK GRILLE by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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here’s something new, and big, going on over at Avon’s Traer Creek Plaza. Locals, tourists and Walmart shoppers alike are flocking to the Castle Peak Grille, a casual-yetsophisticated bistro that’s developing quite a reputation for “comfort food with a twist.” Nicole Everard has been taking her new role as general manager seriously, making sweeping changes to boost the restaurant’s happy hour and socialite scenes with new beer, wine and cocktail offerings; and executive chef Mike Irwin, with vast experience from years at Sweet Basil, Larkspur, Juniper and Zino restaurants, has been refining and expanding the menu, now chock full of culinary delights of which any neighborhood establishment would be proud. “We wanted to make things more consistent than before,” says Everard, whose efforts have turned Friday afternoons and evenings into a raucous weekly occasion and Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights into the place to be for local football fans during the season, complete with NFL Sunday Ticket and five large-screen TVs. “We’re consistently good now,” adds Irwin. “It’s all about attention to detail.” Indeed, you can’t beat happy hour

at Castle Peak Grille, 3-6 p.m., with $5 wines, shots and well drinks and $1 off on beers every day of the week — except on Saturdays, when all that’s on all day long. And the specials, available after 5 p.m., include: $7 mussels and martinis on Mondays; $10 tacos and tequila on Thursdays; and $10 sliders with $2.50 pints of Coors and Coors Light beer on Sundays. Tuesday nights, featuring Muppet Madness, are for families — kids eat free from their own menu, one per adult entrée. A former bartender, Everard is especially proud of the more than two-dozen Colorado beers and spirits now on offer, as well as a newly revamped cocktails menu. “For someone looking for new flavors,” she recommends the Caramel Shake, with the Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Beers topped with caramel-infused vodka; and the Grind & Glow, with Grind Espresso Shot rum and a sage-infused peach vanilla elixir from 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits. “We’re changing things up all the time,” Everard says. Irwin, who hails from Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has converted the former wood-burning pizza oven — inherited from former owners — to natural gas, providing a consistent, fastbaking/roasting temperature of 650 degrees Fahrenheit all day and night. “We put just about everything in there,” he says. Pizzas are now better than ever,

0101 FAWCETT ROAD | AVON 970.748.4848 | CASTLEPEAKGRILLE.COM

of course, with heart-warming, 12-inch options ranging from the popular duck confit version, complete with chorizo, feta and chimichurri, to the reintroduced B.O.B., named after Avon’s Bob the Bridge, with bacon, onion and blue cheese. It’s the dining, however, that’s really come around. To start, the burrata appetizer featuring a generous, creamy and delicious ball of the namesake, otherworldly fresh cheese is highly recommended; and the house Caesar salad, with fried capers and parmesan, is mostly nutritious kale greens, instead of the standard, boring romaine lettuce. Irwin is especially proud of his unbelievably tender braised short rib, the meat “seared on all sides, to seal in the flavors” before undergoing five hours in the steamer, served with baby carrots on a parsnip purée. Looking for a real pick-me-up? Try the penne salsiccia: spicy chorizo and Italian sausage roasted first, then sautéed with shallots, garlic, broccolini and tomato, served on penne pasta boiled in chicken stock, all served on a bed of fresh arugula. “I’m perfectly imperfect, concerned about flavor above all else,” Irwin says. Of course Castle Peak’s signature dishes — the “Burger” with thinly sliced “LTO” on a toasted brioche bun with garlic aioli; the Cheese Steak, served Pittsburgh-style with caramelized onion, or not; and the Steel City, Irwin’s twist on the

PRICE

Starters: $7-$15 Mains: $10-$25 •••

AMBIANCE

“Perfectly imperfect,” casual-yet-sophisticated bistro offering comfort food with a twist •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Penne salsiccia; duck confit pizza; braised short rib; “the Burger” •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Tuesday nights, kids eat free, one per adult entrée

standard Reuben sandwich — are there for memories’ sake, too. Gluten-free customers need only to ask for plentiful options, even pizza; and if the parking lot’s full outside or it’s snowing outside, there’s typically plenty of spaces available in the garage below. Just sayin’ …. • Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes. Penne salsiccia with spicy chorizo and Italian sausage.

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PHO 20

PRICE

Starters: $3.95-$6.95; Mains: $8.50-$13.50

VIETNAMESE NOODLES & GRILL

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AMBIANCE

Laid back, casual and quiet •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pho, of course, and Vermicelli bowls, served vegetarian or with grilled pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or a combination of meats

47 E. BEAVER CREEK BLVD. AVON | 970.748.3007 PHO20AVON.COM

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KID-FRIENDLY?

by KRISTA DRISCOLL photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

Kids’ menu for age 10 and younger, with items ranging from $3.95 (hamburger, chicken tenders or popcorn chicken) to $5.95 (rice plate or vermicelli bowl).

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hen it comes to pho, it’s all about the broth. “Pho originated from the north of Vietnam,” says Cong Hoang, owner of Pho 20 in Avon. “The most important ingredient of pho is the flavor that comes from the beef that we use. There’s a lot of beef bone in there — we use a lot of it for our soup, goodquality meat — so the natural flavor comes from the meat itself. We cook the pot for at least four hours to make sure the flavor is always consistent.” Order your pho naked or vegetarian (a veggie broth is also available) or topped with a range of meats — steak, brisket, meatballs, chicken or shrimp. If you’re new to pho, Hoang and his friendly wait staff can walk you through dressing up your broth and noodles with big leaves of basil, fresh-squeezed lime, bean sprouts or jalapeños. “A lot of people like a kick to it,” Hoang says. “They’ll put a little Sriracha, hoisin sauce — it depends on the texture. Some people like it spicier. We bring out the bowl to them, and they fix it up how they like.” They’ll also offer up a fork or spoon if you’re inept with chopsticks. Pho 20 opened in January 2014, and Hoang says it’s since become very popular, with locals and visitors coming in to satisfy their cravings for pho or the restaurant’s signature Vietnamese spring rolls: delicate, translucent rice paper wrapped around shrimp, pork, lettuce and rice vermicelli, served with house-made peanut sauce for dipping. “A lot of people like that because it’s sweet, fresh, not heavy — something light that you can eat,” Hoang says. Indeed, the menu is full of options

that are light but still satisfying, including a variety of vermicelli noodle bowls, which Hoang says are “more like a salad.” “There’s cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts on there, and we also use our thin rice vermicelli noodle,” he says. “You can do a combination of meat, all egg rolls, pork or chicken or a combo, where you have a little bit of all the meat that we have.” Hoang says the food at Pho 20 is really healthy and always made with fresh ingredients. “There’s a lot of people who know the kind of food that we have, and there’s some people who have never tried pho and they come to try our food,” Hoang says. “Our food goes well with the weather here, with the ski season. Everybody is cold; they come back from skiing and they want something hot, hot broth.” • Pho with rare steak, topped with green, red and yellow onions, as well as cilantro. right Bun Dac Biet, a combination vermicelli bowl with grilled shrimp, pork, beef and a Vietnamese eggroll. Served with homemade fish sauce and fresh veggies. above


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ZACH'S CABIN by KIM FULLER photos by RIC STOVALL / VAIL RESORTS & CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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leigh rides are magical, especially when they start and finish at the doorstep of a rustic mountain retreat. Zach’s Cabin sits up on the slopes of Bachelor Gulch, and after guests are taken up by sleigh and dropped at the chalet’s doorstep, they’ll find a taste of Colorado, paired

MOUNTAINSIDE | BACHELOR GULCH 970.754.6575 | ZACHSCABINBEAVERCREEK.COM

with a splash of coastal cuisine. “I’m from the East Coast, so I bring a lot of influence that a lot of people don’t really know about,” says Dave Kelley, chef de cuisine. “And it’s becoming known that I do a lot of seafood, so people come back, because they know that if I am serving it, it’s going to be the freshest I can possibly get.” It’s an exciting time to visit Zach’s, as the chef team now includes executive chef Kirk Weems, who previously ran another on-mountain gem, Allie’s Cabin.

Kelley, who heads up the dinner program at Zach’s, says while seafood will continue to stand on the menu beside local offerings, he will also be “lightening things up a bit.” “A little less butter, and a little more finesse,” Kelley shares of this season’s updated cuisine. Kelley’s grilled Maine lobster tail with citrus vinaigrette, baby arugula, avocado and ruby red grapefruit segments is light as promised and flavorful as can be — lovely with a glass of crisp La Marca prosecco. Decadence is still readily available, with courses like the caramelized jumbo sea scallops, over lobster risotto and topped with Hudson Valley foie gras. The courses crescendo — better and better with every round. This winter, Kelley has put together a new entrée that combines great colors and textures with a dynamic flavor profile. The Tender Belly Berkshire pork tenderloin cuts with a fork like butter, and a then plays nicely with the dish’s sweet potato purée, crispy Brussels sprouts and braised red cabbage. Tables inside the round dining room are either set against the windows or the fireplace, so every seat is special, and the bar is right there for a predinner libation or a night cap

PRICE

Appetizers: $14-$27; Entrées: $31-56 •••

AMBIANCE

Fine dining in a rustic cabin •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Tender Belly Berkshire pork tenderloin •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

after dessert. A velvety crème brûlée and a glass of Sauternes is a lovely way to finish the evening, but a dram of single malt from the bar is the real winter warmer, stoking your body and spirit like a campfire as you descend back down the mountain by sleigh. Zach's Cabin is perched mid-mountain in Bachelor Gulch. top right Seared foie gras with peanut butter and jelly Monte Cristo. left Chile-encrusted elk tenderloin with roasted fingerling potatoes, golden beets and cherry demi. top left


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Apps: $5-$26 Sushi, sashimi & nigiri: $12-$22 Whole-fish entrées: $35 - ∞ •••

AMBIANCE

Cozy tiki …without the tiki •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pescado a la Veracruz •••

KID FRIENDLY?

A great learning experience for kids of all ages

HOOKED

122 THE PLAZA | BEAVER CREEK 970.949.4321 | HOOKEDBC.COM

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD • photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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nyone who’s dined at Hooked is well aware of its wildly popular philosophy based around the fish, the whole fish and nothing but the fish. Beyond that, however, the renowned sushi restaurant, at the heart of Beaver Creek Village, continues to build upon a growing reputation for flavor, too — powerful, addictive, all-encompassing flavor. With the young establishment’s more visible founding partner, Riley Romanin, now fully dedicated to getting his own, new restaurant around the corner, Revolution, up and running, his humble and reserved compañero, Miguel Armenta, is now fully in charge at Hooked, forging ahead with new techniques and flavors well worth writing home about. Armenta, just 32, comes from another world of flavor, indeed, hailing from Veracruz, Mexico, where he grew up fishing the nearby coastline and rivers before coming to the United States and honing his craft from stints at Sato, in Edwards, and Yama Sushi, in Vail. He met Romanin when the two driven young men worked the sushi bar together at Foxnut, Hooked’s predecessor in the same space. “Of all the sushi chefs here at Hooked, Miguel is the most traditional,”

Romanin says. “I’ve learned a lot about flavors from Riley,” adds Armenta. “He’s always been there for me.” The latter’s influence on Hooked’s menu is now turned on high, indeed, with Veracruz-esque flavors and textures new to the Vail Valley’s culinary scene just emerging this winter. For starters, the oysters rellenos can come in as many as 10 different varieties, served in the shell and topped with a tangy, ceviche-like concoction of chopped octopus, shrimp, cilantro, Serrano peppers and onion dribbled with orange juice, a dash of salt and pepper and a twist of lemon — sure to convert even diehard shellfish skeptics into oyster fanatics. The powerful pescado a la Veracruz, meanwhile, is Armenta’s pride and joy. Half the customer’s chosen whole fish is baked in Armenta’s signature bath of tomato, onion, pepper, fennel stew and capers; the other half is served sashimi-style on the same plate, an unbelievably flavorful combination. It’s all part of Hooked’s trademark, U-Call-It experience offering half a dozen varieties of fresh fish — salmon, tuna, shrimp, Kampachi, Colorado bass or Diver scallops — in one of eight

tried-and-true preparations. The concept has roots in the traditional Japanese Omakase process — or chefs’ choice, the opposite of à la carte, essentially letting the chef decide what's best for you. While you ponder what’s in store in the kitchen, try the original C.R.I.M.P.S.T.E.R — 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 sautéed; and 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 television mounted high in a corner. It’s especially entertaining

while sipping the house's signature cocktail, the barrel-aged Mai Tai, complete with creamy pineapple foam. Hooked is open for dinner seven days a week over the winter with a vast menu of flavorful sushi rolls, as well as other, meatier dishes. The restaurant provides a more pedestrian lunch menu of "midday grub," as well, such as tacos, deli-style and "po' boy" sandwiches, and ramen noodle dishes. • top Pescado a la Veracruz with a ride-along of sashimi. above The XTC roll with tempura lobster, cucumber, avocado, spicy tuna, macadamia nuts and spicy kabayaki.


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MOUNTAINSIDE BAR & GRILL 50 WEST THOMAS PLACE PARK HYATT BEAVER CREEK 970.827.6600 HYATT.COM/GALLERY/BEAVE8100

by KIM FULLER photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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xecutive chef Christian Apetz is on fire, like the 70-inch white oak-burning grill that is the muse for most of his top-notch menu. “This year, we are really trying to showcase the wood-fire grill,” shares Apetz. “We have far more offerings, at a wider price point, from the grill — everything from Canadian lobster tail to the giant, 24-ounce porterhouse, and all the way down to organic, chili-marinated tofu.” The steel-framed grill section of the kitchen is open for bar-seated onlookers and diners walking to their table to see, and it’s what Apetz acknowledges as “the star of the show.” Order the prime porterhouse for two, and while the succulent slab of meat is cooking on the grill to your temperature preference, start with the seafood crudo — a light and fresh trifecta of raw

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hamachi, diver scallop and ahi tuna. For a second course, seafood lovers will swoon over the seared sea scallop dish, served in a slender dish atop a butternut squash emulsion, crunchy pistachios, and savory bacon gastrique. Everything from the oak fire grill comes a la carte, so sides like the bacon cheddar croquettes (think fried mashed potatoes), white cheddar scallion grits, bacon-wrapped asparagus and baby vegetables complement grilled orders nicely.

For a red wine recommendation, Apetz recommends the Pahlmyer “Jayson” from Napa Valley — ideal for sipping with rustic dishes like the porterhouse and the Colorado lamp chop. The wine is robust yet smooth, like the melt-in-your-mouth meat it can accompany so well. The menu at 8100 always marries inspiration with innovation, and the bar is following suit — three new mixologists have been added to the team this season, and creative cocktails like the Last Run, made with a combination of several spirits including gin and smoky mezcal, keeps the fire in your belly lingering a little bit longer. Pastry chef Jacquelyn Lopez brings a refined sweetness to the dining finale at 8100, with an elegant and bright lemon sour cream cheesecake, topped with a graham tuile and surrounded by blood orange segments. Her fig sticky toffee pudding will entice bourbon lovers with its “add-yourown” Maker’s Mark finger pump. The dessert is divine, accompanied with decadence by double vanilla bean ice cream and pecan florentine. Finish your evening snuggled up beside one of the outdoor firepits overlooking Beaver Creek Mountain, and grab a s’mores kit on your way out the door. 1800 serves breakfast and lunch as well, and Apetz says the true-to-South

PRICE

Starters and shared plates: $7-$20; Lunch Mains: $13-$22; Evening Mains: $14-$51 per person •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale mountain grill •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Prime 24-ounce porterhouse steak for two •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

chicken and biscuits at breakfast, and lunch’s butcher shop grinder with beef and pork meatballs from Colorado Meat Company in Avon, are not to be missed. • Colorado lamb chops and romanesco. Last Run cocktail with gin and mezcal. page 11 24-ounce porterhouse with accoutrements. above left

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PRICE

Starters: $8-$15 Entrées: $22-$33 •••

AMBIANCE

Contemporary with stunning views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Lamb osso buco with house-made spaetzle and butternut squash •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely

BLACK DIAMOND BISTRO by ROSS LEONHART photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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fter a long day of skiing at Beaver Creek, it’s always fun to après and look back on the fun-filled day. At Black Diamond Bistro in The Charter, you can look out to Strawberry Park and the rest of the slopes at Beaver Creek while enjoying some of the best food and wine the valley has to offer. Executive chef Dan Kent and manager Matt Paula have redesigned the restaurant and bar inside of the hotel’s lobby and are serving up everything from the classic pub fare to casual pizzas to the delectably tender short ribs. Fine wine lovers rejoice at Black Diamond Bistro, where topof-the-line wine is available by the glass, courtesy of a specially designed wine-preservation system at the bar. From top to bottom, Kent and Paula have built a staff that blends talents from around the world, creating a menu with a little taste of home for everyone. There’s pizza made to perfection with a specialized oven, house-made

mozzarella, popcorn shrimp and even Maryland-style crab cakes for your taste of the sea, and the house-made baguettes are perfect for cleaning up any plate. Not to leave anyone out, Kent has created a beautiful vegetarian dish with seasonal vegetables. The meat eaters should feel free to add a hunk of protein to the tasty veggie plate. Kent keeps the menu fresh with food in season, and he strives to source as many organic and local ingredients as he can, all while maintaining reasonable prices. “We’re really focused on putting out really nice food and executing everything classically and very well,” he says. Standouts include the aforementioned short ribs, which are served with roasted cauliflower purée and an herb salad. Don’t bother asking for a steak knife, as the meat is so tender that a traditional fork and knife will do the trick.

THE CHARTER AT BEAVER CREEK | 120 OFFERSON RD 970.845.3198 | BDBISTRO.COM

Kent and Paula are also keeping things interesting with weekly wine dinners this winter. With the ability to finely preserve wine after opening, connoisseurs and amateurs alike can indulge in perfectly paired food with world-class wine. All desserts are made from scratch,

and you and your après friends, or family — or both — can enjoy an affordable meal while taking in another amazing Colorado sunset over Beaver Creek Mountain. • above below

Braised angus short ribs. Spinach gnudi and mixed vegetables.


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LOCATED ON BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN 970.754.5545 | BEAVERCREEK.COM

by CARAMIE SCHNELL photos by CODY DOWNARD & RIC STOVALL / VAIL RESORTS

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s dining experiences go, Allie’s Cabin's Thursday Night Wine Dinners are memorable experiences not soon forgotten. Replete with a sleigh ride, front row seats to a fireworks show and five succulent courses each paired with a different glass of wine, it’s no wonder the dinners have really started to build momentum. And don’t plan on catching a show after dinner — at Allie’s, the whole dining experience is a show. Up until a few seasons ago, if you weren’t a member of the club, you wouldn’t have a chance to experience Allie’s Cabin, a member’s-only private dining option on Beaver Creek Mountain. But chef Kirk Weems and general manager Robert Battle wanted to give the public an exclusive sneak peek and introduced the weekly Thursday Night Wine Dinners featuring a different winery each time. This is the third season for the wine dinners and the restaurant will host 17 of the exclusive evenings this winter through March 31. Of those evenings, 15 of them will include the fireworks display, part of Beaver Creek Mountain’s Thursday Night Lights event each week. “They literally shoot the fireworks off about 150 yards downhill from us so it’s right in front of our window,” Battle said. The flow of the dinner is based around the show, so depending what time of year it is and when the sun sets, you might enjoy that first glass of wine while mingling with the other attendees and watching the colorful bursts explode outside before dinner begins or at the end of the night, as you tuck into dessert. But don’t let us get ahead of ourselves. First, there’s the trek to Allie’s, which is part of the unique experience. Guests check in for the dinner at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain before enjoying an open-air

sleigh ride up to the rough-sawn timber cabin, set amid a grove of aspens. It’s a romantic journey. “You can’t really miss … either you have a beautiful starry night or you’re on the sleigh in the snow,” he says. The dinners themselves are slow, leisurely affairs that can take as long as two-and-a-half hours. “We slow things down on this night,” Battle says. “It’s an expression of food and wine that are meant to be enjoyed together, at the pace they’re meant to be enjoyed.” The menu for each dinner is different. Last year Chef Weems created 80 unique courses. “I get the tasting notes from the winemaker and the chef builds the menu around those tasting notes,” Battle says. “Last year we didn't repeat a single course.” Dinner might begin with something light and fresh, like lemon and herb-cured arctic char with fennel, watercress and blood orange marmalade paired alongside a sauvignon blanc. Next up, tuck into a plum-braised game hen with garam masala cauliflower, followed by vanilla-cured Berkshire pork loin with chard and fingerling salad, blackberry jus and a drizzle of 20-year balsamic vinegar. A grilled venison tenderloin with mascarpone polenta,

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roasted fennel butter and spiced carrots arrive fourth, right before the almond and fennel cake dessert, flanked by blood orange sorbet and dark chocolate ganache. Whatever the evening’s menu, it’s sure to be memorable. •

Thursday Night Wine Dinners are a special event at Allie's Cabin. right The Allie's Cabin dining room affords beautiful views, since it's located mid-mountain. above

PRICE

Cost for wine dinner: $165-$215 •••

AMBIANCE

Private mountainside cabin with plush décor •••

SIGNATURE DISH

A wine dinner at Allie’s Cabin is a signature experience, made special by an entirely new menu every week

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GROUSE MOUNTAIN GRILL 141 SCOTT HILL ROAD | THE PINES LODGE | BEAVER CREEK GROUSEMOUNTAINGRILL.COM | 970.949.0600

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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hether you’re a highfalutin aficionado of fine dining, an honest-to-God foodie in pursuit of the latest in regionally-influenced, seasonally-focused cuisine or just someone looking for that extra-special place to impress your date with a romantic fireside table, panoramic views, live-but-unassuming jazz music and sincerely impeccable service, the Grouse Mountain Grill, at the Pines Lodge high above Beaver Creek Village, is well worth the price of admission. David and Nancy Dowell, owners and operators, have been putting on what’s arguably the best culinary show in the Vail Valley for 22 years, with the local voice of jazz, Tony “G” Gulizia, providing a soundtrack from the piano bar since nearly the beginning. David Gutowski, a featured guest chef at New York’s famous James Beard House, follows a long line of superb gastronomic leading men, taking the reins as executive chef in 2009 and developing

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a top-notch cast of characters along the way, including Pastry Chef Jessica Anderson, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu; Dining Room Manager Nathan Michlitsch, who leads a top-drawer wait staff; and Certified Sommelier Rob Farrar, who runs the establishment’s extensive wine program, with up to 300 selections in the cellar — “something for everybody,” he says. Each and every cast member — even “G” himself — is likely to stop by the table for a kind word or two during the occasional intermission, making your party feel right at home. But first things first: Bar Manager Nate Page sets the stage, pouring a long list of dramatic cocktails. The honey-infused Kentucky Lullaby, with Buffalo Trace, a hint of Amontillado sherry and orange bitters wrapped around an oversized cube of ice, should impress any true bourbonite; others may find the Thai pear martini more entertaining. Before even gazing at the headspinning menu, however, it’s best to stave it off with a “snack” of the popular crispy Brussels sprouts; better yet, the tater tots of Fontina cheese and black truffle served with a tangy pickle juice

aioli are to-cheer-for. Only then is it time even to consider a full line-up of mouth-watering appetizers, led by the unforgettable Western Slope pumpkin soup, poured tableside over grilled dates, truffles, butternut squash arancini and a dollop of chestnut mousse. Grouse’s second act has two entrées competing for the leading role. Gutowski is very proud of his roasted, sausagestuffed rabbit loin, wrapped in bacon and served with acorn squash tortellini and braised red cabbage; or, if you’ve bird in mind, the chef’s 14-day-dry-aged Long Island duck — plump slices of tasty breast meat and rich-and-savory foie gras sausage in a burnt citrus jus over almond farro and Colorado apple preserves counterbalanced perfectly with sweet raisin chutney — is the perfect co-star. Farrar, meanwhile, suggests enjoying the show with an amusing glass of wine — perhaps the 2008 Santa Barbara Palmina Nebbiolo, a crowd favorite. “The rabbit really shows what we can do,” Gutowski adds. “And we really like the duck. No one else in town dry-ages it like we do; that really makes a difference.” For the final act, Anderson’s dessert offerings include buttermilk donut holes served with three creamy dipping sauces; and her warm chocolate pudding cake, served with cocoa nib ice cream and crumbs of hazelnut malt, brings down the house. Grouse Mountain Grill is open for

PRICE

Snacks: $7-$10 Starters: $14-$22 Mains: $37-$47 •••

AMBIANCE

Sophisticated yet cozy and romantic with live jazz & panoramic views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Roasted sausagestuffed rabbit loin; Long Island duck •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Best kids menú in town

dinner Sunday through Saturday, 5-10 p.m. The Pines Lodge offers free valet parking; reservations are highly recommended. • Coffee-rubbed Colorado lamb with charred eggplant purée and house-made falafel. left Bacon-wrapped, sausage-stuffed rabbit loin with red cabbage and handmade local squash tortellini. above


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SPAGO AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH 0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE | 970.343.1555 | WOLFGANGPUCK.COM by BRENDA HIMELFARB photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

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ombine classic French techniques with California and Asian influences using the finest and freshest ingredients and you have Spago, a restaurant created by noted chef Wolfgang Puck, a trendsetter in cuisine. All you have to do, when dining at the restaurant, is to spear a bit of everything on your fork, taste, close your eyes and fall silent. Next stop: food heaven. It’s that good. Our dining experience was masterful in every way. To begin, each server — from those who poured water to those who freshened the table — knew about the dishes from how they’re prepared to how they’re garnished. It was an unexpected, delightful choreographed presentation filled with palpable energy – and we were never left waiting. The Signature Wolfgang Puck Spicy Tuna Tartare in sesame miso cones that are made in-house and filled with hand-cut ahi tuna, ginger and chopped scallions, then topped with masago roe, julienned bonito flakes and chopped pickled ginger, was our exceptional first course. (Though a signature Wolfgang Puck creation, this appetizer is not on the menu. However you can order them — all you have to do is ask.) The generous bread selection included lavash with pumpkin, poppy and caraway

seeds, butter buns with sesame oil, scallions and chives and sourdough. And then began Chef Jorge Martinez’s “in the moment” creations — as he called them — made just for us, which included smoked salmon served on a blini, topped with caviar and crème fraîche followed by grade A-5 Japanese wagyu beef served with puréed potatoes and wasabi and, then, ravioli topped with white truffle, to name a few. It was decadent, to say the least. Martinez, who began as a dishwasher at Spago, Beverly Hills, has been with

the company for 16 years. “My resume is one page,” he says with a laugh. “I moved up, following Wolfgang’s steps, until I now manage my own restaurant, creating new dishes, keeping Wolfgang’s vision, putting everything together and making it work. I put the menu here all together and it was approved by Chef Lee (Hester), Wolfgang’s right-hand man and head chef.” Spago’s enticing menu will sate the most sophisticated palate beginning with first courses such as grilled baby octopus, big-eye tuna sashimi and veal filet mignon tartare. Martinez’s main courses spotlight steamed Scottish salmon “Hong Kong Style,” with bok choy, lotus root, sweet soy and jasmine rice, grilled sea bass “Loup de Mer” with leek purée, Maine lobster and sauce Américaine. (You can also order the A-5 Japanese wagyu beef). The 32-page wine list is a book of its own, offering a selection of over 750 wines and spirits. Sommelier Jason Hunter will not disappoint. In fact, he has taken the time to choose more than 25 exceptional wine-bythe-glass choices.

PRICE

Starters: $14-$24; Mains: $34-$56 •••

AMBIANCE

Approachable and fully customizable dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Miso cones with ahi tuna

And although the entire dessert menu is enticing, you simply cannot end your Spago dining experience without ordering the Kaiserschmarren, a fromage blanc and crème fraîche soufflé pancake, covered with sautéed market strawberries – Wolfgang’s grandmother’s recipe! It defies description. Dining at Spago is an dventure of tastes that will not be easily forgotten. And with Chef Martinez on board, creating on a whim, you’re in for a grand ride. • top left The Spago dining room is the epitome of mountain chic. top right Miso sesame cups. left Kaiserschmarren, a souffléstyle pancake with fromage blanc and sautéed strawberries.


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BACHELORS LOUNGE AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH 0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE | 970.343.1087 | RITZCARLTON.COM/BACHELORGULCH

AMBIANCE

Sultry, contemporary indoor lounge with modern fireplace and an outdoor covered and heated area serves as a smoking lounge around a fireplace. •••

SIGNATURE SPIRIT

‘The Bachelor’ •••

SIGNATURE CIGAR

Salomon’s Private Stash, Dual Wrap Perfect Salomon, Torpedo with a Corojo/ Maduro wrapper •••

SIGNATURE HOOKAH PRESENTATION

Mojito flavor with Turkish hookahs •••

VAPORTINI

Grand Marnier

by PAGE McCLEAN & ROSS LEONHART 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. 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 — clear and cool. The semi-enclosed space is dark, lit by warm candles and firelight. 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.

The options available at the lounge are unique. Always limited edition, the cigar selection sometimes only lasts two weeks. They often 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. 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. Other favorites include vaportinis — cocktails that you inhale instead of drink. 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. While mostly frequented after dinner, there is a small bar menu available. The signature dish is the Colorado cheese board. Glasses and bottles of wine and spirits are also available. With cigars, cocktails, live music and entertainment, it’s easy to see why the Bachelor’s Lounge has been so exclusive

all of these years. But there’s more. Want to dance all night? Salsa Night is the second Thursday of every month in the Bachelor’s Lounge. The DJ will play Latino music all night and professional dancers will provide a dance lesson from 8-9 p.m., and then the dance floor remains open until midnight. •

top Bachelors Lounge is a sleek and social spot with several fire places. above Many of the cigars stocked are exclusive and difficult to get elsewhere.


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•••

AMBIANCE

Après-ski dining at an outdoor bar and grill with views of the slopes •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Smoked pork and chicken, and handcrafted cocktails •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

The whole family is welcome

DANIEL’S BAR & GRILL

AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH by ROSS LEONHART photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

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hough most people are familiar with The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch’s fine dining pinnacle, Spago, the resort also has casual eateries for both hotel guests and day visitors. New this season is Daniel’s Bar & Grill. It’s the ultimate in après ski dining. Located slope-side with a view of the day’s snow conditions, it’s an easy spot to find: Just follow the smoke. Mere steps from the Bachelor Gulch Express lift, a giant smoker turns out a seemingly endless parade of succulent smoked meats that are served to hungry skiers and riders, either as plated meals or as sandwiches. Try the smoked ham, quarter-chicken or the brisket. Burgers, kielbasa, veal bratwursts and other quick and hearty fare are available at the grill. But the real highlight? A snow bar offers up champagne, wine, warming hot drinks and more — with a complete on-mountain vibe. A revolving list of

beer on tap rounds out the options. Daniel’s opens at 11 a.m. and serves food and drink until the sun sets for the evening over the mountains. If you don’t want to eat outside, even in luxury, Buffalos is a popular spot. It’s hard to decide which aspect of the restaurant stands out more: the view of Bachelor Gulch, with skiers gliding down white runs lined with aspens; the long, granite bar surrounded by thick, chunky stone; or the unique cuisine, and the manner in which it’s presented. This season sees The Ritz-Carlton unveiling a new lunch buffet at Buffalos with burgers, chili, quesadillas and other items — many including bison. Families will appreciate the quick service, though there’s no need to rush — with 13 draft beers, it’s a good place to post up and watch a game on one of the TVs. In a rush? Grab a coffee and other on-the-go items from Espresso Chair 16, tucked inside The Ritz-Carlton. • Skiers and riders will appreciate the ski-in/ski-out location. right The new smoker at Daniel's Bar turns out a selection of smoked meats daily. above

0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE RITZCARLTON.COM/BACHELORGULCH

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REVOLUTION

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

by LEIGH HORTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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xperience” is the buzzword at Revolution, the newest restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner in Beaver Creek Village. This creative establishment at the Beaver Creek Lodge, so named for the revolving equipment used in the kitchen to cook meats and naan, will charm young couples and families — as well as foodies looking for a new take on elegant home-style cuisine. The problem with going to a new restaurant, especially with dishes as intriguing and unusual as those at Revolution — developed and refined by Owner and Executive Chef Riley Romanin — is that, typically, you have to choose just one. For appetizers, my guest and I spent half an hour or so debating whether to go for the crispy Serrano shrimps, lettuce wrap, pico slaw, pork crackling and pescancillo syrup comprising the shrimp lequito, or try the Revolution wings, Korean or buffalo BBQ style; and for an entrée, we were perplexed at choosing either a 7x steak or meatloaf. Upon further advice from the staff, the signature Revolution Experience was the obvious choice, and it lived up to its billing. This sample menu includes a mixture of dishes with portions ample enough to send the customer rolling out of the restaurant. The chef salad, to begin with, introduces the diner to the unusual fare to come; though the first bite is a little tart, it mellows once the deviled egg spread and avocado aioli cut the vinegary dressing; and the “naantans,” croutons made of naan, are harbingers of the artistic dishes to come. To follow, the hand-held lamb gyro, served on homemade naan with house-made lamb and beef shawarma, goat chevre and tzatziki — fresh, flavorful, mellow and perfect for diners who don’t want a meat-heavy meal — is, if anything, a great transition. The tableside calabacitas, served tableside on a sword-like skewer then mixed with salt, lime and cheese, is vegetables done just right — and for us, was the star of the evening. Moving on, Revolution’s rotisserie three meatloaf — served with creamy mashed potatoes, salsa, bacon and green beans — awakens childhood memories of mom’s specialty; the chicken and dumplings, however, deviates from our childhood memories, but is a

PRICE

Apps: $11-$17 Entrées: $15-$75 Sides: $8-$12 •••

AMBIANCE

A revolutionary dining experience •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Revolution Experience •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

With food rotating on a spit, are you kidding?

pleasant, contemporary version of this Southern comfort dish, nonetheless. We especially loved the tacos el pastor, meanwhile, perhaps Revolution’s most multi-layered dish, its subtle, sweet, savory, salty and smooth flavors working in harmony to create a memorable dish; and the 7X steak has got to be the best piece of beef in the valley. For dessert, we can now suggest the Blondie, a custard filled cake with

macadamia nuts, a great way to end the meal — not overwhelming, not too sweet … but just right. Revolution serves breakfast and lunch, too, in a kid-friendly atmosphere. The prices for the meals vary, but are certainly on the reasonable side for Beaver Creek, an added bonus for young families looking to experience as much as possible on a budget; and if the kids are too wound-up for a sit-down meal, Revolution’s Hot & Fast Donuts

and Ramen Cart — a joint effort with Romanin’s other restaurant, Hooked, near the Covered Bridge — offers a selection of adult- and- kid-friendly grab-and-go grub. • Steak tartare with fried cornichons, red onion marmalade and quail egg in a whole-grain-mustard tuile. above Revolution, in the Beaver Creek Lodge, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. top


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BEANO’S CABIN by KRISTA DRISCOLL photos by ANTHONY THORNTON, CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT & KIMBERLY GAVIN / VAIL RESORTS

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xecutive chef Bill Greenwood is “showing 25 new people 25 new things” in the kitchen at Beano’s Cabin to get the winter season under way, and the wait staff, many of whom have been at the restaurant for more than a decade, are settling into a familiar groove. Summer at Beano’s was heavily focused on harvesting from the on-site garden and hyper-local foraging, some of the fruits of which carry into the winter. The menu still screams Colorado, with Avalanche goat cheddar from Basalt and organic eggs, greens and peppers from Eagle Springs Organic farm, based in Rifle, but due to availability, Greenwood gets a bit more creative in the winter with some of his sourcing. “We try to be different every year, keep it rustic, and focusing on a lot of grains,” Greenwood says. “This year, in the winter, for instance, all of your heirloom grains that we’re using are from Anson Mills.” The chef cherry-picked the South Carolina company’s list of organic grits and grains, seeds and peas, and built his proteins around them, resulting in dishes like the grilled rabbit loin with wood-roasted Sea Island rouge peas,

BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN VIA SLEIGH RIDE 970.754.3463 | BEANOSCABINBEAVERCREEK.COM

PRICE

$125 for a five-course adult meal; beverages not including. •••

AMBIANCE

Log cabin chic; dress warmly for the 20-minute, open-air sleigh ride up the mountain, then ditch your snow boots for the cozy guest slippers. •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Wood-grilled Eagle Springs organic egg with heirloom Sea Island white flint grits, jowl confit and Avalanche goat cheddar. •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

A three-course menu available for children younger than 13.

polenta and rabbit-belly confit and the Berkshire pork porterhouse with heirloom antebellum grits, honeyglazed carrots and apple preserves. Flames leap from the wood-fired grill, and the campfire aroma of the smoker drifts through the open kitchen

and into the Beano’s dining room. Juniper, fennel, caraway and coriander seeds are smoked and ground to season the grits that accompany the wood-grilled organic egg appetizer, and the potato gratin that complements Beano’s gorgeous beef tenderloin with house-made steak sauce also sees some time in the smoker. “You’ve got this creamy, buttery, rich potato flavor and then this hint of smoke,” Greenwood says. “We really

don’t smoke a lot of meats in there, at all. It’s cooler to use that thing for other purposes that are not meatbased. We’re always experimenting with it. … I’ll smoke anything.” • Wood-grilled organic egg with mascarpone grits, jowl confit and Avalanche goat cheddar. top right Beano's is located midway up the mountain. below Butternut squash soup with sage. top left

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PRICE

Lunch: $10-$25 Dinner starters and small plates: $9-$15 Dinner mains: $32-$52 •••

AMBIANCE

Old West fine dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pan-seared ruby trout, grilled Colorado lamb T-bone, Rocky Mountain elk tenderloin •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, with an $18, threecourse meal, including fresh fruit cocktail; chicken, grilled cheese, trout or beef; and a chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream. Reservations required.

SADDLERIDGE by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by RIC STOVALL / VAIL RESORTS & CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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t Beaver Creek’s SaddleRidge, fine dining meets the Old West in a very big way. Cast iron chandeliers constructed from train wheels illuminate the rich wood arches and massive stone fireplace, setting the scene for a true Rocky Mountain experience. Situated on Beaver Creek’s eastern slope, SaddleRidge provides mountain casual dining with an opulent, traditional Western atmosphere, combined with a fine dining steakhouse experience. Guests can ski into the family friendly restaurant for lunch — an enormous benefit, because SaddleRidge is the only fine dining, sit-down lunch guests can partake in on the mountain without being a member of Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch or Arrowhead clubs. Kids and adults alike will love checking out the mounted game heads, General Custer’s historical hat and canteen and one of the original George Washington portraits used on the dollar bill. “This is an Old West dining experience that you cannot find anywhere else,” says

970.754.5456 | BASE OF BEAVER CREEK’S EASTERN SLOPE (NO ONSITE PARKING; SCHEDULE A COMPLIMENTARY VILLAGE TRANSPORTATION SHUTTLE SERVICE BY CALLING | 970.949.1938 | SADDLERIDGEBEAVERCREEK.COM

general manager Jeff Baker. “You’ll be dining amid the biggest private collection of U.S. Western artifacts, outside of a museum in the United States.” And, to make the experience even more special, a Sherpa pulled by snowmobile will escort guests back to the ski-way, or diners can take a short shuttle ride back. Dinner enchants the senses with the snowy backdrop of the mountain, the warm, grand mountain chalet feel of the restaurant and, of course, the best quality, flavorful Colorado cuisine, from wild game — including rabbit and venison — to traditional steakhouse dishes. “The idea is to update the classics and give the menu a contemporary, fine-dining feel while being very family friendly,” says executive chef Adam Roth. This season, the all-time favorite dinner menu remains just about the same, with small plates like crispy crab risotto cake infused with parmesan cheese and lemon vinaigrette, as well as elk, mussels and rabbit for smaller appetites, while main fare ranges from grilled Hawaiian wahoo in a coconut lemongrass broth to buffalo strip, elk tenderloin and Angus beef ribeye, paired with sauces that run the

gamut, from roasted jalapeño butter to ancho chile rub and whiskey glaze. Roth artistically pairs his heavy meats with light accompaniments, such as cherry pecan couscous, crispy onions and julienned vegetables. Lunch takes on some new twists this season, with steamed mussels, chiles rellenos, elk and buffalo chili, roasted vegetable enchiladas, grilled venison tacos and pan-seared trout. Though SaddleRidge places an emphasis on American wines, within the 380 varieties from which to choose, plenty originate from all over the world. And, for that special Colorado feel, SaddleRidge offers plenty of local microbrews, as well as a specialty drink list not to be missed. SaddleRidge masterfully delivers a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience, tastefully combined with an authentic, mountainside, Old West experience, with live music by Leon Littlebird Wednesday through Saturday evenings. •

The SaddleRidge dining room is replete with a large collection of authentic Western artifacts. below The elk carpaccio is delicately seared and served with spicy arugula and an Asian-inspired vinaigrette. above


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17 CHATEAU LANE | BEAVER CREEK 970.845.8808 | SPLENDIDOBEAVERCREEK.COM

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photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

avid Walford is many things — chef, owner, prep cook, host, taskmaster, busboy, mentor, traveler — but on those days when he sits down to write a menu for Splendido at the Chateau, he’s a tightrope walker. On the one side are culinary trends, full of flash and foam, and on the other, refined classics that have been honed for decades. He dances between the two, never stepping to one side or the other for more than a moment. And so a menu is created for what many consider the best restaurant in the valley, a place where families have been coming on their annual pilgrimage for 20+ years, where sweethearts have gotten engaged, where groups of friends revel in fine food (and high spirits), where

grandfathers treat granddaughters and daughters just might treat themselves. People enjoy the intuitive and genuine service, the lively piano music, the extensive wine list — but when they talk about Splendido, they speak of Walford, his team of talent and his amazing hit list of a menu. The food is perfect. “But truly, I still have passion for what I do,” says Walford. “That’s what one needs in any business, isn’t it? Whatever you are, if you don’t have passion for it — people can tell.” Though Walford would prefer to start the meal with the shellfish platter — lobster, crab claws, shrimp, tuna poke, oysters and clams — this season he’s taken a long, hard

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SPLENDIDO AT THE CHATEAU by WREN BOVA

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look at Oysters Rockefeller. “Your mother probably ate them in the ‘60s or ‘70s,” says Walford. “People lost track of what they were — putting bacon, creamed spinach or béchamel on them. It never was that way.” The original Rockefeller had watercress; at Splendido they also include celery leaves, tarragon, scallions, Pernod, and a little bit of parmesan cheese. “And we’re using big fat oysters that we open to order,” says Walford. “The top is bubbly and hot, crusty and fragrant, but underneath the oyster is just half cooked or barely cooked, it’s a warm oyster.” Everyone knows of Splendido’s Dover sole, deftly plated at the table, as well as the succulent lobster and tender rack of lamb, both roasted in the wood-fired oven. Walford can’t take them off the menu. But he and chef de cuisine Brian Ackerman are both inspired to “keep playing with their food.” This season, the Alaksan black cod with king crab is a standout, thanks to the exclamatorily rich broth in which it's bathed. Made with chicken and ham hocks, and finished with lemongrass and ginger, Asian undertones abound. The fish is seared, then placed in a bowl with large chunks of Alaskan king crab, sea beans and baby vegetables. For those who don’t want the evening to end, Splendido’s dessert menu is always rich with inventive items — get a

PRICE

Mostly $14-$24; up to $150 for Royal Ossetra caviar service; Entrées: $37-$65 •••

AMBIANCE

Intimate and elegant •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Whole Dover sole à la meunière, wood-ovenroasted Maine lobster and Colorado lamb rack •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Definitely — not only is there a kids' menu, but the piano bar is a source of great entertainment for kids. Chef Walford has even been seen giving young diners behind-the-scenes tours

little crazy and look beyond the soufflé, difficult as that may be. Better yet, retire to the bar area and sip an ice wine or a whiskey while listening to the jazzy rock of Kathy Morrow or the classical tunes of Peter Vavra. And congratulate yourself on a day well lived. • top Braised pork cheek with potato gnocchi, salsify, carrot, sage, pecorino. left Oysters Rockefeller, Pernod creamed spinach and watercress, parmesan cheese. cover Seared Alaskan black cod with king crab.

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MIRABELLE by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ucked just inside the gates of Beaver Creek, Mirabelle might be a place you’ve passed by countless times on your way up the hill to ski. But hidden behind this farmhouse façade is a fine dining destination that houses lots of cozy, classic charm. With exquisite European cuisine and some Colorado flair, the restaurant captures flavors that food and wine enthusiasts love, whether they’re dining in the heart of Paris or at the base of a Colorado ski resort. “We want every guest at Mirabelle to discover the best food with the highest quality and freshest ingredients — but we’re not pretentious,” says Mirabelle owner and Belgian Master Chef Daniel Joly. “ My wife and I live upstairs, and we want everyone here to feel at home.” With history that dates back to the 1800s, Mirabelle has been recently remodeled; but it still retains a welcoming, rustic feel. Upon sitting down in a dining room that feels as comfortable as a family member’s, you’ll find an extensive and varied wine list that reads like a little book foreshadowing

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55 VILLAGE ROAD | BEAVER CREEK | 970.949.7728 | MIRABELLE1.COM

brilliant food courses and wine pairings. “It’s part of my philosophy to keep the prices fair for what we’re offering, especially when it comes to the wine list,” Joly says. For warming winter starters, choose a soup — either the Belgian onion or the lobster bisque — and a small plate of foie gras, which arrives artfully arranged alongside a caramelized pear and drizzled with a vanilla reduction. Paired with a glass of Sauternes, the pear notes pop, and the sweetness of this starter will prep your palate for more savory selections to follow. For main courses, you’ll have the choice of brilliant menu items ranging from the locally raised, all-natural rack of lamb, a roasted duck breast and Mirabelle’s specialty dish, the North Sea Dover sole, served à la meunière with a lemon brown butter sauce. Grass-fed Colorado beef tenderloin and halibut round out the menu, which changes seasonally to reflect availability, as well as Joly’s creative interests. No matter what you order at Mirabelle, expect the unexpected. The menu reflects Joly’s “less is more” philosophy in offering only what can be served at the highest quality — but with each

plate, you’ll discover exciting color, flavor, and texture combinations, such as with the lobster entrée, in which the smooth-and-buttery flavor of the lobster contrasts with the crunchy, salty flavors of pork belly and the sweetness of a garlic butternut squash puree. Within such a hospitable atmosphere, you’ll want to linger, and dessert selections will certainly tempt you to stay. Do. You can’t help but find a sweet ending at Mirabelle with the pastry chef’s creative concoctions and classics, alike, including crème brûlée — or the vanilla soufflé that arrives at your table perfectly puffed and dusted with powdered sugar. • Mountain River Ranch elk with parsnip purée, turnip-pear, Brussels leaves and chestnuts. left Colorado farm-raised rack of lamb, garlic-caper-olive oil whipped potato, black garlic and eggplant. above

PRICE

Starters: $12-24 Mains: $32-$48 •••

AMBIANCE

Cozy farmhouse with exquisite European cuisine •••

SIGNATURE DISH

North Sea Dover sole •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Children’s menu available


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OSPREY FIRESIDE LOUNGE BASE OF STRAWBERRY PARK EXPRESS LIFT | 10 ELK TRACK LANE | BEAVER CREEK 970.754.7389 | OSPREYATBEAVERCREEK.ROCKRESORTS.COM/DINING

PRICE

Starters: starting at $8 Main dishes: starting at $14 for sandwiches/burgers and $24 for entrées •••

by LEIGH HORTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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pon entering the Osprey Fireside Lounge, diners are immediately warmed by the fireplace differentiating the restaurant from the bar. The enormous fireplace complements the comfortable atmosphere, appealing to families and couples seeking pub foods, down-home Southern fare, or more elegant offerings. “We’re cozy, romantic and quaint,” says executive chef Conor Shedor. “The Osprey is the ideal place to stay and play, in the heart of Beaver Creek.” Shedor is new to The Osprey. The past year has seen him awarded three Marriott culinary honors including the prestigious Award of Culinary Excellence, the Global Rising Star of the Year and the Continental Rising Star of the Year. He’s created a menu that works for the boutique hotel that caters to families. “Our menu reflects family-friendly dishes influenced by modern American cuisine in

which we strive to use fresh and simple ingredients,” he says. “Our premium meats are smoked in-house with quality post oak and peach wood. “ Both kids and adults will appreciate the large selection of mac and cheese that includes add-ins such as short ribs or crab — Shedor cites the short rib mac and cheese as one of his personal favorites. Although the scope of the menu is somewhat overwhelming, diners are able to assemble the three-course meal of their desire.

To start, the cauliflower bisque is an excellent opener. Creamy and smooth, this is a flavorful version of a classic. The shareable plates are beautiful. Artichoke fondue, tacos al pastor, and mussels and smoked chorizo are highlights from this “date night-friendly” section of the menu. More casual than the rest of the menu, the “shareables” will please anyone looking for casual meals and pub food. The entrées represent the elegant portion of the menu and include a 16-ounce bone-in ribeye, elk tenderloin (another of Chef Shedor’s favorites), pappardelle pomodoro, and roasted half chicken. Also included are short ribs with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Tender and downhome, this dish is comfort food at its finest. The elegant dish blends Southern flavors with a bit of mountain chic. The blackened sea bass with white bean cassoulet is an interesting divergence from most fish dishes. The combination of blackened anything with cassoulet is an experience not to be missed. Though the cassoulet adds bulk to the dish, the blackened flavor is downright delicate. It doesn't overwhelm the palate, and plays well

AMBIANCE

Upscale casual •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Elk tenderloin with garlic confit mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and shallot demi •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely

against the tender white beans. The s’mores dessert is a triumph — it isn’t the typical fireside fare. Served in a mason jar with broiled marshmallows covering a rich chocolate cake, none will be left at the end of the meal. For those wanting something creamy, the New York cheesecake with berries fits the bill. The wine list, although limited, has a reliable by-the-glass selection. Cocktails are also available, and for those who want to skip the food and go straight to drinks after a mountain day, there is a large bar just outside the restaurant to warm up in after a cold day exploring Beaver Creek. • S'mores in a mason jar. Creamy cauliflower bisque. left Mussels with smoked chorizo in a white wine cream sauce. top left

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TOSCANINI by KIM FULLER photos by KIRSTIN ANDERSON

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here’s nothing that can fulfill an Italian craving quite like a family recipe of vitello picatta, especially when each bite seems to melt in your mouth alongside sips of a bright and structured red rosé wine from Montepulciano. Toscanini has mastered this signature veal and pappardelle dish, but there’s so much on the menu to get excited about. The restaurant has been under new direction with executive chef Paul Wade, with nearly four decades of professional culinary experience, for the past two years. Wade is known for polishing out the tarnish in restaurants, or revamping them completely, and he certainly has helped Toscanini surface as a Vail Valley foodie destination. Enjoy some bites of warm threecheese and rosemary olive slices, served at the table, coated with a spread of sea-salted butter, or a dash of olive oil and balsamic. It’s not “filling up on bread” when the flavors are worth their own course. Awaken your appetite with a glass of Italian Prosecco, and watch the bubbles rise to the top of the flute before flying up towards your tongue. All the wine at Toscanini is Italian, and

60 AVONDALE LANE | BEAVER CREEK PLAZA | BEAVER CREEK 970.754.5590 | TOSCANINIBEAVERCREEK.COM

the restaurant’s extensive and dynamic cellar is one of many reasons to visit. Pair your bubbles with an antipasti of Iberico prosciutto — sliced thinly and ideal to share, the Spanish ham is served with green tomato mostarda, winter figs and pinecone bud syrup. The calamari salad can be shared or enjoyed alone, with spicy arugula that sits nicely beneath squid that’s been roasted to a hearty and pleasing texture. Ocean inspiration comes through some more with the bucatini frutti del mare — a long, thin noodle topped with hand-shucked lobster and shrimp, with spinach, garlic, lemon, saffron and parsley. There’s a slight carbonara base to the sauce, creating some richness that’s perfectly accompanied by a glass of Calanchi di Vaiano chardonnay. Winter skating scenes seen through the segments of rectangular window frames facing the Beaver Creek ice rink will remind you you’re in the mountains, but inside Toscanini, the Tuscan color palette and bottles of Barbera remind guests that Italy is not so far away. Blackberry cobbler steals the finale, its sweetness coated with white chocolate and Vin Santo gelato. Sips of the same dessert wine Wade uses in the frozen cream makes each bite of this treat even more satisfying. Get to Toscanini while Wade is still making magic in the kitchen. He

said he is focused on building on and maturing the new-found service culture at Toscanini, and the core food foundations that he and his team have worked toward for the past two years. “We seek to deliver to each and every guest experience without fail,” says Wade, “and just as importantly, we have a lot of fun practicing our craft.” • Toscanini's signature tiramisu. top left Calamari with arugula, tomatoes and a spicy aioli. below Griglianto Bistecca with grilled flat iron steak, goat milk ricotta gnocchi, wild boar sausage and pecorino crema. top right

PRICE

Starters: $12-$23; Dinner Entrées: $27-$39 •••

AMBIANCE

Classic MediterraneanItalian with contemporary flare •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Vitello picatta •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


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131 MAIN STREET | 970.827.4114 MINTURNCOUNTRYCLUB.COM

by WREN BOVA photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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ou know the party always ends up in the kitchen — which is why Joe Honnessy and Tom Ricci put two party-sized grills smack in the middle of the dining rooms when they opened Minturn Country Club 32 years ago. And there they’ve stayed. The thinking goes, if the party ends up in the kitchen, then why not start there? Minturn Country Club is a lot of things to a lot of people, but at its core it’s a gathering place for friends and family to kick back, let off some steam and have a helluva good time. The servers contribute to the atmosphere of festive fun. Some of them have been there for decades, and practically have their own fan clubs. It’s not uncommon for someone to call for a reservation and request a particular server. And at the Minturn Country Club, kids don’t need a smartphone or other device for entertainment. “We talk about this all the time, but when we boil it all down, it gets down to the fact that families can bring their children and memories are made here on their vacations,” says Ricci. “Now we’re getting third and fourth generations. And it’s fun for the whole family. Where do you go eat where there’s action for your children? Americans, South Americans, Europeans — it doesn’t matter where you’re from. When the kids are done eating, how are you going to entertain them? So we have a couple of arcade games and shuffleboard. And they’re out of your hair.” Located on Main Street in the picturesque town of Minturn, the Minturn Country Club is about 10 minutes away from Vail or Beaver Creek. Walk through the doors, and whether you start in the bar or head directly to your table, keep an eye out for TJ. Not only is he a veteran bartender, but he’s also the resident magician. “TJ’s been doing magic since he was a kid,” Ricci says about his son. “He’s a professional.” If you miss him in the bar, he’ll likely stop by your table, especially if you’ve got kids. There are two butcher cases, where you’ll find an assortment of steaks, chops and seafood. Though the bone-in rib eye is a great bet, as is the wild Alaskan salmon, Ricci’s favorite is the porterhouse. But for those who aren’t quite ready to take the sheer abundance of a porterhouse, the Prime New York strip is a solid — and popular — choice.

PRICE

Starters: $8-$15 Steak: $18-$55 •••

AMBIANCE

Laid back and unpretentious •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Prime New York strip and the “Minturn Tater” dessert •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Of course — shuffleboard, arcade games and magic tricks

“One of the reasons it’s so popular is it’s usually $20 less than any other steakhouse in the country because you’re cooking it yourself,” Ricci explains. That’s right — you’re cooking it yourself. That’s where those grills come into play. When you make your selection from the butcher shop, you’re deciding what you want to grill in addition to what sides you want. After a trip to the salad bar, head on over to the grills and meet

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your new best friends. Well appointed with sauces and seasonings, the grill area is where you can focus on the task at hand while chatting with the people around you. Somehow your sides always arrive within minutes of when you’re done grilling your steak, chicken or fish. (If you’d prefer the kitchen prepare your meal, that’s fine — the king crab legs and baby back ribs are great.) “You know, it’s not just families who come here, it’s families and friends,” says Ricci. “I’m looking at a table of 20, and another table of 22 — they’re groups that came in after skiing the Minturn Mile. For years they’ve been skiing it and then coming in afterwards to make new memories.” They come for the fun — but a little magic doesn’t hurt. • above Kids of all ages have been grilling their own meats at the Minturn Country Club for 32 years. right Select your cut of meat from the butcher shop at the Minturn Country Club.

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MINTURN COUNTRY CLUB

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PRICE

Starters: $6-$16 Mains: $7-$36 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual and cozy on the banks of the Eagle River •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Sunday Brunch: the blue cornmeal cakes; Dinner: A Tasting Of Duck

WOLCOTT YACHT CLUB by KIM FULLER photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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here’s something in the water near Wolcott, on the banks of the Eagle River, and it’s quite the catch for culinary connoisseurs. Come winter, the Wolcott Yacht Club closes its bustling outdoor tiki bar and patio, moving all service into a rustic-and-inviting dining room. With terra cotta styling inspired by Italian seaside villages, the space seems to dip a toe right into the Mediterranean. “We have 70 seats in the wintertime, as opposed to hundreds outside in the summer; so we can do such a different menu, and the chefs really enjoy that,” says owner Jan-Marie Jouflas. “It’s nice for us because it’s really two different styles of doing things.” During the winter season, kitchen captains Ryan Smith, Dan Solsbery and William Howell pull things like garlic and squash out of the large backyard garden plot, adding seasonal ingredients to inspire their dishes. From banquette seats, guests will spot a seafaring theme — a sailboat and a mermaid that make the place

seem a little less land-locked — but the ocean still seems close with every bite of the lightly battered and seared blue lump crab cake. Cut your fork deep into the mass to break it open atop a silky parsnip purée; scoop up a shaved chili to add a little extra heat. The open, wood-framed kitchen draws a lot of attention, but probably not as much as the bar. Mixologists Leslie Barnes and Ryan Souto have crafted unique drinks, such as their Drunken Hare, made with Suerte reposado tequila and fresh lemon, with salt, pepper and a cherry tomato to garnish; it’s like a moresavory-than-sweet margarita. For Sunday brunch, meanwhile, the bloody mary steals the show. “We like to expand people’s horizons beyond Grey Goose and Jack Daniels,” Barnes says. Most drinks on the menu are made with Colorado spirits, like the It’s Bourbon Thyme — a mix of Breckenridge bourbon, maple, thyme, lemon and egg white. Try sharing it with the maple acorn squash shared plate. Like the bar’s signature tonics, all accouterments are made in the kitchen. The compilation of meat on the tasting

27190 HWY 6 | WOLCOTT 970.926.1390 | WOLCOTTYACHTCLUB.COM

board is a must-try, with duck pastrami confit and liver mousse and cracklins alongside an apricot mostarda and figs. While meat dishes shine here, the menu is built with options that are gluten-free and vegetarian, with

something for fish lovers, too. The crisp sea bream and clams sits on a beautiful saffron cream corn emulsion, served with popcorn, fried kale, baby carrots and pearl onions. Veggie lovers will love the smokey bleu broccoli and cauliflower. If anything, don’t miss dessert. Chocolate lovers will swoon over the espresso mousse dome; and it behooves everyone at the table to share a tower of the sweet potato donuts, drizzled with brown butter icing. For the refined palate one on a romantic date, the soft milk chocolate and mascarpone, with peanut butter dust, mint-infused pear and candied hazelnut might, seals the deal. • An array of dishes and ingredients from the Wolcott Yacht Club including, from top, beet carpaccio, braised pork belly and goat shank and maple acorn squash. left Deliciously sweet and refreshing, It's Bourbon Thyme cocktail. above


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by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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he bakery case filled with rainbow-colored macarons might draw you through The Rose’s front door, but this contemporary lounge’s quirky charm and inspired cuisine is what will keep you coming back again and again. Food and drink menus at The Rose capture the eclectic spirit of this small space as well as the artistic sensibility of its owners, Jessica and Bryan Redniss. With Bryan adding his creative flair to the kitchen, it’s no surprise that plates come out looking like a painter’s palette, full of eye-catching colors and compelling textures. “Food should always be fresh and full of flavor, but first it must be visually appealing to spark your interest,” says Bryan, whose roles at The Rose have ranged from building tables out of reclaimed wood to establishing relationships with area butchers, farms, vegetable growers, and other local suppliers. “We’re also all about creating a comfortable atmosphere where people can come out in their sandals to enjoy food of fine-dining quality,” he adds. You’ll find such accessible fine dining at The Rose, which is well known for its double-sided “Theirs” and “Ours” cocktail menu that’s stacked with traditional favorites on one side and innovative adaptations on the other. With a vintage cocktail glass in hand, choose from a selection of small plates such as the avocado fries with soy aioli or the buffalo cauliflower or even the fried green tomato caprese, each of which provides separate evidence that some veggies just taste better when fried. Several salads are also offered as small plates that can be upsized with additions including candied bacon or quinoa, but if you’re ready to move right into the entrée realm, choose the Duck Duck Goose, a confit duck breast served on a plate that includes an orange celeriac purée, prickly pear duck fat reduction, and crispy strips of purple potato. This beautiful rendition of a fine-dining classic is topped with foie gras flakes sprinkled on like a dusting of fresh snow. The Rose is offering an expanded wine menu this winter, and with the addition of sommelier Mathew

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EDWARDS

THE ROSE

97 MAIN STREET | RIVERWALK EDWARDS | 970.855.0141 THEROSEEDWARDS.COM

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Guzzetti, don’t be shy about asking for a wine pairing to accompany anything on the menu. He’ll likely suggest a peppery Grüner Veltliner to complement the Mexicaninspired Chile Nogada, which The Rose adapts as a stuffed roasted red pepper topped with a tomatillo-walnut anise sauce plus candied walnuts and pomegranate seeds for a satisfying crunch. With plenty of happenings on its calendar this winter, The Rose also gives you a lot of good reasons to get out and get your groove on. Whether it’s a First Fridays Music Night, a wine tasting event, or a late-night happy hour that calls you from the cozy comforts of your couch, you won’t regret coming out to The Rose for a cocktail and staying well beyond dessert. • Roasted butternut squash and kale salad with the Redniss cocktail. below Pork belly ramen with a vegetable miso broth. page 9 Duck, Duck, Goose: confit duck with foie gras snow. right

PRICE

Starters: $7-$18; Mains: $12-$25 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale dining for people with downhome style •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Confit duck breast…or Bryan’s favorite crispy pork tacos •••

KID FRIENDLY?

Yes, with a menu that creative kids will love

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DELITE AND BOWL NOODLE HOUSE 175 MAIN STREET #107 | EDWARDS 970.855.0335 | DELITEANDBOWL.COM

by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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ith expanded menu selections and a talented chef in its kitchen, Delite and Bowl Noodle House in the Edwards Riverwalk is the place to go when it gets cold outside for healthy winter warmers that range from Japanese-style curry dishes to Thai- and Chinese-inspired soup bowls to traditional Szechuan plates. Such variety places Delite and Bowl well within the realm of Asian fusion, and while this restaurant has grown beyond its soup bowl beginnings, Delite hasn’t distanced itself from the fresh, healthy, and authentic flavors that define it. On a winter evening, you’ll likely see the silvery sheen of condensation on Delite and Bowl’s windows as you approach: the promise of cozy comforts within. While the menu has taken an upscale turn with rotating special entrées that showcase executive chef Brian Doi’s creativity, the atmosphere remains casual, the prices affordable. Several menu items will warm you up from the inside this winter, beginning with the orange hoisin short rib bao buns. In this appetizer, two perfectly steamed buns stuffed with braised boneless short ribs are flavored with a citrusysweet sauce and topped with mint, basil, and cilantro. Characteristic of several outstanding winter menu items, this combination offers substance and light, fresh flavors at the same time. Plus, if you love the tender meat in this starter, the orange hoisin braised short ribs are also available as an entrée. Other cold-weather picks include the Thai basil and beef special entrée that

combines thinly sliced strips of grass-fed flat iron beef, onions, Thai basil, and baby bok choy served alongside lemongrass jasmine rice. And if you like a bit of a spice kick, choose the spicy red curry beef instead, which provides an exciting flavor combination as the sweetness of lychee fruit, grape tomatoes, and Thai basil contrasts with spicy and savory elements including the beef, serrano peppers, and a spicy red curry. “It’s important to us to source locally and to provide the healthiest food possible,” says Delite owner Xin Barron. That’s why you’ll find organic, locally-sourced, and allergy-conscious menu items, including the Colorado-farmed beef and noodle soup bowl that’s made with a home stewed bone marrow broth, thinly sliced beef, Chinese broccoli, and cilantro served atop Chinese noodles or your choice of gluten-free rice noodles. “Our niche is offering premium, quality, and flavorful Asian-inspired cuisine at a reasonable price,” Barron adds. Finally, with Delite and Bowl’s call-ahead and to-go ordering, you’ll have the chance to reimagine your take-out expectations this winter. You

won’t find heavy, fried foods sunken into thick sauces on the menu, but with such a wide variety of fresh and crisp options, you’ll be able to take what’s healthy from the Delite kitchen directly to yours for meals that the whole family will love. • Spicy red curry beef, including lychee, grape tomatoes, Thai basil and serrano peppers. below Orange-hoisin short rib bao buns with braised short ribs, namasu salad and hot mustard. above

PRICE

Starters: $5 - $9.95; Mains: $12.95 - $22.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Cozy place to dine with friends for traditional and upscale Asian fusion •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Spicy red curry with grass-fed beef, lychee, tomatoes, Thai basil, and serrano peppers •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Smaller portions of fresh food that healthy kids love


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ZINO RISTORANTE 27 MAIN STREET | RIVERWALK | EDWARDS 970.926.0777 | ZINORISTORANTE.COM

by SUZANNE HOFFMANN photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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amiligia.” That wonderful Italian word meaning “family” is a key component of the Zino Ristorante dining experience. Although technically a restaurant, Zino has all the delightful hallmarks of a small, family-owned-andoperated Italian trattoria: a locals’ favorite that’s perfect for enjoying a warm, family-like atmosphere, delicious home cooking from the heart and an imaginative wine list. Naples-born partner and general manager Giuseppe Bosco is a passionate restaurateur whose welltrained staff have long experience, as a team, making guests feel at home. “At Zino, we’re a family and we want everyone who comes here to feel like family, too,” Bosco says of the warm atmosphere that coddles guests from the moment they arrive. Bosco oversees Zino’s excellent beverage program. His meticulously curated wine list of over 100 vinous libations from talented Italian and Americans producers and selection of creative cocktails provide something for everyone to enjoy with the Italian-inspired cuisine of Nick Haley, partner and executive chef.

Chef Haley’s culinary style is an amalgamation of Italy’s gastronomically diverse regions. When temperatures drop and snow starts to fly, guests seek his comfort food after long days playing and working in Vail Valley’s winter paradise. Haley’s winter menu combines longtime menu favorites and new seasonal creations using the purest ingredients, preferably locally sourced. Returning this winter is Haley’s popular Fonduta, a flavor-packed winter dish of melted Pecorino Sardo cheese on warm, creamy polenta and topped with a poached egg and truffle pearls. Dive in with a piece of grilled ciabatta, house-made daily, to enjoy Zino’s luscious version of fondue. Locals flock to Zino for hand-spun pizzas from house-made dough fermented for 24 hours and baked in a Palisade peach wood-fired oven. Haley creates his pizza selections from house-made ingredients such as ricotta, mozzarella, guanciale, wild boar sausage, marina sauce and other fresh toppings. In addition to his wildly popular pear and prosciutto, wild mushroom and salumi pizzas, Haley introduced pizza Carciofi to his winter selection. Artichokes, housemade sausage and ricotta salata top this delicious pizza. Vegetarian

guests can request modifications for most of Zino’s pizzas, such as the Carciofi, without sacrificing flavor. Seasonal flavors dictate sauces, but pasta made daily in house is a year-round favorite. This winter, Haley tops feathery light gnocchi with a ragu of organic duck braised in Barolo and double-duck stock. Braising is one of Haley’s favorite winter cooking methods. “Braised meats are better the second day,” Haley says, explaining why he’s chosen beef and veal braises for his daily specials. A new entrée selection is grilled bison rib-eye with oven-roasted duck fat potatoes. Zino’s energetic bar is a locals’ favorite for an aperitivo after a long day. From 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. daily, enjoy Chef Haley’s selection of pizzas and antipasti for $5 off the menu price. Find a delicious liquid accompaniment from one of many wine, spirits and draft beer specials. For après-ski — or après-work — Bosco says, “There’s nothing better than our house-made burrata and grilled ciabatta with a nice glass of Chianti Coltibuono.” Locals know — and valley guests have discovered — that whether seeking spirited libations and delicious bites in the cozy, but lively bar or a full-on meal in the dining room below, Zino always delivers a warm family welcome and palate-pleasing delights. • Grilled octopus, mussels, calamari and shrimp with watercress. above Roasted duck breast with black lentils. left The Zino dining room is energetic and lively. top

PRICE

Pizzas, pastas, mains: $16-$38 •••

AMBIANCE

Warm, cozy and energetic •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Burrata, hand-spun Palisade peach wood-fired pizzas and fresh pasta made in-house daily •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Fun welcome given to kids of all ages


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PRICE

Starters: $10-$18 Mains: $27-$46 •••

AMBIANCE

Country club elegance with neighborhood warmth •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Braised Colorado lamb shank; seared rare yellowfin tuna with wasabi potato purée •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely

VISTA AT ARROWHEAD by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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hope it’s not just your taste buds that need tickling, because when you get beyond the gated entrance and walk into Vista at Arrowhead you should be prepared for a set of ivories to be tickled, too. On top of the knock-your-socks-off entrées available, professional pianist Micky Poage is not just a favorite of the dining room: He’s one of the reasons patrons come to visit Vista. In fact, according to general manager Daryl DeYoung, “The table behind him and the two to the right are the most-requested tables in the entire restaurant.” This, of course, is due to the fact that these specific tables are prime seating to view this piano man’s hands at work as he tickles the ivories. “Vail’s piano man” may set the mood with his notes, but it is Vista’s wide assortment of delectable dishes that makes the heart sing and the mouth smile. Start with a sparkling glass of Prosecco and the burrata cheese matched with prosciutto and nut-less basil pesto. Or perhaps bite into Vista’s famous foie gras with blue cheese brûlée or the butternut

squash agnolotti with sage brown butter to start your meal off right. Chef David Collins outdoes himself by adding playful dishes, such as his gluten-free Purple & Gold, a beet Napoleon with a blend of arugula pesto, spiced Marcona almonds and goat cheese with a splash of aged balsamic. Depending on the crowd, this may be paired with a song by Frank Sinatra or a blended rendition of one of the classics from “Phantom of the Opera” as Micky feeds off of the energy and vibe of the dining room. “Vista is a special place,” says DeYoung. “There’s nothing quite like enjoying dinner in one of our multiple dining rooms with an elegant fireplace.” Those multiple dining rooms are sometimes used for large and small gatherings, and the snow-laden golf course outside affords a beautiful view. With a Tuscan grill theme, Vista offers several rustic dishes with northern Italian flare. Showcasing beautiful ingredients with inventive interpretations, an evening at Vista is both comfortable and enticing. The osso buco has long been a favorite for many loyal guests. Back by popular demand, the yellow fin tuna seared rare with a wasabi potato purée over bok choy in a soyginger butter sauce is a dish worth

676 SAWATCH DRIVE | ARROWHEAD | EDWARDS 970.926.2111 | VISTA-ARROWHEAD.COM

the return and worth checking out. “It’s worth it. That’s why we wanted to bring it back,” states Collins. The regulars have their favorite dish and so do the staff. Don’t miss out on the staff favorite, the melt-in-your mouth Vista short ribs braised over eight hours and teeming with flavor. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Order one of Vista’s signature after-dinner drinks and enjoy the slow blend of an oversized coffee ice cube in a Salted Caramel Delight or a warm frothy hot toddy

with butterscotch schnapps aptly titled Daryl’s Sleepy Time. And if you listen carefully throughout the evening, you just might be able to crack the code of Micky ordering his classic glass of red wine through the selective notes of the appropriately titled song, “You Got What I Need” by Biz Markie. • top Seared foie gras with blue cheese brûlée and blackberry compote. above Seared ahi tuna with wasabi potato purée with soy-ginger butter sauce.


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69 EDWARDS ACCESS ROAD #6 | EDWARDS | 970.926.6628 | THEEASTRESTAURANTEDWARDS.COM

by KIRSTEN DOBROTH photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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elaxed, approachable and with a diverse medley of Asian cuisine to make everyone happy, The East Asian Restaurant & Bar, in Edwards, has been winning over guests for the past year. Along with having an extensive selection of both Chinese and Japanese dishes, the restaurant’s spot by the river lends itself to an intimate evening or as a place to gather with family and friends. Guests can make themselves comfortable in the main restaurant, or vie for a coveted spot at the sushi bar. Similarly, the restaurant has an expansive and pleasant bar area with a few subtle televisions for discreet game watching while enjoying the perks of happy hour specials on sake and sushi. When it comes to the food, The East’s extensive menu has something for everybody. What everyone’s talking about, however, is the new authentic Chinese dishes appearing on the menu this winter. As more ingredients become available in the United States, there’s more opportunity to incorporate traditional Chinese dishes into the menu, explains Owner John Xhang. “Years ago, when more people started eating Chinese food in America, there wasn’t access to all the spices and ingredients to make everything authentic, and a lot of dishes were changed,” Xhang says “We want to introduce some real Chinese meals that people eat regularly in China to the table.” The Yushan Eggplant, with a tiny kick of red chili pepper oil to keep things interesting, is a tasty example. Xhang similarly suggests the boiled fish, or beef, in spicy mala sauce as a delicious sample of a popular Chinese meal. While the introduction to some more traditional dishes from China may be a bit adventurous for some palates — “You’ll be hesitant, but try it, it’s very good!” Xhang assures — the extensive menu presents a plethora of more recognizable fare, as well. For some more Americanized dishes, the Peking duck and miso sea bass are the most popular

PRICE

Starters: $4-$15 Mains: $12-$23 •••

AMBIANCE

Casual, family-style •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The miso sea bass; The East dragon roll •••

KID FRIENDLY?

Yes

menu items and make fantastic options to share around the table. If, somehow, nothing on the hot menu catches your eye, let The East’s sushi chefs be your guides for the evening. The restaurant has a fantastic sushi bar set aside from the main dining area, where guests can watch expertly rolled creations come off the line. While the Sexy Mama roll

and The East dragon roll are both popular choices, the staff suggests ordering an off-menu creation of your preferred fish and letting 30-year sushi veteran Michael Pao do the rest. On top of an extensive selection of specialty rolls, The East offers a comprehensive list of sashimi and nigiri, as well. Come one, or come all, The East is the perfect spot to split a few appetizers with a friend or a casual family-style meal to keep everyone satisfied. Open seven days a week, the restaurant and bar also offers lunch every day, starting at 11 a.m., and is open till midnight on Saturdays. • Assorted sushi platter. Honey-glazed walnut shrimp – crispy batter-fried shrimp tossed in a sweet creamy sauce topped with sugar-coated walnuts on a bed of steamed broccoli. top

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EDWARDS

THE EAST ASIAN RESTAURANT & BAR

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PRICE

Soups & Salads: $7-$8 Snacks & small plates: $6-13 Sandwiches, etc: $12-$13 Entrées: $22-34 •••

AMBIANCE

Tasty comfort food, killer cocktails and expansive mountain views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Center-cut pork chop; mushroom stroganoff •••

KID FRIENDLY?

They’ll love the Lil’ Linksters Menu

BALATA

1265 BERRY CREEK ROAD | EDWARDS | 970.477.5353 | SONNENALPCLUB.COM

by LEIGH HORTON photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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ith its comfortable, elegant bar, live music, friendly atmosphere, killer cocktails and cuisine at the upper end of the experimental spectrum, this restaurant at the Sonnenalp Club, in Singletree, is a great semi-casual retreat for those looking either for a lively bar scene or a family environment with kid-friendly foods. Parking is easy, the views overlooking the Sonnenalp golf course are stellar, even in winter, and it’s well worth a visit for delicious comfort food — make sure to try Balata’s now as it will be closing this spring, when the space is taken over by one of the Vail Valley’s most revered chefs, Kelly Liken. “I am super excited about opening a brand new restaurant in the space,” Liken says. “It will be a neighborhood place where locals and visitors can gather and enjoy well-priced, local and organically-sourced foods.” The salumi plate, featuring artisan salami, pickles and mustard is a wonderful way to start the meal, with flavors that can transport diners to Austria. The French onion soup is of great comfort, as well. Sandwiches, like the hot pastrami

Rueben, with grilled corned beef, cabbage slaw, gruyere and Russian dressing on rye bread served with hand-cut fries, is a definite winner. Entrées are led by a fresh mushroom stroganoff with homemade noodles — amazing, the noodles perfectly cooked, the mushrooms firm and rich without being overwhelming. This vegetarian offering will please those looking for a lighter noodle dish or a warm, filling winter meal. Tasty, seasonal dessert offerings include: a dark chocolate coconut ganache tart, complete with coconut sorbet, that’s like an Almond Joy bar on steroids, perfect to pair with a heavier meal; and a cinnamon sugar-dusted beignet with chocolate and toffee dipping sauces, a definite crowd-pleaser. The proposed changes this spring, meanwhile, should bring welcome refreshment to Balata, the transformation to begin in March. Liken is creating a fresh restaurant concept, with a new brand and name for the space scheduled to re-open in June. • Center-cut pork chop with cornbread-chorizo stuffing, sautéed kale sprouts and dried cherry relish. right PEI mussels in a spicy tomato-garlic broth, with house-made chorizo, grilled bread and herbs. above


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

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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f you’re like many visitors to Colorado, thoughts of dining on wild game may conjure up memories of those gamey steaks Uncle Bud brought home from his hunting trips. Truth is, game meat is one of fine dining’s finer, and healthier, pleasures — and there’s no better place in the state to introduce yourself to it than The Gashouse Restaurant & Bar in Edwards, a longtime locals’ favorite. Indeed, discriminating diners with a flair for the wild owe it to themselves to branch out from the state’s more widely known dishes of local lamb and trout and try some of the wide range of other meats from animals native not only to Colorado but to the Rocky Mountains, in general, says Andy Guy, co-owner and manager. “When people come to the mountains, they often want to try some of the other wild critters that traditionally run around here,” says Guy, who in his eight years at The Gashouse has slowly changed the menu from mainly beef steaks and seafood to one chock full of wild game dishes, too. “That’s elk; that’s venison; that’s buffalo, or bison; that’s bear, antelope, caribou, wild boar, rabbit, duck, quail,” he says. “And because game, especially elk and venison, is far lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, it’s better for you, too.” For starters, try the buffalo carpaccio appetizer: loin meat from a Colorado bison that is lightly smoked, then sliced paper thin and served with crunchy

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PRICE

Starters: $4.95-$49.95 Mains: $14.95-$48.95 Dessert: $4.75-$7.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Rustic mountain cabin with laid-back energy •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Ultra Game Grill •••

KID FRIENDLY?

Oh yeah …

crostini, capers and a drizzle of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or, there’s the Game Sausage Sampler, with samples of mixed sausages made from wild boar, smoked buffalo and “jackalope.” “We always warn people about the ‘jackalope,’” Guy says, laughing, of the a hot-and-spicy but savory mixture of jack rabbit, antelope and habanero peppers. Looking for an impressive platter to enjoy with friends? Go for the Gashouse’s Ultra Game Grill, with grilled quail, buffalo tenderloin, a bonein venison chop and a game sausage of your choice. The Gashouse offers a whole slew of other, more pedestrian options, as well, including soups and salads, pastas and burgers, and classic appetizers like the “buffalo”- and Thai-spiced

chicken wings and their infamous Super Nachos. Guy suggests starting out with one of four kinds of oysters, served by the half-dozen, with the Barcat variety from the Chesapeake Bay being his personal favorite. Indeed, seafood at The Gashouse is a local legend. The beloved Maryland Lump Crab Cakes is a real winner, as is the Seafood Combo offering lobster tail, crab cake and Cajun shrimp. And make sure to check the hand-written board on the wall for fresh fish specials, different every night. All entrées, meanwhile, are served with mixed veggies and the choice of wild rice pilaf, fries or baked potato unless you up the ante with “twicebaked” potato, parmesan truffle fries, onion rings or a side of pasta Alfredo. And save room for dessert. The lineup includes Kentucky pie, a huge, hot chocolate-chip cookie topped with chocolate syrup and crushed pecans, best

enjoyed a la mode; fresh-baked apple pie; salted caramel brûlée cheesecake; and the go-to mud pie, a delectable ice cream sandwich with fudge in the middle and an Oreo cookie crust. In the end, it’s the atmosphere of The Gashouse — originally a gas station in the 1940s and ‘50s that sat dormant for 20 years or so before co-owner Connie Irons opened it again as a restaurant in 1983 — that first-time visitors remember most. The hunting trophies and other historic items on the walls — and the hundreds of Vail ski passes donated by loyal locals over the years, laminated to the main bar and tables throughout the restaurant — contribute to an unforgettable experience. Even Uncle Bud would agree. • top The Ultra Game Grill with quail, buffalo tenderloin, venison chop and game sausage. below Oysters in the raw.

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PRICE

Breakfast: $12-$15 Lunch: $12-$22 Dinner: $14-$38 •••

AMBIANCE

Innovative, seasonal Colorado cuisine expertly prepared in a unique and relaxed alpine setting with spectacular views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Colorado rack of lamb •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely!

RESTAURANT MIRADOR by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ucked back deep in the heart of Cordillera, wind your way through the canyon and past the gate to find Restaurant Mirador nestled in the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera. Open year-round, Restaurant Mirador offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains combining an innovative menu with a spectacular wine list and breathtaking mountain vistas of Vail Valley’s Sawatch Range to create a truly memorable occasion. Just 10 miles from Beaver Creek and 15 miles from Vail, Restaurant Mirador offers regional fare, stellar views, and seasonal specialties created by Executive Chef Michael Joersz. Pulling from his extensive experience in the Vail Valley, Joersz plays with this season’s menu incorporating traditional dishes with more playful options as well. “This season we’re coming into a little more progressive style,” explains Chef Joersz. When it comes to this year’s menu, “There’s a lot of roasting going on. We try and get interesting ingredients with world influence.” With

options such as the crispy lobster and tobiko wonton, the taste buds will be delighted by the yin-yang presentation of prickly pear cactus and white peach dipping sauces. Guests can stay on the lighter side with the butternut and beetroot salad with toasted sunflower and black raspberry vin or the fire-roasted tomato and basil bisque with whiskey cheddar and spring onion. Or perhaps go for something a bit heartier with the mustard-crusted rack of lamb with mac n’ marscapone, pickled celery heart and ruby beurre rouge while enjoying the sparkle of the lights from the town of Edwards below. Chef Joersz admits that he likes “a lot of rustic ingredients. Stuff you can get down and dirty with.” Demonstrated in the Lamb & Pork Belly Lolli Duet with macerated black cherry, pain perdu and port syrup, he’s

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

definitely not messing around. Carefully selected beverage options match the entrées offered in selections that range from local Colorado brewers to wines with

worldly influence. This season’s wine list is even broken out and labeled “Our Reds” and “Travelled Reds” in order to give guests the option of experiencing something local or perhaps choosing something exotic to add to their dining experience. No feast is complete without an end-of-meal sweet treat and Joersz doesn’t disappoint. Savor the toffee cake with Heath Bar crunch gelato and dulce de leche or indulge in the Chef’s Seasonal Crème Brulee with an ever-changing cast of custards that harmonize with caramelized sugar. Unwind by the fireplace in the adjoining lounge and embrace the elegance of this intimate luxury hotel and all the amenities that make Restaurant Mirador at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera an experience to remember. • Colorado lamb with mustard seed and toschi cherry. left Green lip mussels with Gulf shrimp in tarragon cream. above


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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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t’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, turnof-the-20th-Century Pennsylvania community of Italian coal miners, has always taken pizza seriously, making it in trays the old-fashioned way. But the company’s owners — Laura Lopez and Alejandro Flores, longtime locals and restaurateurs from Michoacán, Mexico — have added Mexican cuisine to the menu, mainly on weekends, for the local Hispanic community, which has long been a large part of Old Forge’s business in Edwards, particularly on Sundays. With major changes to the kitchen in the works that will make a full lineup of Mexican dishes possible, Lopez and Flores plan to reopen as Cantina Don Quixote after the winter season. “We’ll be keeping some pizza,” says Lopez. “But now, they’re all asking us, when is the Mexican food coming?” For now, the pizza remains Old

Forge’s tasty mainstay. It all starts with the “basic tray,” for that “perfect balance” of sauce made from vineripened 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, applewood-smoked 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 by lamb tacos, posole and other classic Mexican dishes.

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The former beer-and-wine list has been upgraded, by the way, to include liquor and, of course, cocktails. With one restaurant in The Riverwalk at Edwards and another in the West Vail Mall — the latter with no Mexican options — this company has always taken food seriously, whether you dine in, take it home or have it delivered. They highly recommend their Bake at Home options, which you can enjoy fresh out of your own oven in just minutes. Order by phone, straight off their website or via Yelp’s eat24.com service. Last but not least, since the local, loyal Hispanic community in Edwards has been following tradition by turning out in droves on Sunday mornings, Lopez and Flores will continue to offer their wildly popular lamb tacos from 6:30 a.m. to noon — along with time’s legendary hangover cure, menudo. Margherita pizza with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. left Spicy, cheesy jalapeño poppers. above

PRICE

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

AMBIANCE

Casual pizzeria … with Mexican food, too •••

SIGNATURE DISH

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

KID FRIENDLY?

With pizza AND tacos? Of course!

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TIMBERHEARTH

655 CLUBHOUSE DR. | CORDILLERA | 970.926.5500 | CORDILLERA-VAIL.COM

by LEIGH HORTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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rom first glance at the electronic wine list, with selections from around the world, many available by the glass, to further inspection of a menu replete with traditional light fare, salads, and entrées, all with a creative twist, it’s obvious this refined mountain retreat, high above the Vail Valley at the Club at Cordillera’s Mountain Course Clubhouse, is perfect for an elegant date. What could be more romantic, to start with, than crab cakes — jumbo lump crab meat served with smoked tomato butter sauce and micro greens — or a wild mushroom bruschetta, the white bean and rosemary purée adding a welcome sweetness, tomato confit and goat cheese cream vying for attention, as well? Other light fare includes bison chili, prime beef tartare, house-made pasta carbonara and a small black Angus burger. Or, if your perfect date includes salad, try the kale, with roasted

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butternut squash, dried apricots, Bulgarian feta topped with an aphrodisiastic poppyseed cranberry vinaigrette dressing that really lets the kale flavor shine through. Entrées at TimberHearth are especially creative. The scrumptious scallop paella includes PEI mussels, new Caledonia spotted prawns and smoked sausage, for example; the Kobe short rib, served over a bed of bulgur wheat, carrots and celery, whipped yams, burnt mallow and a brandy demi-glaze, is fall-apart tender; and the tender and juicy elk tenderloin, brined in cabernet and juniper, is another showstopper well suited for wild game lovers, with potato cobbler, both sweet and savory, as the perfect accompaniment. Finish it all off with an ice cream sundae, topped with chocolate sauce and chopped nuts, or an olive oil lemon cake with blueberries — both are sophisticated and delicious, completing the meal with perfection. While TimberHearth is more date-worthy than kid-friendly, well-behaved children will enjoy an accommodating staff that’s eager to please. The perfect addition to an enchanted evening, meanwhile, is a horse-drawn sleigh ride, available only during the winter months. •

PRICE

Apps: $9-$18 Salads: $9-$13 Entrées: $22-$39 •••

AMBIANCE

Seasonal American cuisine in a scenic, romantic setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Duck Trio with seared beast, duck confit and foie gras •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Think sleigh ride …

Wild mushroom bruschetta with white bean and rosemary purée, grilled foraged mushrooms, goat cheese cream and tomato confit. left The Duck Trio: seared breast, foie gras and confit, Brussels sprout petals, whipped yams, burnt mallow and apple brandy demi. above


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MATSUHISA VAIL by KIRSTIN DOBROTH photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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f his distinct culinary style, Chef Nobyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa says, “Even if you were 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 that I make. For I always put something special in my food — my heart, or kokoro as we say in Japanese.” Striking the perfect balance with his traditional Japanese and South American fusion, Nobu’s heart is very much evident in the distinct and purposeful flavor that ties together each dish. Originally from Saitama, Japan, Chef Nobu had his beginnings in Japan at a sushi restaurant before culinary opportunity led him to a Japanese restaurant in Lima, Peru. It was during this time that Nobu began working with flavors and ingredients he wasn’t accustomed to in Japan, and created his own spin on many traditional dishes. One of six Matsuhisas worldwide, Nobu’s location in Vail offers the same culinary fusion that started his career, and is led by Head Chef Brian Busker, and Head Sushi Chef Toro Watanabe. Watching the lights of Gondola One quietly twinkle from Matsuhisa’s chic interior, it becomes clear that an evening at Nobu’s spot in Vail is nothing short of memorable. The best way to get things started comes in the form of libations; Matsuhisa has an unparalleled sake selection, including a Nobu brand sake from the island of Sado, Japan,

141 EAST MEADOW DRIVE | SOLARIS | VAIL | 970.476.6628 | MASTUHISAVAIL.COM

made at the Hokusetsu Brewery, and created exclusively for Matsuhisa restaurants. If you feel more of a calling to cocktails, keep in mind that the fresh, spicy, and complex flavor so polished in each menu item is just as refined and pronounced when coming from behind the bar. Case in point – the Gardener cocktail, exclusive to Matsuhisa’s Vail location. Hendrick’s gin, lime juice, serrano pepper, ginger, and cilantro are muddled and served in a martini glass for some delicious sips of liquid fusion. When it comes to the main event, server Austin Smith explains that the best way to enjoy the variety of tastes indicative of Nobu’s culinary blending is through a shared plate experience for the table. “Family style is the best way to try a little bit of everything, and enjoy all that our menu has to offer,” he says. Emphasized by the menu’s urging to “Embrace The Opportunity To Share,” Smith suggests an order of the yellowtail jalapeño sashimi to start things off. Fresh slices of hamachi are prepared with garlic purée, jalapeño, and a yuzu citrus soy sauce to create the freshest and most subtle nuances of spice. The miso black cod is another starter staple that has been marinated in a sweet den miso for 48 hours before being broiled to create a melt-on-your-palate texture, offset by a crisp lettuce cup and zingy pickled ginger. Moving on from starters, a sampling of sushi is a must for the table, as the expert preparation of high-quality fish leaves

little to be desired. As for other entrée-style share plates, Smith suggests ordering the kitchen’s preparation of a whole fish, such as the branzino. “Branzino is a Mediterranean sea bass that we flash cook and bake,” he explains. Served in a toban, or Japanese earthenware dish, the branzino is complemented by black bean sauce, julienned ginger, garlic and chives. Doesn’t your palate deserve the best of both worlds? Open for dinner seven nights a week, an evening of sharing Matsuhisa’s niche of Japanese fare punctuated with Peruvian preparation warrants nothing more than a full heart and empty stomach. •

PRICE

Apps: $5-$34 Sushi, sashimi and nigiri: $6-$28 Dinners: $29-$42 •••

AMBIANCE

World-famous Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine with a super cool contemporary setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH Alaskan king crab tempura with sweet ponzu sauce. top right House ceviche with white fish, clams, tomatoes and wakame seaweed. below The chef's sashimi sampler, left to right: Kumamoto oyster with uni, toro tartare in wasabi soy sauce with American white sturgeon caviar, and Tasmanian salmon with wasabi salsa and ponzu. top left

The Omakase: $125-$175 •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely, with something for everyone


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THE REMEDY BAR by JOHN & POLINA LACONTE photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY & DON RIDDLE

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he Remedy Bar in the Four Seasons is a perfect spot to hang out and enjoy a drink and some appetizers. Its comfort and convenience make it the kind of place you could get used to ... but don't get too used to it. "I don't think we'll ever stop ‘refreshing,’" says manager Steven Teaver. Unveiled to the public over the summer in full concert fashion, you may find The Remedy Bar to be futuristic, in a good way. The first thing you'll

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ONE VAIL ROAD | THE FOUR SEASONS | VAIL 970.477.8600 | FOURSEASONS.COM/VAIL/

notice is the wall of nine television screens configured 3x3 and displaying a selection of different entertainment. What the Four Seasons had in its reputation as a good place to watch a game, The Remedy Bar took to the next level, making watching a game like watching a movie, only with more comfortable seating. The relaxed atmosphere is also complemented by the shareable food that's readily available. The addition of personal USB ports and three-prong outlets was a necessity for every seat at the bar, says Teaver, and a few innovative and well-made drinks will keep the clientele at that bar excited about what they're ordering.

Among the most delightful of Teaver's drinks is The Smokey, which gets its name from the Laphroaig scotch it uses, along with equal parts Galliano, Contratto Aperitivo and lime juice. You might find also some mixers on draught. Batched 5 gallons at a time, The Medicine Cabinet uses Wheller 107 right from the barrel, as well as Chartreuse, Pimm's, two different sweet vermouths and three different bitters — a perfect apéritif or digestif. But the most memorable and arguably best for you is the white Russian, entitled "The Dude's Breakfast." To create it, Teaver took Cocoa Puffs cereal from General Mills and vacuum sealed it in a solution that was two parts whole milk to one part half and half. "I let it sit until the Cocoa Puffs got soft, and then all of a sudden you have this Cocoa Puffs-flavored milk," he said. "Eating cereal as a kid, the milk was the greatest thing." It actually gives the drink a nice dry finish, as well, (General Mills has been on an effort over the last few years to reduce the amount of sugar in Cocoa Puffs) and there's a bevy of vitamins dissolved into that milk including A, B6, B12, C, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, iron and folic acid, not to mention plenty of vitamin D and calcuim. "We get a variety of people here, from après ski guests to people from the hotel or people just cutting through the

PRICE

Beers: $5-$7 Scotch: $9-$65 Rum: $8.50-$15 Bourbon: $8.50-$18 Cognac: $10-$275 •••

AMBIANCE

Upscale sports bar with a provocative program and a lively après-ski scene. •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Bison pizza with housemade bison pepperoni, fennel sausage, roasted sweet peppers and mozzarella curds

hotel exploring town," Teaver says. "So we have to keep the drinks exciting." • The Medicine Cabinet: Weller 107 bourbon, maraschino, Pimm's, Chartreuse and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. top right The Remedy bar opened this summer. left Spicy Tuna flatbread: ahi tuna, sriracha aioli, pickled jalapeño, tortilla crisp, avocado mousse and horseradish. top left


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ONE VAIL ROAD | VAIL | 970.477.8650 | FLAMERESTAURANTVAIL.COM

by JOHN & POLINA LACONTE photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR PRICE

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ngredients, preparation and presentation are the essentials of any proper dining experience. But in those elements lies a challenge: Can the experience be both fine dining and fun dining? Flame Restaurant, a classic steakhouse with a modern twist, has found the solution. Located in Vail’s Four Seasons hotel, Flame has a good feel, cozy yet uncrowded. The staff is knowledgeable about everything on the menu, as well as the snow conditions outside. An early appetizer might be something you eat with your hands, like Rocky Mountain elk corn dogs, or the diced Big Eye tuna tartare in a sopressata shell, which makes you feel like you're taking shots of sushi out of a cup made of bacon. You may want to pair it with a wine and take advantage of the by-theglass offerings for extra fun; Flame is one of the only places in the country where you can try a 2012 La Jota Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon without purchasing the whole bottle. The main course, however, is where

Small bites & apps: $5-$18 Mains & shared plates: $26-$135 •••

AMBIANCE

Modern mountain steakhouse •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The 16-ounce certified Angus New York strip •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes. They’ll love the maple bacon doughnuts!

Flame has attained near perfection in combining ingredients, preparation and presentation. The nicest steak you're likely to find in the whole state of Colorado, for example, has got to be their Wagyu meat from the 7x

Ranch. Prepared on a 1,200-degree Himalayan salt block and carved by your server right in front of you at the table, the experience is unforgettable even before the meat hits your mouth. Once it does, you'll taste a difference in quality you may not have realized was possible — a New York strip that's so tender it eats like a filet mignon. It's true, after having a Wagyu steak cut tableside, you're at the top of a fine and fun dining experience. They call it "steak, elevated" — the type of meal you'll want to stretch out over an entire evening. Should you make it to dessert, you've come nearly full circle, where it can actually double as tomorrow's breakfast. In this case, the obvious choice is the maple bacon doughnuts. If you haven't saved room, order them anyway, have a bite and take the rest with you for the next day. You won't be able to get Flame out of your mind, but at least you've saved yourself a delicious memento. • Heirloom beet salad, candied walnuts, First Snow goat cheese, balsamic reduction. left 40-ounce "Big T" porterhouse steak. above

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ROOT & FLOWER

by KIRSTEN DOBROTH photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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arreled with the distinct purpose of approachable elegance and aged with the nuances of a hip cocktail nook, the concept behind Vail Village’s newest spot for food and drink satiates even the most jaded of palates. While Root & Flower is, first and foremost, a wine bar, the new spot offers an extensive collection of cocktails, liquors, and spirits, along with an ever-changing selection of small plates to keep guests sipping and nibbling throughout the evening. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a cast of Restaurant Kelly Liken alumni is behind the scenes of one of the village’s most exciting new places; an epiphany for the spot by owners Samantha Biszantz and Jeremy Campbell came from their firsthand knowledge of Vail’s fine-dining scene. “We realized that there wasn’t continuity between the caliber of restaurants and the places guests would go for pre- and post-dinner drinks,” Biszantz explains. “We wanted to create a place that people could come for drinks that matched the level of dining in Vail.” In order to create that connection, Campbell, an advanced-level sommelier, put together a beverage program that includes high-quality wines by the glass and a comprehensive bottle list, along with an exciting collection of liquors and spirits.

225 WALL STREET #103A | VAIL 970.763.5101 | ROOTANDFLOWERVAIL.COM

For wine aficionados, Campbell’s selection won’t disappoint. Similarly, while answering to the tastes of more seasoned wine drinkers, Root & Flower offers an easily accessible entry point for less-experienced connoisseurs. Having trouble with the list? Just ask one of the sommeliers on hand to pick for you. “We wanted to create an experience for anyone that visits,” says Campbell. “We’re constantly experimenting and learning as a staff, so the idea to create a menu that was user-friendly and have people behind the bar, and on the floor, that can answer

questions works with that idea.” In the spirit of a Root & Flower experience, taste a few half glasses from the menu to achieve more of a sampling of flavors, or order a half-bottle and share an old favorite in one of the bar’s cozy nooks. For a full-on Root & Flower enlightenment, check out one of the bar’s classes aimed at giving guests an opportunity to try a medley of wines and spirits, along with a more comprehensive lesson in the art of tasting. As for edible selections, Chef Matt Limbaugh says Root & Flower’s smaller menu is exciting for him because it’s a different direction than many of his previous stints in larger restaurants, offering him the freedom of a continuously changing food list. “We keep things fresh and ever-evolving, which is exciting in the kitchen and for repeat guests,” he explains. Exciting? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. Try a cheese plate for the table, or a side of pickled vegetables, which evoke a subtle hint of spice and pair perfectly with a glass of sherry. For more substantial fare, Root & Flower offers a panini selection that changes frequently as new ingredients come into season. Don’t skip out on the accompanying chow-chow, a plate staple that pays tribute to

PRICE

Cocktails $15; Classes $45-$175 •••

AMBIANCE

Wine-barrel detailing complements an effortlessly hip interior •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Seasonal Panini •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Only for children 21 and older

Limbaugh’s North Carolinian roots and has had guests coming back begging for to-go boxes of the Southern relish. Open daily from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Root & Flower is the new spot in Vail to belly up for après, late-night libations and everything in between. • A charcuterie board with several selections. top right The newly redone nterior is sleek and comfortable. left Cocktails are a festive part of the Root & Flower experience. top left


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GREEN ELEPHANT JUICERY DRIVE THRU 2111 NORTH FRONTAGE ROAD | WEST VAIL | 970.688.5247 * 150 EAST BEAVER CREEK BOULEVARD | AVON | 970.470.4042 616 W. LIONSHEAD CIRCLE, UNIT 206, CONCERT HALL PLAZA | VAIL | 970.470.4206 | GREENELEPHANTJUICERY.COM by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n every one of their bottles filled with organic cold-pressed juice, Green Elephant shares that its mission is simple — to make it easy for people to eat healthy foods. Green Elephant’s flagship location in Avon, their corner shop in Lionshead, and their juice bike stand near the Westin in Avon offer on-the-go convenience, but their new drive-through spot in West Vail is the ultimate station for fueling up fast, or when you’ve got a car full of kids. It’s located in the Ace Hardware parking lot off of the North Frontage Road. Online ordering is a new option, too, and even more ideal with home and hotel delivery. (Your concierge might even have coupons.) New juices, like the S.P.O.T. Treatment — with sweet potatoes, pineapple, orange and fresh turmeric root, stand alongside staples like Packie — a green machine made with apple, broccoli, celery, collard greens, cucumber, ginger, kale, lemon and parsley. The juicery makes smoothies, juice shots, and a whole lot of organic, plant-inspired eats as well. “A lot of people don’t realize we have food,” says Osha Groetz, Green Elephant partner and chief operating officer. “And our mission is making food that is five-star, even though it’s grab-and-go.” For hearty, go with the black bean

PRICE

Juices and Smoothies: $9.50; Foods and Snacks: $3.95-$10.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Healthy cafe and drivethrough options with graband-go convenience •••

SIGNATURE JUICE

Cal-G Kick, with carrot, apple, lemon and ginger. •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Black bean & avocado wrap •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

and avocado wrap, filled with quinoa, corn, kale, red onion, cilantro and several warming spices. The guacamole-like avocado spread adds a creamy texture to each bite of the protein-rich dish. Smaller options, like the collard enchilada wrap, are easy to take with you on the move. “We’ve started making sizes that are easier to stick in your pocket,”

says Groetz of the food options. “Like the ‘grawnola' bags and 8-ounce juices, that are great for an energy kick when you’re on the mountain.” Start looking for the Green Elephant food options sold in other eateries around the valley. “We are never going to wholesale our juice — it’s always going to come straight from us,” explains Leo Flynn, co-founder

of Green Elephant, “because if we did that we would have to pasteurize it. But we have our wholesale license for our food, and Yeti’s Grind is going to start carrying our food, both in Eagle and in Vail.” • Ginger-miso Asian salad with kale, carrot, edamame and sunflower seeds. top right Nuts, berries, herbs and spices. above A selection of freshly pressed juices. top left

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PRICE

Starters: $7-$23.50; Mains: $18.50-$63 •••

AMBIANCE

Contemporary steakhouse destination with a classy après-ski scene •••

SIGNATURE DISH

New York strip; 13-ounce bone-in prime fillet; Colorado rack of lamb •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, from small bites to scrumptious steaks and sides

ELWAY’S VAIL by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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f you’re looking to elevate your aprèsski experience this winter, then look no further than Elway’s Vail, located just steps from Vail’s Gondola One within the Lodge at Vail. Yes — you probably already know Elway’s as a contemporary steakhouse named after that beloved Broncos quarterback. And you’re well aware that Elway’s is where to go when you’re looking to enjoy mouthwatering cuts of USDA prime steaks in a chic, contemporary dining room. But before you march straight to your dining room table at Elway’s this winter, be sure to come early for a stop by the bar, where you’ll discover that it provides a destination après experience to be remembered for its craft cocktails, Colorado beers, enticing appetizers, and fun vibe. With a 7 for $7 bar menu available each day from 3-5 p.m., you’ll find plenty of upscale starters that would make the big #7, John Elway himself, proud. The concept is simple: seven appetizers for $7 each, served in the bar area — but the quality you’ll discover in the Elway’s bar menu makes it anything but blasé. A grilled artichoke dusted with

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

herbs and spices is served with drawn butter and garlic aioli, and the creamy artichoke dip shows up in a mini Staub cast-iron crock that keeps it warm for dipping. The Rhode Island calamari mixes blue-cheese-stuffed fried green olives, marinated baby corn, and tangy pepperoncinis with crispy calamari rings. And for something closer to home, you’ll find great local flavor with the Colorado-sourced Wagyu beef sliders topped with a chipotle sauce and pickles inside of a house-made brioche bun. “We’re creative with steaks and small bites alike,” says Elway’s executive chef, Adam Brown. “Everyone knows we have steak you’ll love, but for the winter season, our bar food and drink offerings are really exciting. Plus, Elway’s is a place where locals and out-of-town guests can really enjoy a festive vibe together.” You’ll find more Colorado love in the beer list’s local and craft beer offerings, and if you’re more of the spirited type, then you’ll be happy to discover that award-winning head bartender Ana Vogen is an expert mixologist whose innovative seasonal selections include fresh-squeezed juices and a good dose of creativity. USDA prime beef takes center stage

in the Elway’s dining room, and you’ll find it grilled to perfection whether your preference is a thick Porterhouse, a juicy rib-eye, or a melt-in-your-mouth fillet. Of course, if you’re having a good time at the Elway’s bar, you can certainly order an entrée from your barstool, but the buzzing après vibe is certainly one you can carry with

you from the bar to the dining room, all the way through dessert. • top 10-ounce NY Strip baseballcut steak with Brussels sprout hash, pistachios and a loaded potato. above 7 favorites for $7 , including steak tacos with pineapple habanero salsa and guacamole.


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by CARAMIE SCHNELL photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ife is short, eat more pizza! Blue Moose, a staple eatery for families dining in Lionshead and Beaver Creek, embraces this mantra. The Beaver Creek location celebrates its 20th anniversary this season with a myriad of specials. Some of the specialty New York-style pizzas from the past will even reappear, promises Sarah Franke, Blue Moose’s director of marketing and communications; and on the 20th of each month, both locations will offer select, 95¢ slices and draft beers, a nod to the year owner Brian Nolan saw a niche in Beaver Creek Village — and filled it with a fun, kidfriendly pizza joint, where butcher block paper replaces white tablecloths, so kids can decorate to their hearts content. This season is a celebration of “all of our great guests who have helped us get there,” Franke says. “The only way you get to 20 years is based on the community we’re in and all the guests who keep coming back.” Some menu items have remained the same since the restaurant’s inception, like the Big Moose, a tasty supreme combination of pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers, marinara and mozzarella. Likewise, the pizzas named for the winter, spring and summer seasons are all mainstays. Even when the snowflakes are swirling, the summer version remains quite popular, with its combination of artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, spinach, pesto, ricotta and mozzarella. But that’s not to say the Blue Moose team isn’t always looking for ways to improve the menu and customer experience. Recently, Corporate Chef Jay McCarthy completely updated the marinara with herbs and spices to give it a new, improved flavor; and health-conscious folks will appreciate the salad pizzas, the newest addition to the pizza menu. “We were catering to what we were hearing from the guests,” Franke says. “We had some requests for some healthier options; this was our way to provide the best combination of both.” The Mediterranean salad pizza is served on a hand-tossed, wholewheat crust. Roasted red peppers, onions, artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese and light mozzarella are layered atop a pesto hummus base.

PRICE

Apps: $4.50-$9.95 Pizzas: $13.95-$23.95 Entrées: $10.95-$13.95 •••

AMBIANCE

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

SIGNATURE DISH

Hand-tossed, New Yorkstyle pizza •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

You bet!

“It offers a different twist,” Franke says. “It’s heartier than just a plain salad, but healthier than a normal pizza. It’s gone over quite well.” For each Vintage pizza, which joined the menu this fall, Blue Moose donates $1 to benefit Eagle Valley Senior Life, a nonprofit organization providing programs and resources to help older adults thrive in the Vail Valley. An Eagle County senior citizen recommended the toppings, which include sliced meatballs, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, marinara, parmesan and mozzarella. There are gluten-free crusts available for those who are inclined, and parents will appreciate the healthful kid’s menu add-on options, like steamed broccoli, a carrot-and-celery plate, applesauce and even watermelon. If you’re craving something other than pizza, there are plenty of other options, including soups, salads, hot sandwiches and Italian entrée mainstays like lasagna and spaghetti. The classic chicken parmigiana, served as a sandwich or atop fettuccini is made

in-house. Don’t skip the homemade chocolate chip cookies, meanwhile, made using a recipe Nolan won’t share with a soul, Franke says. “There’s a few secret ingredients,” she adds. “It’s been the same since we opened.” •

top Mediterranean salad pizza and the Vintage pizza. above Chocolate chip cookies are baked fresh to order.

VAIL & BEAVER CREEK

BLUE MOOSE PIZZA

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


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PRICE

Apps start at $11 Entrées start at $21 •••

AMBIANCE

Plenty of wood and a homey feel on the banks of Gore Creek •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Smoked pheasant soup •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

ATWATER ON GORE CREEK 1300 WESTHAVEN DRIVE | VAIL CASCADE RESORT | VAIL 970.479.7014 | VAILCASCADE.COM/ATWATER by SCOTT MILLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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he Vail Valley is filled with outstanding restaurants. Atwater on Gore Creek, at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, is in that company. But there’s a difference — beer. Indeed, Atwater has embraced beer culture. There isn’t a galaxy of labels on hand, but there are a lot of distinctive beers to be quaffed — upon advisement by own local beer consultant Laura Lodge, who’s come up with spot-on beer recommendations for just about every item on the menu. But most of us don’t go to a restaurant just for its beers — or do we? We dine out for the pleasure of finding new food experiences, too, searching out dishes prepared in delightfully different ways. That’s what Atwater Chef de Cuisine Jay Spickelmeier has done with this season’s winter menu. Putting his own experience — including running an Asian restaurant on the Front Range — to work, Spickelmeier believes in integrating fresh ingredients with traditional elements, with a good

number of gluten-free items on the menu, as well. The renowned smoked pheasant soup, for example, is a delightful combination of the namesake bird, wild rice and other rich, savory ingredients. “The soup’s been here forever,” says server Josh Griffith. “We’ve had guests say they won’t stay here if the soup’s not on the menu.” One new item, the black truffle lunette ravioli, served with a buttercrusted shitake mushroom in a vanilla-mushroom broth, made its way to the menu after being a hit at several tasting events. The broth itself is a treat; paired with the ravioli and mushroom, it’s even better. While Atwater’s menu has influences from around the globe, much of it features Colorado-grown items. Vail Farms provides the micro-greens used in many dishes, and the beef comes from the 7X Cattle Company’s ranch near Paonia, in a lush valley along the north fork of the Gunnison River between Carbondale and Delta. Cattle at 7X, raised on grass and finished with grain, are genetically pure animals identical to those used for Japan’s

famed Kobe beef. This meat is a treat enjoyed in dishes at Atwater ranging from the carpaccio to to the remarkable Colorado Kobe sirloin, served sliced on a bed of potato purée with asparagus and your choice of house-made steak sauce or herb chimichurri. Chef Spickelmeier’s breadth of experience, meanwhile, is really on display with the seared Sterling salmon, served with a Brussels sprouts/ fennel casserole, its crunchy topping a combination lentils and parmesan cheese. Everything in the Portuguese-

inspired dish is gluten-free. When it’s time for dessert, Atwater is trying something a bit different: a cast of house-baked cupcakes that rotates every few days. It’s a fitting end to any evening adventure. • top Seared Sterling salmon, Brussels sprouts-fennel casserole with crispy lentil crust, Portuguese-spiced cashews and citrus glaze. above Black truffle lunette ravioli, butter-crusted shiitake, vanilla-mushroom broth and shaved parmesan.


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141 EAST MEADOW DR #113 SOLARIS | VAIL 970.476.5300 | BOLVAIL.COM

by BETH POTTER photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

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he best chicken fingers you’ll ever eat are at the trendy, modern bōl restaurant, and they’re tofu. No, really. Those carefully stacked, fried square sticks are crunchy and light, dusted by sesame seeds and toasted nori. They're one of the most popular things on the menu. But that's not the only bowling comfort food that’s on the menu at bōl. Try the steak satay, chicken wings or honey-glazed ribs. Pizzas with offbeat toppings and soups and salads offer more choices. “We want food that excites and titillates,” says executive chef Julian Smith. “Being a bowling alley, we’re able to have wings and ribs and things on sticks.” If you’re looking for fun and whimsy, look no further than bōl, quite possibly the most unique restaurant/bar/ bowling alley combination on the planet. Smith hails from Hilton Head, South Carolina, where his parents ran several successful restaurants. He received formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with other

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notable chefs, such as Kelly Liken. Beyond those influences, all bets are off when it comes to menu items. Smith loves to travel, and his menu is a playful and well-executed trip through global flavors. For the whole table, consider the juicy, Spanish-style octopus plate, which includes succulent octopus and chorizo, potato fingerlings and olives; there’s the citrus-cured salmon, which Smith prepares himself; oysters on the half shell are flown in daily from either coast, depending on where they’re freshest, and served with a

house-made cucumber jalepeño mignonette; and the lamb teasers offer a few scintillating bites of T-bone meat that will leave you wanting more. “I like to take classic ideas and preparations and find a new, funky way to tweak them,” Smith says. “I have a blast.” Look for traditional ski area fare, but with a twist, elsewhere on the menu. The locally sourced Tomahawk 30-ounce steak, served with forest mushrooms and crisp potatoes, comes from Eaton Ranch. You know — THAT Eaton — the Vail founder. Entrées, such as the duck pappardelle and the lamb shank each offer up gamey, heart-warming goodness that always tastes oh-sogood after a chilly day on the slopes. Don’t dare forget the kids, meanwhile. The pizzas are killer, indeed, and they can order real chicken fingers, mac and cheese, crunchy vegetables and the like off the kids menu. At the see-and-be-seen bar, meanwhile, look for the Vegas cocktail that made bar manager Tacy Roland one of the top five bartenders in the country, according to results of a 2014 contest sponsored by GQ magazine and Bombay Sapphire gin. “My job is to make drinks that make people happy,” Roland says — and she means it, searching for flavors old and new to come up with flavor profiles you won’t soon forget. The Vegas cocktail has notes of rice, green

PRICE

Starters: $12-$20 Mains: $18-$70 Pizza: $18-$22 •••

AMBIANCE

World-class contemporary cuisine … and bowling •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The 30-ounce, Eaton Ranch tomahawk steak with forest mushrooms •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

With pizza, too, are you kidding?

tea and a variety of exotic botanicals layered over gin. It’s been so popular that you can expect to see a new gin-and-tonic cocktail series added to the bar menu, soon, she says. Bowling never tasted so good. top Bol's oysters on the half shell with a cucumber, jalapeño mignonette. left Bol's grilled octopus with chorizo, fingerlings and olives.

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VINTAGE 12 VAIL ROAD #100 | VAIL 970.479.0175 VINTAGE-VAIL.COM

by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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hen it comes to dining, the French know what’s fine. Like the culinary style that is adored around the world, Vail’s newest brasserie is honoring the taste of classic cuisine, while leaving ample room for creative license in the kitchen. The scene inside Vintage is revitalized and nostalgic, like an American visiting Paris for the first time. Traveling eyes perusing the new eatery can feast on old world impressionist paintings, and eager ears can almost hear the expired, for-decor telephones ringing a feeling of “remember me?” “Everybody wants to spend extra money buying vintage jeans and vintage cars,” explains owner and general manager Lawrence Broderick, known by most as Brodie. “People go antiquing and buy vintage stuff because it’s classic, and it never goes out of style.” Guests enjoying brunch by one of the restaurant’s bay windows, or taking in the evening from an armchair or soft booth seat while clutching a glass of Côtes du Rhône, will feel a touch of the European charm that the town of Vail has always looked to emulate. Vintage serves brunch daily from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., filling a pre-lunch void that has existed in town for far too long. There’s plenty of starters and sides to share, leaving room to sip your

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champagne float or crafted bloody mary, the beet-inspired Bloody Gardener. After all, “without cocktails, it’s just breakfast,” as the cheeky brunch cocktail menu suggests. Start with an order of prosciuttowrapped asparagus, served with woodland mushrooms, caramelized onion and sherry gastrique, and topped with a poached egg. For a decadent meatless main, try the veggie smashbrown benedict. It’s two eggs on sautéed spinach and mushrooms, on Vintage’s signature “smashbrowns”

— double-baked, and extra buttery homefries, potato pancake-style — topped with hollandaise sauce. And what’s that earthy extra? A touch of truffle oil. French toast options play on both sweet and savory, like the huckleberry bacon rendition — brioche bread stuffed with bacon-mascarpone and dulce de leche, smothered with huckleberry syrup and bourbon whipped cream. The dinner menu runs from 6 to 10 p.m., followed by a limited lounge menu from 10 p.m. until midnight. Share items like a cheese board or the Maine mussel frites, or go big with your own filet of Dover sole. True vintage cocktails, like the Sazerac and Negroni, are readily available alongside specialty drinks, craft beer and wine by the glass. Last call at the bar is at 1 a.m. “There’s not a lot of places to go out late and get a bite to eat,” says Broderick. “This being a French, European-style place, it’s going to have a late kitchen. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dining room is full at 11 o’clock at night.” • Duck liver pate with spiced red-wine mustard, smoked pistachios and fig jam served with a Green Fairy cocktail. left Seared dry scallops, grilled endive, peppers, blood orange segments and chamomile honey. page 10 American galette with bacon, cheddar and avocado. above

PRICE

Starters and sides: $7-$18; Brunch Mains: $10.50-$18; Evening Mains: $22-$59 •••

AMBIANCE

French brasserie with a touch of Americana •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Brunch: Veggie Smashbrown Benedict. Dinner and latenight: Mussel Frites •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Brunch: Yes. Evening: No kids under 14 after 8 p.m.; no kids under 21 after 10 p.m.


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•••

AMBIANCE

Intimate, sophisticated and surpisingly chic •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Saikyo hoisin yellowtail; shiso tuna

YAMA SUSHI by MELANIE WONG photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ou’d be hard-pressed to identify every ingredient that comes in one of the sushi creations at Yama Sushi, but you can certainly taste each and every flavor as it hits you in one of many gentle waves washing onto shore. Take the Kumamoto oysters, for example — two petite half-shell slurps that go down smooth and flavorful. First, they’re salty, before the tang of the ponzu sauce, with its richer, oily quality sets in. Then, what’s that? Something sweet. It’s yamamomo, a dainty Japanese berry, surprising the palate. These layers of complex flavors are a specialty of Yama’s executive chef, Brian Jenkins. “I don’t think anything is an accident. I visualize dishes weeks or months in advance. I think on it — the presentation, the colors and the flavors,” he says, admitting the whole process is very artistic for him. “I have weeks where I can’t come up with anything; and when we roll out a new dish, I tweak things until the taste is complete.” To be fair, you don’t need to be a sushi connoisseur to enjoy the fare at Yama, although if you are, you’ll appreciate the subtle nuances, untraditional ingredients and layers of flavor that come with each

168 EAST GORE CREEK DRIVE | VAIL | 970.476.7332 | YAMASUSHIVAIL.COM

bite. Yama is just as easily a hip place to enjoy a lip-smacking meal, people-watch and take in some sake with friends. Whereas other en-vogue sushi joints have made a name for themselves by fusing Latin with Japanese cuisine, or by veering to the opposite end of the spectrum with an ultra-purist approach, Jenkins has carved a niche with his high-end fish and fusion of Japanese favorites with American flavors. We recommend starting with the fried crab claw, given the tempura treatment and served with a truffle sauce. You have the choice of topping it with either uni, or sea urchin, or caviar, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing both. The creamy uni plays like a decadent sauce on the meaty crab, with the caviar adding a dab of saltiness. Don’t even think about trying to eat this with a fork — we were digging in with our hands and licking the last bits off our fingers. Fans of rolls will enjoy the Yen Yen, with its compact bites of spicy tuna, mango yellowtail and avocado offering crunch, spice, sweetness and a zing of cilantro and serrano, all hitting your tongue in sync. The Kikusui Junmai Ginjo washes it all down very nicely — the cold, smooth sake has a subtle, melon-like flavor that pairs nicely with most fish. If you’re a purist, Yama’s nigiri — just fish and rice — doesn’t disappoint either.

The salmon and Tasmanian ocean trout truly melt in the mouth. Jenkins refers to his nigiri platters as “paying tribute to the fish and the rice,” and he firmly believes there’s an art to the simplicity of the dish. “It’s like playing a song with three chords. It’s simple, but it’s in the way you play it that gives it the effect,” he says. “I like to keep things fairly simple here, and make the most of the ingredients we have.” •

top Thinly sliced Japanese sea bream with a savory blueberry shiso sauce. above Sliced seared tuna wrapped around a bouquet of Japanese herbs with a ginger-yuzu avocado coulis, topped with caviar and yuzu soy olive oil.

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Sushi rolls, nigiri & sashimi: $7-$23 Entrées: $26-$27

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PRICE

Starters and small plates: $6-$10.50 Entrées: Mostly $11 •••

AMBIANCE

Trendy Asian cool •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Any bowl on the menu ... and the gyoza (pot stickers)... •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

NUDORU RAMEN BAR by BETH POTTER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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udoru Noodle Bar chef and owner Chris McKenzie is trying to educate diners’ palates – one ramen noodle bowl at a time. Nudoru is the Japanese word for noodle, and exquisite, imported noodles abound at this trendy spot in West Vail. Everything is made from scratch and to order, from the fresh ground pork filling inside the hand-wrapped pot stickers to the dipping sauce for the tempura. Noodles come from Sun Noodle Company in Hawaii in a recipe specific to Nudoru. Time is an important ingredient at the restaurant: McKenzie cooks his chicken and pork broth for 20 hours, making it achieve a milky texture. The pork belly is naturally cured with celery in a three-day process that includes peppercorns, star anise, sea salt and brown sugar. But back to that diner education: Those alkaline noodles made just for Nudoru soak up the flavor of the long-boiling broth, just as a good pasta will soak up the sauce in Italian

cooking, McKenzie says. Break the egg on top and mix the yellow yolk in with the noodles to be transported directly to the streets of Japan. This is nothing like the 59-cent ramen noodle bricks and flavor packets you find at the grocery store. “We’re a cool place with cool food,” McKenzie says. “We’re killing ourselves to do a great job.” No less than Ski Magazine has taken notice. A writer came in for a meal, unbeknownst to McKenzie, and got so excited about the food that Nudoru is now written up as one of the five top noodle bars in the world. The lotus buns — steamed buns with piles of pork belly, arugula and spicy mayonnaise — make for the ultimate finger food. You can fold the meat, greens and mayo into fat, little sandwiches for the ultimate taste treat. Same with the tempura. Savor the fresh mushrooms coated in a crisp cloud, garnished with pickled shiitakes, sweet soy glaze, chili threads and scallions. Don’t forget to try the crunchy pot stickers (gyoza to you Japanese speakers), enjoyed by Japanese grandmas and hungry Vail skiers alike, McKenzie says.

2161 NORTH FRONTAGE ROAD | VAIL 970.476.7570 | NUDORUVAIL.COM

McKenzie has a cult following of diners who love his passion for perfection. While he is trained as a classical French chef, McKenzie has a love for all types of cuisine. The noodle bar’s 22-seat dining room exudes a modern, trendy elegance. Fat, colorful origami light fixtures catch your eye overhead, as do the manga Japanese

comic strip cut-outs lining the bar area when you walk in. To experience more of McKenzie’s creativity, visit Expert Burger in Eagle, which opened in April. • Ram-Onara: Ramen-style carbonara with pork belly, peas, parmesan and soft-boiled egg. below Lotus buns: pork belly, pickled shiitake, arugula, spicy mayo and chamomile honey. above


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122 E. MEADOW DRIVE | VAIL | 970.476.4403 | LATOUR-VAIL.COM

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by BRENDA HIMELFARB photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ne of the first things you notice when you dine at La Tour is how incredibly welcome you feel. From the host to the bartender who looks up and smiles at each new customer to the unobtrusive wait staff, you’re, at once, relaxed. It’s as though you had entered a French bistro version of the sitcom, “Cheers,” where “everybody knows your name.” And that’s just for starters — the restaurant serves such seriously good food that it’s the place many chefs regularly frequent when they’re not working. Chef Paul Ferzacca has assembled a close-knit team who are considered part of the family: general manager Chad Russell, sommelier Ian Gray and executive chef Brian Keberlein who, years ago, worked as one of Ferzacca’s line chefs, then sous chef, and went on to become the executive chef at the Berkshire Restaurant in Denver. La Tour’s menu is arrestingly delicious: I was there, with my husband, to sample the winter menu that began with two appetizers – both melt-inyour-mouth. First was lobster, apple

and jicama topped with pepitas, jalapeño and pickled red onion, then sauced with a tropical coulis, silky with coconut, ginger and butternut squash. Next: a creative presentation of hamachi poke, Ferzacca’s twist on a classic Hawaiian dish, with crispy rice, avocado, sesame and haricots verts, all served in a Mason jar filled with smoke. So creative. So pleasing to the palate. Both dishes leaving us with a strong desire for more! And then came the entrées – all exceptional. “I love Japanese food and this is a classic dish,” remarked Ferzacca as we took our first taste of the seared rare hamachi, a yellowtailed tuna, served on “okononmiyaki,” a Japanese pancake, with rock shrimp, scallion and a bit of pork belly. Can you say, “To die for?” Because it was. The texture of the hamachi, which was rolled in bubu arare (tiny crispy rice balls) and seasoned with Ferzacca’s take on a Japanese sauce, gave the fish an enhanced firm texture. Next we had the buffalo petite tender medallions, served with Duchess potatoes, mixed with egg, cream and butter, served in bone marrow, then dressed with exotic mushrooms and grilled scallions. The marchand de vin sauce topped off the exceptional

PRICE

Lunch: $13-$18 Happy hour: $5-$8 Dinner apps: $12-$15 Dinner entrées: $29-$42 •••

AMBIANCE

French-American contemporary cuisine for lucnh, aprés and dinner •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Dover sole à la meunière •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

There is a kids' menu

dish that game-lovers will adore. A Berkshire pork chop completed our entrée tasting. Served with roasted cauliflower with pine nuts, black currants and bacon jam, the heritage pork had an intense meaty flavor and was grilled to absolute perfection. All of this was served with

Sommelier Gray’s awesome pairings. “A good pairing with wine and food has so many different components,” Gray says. “You eat something that’s lovely and pair it with a nice wine — and you just smile.” I would be remiss not to talk about the desserts we were given: the 10th Mountain bourbon chocolate mousse cake (a cream center inside a mousse “bomb”) with pistachio ice cream and luxardo cherries and the raspberry white chocolate cake, with white chocolate cremeux and raspberry coulis. Your taste buds will rejoice. Ferzacca’s outlook is straightforward. “I always want to give the customers what they want to eat, but I also want to give them something that they are never going to prepare at home,” he explains. “You’re never going to make beurre blanc at home, and that’s why you come here.” One more thing: Yes. La Tour’s incomparable chicken is on the menu! • Coconut-ginger-butternut coulis with lobster, apple, jicama and pepitas. top right Chef-owner Paul Ferzacca puts the finishing touches on the hamachi dish, seared rare and served with pork belly, shrimp and cabbage okonomiyaki. top left

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PRICE

Breakfasts: $8-$10 Sandwiches: $9.95 Salads: $8-$12 Après: $8-$15 Beers: $2-$5 Wines by the glass: $5-$12 •••

AMBIANCE

Delicatessen/coffee shop/ local's hangout for breakfast, lunch and après-ski •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Masterpiece Sandwich •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Oh yeah

BIG BEAR BISTRO by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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n a ski town known for its namesake mountain — where powder plays Pied Piper, fashion is obligatory and fur coat shops and jewelry stores barely outnumber fine dining establishments — sometimes it’s nice just to have a quickand-cozy place for a hot breakfast, a midday deli sandwich or great après-ski fare amid trips to and from the slopes. 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. “A lot of our customers run in here before skiing, for breakfast burritos to eat on the lift or sandwiches to stick in their backpacks; many of them call ahead to have their orders ready to go,” says Vidette Gehl, who opened the bistro in 2008 with her husband, Mike. “I do a lot of graband-go business in the winter.” If you have a few minutes, have a seat and enjoy a hearty hot breakfast, served all day. Gehl suggests trying her homemade crêpes, steamy and fresh off the old-fashioned crêpe maker. Sweet options include cinnamon and sugar, strawberries and chocolate, and Nutella and banana — “Kids just love those,” Gehl says — but if savory’s your style, the roast beef and bleu

297 HANSON RANCH ROAD | VAIL | 970.445.1007 | BIGBEARBISTRO.COM

cheese crêpe with a horseradish aioli will blow your ski socks off. Top it all off with a foamy espresso or custom cappuccino or latte made from Lavazza roasted coffee beans, Italy’s finest. Midday, meanwhile, many skiers and riders are finding lunch in the village to be as good, or better — and quite a bit less expensive — than on the mountain. The Big Bear Bistro’s deli sandwiches, such as the classic turkey Club, the Ultimate Grilled Cheese and the Mo, a vegetarian delight, are great options. Or, if you’re looking for something special, try the bistro’s signature dish, the Masterpiece sandwich, 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. "I have New Yorkers tell me these are the best sandwiches they've had since they left the city,” says Gehl, a Vail local for 30 years. “And they know their sandwiches." Looking for something lighter? The soup of the day is always a good choice, and healthy salads range from the standard-but-always-satisfying chef salad variety to the organic arugula salad, topped with fresh berries, goat cheese and candied walnuts with a

strawberry Champagne vinaigrette. Of course, after skiing or riding all day, there’s nothing better than a warm-and-casual après-ski scene, and the Big Bear Bistro awaits just stumbling distance from Gondola One — perfect for checking that modest appetite before it rages before dinner. The charcuterie plate is quite popular, as are the flatbreads. Can’t decide? The meat and cheese plate is the perfect suggestion, with generous selections of both, all from the finest suppliers. Many gluten-free and vegetarian items are available, as well. Of course, no après-ski celebration

is complete without adult libations. The bistro offers a wonderfully satisfying 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. Big Bear Bistro is open every day this winter from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. They'll deliver anywhere in Vail Village, too … even to the base of Gondola One. • Cheese and charcuterie plate with wine. Strawberry and chocolate crêpe with coffee. top

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100 EAST MEADOW DRIVE | VAIL 970.476.8994 | CAMPODEFIORI.NET

by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR PRICE

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rue Italian isn’t always easy to find. Tucked back into one of Vail’s only Venetian-style alleyways, however, is the door to Campo De Fiori. Step inside and take the stairs leading to a European retreat, where painted vines reach up and around the cathedral-reaching, burnt orange walls, and soft lighting illuminates the restaurant’s rustic intimacy. Executive Chef Simone Reatti is from the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy. He opened Campo De Fiori nearly two decades ago, and he’s still nearly always there to orchestrate what’s going on in the restaurant’s open kitchen. Some of Campo’s dishes, like the ravioli funghi — or mushroom ravioli with white truffle oil — have been on the menu since the beginning, bringing back nostalgic palates year after year. Another menu classic, the frutti di mare alla griglia, or marinated and grilled seafood salad antipasti, highlights fresh ingredients and flavor. To start, the burrata alla trevisana — creamy burrata cheese atop caramelized radicchio and Belgian endive — is a delicious start for the table to share. “You can be a great chef, but if you don’t have the good ingredients to start with, you are worthless,” says Reatti. Certain mainstays on the menu aren’t going anywhere, he adds, though Campo brings in new dishes every season to keep taste buds talking. Try the agnolotti di pesce, a homemade ravioli dish filled with shellfish, or the gnocchi ai gamberi, a well-balanced and hearty dish of potato dumplings, shrimp, cherry tomatoes and artichokes. The kitchen creates a daily risotto, too, done, delectably, al dente. For a meat course, pair a glass of Piedmont Nebbiolo with the grilled Colorado lamb chops, served with polenta and a savory-yetsweet balsamic fig reduction. Forever Italian, Reatti says his heritage and culinary roots make for a cooking style that can’t easily be replicated.

Apps & salads: $10-$24 Pasta dishes & entrées: $20-$49 •••

AMBIANCE

A Tuscan treat •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Ravioli funghi with white truffle oil •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

“We are very particular about our coffee, our pizza, our tomato sauce, because we grew up with it,” he says. Complete the experience with an espresso, or a glass of homemade limoncello, or eve a divine rendition of tiramisu swimming in a cup of decadent cream. La dolce vita — the sweet life — is inevitable here, whether you’re at the bar or a family-sized table, a meal at Campo will wrap its arms around you. “It’s not only the cooking, it’s the ambience and the service,” says Reatti. “Our people make you feel comfortable.” • Costata di Vitello, a veal chop filled with spinach, mushrooms, smoked mozzarella in port wine sauce. right Tricolore salad with chopped endive, radicchio, arugula, orange, pomegranate seeds and ricotta. above

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LUDWIG’S

AT SONNENALP HOTEL

20 VAIL ROAD | VAIL 970.479.5429 | LUDWIGSRESTAURANT.COM

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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ush through the heavy glass door separating the lively mix of the lobby bar and step into the intimate atmosphere of another world. Welcome to a little piece of Bavaria and enjoy the European influence of Ludwig’s restaurant in the Sonnenalp, located right in the heart of Vail. Named after a historical German Kaiser and King of Bavaria, Ludwig’s restaurant welcomes its guests with a romantic and stately atmosphere. Almost everyone you meet, from the valet to the sommelier, will have a delightful accent and represent a piece of Europe as they help you get settled in. Your waiter might be from Munich, the sommelier from England, and the coat check clerk from southern Germany. That’s part of the charm that comes with the hotel’s German roots and the influence executive chef Florian Schwarz and his team bring to the European-style alpine cuisine. With a 27-year history in the culinary scene, Chef Florian pulls from both his German and Mediterranean roots to combine styles and flavors in a way that will delight any guest. “Some of our dishes are a little more experimental, “ he explains. “We’re working here with textures and different flavors.” And with items on the menu like Schwarz’s Uncover the Mushroom Meadow, your taste buds are put to the test in a de-

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lightful medley of marinated mushrooms, cauliflower, dark cocoa powder, and truffle ice cream artistically served on a dark slate plate highlighting the colors and artwork of the dish. With a sly smile spoken in his Bavarian accent, “It looks like the garden, where the mushrooms

grow… If food can be beautiful, this is it.” For the more adventurous palette, dishes to try on the menu might include Lobster on a Red Wave artistically displayed with red fruits and a bite of horseradish, or instead go for the Foie Gras Fume with a savory waffle crisp atop a smoked Palisade peach with vanilla goat cheese. At first glance the ingredients might seem strange, but Chef Schwarz has a way of combining seemingly opposing flavors into a symphony that sings to the tongue. Not only do these unique dishes delight the palate, they are gluten free. All of them. Everything on the Ludwig’s menu is gluten free with each ingredient carefully selected to cater to the gluten-free lifestyle. The quality and care that goes into each ingredient in every dish is important to the Ludwig’s team, and it shows. And what is fine dining without a level IV sommelier to walk you through the dance of pairing your selected entrées with the complimentary style of wine? Don’t be surprised if sommelier Paul Alexander suggests a highly exclusive white merlot from Switzerland or pairs a select red wine with the white truffle potato soup or the Chilean sea bass. “That’s what we’re going to do: Make the palate dance,” Alexander says. You’re on a first-class adventure with the Ludwig’s team. Whether you finish

the evening with one of the decadent desserts such as Schwarz’s Trouble in the Garden highlighting brightly colored flowers frozen in nitrogen oxygen with white chocolate, “You’re here to have an astronomical experience,” says Schwarz. Don’t be afraid to do so. • above The Garden Path: Sorbet variations including cassis, cinnamon, Valrhona, chocolate, almonds and flowers. left Lobster on a Red Wave: Maine lobster, asparagus, red fruits and horseradish.

PRICE

Mains from $37-$49 •••

AMBIANCE

Modern gluten-free cuisine in a timeless Bavarian setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Lobster on a Red Wave (appetizer) or Chilean Sea Bass (entrée)


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BISTRO FOURTEEN by BETH POTTER photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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equest a table by the window at Bistro Fourteen to check out the restaurant’s namesake Mount of the Holy Cross, which rises a majestic 14,009 feet above sea level. Food at Bistro Fourteen at the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola is just as sublime as the mountain views — from the sweet barbecue flavor of the short rib wontons to the earthy, creamy richness of the mushroom risotto. They’re top menu recommendations from Adam Lawrence, the executive sous chef. Either dish makes for a satisfying warm lunch on a cold ski day, especially when paired with your favorite beverage of choice. “We’re a bistro serving high-end food in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere,” Lawrence says. “Whether you’re wearing a suit or wearing ski boots, you’ll find a comfortable seat here.” The kitchen’s top dog hails from Florida, but he is influenced by flavors the world over. A complex soy sake beurre blanc sauce and wasabi aioli highlights the plate of the sesame-crusted

ahi tuna entrée. The French take on the Asian sauces provides an elegant counterpoint to the fragrant sticky sushi rice and miso slaw. Plenty of crowd pleasers are on the menu, too, giving the restaurant its reputation as a favorite spot for mountain comfort food. Burgers are hand-ground on the premises with fresh beef brisket. Buffalo chili and French onion soup come from Lawrence’s personal family recipes, as do all of the soup choices, which rotate frequently. “We cater to you,” Lawrence says. “It’s not the biggest menu on the mountain, but it’s very diverse, no matter what your tastes are. It’s very friendly.” The relaxed atmosphere and $10 kid menu will make families feel right at home. Kid choices come with three courses, including mac and cheese or chicken finger entrées, and brownie desserts. Bistro Fourteen caters to the après ski crowd with numerous plates to share and live music scheduled for the weekends. Restaurant specials bring dressed-up folks on the gondola in the evening, including two-for-one entrées and bottled wine specials mid-week. Smoked meats feature prominently on this menu — Lawrence learned his

EAGLES NEST VIA EAGLE BAHN GONDOLA | VAIL MOUNTAIN 970.754.4530 | VAIL.COM

way around smokers at the nearby Wildwood Smokehouse. That smoked turkey in the turkey wrap comes from the smoker out on the patio, as does the St. Louis-style smoked pork ribs entrée and the short-rib wontons. A gluten-sensitive menu features a to-die-for eggplant parmesan tweaked specially for an employee who has celiac disease. Several salads also feature prominently for the healthy eaters in the group. Don’t forget to save room for dessert — small but exquisite treats prepared by in-house pastry chef Anne Armstrong. An addictive bread pudding features a crunchy cinnamon toast, bourbon praline sauce and a gingersnap ice cream finish. The apple crisp is made with apples from Colorado’s Western slope and served with a Palisade plum caramel and vanilla frozen custard. The dark chocolate torte with Marcona almonds, salted caramel and brown butter gelato is the latest gluten-free menu entry. “This season during après, we are featuring some new hand-crafted cocktails,” says John Bailey, general manager at Eagle's Nest. “We are always researching new trends and introducing new menu items.” •

PRICE

Starters: $16-$18; Entrées: $20-$36 •••

AMBIANCE

Relaxed upscale, with spectacular mountain views •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Sesame crusted ahi tuna, ribeye •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely — and Adventure Ridge is right outside

Slow-cooked lamb sandwich on toasted ciabatta with arugula, melted gruyere cheese, raspberrymint aioli and sweet potato fries. top right Short rib wontons with Asian barbecue sauce and mango salsa. top left


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PRICE

Starters: 99¢ (chicken wings)-$22 Entrées: $14-$60 •••

AMBIANCE

Energetic upscale tavern •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Tomahawk steak; the 4-foot-long meatball sub sandwich •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Kids menus available breakfast, lunch & dinner

TAVERN ON THE SQUARE by BETH POTTER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

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avern on the Square, or “T2” for short, has probably the best crowd-pleaser for lunch in town this winter — Rasputin’s Back Bowl Bomber, a 4-foot-long meatball sub served on a snowboard alongside a bucket of five beers Remember the Shot Ski in ski town bars of yore? So does Robert Pindar, executive sous chef at the Tavern. He knows the Bomber is just the ticket to highlight that weekend you and your friends take this winter. And yes, the Rasputin’s Revenge ski run is one of his favorite runs. Make sure to take that picture on the Tavern on the Square patio, right next to the Eagle Bahn gondola, arguably the ground-zero spot to be seen in Lionshead. “We have the most beautiful patio and the most exciting food,” Pindar says. “We cater to a very different clientele.” If those humongous sandwich pictures aren’t enough to help you remember your vacation, make sure to order a Vail Mule cocktail, too, with $10 refills “anytime, any day, in a take-home, engraved copper cup. The copper helps bring out the

taste of the bitters, adds Kirsten Jacomet, lead server at the Tavern. Elsewhere on the menu, especially for dinner, Pindar loves to play with words. The Ultimate BLT Slider, as a starter, includes three kinds of pork — pancetta, prosciutto and pork belly — with arugula, a tomato confit and basil mayonnaise to finish things off. Oh, and don’t forget the foie gras. Pindar also loves to feature game meats — a nod to hunting trips as a boy in Michigan. There’s a caribou hot dog with a purple-pickled sauerkraut, beer mustard and a pretzel role, as well as a bison burger. The Bacon and Eggs appetizer features quail eggs; and there’s grilled elk in the quesadillas. One of the top trending diner choices right now is the Fat Tire bison stroganoff, made with Fat Tire beer, Pindar says. Charred broccolini and shishito peppers lend a mellow, smoky smell and greens to the proceedings. The restaurant’s signature Tomahawk steak, meanwhile, is a two-pound, bone-in ribeye that takes 40 minutes to prepare. When it comes to desserts, Coffee and Donuts is a modern take on a beloved

675 LIONSHEAD PLACE THE ARRABELLE AT VAIL SQUARE | LIONSHEAD ARRABELLE.COM | 970.754.7704

classic — cappuccino mousse and cinnamon brioche donut holes; Milk and Cookies features the creamy, flan-like sheep’s milk panna cotta along with assorted shortbread; and the I’ll Be Your Huckleberry homemade frozen yogurt is available in pints to take back to your room, if you’re too stuffed after your meal but know you’ll want something sweet later on. What about breakfast? Cesar Aguirre, T2’s breakfast chef, has created a one-of-a-kind apple cider

mimosa, ringed with cinnamon and smelling just like Grandma’s kitchen. Kids eat for $8 at breakfast and for $10 from a special kids menu for lunch and dinner. above Rasputin's Back Bowl Bomber — a 4-foot sub on a rosemary-sea salt hoagie with pesto, meatballs, provolone, cappicola and mozzarella, plus a bucket of five beer. below Ultimate "BLT" sliders with foie gras, pancetta, prosciutto, pork belly, arugula, tomato confit and basil mayo.


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THE FITZ BAR & RESTAURANT

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MANOR VAIL LODGE 595 EAST VAIL VALLEY DRIVE | VAIL 970.476.5000 | MANORVAIL.COM

VAIL

by JOHN LACONTE photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT PRICE

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f you want to check out the new place in town, make your way over to Manor Vail at Golden Peak and enjoy an evening at The Fitz Bar and Restaurant. While the space itself isn't new, The Fitz Bar and Restaurant occupies what used to be Lord Gore Restaurant. A sleek new redesign and renovation includes all new furniture, flooring, décor — and even chef. The Fitz Bar & Restaurant has a new level of approachability with a menu that caters to all. As they say, it’s comfort food, elevated. It's a perfect restaurant for The Sandwich Generation, traveling with both Grandma and Junior. The menu itself also has a few delicious sandwiches including The Fitz Burger, which uses aged steak and a Colorado brioche bun. But there’s more to the menu than sandwiches. Twenty-nine is a magic number at The Fitz, as each menu item costs $29 or less — perfect for the wide variety of visitors that find their way over to Manor Vail to enjoy the views. The hotel's guests will love the restaurant right away, but so will the rest of the community after getting to know the food and the new face behind it. Returning to Colorado after a few years in Hawaii, executive chef

Starters and shares: $11-$18 Sandwiches and flatbreads: $13-$16 Mains: $13-$29 •••

AMBIANCE

Friendly service in a ski-town setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Beet salad •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

A terrific kids' menu has many Colorado-sourced items

Kenneth Butler has been studying the Rocky Mountain restaurant industry closely. "Colorado has a lot of good local product," Butler says. "I wanted to stay true to it." The menu through April will be true to a Colorado winter, with items you would expect to find at a January feast in an old mountain cabin a century ago. Standout items include the 8-hourbraised Colorado lamb with aged goat cheese, the pot pie with turnips, potatoes, carrots and parsnips, and the

beet salad with breakfast radish picked in Colorado and pickled right there at The Fitz. The charcuterie and cheese plate, especially for an item priced at less than $20, is worth the trip alone. "If you were going to preserve food over a winter, you would do a lot of charcuterie, you would do a lot of meats, and you would ferment and pickle," Butler says. "That would be Colorado in the winter time, and that’s what I want to bring to the people here visiting us now." And to wash it all down, try one of the specialty cocktails — creative

options include an adult root beer float, the Wild & Spicy Margarita, or a simple shot of Jameson with a pickle brine chaser. All in all, it’s a fine accompaniment to the friendly space and gorgeous view. • Caesar salad with romaine, Meyer lemon and coddled egg. top right Alamosa striped bass with quinoa, squash, root vegetables, arugula and avocado. above The newly renovated space has a prime view of Golden Peak. top left

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THE 10th by KIRSTEN DOBROTH photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ffering a spectacular selection of alpine cuisine — along with an award-winning wine program, and, of course, incredible views of the nearby Gore Range — an afternoon at The 10th, at Mid-Vail on Vail Mountain, is more a punctuating experience than an interjection between ski runs. A visit to this quintessential lunch spot can be enjoyed as a midday reprieve not only by skiers and riders but by those who opt not to hit the slopes at all via the requisite, scenic ride up Vail’s Gondola One.

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TOP OF GONDOLA ONE | MID-VAIL | 970.754.1010 | THE10THVAIL.COM

The 10th, named after the 10th Mountain Division, is anything but an average, on-mountain cafeteria — it’s one of Vail Resorts' more refined onmountain dining experiences. So, kick off those ski boots, cozy into the restaurant’s plush slippers and prepare for top-notch table service in a bright, expansive dining area and enjoy on-mountain dining at its finest with a selection of mountain fare that won’t disappoint. Chef Tim McCaw offers his own, special interpretation of modern alpine cuisine using local ingredients whenever possible for a comprehensive culinary selection with a little something for everyone, be it just a few plates for the table or a

larger meal with which to refuel between ski runs. For a sample of some truly elevated tastes, try the Wagyu carpaccio, which balances thin, savory pieces of delicate tenderloin with a fresh topping of arugula, fried capers, egg dressing and asiago. For larger groups, a gourmet pizza — even gluten-free — is perfect. The Main Plates section of the menu, meanwhile, offers a savory selection of entrées, such as the renowned pot pie, with heirloom chicken, roasted pheasant and winter vegetables in sage vermouth cream, all baked in a puff pastry — the perfect powder-day rejuvenator. The beverage program, meanwhile, matches the caliber of the cuisine with a long list of superb sippers, including a list of wines honored by Wine Spectator since 2013 and an impressive list of libations — make sure to check out the “Soul Warmers” section of the menu for the ultimate warm up — taking advantage of local liquors and ingredients created exclusively in-house whenever possible. “This year, we have a few barrelaged selections on the menu, a variety of lighter and fresher cocktails for lunch and the addition of some warm creations, as well,” says Beverage Director Jody Petit. Beer enthusiasts, meanwhile, will be pleased with myriad Colorado beers on tap, including local newcomer Vail Brewing Company. The 10th is open for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Diners not skiing or riding can

PRICE

Starters: $14-$34 Mains: $26-$34 •••

AMBIANCE

Ski-in, ski-out fine dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Heirloom chicken and roasted pheasant pot pie •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, kids dine on a 3-course kids' menu

take advantage of a day pass on Gondola One that includes a credit towards their meal. Guests also can enjoy The 10th’s bar area from as soon as the lifts start spinning until last call at 3:15 p.m. • Wagyu carpaccio with 7x Ranch wagyu tenderloin, arugula and asiago crostini. top right White Pizza with smoked salmon, roasted artichokes, crispy capers, grilled onion, and Jumpin Good Goat feta. left Heirloom chicken and roasted pheasant pot pie with winter vegetables, sage vermouth cream and puff pastry. top left


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CUCINA

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174 EAST GORE DRIVE | VAIL | 970.754.7872 | LODGEATVAIL.ROCKRESORTS.COM

VAIL

by JOHN AND POLINA LACONTE photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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ucina has it all, and you may not have realized it was even there. Located across from Elway's Vail, at the Lodge at Vail near the base of Gondola One, it's the perfect place for breakfast on the way to the lift, and après once you've finished your day on the slopes. Outside, families can enjoy drinks at the ice bar while kids roast marshmallows and make complimentary s'mores by the fire; inside, a spacious dining room provides an inviting and social environment. "We have a dining room big enough where people can walk around," says Rudy Williams, executive chef. "It's a place that an extended family can come and everyone's comfortable, everyone can get appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and just relax. We're just keeping it simple." In the mornings, the breakfast buffet starts at 7 a.m. with scrambled eggs, eggs Benedict, an omelette station, French toast, pancakes, a waffle station, a juice bar with fresh smoothies, and pastries and bread from local bakeries. The après scene kicks off at 3 p.m. with drink specials, locals specials and specials for Vail Resorts employees. The plates are big enough for one or shareable for two. In his more than 20 years in Vail, Williams has developed a heavy Rolodex of local sources for his ingredients. The cheese plate has Rocky Mountain cheddar and Colorado goat cheese; the honey comes from a third-generation honey farmer out of Alamosa; the burger uses Colorado ground beef; and the bread comes from Avon Bakery. Local favorites include the Indulgence Burger: Wagyu beef, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, fried egg and truffle aioli on a brioche bun. The Dowd Junction Quesadilla also uses cheese from Broken Shovels Farm in Colorado. "I'm really proud of all my local cheeses," Williams says. "I've been working with cheese importers and they really reached out to the producers of good-quality cheeses here in Colorado that you might not have known about." Like Williams finding a Colorado cheese he didn't know existed, he hopes more people learn his restaurant is here — and that he's creating great food.

"Our whole team is cooking with a lot of local love and passion, and that's what we're trying to bring to our visitors," he says. • Build your own burger: All burgers come on a pretzel bun with a choice of handcut fries, sweet potato fries(pictured) or side salad. left Colorado cheese plate with Broken Shovel chevre, Rocky Mountain cheddar, gorgonzola, Grandma's honey membrillo and assorted crackers. above

PRICE

Breakfast buffet: $34 A la carte breakfast: $9-$16 Entrées: $15-$39 •••

AMBIANCE

Mountain comfort cuisine in the heart of Vail Village •••

SIGNATURE DISH

The Indulgence Burger •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Complimentary s’mores!

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BLU’S RESTAURANT

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

by STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD photos by JUSTIN Q. McCARTY

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n a pricey resort community like Vail, where hustle and bustle — and sometimes, hassle — are parts of everyday life, especially in winter, there’s something to be said for taking a quick-and-easy trip out of town for a nice, casual, wine-centric dinner in a quiet, rustic alpine setting. Blu’s Restaurant, just eight minutes east — even by free town bus — is a whole ‘nother world, where a menu of eclectic American cuisine and an “atypical” list of fine wines continue as works in progress after more than three decades. “There’s a long-standing allegience to being out here in East Vail, the prettiest part of the valley,” says owner and proprietor TJ Armstrong, who just a few years ago moved Blu’s from its original home “at the epicenter of Vail Village” to its current location at the Vail Racquet Club, in East Vail — far away from the masses, crowded busses and parking garages, with up-close-andpersonal views of Gore Range peaks in full alpenglow readily on display through the dining room windows. “And here, you can drive right to the front door. There’s nothing else like it in Vail.” Indeed, “eclectic” is a term Armstrong takes very seriously, and his menu “embracing of many styles” reflects that. Ethnic offerings range from shrimp wontons and blackened tuna sashimi to Southwestern shrimp and classic margherita-style pizzas, as starters. The pork green chile, meanwhile, has won awards. “The chile’s been a staple for

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PRICE

Starters: $7.50-$10.50 Pizza: $15.75-$$18.95 Mains: $9.95-$23.95 •••

AMBIANCE

Eclectic American cuisine with atypical wines in a quiet alpine setting •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pisctachio-crusted, pan-seared Ruby trout; quinoa- and Portobello mushroom-stuffed acorn squash; Southwestern chicken-fried steak with New Mexico green chile gravy •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

An ice cream sandwich with every kid’s entrée

awhile now, in several incarnations,” Armstrong explains. However, it’s the signature dishes at Blu’s —which continue to evolve over time, depending on products, availability of seasonal ingredients and ever-changing preparations — that keep loyal customers coming back. The ruby trout, for example, encrusted with pistachio, pan-seared and served with lemon butter sauce, sautéed snap peas and mashed potatoes, “seems to be the most popular dish lately”; the gluten-free, quinoa- and portobello

mushroom-stuffed acorn squash, topped with arugula salad and red pepper wine sauce, “continues to startle for the breadth of its appeal”; and the chicken-fried steak, long the go-to at Blu’s, has been “upgraded to 2.0” after its Southwestern transformation with a zippy New Mexico green chile gravy. Such an eclectic menu, of course, deserves eclectic company in terms of wine, insists Armstrong, an admitted “wino” at the highest level, having founded and guided the revered Taste of Vail as a member of the festival’s board of directors for many years. While the ever-changing list of wines at Blu’s is “not as extensive” as other, nearby collections — and is “a little atypical” — true wine aficionados would be “hard-pressed to find a better collection of fine vintages and appellations anywhere else in town,” he says.

“To me, wine is the ultimate condiment. It should be on the table with every meal. That’s why diversity is so important,” says Armstrong, an avid skier, too. “Any meal is better with wine, just like a day with skiing is better than a day without skiing. That’s the fundamental attraction to me.” Blu’s is open for dinner seven nights a week, 5 p.m. to close, with live folk music by Jim Carstensen on guitar and Nick Steingart on mandolin 7-9 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays. Reservations are not necessary, but highly recommended. • Ruby Trout; pistachio-crusted and pan-seared, with lemon-butter sauce, sauteed snap peas and mashed potatoes. left Blackened tuna sashimi served rare on crispy wonton chips, with avocado, Srirach mayonnaise and sweet soy. above


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GAME CREEK RESTAURANT

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GAME CREEK BOWL | VAIL MOUNTAIN ACCESSIBLE VIA SNOWCAT FROM EAGLES NEST 970.754.4275 | GAMECREEKVAIL.COM

VAIL

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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et ready for a delightful experience when visiting the Game Creek Restaurant, one of Vail Mountain’s premier jewels that sits just below Eagle’s Nest is nestled in Game Creek bowl. This exclusive mountain beauty, located at 10,300 feet, is accessed by a gondola and snow cat ride, where you will find a highly attentive wait staff. Game Creek is the crowning vision of Pete Seibert, one of the founders of Vail Mountain. Snuggle up in one of the provided blankets and enjoy a spectacular evening view of Vail Valley while riding up the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead, allowing the night glow of the Arrabelle skating rink to mingle with the other sparkling lights of the village below as you ascend Vail mountain. Once you reach the top, hop aboard Game Creek’s "Club Cat" — an enclosed snow cat with skylights that seats up to 14 people for an enchanting ride through the snowcapped trees with winter wonderland views like no other. Enter through the solid glass door interspersed with customized ironwork and step in to the European chalet. Enjoy one of the unique signature cocktails at the bar and cozy up to the fireplace to savor one of Game Creek’s liquid treats. With names such as Aviator, Painkiller and Baked Alaskan, there’s something on the list for everyone. An exquisite dining experience awaits in Game Creek’s “Jackson Room,” with entrées designed by Steven Topple, executive chef, focusing on specialized locally-based ingredients featured on

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the Chef’s Gourmet Tasting Menu. Ingredients like 7x Ranch Wagyu beef out of Hotchkiss and artisan meats and cheeses from the Avalanche Cheese Company in Basalt make up Chef Topple’s delectable dishes, which range from the King Crab Chowder with lemon chive crème fraîche to the ahi tuna seared foie gras in a pineapple reduction with shimeji mushrooms. Game Creek has traditionally offered a prix fixe menu and will continue to do so, but the menu presentation is

slightly different than standard prix fixe menus where guests have the option of three, four, or five-course meals selecting from dishes that are the most alluring to them. Experience a culinary journey with Chef Topple’s Gourmet Tasting Menu that represents his culinary point of view and brings in his background at Beano’s Cabin and other exclusive valley restaurants. As he tours the room mingling with guests, ask him about his inspiration for this year’s menu and with a smile he’ll admit, “I like simple things. I start with the main ingredient and build from there.” Do not leave Game Creek without a taste of the signature gluten-free beignets paired with dark chocolate sauce, caramel hazelnuts and raspberry dust. The sticky toffee bread pudding with honeycomb ice cream might also do the trick of satisfying the after-dinner need for a sweet treat. Just because the evening meal may be winding down does not mean the Game Creek experience is through. Take your time in the lounge with one more signature hot toddy to prepare for the adventure back down the hill. Depending on the Club Cat driver, you just might be able to wheel-and-deal to enjoy a frontrow seat in the cab on the way back down to the Village below. •

Colorado lamb rack with gingerbread, sweet potato, red cabbage and a thyme sauce. left Gluten-free beignets with dark chocolate sauce, raspberry dust and caramel hazelnuts. above

PRICE

Appetizers: Prix Fixe menu Entrées: Prix Fixe menu •••

AMBIANCE

Game Creek Restaurant is an Old World, European chalet located in Game Creek Bowl on Vail Mountain and accessed by gondola or snowcat. •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes, it offers a threecourse menu for diners 12 and under Reservations Required

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IT’S GAME TIME! Colorado is a great place to try some of the world’s other great meats • BY STEPHEN LLOYD WOOD •

Bone-in buffalo ribeye from Flame at the Four Seasons Vail.


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ooking for something different for dinner? Don’t be bashful. Colorado’s more widely known dishes of local lamb and trout may hold a special place in your heart, but it’s time for adventurous diners to try meats from other creatures native to the Rocky Mountains — home not only to some of the greatest game animals on the planet but also some great restaurants with a wide variety of game dishes on their menus, from burgers and sausages to steaks, chops, even full racks of ribs. A great introduction to game meats, for example, is an elk salad, like the one found on the menu at the Golden Eagle Inn, up in Beaver Creek Village. The restaurant is a major player in game sausages, too, with house-made grinds of buffalo, elk and pheasant; and in winter, especially at high season, dinner specials include rack of wild boar. In Vail, La Tour offers buffalo petite tender medallions, with a ride-along of duck fat potatoes and roasted carrots and parsnips. The lean medallions play beautifully against a decadent braised short rib. Over at Four Seasons, Flame

serves buffalo, too, but in the form of a bone-in, dry-aged bison rib-eye — otherwise known as a tomahawk steak. And up in Beaver Creek at Splendido at the Chateau, fans of the Colorado rack of lamb are legion. Roasted in a wood-fired oven, the tender meat can practically be eaten with a spoon. Mid-valley, meanwhile, you can’t beat The Gashouse Restaurant & Bar in Edwards for its wide variety of game options, such as the buffalo carpaccio appetizer; and if you’re still curious, try the Game Sausage Sampler, with sausages made from wild boar, smoked buffalo and a spicy “jackalope.” Lastly, what’s the best thing about eating wild game? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, compared with USDA “choice” beef, which is 6.5 percent fat, hooved game animals have far less: moose, 0.5 percent; antelope and elk, 0.9 percent; venison, or the meat from deer, 1.4 percent; and bison, 1.9 percent. Even untrimmed wild boar, at 4.4 percent, and lamb, at 5.7 percent, have substantially less saturated fat than beef.

WILD GAME GLOSSARY The Antelope is one of a number of even-toed ungulate mammal species within the Bovidae family native to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. The pronghorn antelope is the second-fastest land mammal in the world, with the ability to reach speeds of more than 53 miles per hour. Many species of antelopes have been imported to the United States for exotic game hunting and human consumption. Hunters typically prepare the meat in a variety of ways, including sausages, jerky, steaks and roasts. Mild-tasting and finely grained, antelope meat has one-third the calories of beef, but it’s relatively high in cholesterol compared with other game meats. Antelope is low in sodium and is a good source of protein, thiamin, iron, phosphorus and selenium and riboflavin.

Bison, or Buffalo, are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the Bovinae family. “Bison” is a Greek word for an ox-like animal; the word “buffalo” can be

used interchangeably. Some cattle breeds are intentionally bred with buffalo to produce “beefalo.” American bison — the largest terrestrial animal in North America — are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. Considered “America’s original red meat,” bison meat is similar in taste to beef, but rather coarsely textured and sweet. It is high in protein yet extremely low in cholesterol and has about half the calories and fat of beef. Bison, which can be substituted for any beef in many recipes, fits the dietary recommendation of the American Heart and American Diabetes associations.

Boar, or Wild Boar, is member of the Suidae, or pig, family native to much of Eurasia, North Africa and Malaysia. Human intervention has spread its range further, making the species one of the widestranging mammals in the world. Boar meat is very tender and has a rich, sweet, nutty flavor with intense marbling. It’s leaner and healthier than pork, being of higher nutritional value and having a much higher concentration of essential amino acids. Young boar that has been roasted, grilled, braised, or smoked is considered a delicacy. Low in fat and high in protein, this farm-raised wild animal is the ultimate luxury pork.

Caribou is a species of deer prevalent across the Arctic and Subarctic, from Canada, to Greenland, Norway to

Russia. Caribou, also known as reindeer, are the thirdlargest species of deer in the world, after moose and elk, but have the second-largest antler size. Its meat is said to have a much lighter taste than other gamey meats. It has little fat but is high in protein — three times that of beef, making it an ideal compromise for health-conscious eaters unwilling to give up red meat.

Deer are the ruminant mammals of the ungulate order Artiodactyla, possessing an even number of toes on each foot

Grilled quail from SaddleRidge.


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between that of domesticated birds, like chicken, and the truly wild birds. It’s rich in niacin, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and thiamine and even vitamin C.

A Lamb is a sheep — a quadrupedal, ruminant mammal in the Artiodactyla order — that’s less than one year old. There are various cuts of lamb meat, including lamb chops, which may come in the form of rib chops, loin chops or shoulder chops, and whole leg of lamb. Lamb meat, which tends to have a hearty and slightly gamey flavor, is high in protein and iron. Lamb is a great source of protein, iron and zinc and it also delivers a healthy dose of vitamin B12 and niacin. As with most other red meats, however, lamb is relatively high in fat.

Fried rabbit at Beano's Cabin.

forming the Cervidae family, which includes elk, moose and caribou. Male deer of all species grow and shed new antlers each year. Deer has been a primary source of food throughout the evolution of Mankind. The meat from deer is commonly referred to as “venison” (see below).

Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, including swans and geese. The word comes from Old English: "to duck, or to bend down low.” Duck meat, or “duckling,” is darker and some-

what fattier than chicken or turkey due to its layer of heat-insulating subcutaneous fat, offering unique flavors and qualities to the discerning palate. Duck meat is not greasy, more like veal than poultry, and the breast meat is 99-percent lean.

The Elk is a large animal in the Cervidae, or deer, family. Also known as “wapiti” by the Shawnee, elk is one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. Elk meat is low in fat and cholesterol with a slightly earthy, robust flavor

somewhere between beef and venison and is higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, and chicken. Elk meat is also a good source of iron, phosphorus and zinc.

Game, or Wild Game, is any animal hunted for sport or for food, usually falling into three categories: small birds, such as the thrush and quail; game proper, which is subdivided into winged game, such as the goose, duck, woodcock, grouse or partridge, and pheasant; ground game, such as the squirrel, hare and rabbit; and big game, predominantly deer, elk, moose and caribou but also including other large animals such as bear and wild boar. Deer are the most commonly hunted big game in the United States. Game meat is the flesh of a game animal.

Mutton is the meat an adult sheep with a stronger flavor than lamb (see above) because it contains a higher concentration of speciescharacteristic fatty acids. Mutton also tends to be tougher than lamb and, therefore, better suited to casserole-style cooking.

Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds in the Galliformes order. Many of the common, larger species are farm-raised for human consumption, along with their eggs, and are hunted on game farms or in the wild. Quail is known for its meatiness and natural tenderness, high in protein and slightly sweet with a well-developed finish. Its flavor is often described as

Rabbit is a relatively small, furry mammal in the Leporidae family found in several parts of the world, though more than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America. The species most commonly raised for human consumption is the European rabbit. The taste of rabbit meat — finely grained and tender and a mild flavor slightly sweeter than chicken — can vary, depending on whether it’s domestic or wild. Compared with the meat of other species, especially pork and beef, rabbit meat is richer in proteins and certain vitamins and minerals, while it has less fat. Rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken meat. Low in calories, this meat is a good source of iron and minerals, including phosphorus and potassium.

Venison is the meat of a game animal (see above), usually referring to that of a deer but also elk, moose, antelope and caribou. Higher in moisture and protein and lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than most cuts of grain-fed beef, pork, or lamb, venison typically is eaten as steaks, tenderloin, roasts, sausages, jerky and minced meat. It has a flavor reminiscent of beef, but is richer, finer texture and can have a gamey note. Naturally tender, it has a mild flavor, and is low in cholesterol and rich with iron and zinc, making it one of the healthiest red meats available.

Sources: savorygourmetlititz.com, fossilfarms.com, wikipedia.org, britannica.com, watchersofthenorth.com, livestrong.com, chowhound.com, nutritiondata.self.com

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“If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” mother teresa



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