EAT // Winter 2015

Page 1

an epicurean experience - w i n t e r 2015 -

TIME TO DINE The Valley’s Best Restaurants

SOUP KITCHEN

Warm and nourishing, soup is winter’s best friend

EYE CANDY

A culinary photo gallery


ART

for your floor Have floor-to-ceiling art in your home.

Stop by our 11,000 sq ft showroom in Avon and experience rug love.

Serving the Vail Valley since 1972

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


J. COTTER GALLERY Celebrating 45 Years

Necklace by Ursula K. Design Vail • 234 Wall Street • 970.476.3131 • Beaver Creek • 5 Market Square • 970.949.8111 jcottergallery.com



v a i l d a i l y

EDITOR’S LETTER

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

EDITOR Wren Bova | wren@vaildaily.com

ART DIRECTOR Carly Arnold | carnold@cmnm.org

PHOTO EDITOR Dominique Taylor | dtaylor@vaildaily.com

MARKETING DIRECTOR Mark Bricklin | mbricklin@vaildaily.com

AD DIRECTOR

I

’ V E N E V E R H A D E N O U G H G R AV Y I N M Y L I F E . I was raised in Texas by a Californian who knew what quinoa was about 10 years before the rest of the U.S. In the

‘60s, she tried to introduce her friends in England to avocados and guacamole (it didn’t go well). She never considered canned

Patrick Connolly | pconnolly@vaildaily.com

vegetables to be “real,” and I didn’t see boxed mac and cheese

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

until I went away to college. My mother is an incredible cook —

Karen Suing | ksuing@vaildaily.com

NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Cynthia Bruggeman | cbruggeman@vaildaily.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Anthony Thornton, Ashlee Bratton, Brenda Himelfarb, Charles Townsend Bessent, Katie Coakley, Kim Fuller, Krista Driscoll, Kristin Anderson, Kimberly Nicoletti, Justin McCarty, Lauren Glendenning, Polina LaConte, Suzanne Hoffman, Traci J. Macnamara

DESIGN TEAM SUPERVISOR Afton Pospíšilová | apospisilova@cmnm.org

DESIGN TEAM Ashley Detmering, Darin Bliss Malisa Samsel

ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Krystal Brunell | kbrunell@vaildaily.com

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

my sister and I were both raised on the kitchen counter — and we loved almost everything she threw at us. But I, personally, have never had enough gravy. And I think that’s why my appetite is insatiable. I always want to order everything on the menu. EAT stories suit me down to the ground because finally I’m able to. In fact, it’s my job. 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

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 •••

PRINTED BY

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

COVER PHOTO BY charles townsend bessent

Sweet pea gnocchi with wild mushrooms and pearl onions at Lord Gore restaurant at Manor Vail.

.

c o m

3


VAIL DAN TELLEEN DAN TELLEEN

Creating Creating Heirlooms Heirlooms Since 1970 Since 1970

Ethiopian Opal Necklace, 22k Ethiopian Opal Necklace, 22k

VAIL VILLAGE VAIL VILLAGE 970.476.4760 970.476.4760


v a i l d a i l y

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

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

70 SIP YOUR WORLD CUP Try some of the valley’s warmest, most delicious soups this season BY KIM FULLER

74

76

CONVERT NOW!

BITE SIZED

Kitchen measurement conversion chart for the home cook.

Something to nosh on…

BY WREN BOVA

BY WREN BOVA

.

c o m

5


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

MELANIE WONG Writer Favorite spice Tony’s. My best friend is from the South and introduced me to it. It works on everything. Best cooking music Loving the retro sounds of Hot Sardines. Replace one thing in your kitchen New pans. Our “bachelor/ bachelorette” ones are toast. Can’t get enough Anthony Bourdain’s show, “Parts Unknown.” Dish you could make in your sleep Stir-fry or eggplant parm. Food you daydream about Japanese ramen. Chef you’d like to cook with Julia Child. Winter warmer Chai Caramel Latte from Trader Joe’s.

CARAMIE SCHNELL

CONTRIBUTORS

6

Writer Favorite spice I’ve been putting Trader Joe’s Everyday spice on everything. Best cooking music Baby babbling. Replace one thing in your kitchen My electric stove. Gas, baby! Can’t get enough Noodle bowls. Dish you could make in your sleep Enchiladas. Food you daydream about Sour cream cake doughnuts from Northside.

Chef you’d like to cook with I love to cook with my husband. Winter warmer French press coffee with cream.

PHIL LINDEMAN Writer Favorite spice Ground cinnamon from Penzey’s Spices. There’s something like five varieties of cinnamon from three continents in there, so yep, it’s decadent in the best way. Can’t get enough Doughnuts, particularly on bluebird Sunday mornings. Bring a box — you’ll make plenty of chairlift buddies. Dish you could make in your sleep Beer chili, with bison and a touch of Penzey’s cinnamon. Food you daydream about Now that it’s out of business, breakfast burritos from Raliburto’s, my (former) favorite taco shop in Denver. Chef you’d like to cook with Anthony Bourdain, easily, even if all I do is quietly chop onions. Winter warmer A hot toddy or Irish coffee. Whiskey is the soup of winter, after all.

KRISTA DRISCOLL Writer Favorite spice Celery seed. It makes an appearance in my mom’s

hot German potato salad recipe, my favorite coleslaw and it’s amazing in egg salad. Best cooking music Embarrassingly enough, I cook a lot while watching “Glee” on Netflix. So a strange mix of pop, classic rock and show tunes. Replace one thing in your kitchen My food processor. Love using it, hate cleaning it. Can’t get enough Bruschetta, all kinds of it. Been making one recently with Kalamata olives and crushed pistachios. Dish you could make in your sleep Mom’s Chicken à la King casserole. Food you daydream about Foie gras French toast from Tavern on the Square. Chef you’d like to cook with Anthony Bourdain. The right combination of interesting and intimidating. Winter warmer Pumpkin spice eggnog and homemade Chex mix.

Chef you’d like to cook with Wolfgang Puck. Winter warmer Hot spiced cider.

Dish you could make in your sleep It’s called Kimmy’s Quinoa — a grain and veggie stir-fry. Food you daydream about Juniper’s veal scallopini. Chef you’d like to cook with David Walford. Winter warmer Hot Toddy. Or single-malt, neat.

BRENDA HIMELFARB Writer Favorite spice Dill (for chicken soup). Best cooking music The soundtrack from “Chef.” Replace one thing in your kitchen Create a chopper that absorbs the smell of chopped onions! Can’t get enough Any creamy, soft cheese. Dish you could make in your sleep Challah French Toast dipped in Corn Flakes; scrambled eggs. Food you daydream about Caviar and blinis. Chef you’d like to cook with The late actor and friend, Danny Kaye, who was a gourmet cook. Winter warmer Almost any soup.

TRACI MACNAMARA Writer Favorite spice Curry. Best cooking music French classics, like Édith Piaf. Replace one thing in your kitchen Knives (mine need some sharpening). Can’t get enough Truffle salt, truffle oil. Food you daydream about Cheese, of all types. Chef you’d like to cook with Jamie Oliver. Winter warmer Buffalo chili.

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI Writer Favorite spice Cinnamon. Best cooking music Hawaiian music, to warm up the winter. Replace one thing in your kitchen I love all my appliances. Why wouldn’t you? Can’t get enough Crème brûlée. Dish you could make in your sleep Pizza. Food you daydream about Italian food in Chicago.

KIM FULLER Writer Favorite spice Ginger. Best cooking music Latin guitar. Replace one thing in your kitchen Blender for a Vitamix! Can’t get enough Terra Bistro’s papadums with dal dip.

ASHLEE BRATTON Writer Favorite spice Simple. Savory Spice Shop All-Purpose Spice… goes good on popcorn. Replace one thing in your kitchen Garlic press. Love the taste, hate the tool. Can’t get enough Outdoor picnics.


v a i l d a i l y

KATIE COAKLEY Writer Favorite spice Saigon Cinnamon. I’m putting it on so many things — both sweet and savory dishes. Best cooking music Motown — it puts me in a good mood and adds a little spice to my cooking. Replace one thing in your kitchen Bone marrow. I had roasted bone marrow recently and now I can’t get enough of the stuff. “God’s butter,” indeed. Dish you could make in your sleep The best scrambled eggs in the world. Sometimes, I’m half-asleep when I make them! Food you daydream about Thai food. More specifically, eating really good Thai food in Thailand. Chef you’d like to cook with Marcus Samuelsson. He’s had a ton of adventures and loves to travel — I think we would really get along. Winter warmer Imperial Stouts. These big beers are dark and cozy and really warm me up.

JUSTIN MCCARTY Photographer Favorite spice Black pepper. Best cooking music “Red Red Wine,” UB40. Replace one thing in your kitchen Rosie the Robot. Can’t get enough Alaskan king crab legs. Dish you could make in your sleep Tacos. Food you daydream about Halibut cheeks. Chef you’d like to cook with Guillaume Fouquet de la Varenne. Winter warmer Cau-Cau.

TOWNSEND BESSENT Photographer Favorite spice Slap Ya Mama, it’s a Cajun cayenne-based salt substitute that will knock your socks off. I put it on everything... EVERYTHING. Best cooking music Anything funky. Galactic or Professor Longhair come to mind. Replace one thing in your kitchen I want a gas stove installed in place of our electronic cooktop, please and thank you. Can’t get enough Mashed potatoes, seriously. Think about all the ways you can flavor those tantalizing little tubers.

Dish you could make in your sleep Chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo. Food you daydream about Anything from the South. I grew up in Louisiana and it’s hard to beat home cooking, no matter where you are from. Chef you’d like to cook with I’d like to cook with John Besh and Samuel L. Jackson as sous chef...mostly for vocal garnish. Winter warmer Breckenridge bourbon, neat.

Can’t get enough Indian food. Dish you could make in your sleep Black pepper pasta with parm. Food you daydream about All things Mexican. Chef you’d like to cook with Paul Ferzacca and David Walford are terrific cooking teachers. I’d love the chance to learn the art of Julia Child’s earnest and cavalier hospitality. Winter warmer Bourbon is my new best friend.

KRISTIN ANDERSON

CARLY ARNOLD

Photographer Favorite spice Cinnamon. Best cooking music Christmas music. Replace one thing in your kitchen Blender. Dish you could make in your sleep Eggplant parmesan. Food you daydream about Cheesecake. Chef you’d like to cook with Wren Bova. Winter warmer Hot chocolate.

Designer Favorite spice Dill. Best cooking music Classic rock. Can’t get enough Brussels sprouts. Dish you could make in your sleep Pad Thai. Food you daydream about Matsuhisa’s New Style Beef Sashimi. Chef you’d like to cook with Anthony Bourdain. Winter warmer Whiskey Spiked Hot Apple Cider.

WREN BOVA Writer Favorite spice Garam masala. Best cooking music Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Grateful Dead. Replace one thing in your kitchen That damned refrigerator.

ASHLEY DETMERING Designer Favorite spice Cayenne pepper. Best cooking music Anything with a good beat that keeps me moving.

Replace one thing in your kitchen A charcoal grill instead of a propane one. That counts as a kitchen appliance, right? Can’t get enough Mexican food. Dish you could make in your sleep Baby back ribs – it’s the first thing I ever learned how to cook. Food you daydream about Bacon! Chef you’d like to cook with Aarón Sanchez can come cook delicious Mexican food with me in my kitchen anytime he wants. Winter warmer You can’t go wrong with a cup of tea!

DOMINIQUE TAYLOR Photographer Favorite spice Zanzibar curry. Best cooking music Jazz or house music, depending on the dish. Replace one thing in your kitchen Pots. Can’t get enough Curry. Dish you could make in your sleep Roast chicken or Thai pineapple red curry. Food you daydream about Japanese curry. Chef you’d like to cook with My dad when he will let me. Winter warmer Leek and potato soup and glühwein.

c o m

CONTRIBUTORS

Dish you could make in your sleep Spaghetti with sage sausage. Food you daydream about That perfect glass of wine…in Italy. Chef you’d like to cook with I think it’d be a hoot to go into the schools with Jamie Oliver. Winter warmer That perfect cup of coffee.

.

7


The core of an Artist is creativity, It’s an ongoing furrowed brow moment, punctuated by moments of elation.

ARTIST IN ATTENDANCE WINTER COLLECTION OF ASSEMBLAGES

February 13 and 14 from 3 to 7pm 100 E Meadow Dr. Vail 970-477-0600 mastersgalleryvail.com


PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

New-style sashimi at Matsuhisa Vail marries pristine fish with flavorful and zippy sauces.


Beaver Creek goes big with the cowboy buffalo rib eye, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes and ancho demi glace.

PHOTO BY CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

Rocks Modern Grill in


Splendido at the Chateau’s slowroasted Skuna Bay salmon retains a

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

buttery mouthfeel.


Fresh seafood needs very little embellishment, as evidenced by the chilled lobster tail

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

presentation at Elway’s.


PHOTO BY CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

At vin48, the pan-roasted black cod comes with black pepper linguine, spinach emulsion, beech mushrooms and roasted winter squash.



v a i l d a i l y

FEATURED RESTAURANTS MINTURN 16 Minturn Country Club

EDWARDS 17 Mirador 18 Zino Ristorante 19 Balata at the Sonnenalp Golf Club 20 Juniper Restaurant 21 The Gashouse 22 Vista at Arrowhead

WOLCOTT 23 Wolcott Yacht Club

AVON 24 25 26 27 28

Castle Peak Grille vin48 Boxcar Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen Kiwi International Delights & Coffee Co.

BEAVER CREEK 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Bachelors Lounge Beaver Creek Chophouse Black Diamond Bistro Toscanini 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill The Osprey Buffalos Rocks Modern Grill Beano’s Cabin SaddleRidge Spago Allie’s Cabin Splendido at the Chateau Hooked Zach’s Cabin

VAIL 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 64 65 66 67 68

Bistro Fourteen Bol Elway’s Vail Matsuhisa Vail Blue Moose Pizza Ludwig’s La Tour Flame at the Four Seasons The 10th Cucina at The Lodge at Vail Game Creek Restaurant Larkspur Restaurant Nudoru Ramen Bar Leonora Tavern on the Gore Kelly Liken Atwater on Gore Creek Tavern on the Square Vail Mountain Lord Gore at Manor Vail Campo de Fiori Lancelot Restaurant Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant Blu’s Restaurant

.

c o m

15


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

Apps: Starting at $9 Steaks: Starting at $17 •••

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

Y

MINTURN

16

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. “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 3rd and 4th generations. And it’s fun for the whole family. Where do you go eat where there’s action for your children? Americans, Mexicans, 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 Country Club is about 10 minutes away from Vail or Beaver Creek — but those 10 minutes put you in a different world altogether. Built as a railroad stop, the town has a bohemian feel that attracts lumberjacks and artists in equal measure. Saunter through the unassuming door of the restaurant and then it’s showtime. 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

MINTURN COUNTRY CLUB 131 MAIN STREET / 970.827.4114 / MINTURNCOUNTRYCLUB.COM by WREN BOVA photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

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 and the wild Alaskan salmon is great quality, Ricci’s favorite is the porterhouse. But the Prime New York strip is what most people clamor for. “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 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-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. • top Grill your own steak at the Minturn Country Club. above T-bone steak, shish kabobs and shrimp skewer.and a skewer of shrimp.


17

EDWARDS

MIRADOR 2205 CORDILLERA WAY / LODGE & SPA AT CORDILLERA 970.926.2200 / CORDILLERALODGE.COM by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

U

nless you live within Cordillera, driving to the uppermost reaches of this gated community to dine at one of its restaurants is like going on a little culinary road trip and finding more than a plate full of deliciousness at the final destination. As is true with every good road trip, the journey counts, and on the winding way up to Mirador, located within the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, you’ll see elk tracks and festive holiday lights and, hopefully, snowflakes falling. Plus once you get there, you’ll find that the restaurant’s name holds true. In Spanish, the word “mirador” refers to a scenic viewpoint, and at this one, you’ll behold mountain peaks above with twinkling city lights below.

CLASSIC COLORADO, CREATIVE FLAIR You need not live in Cordillera or be a guest at its lodge to have the Mirador experience. But you should definitely have an empty stomach and the desire to sample executive chef Jonathan O’Leary’s creations, which include regional staples such as the Colorado rack of lamb or the Colorado striped bass and exciting sides, such as the butternut squash and Chioggia

beet salad. O’Leary is the new chef on the block at Mirador, but he’s not new to the Vail Valley’s dining scene. He comes to Cordillera from Vail’s Sonnenalp, and he brings a good dose of youth and enthusiasm with him. “I really want to make the drive here worthwhile,” O’Leary says, not that the drive isn’t spectacular in its own right. “I’m excited about creating a quality dining experience and value, too, so that people come back again and again.” O’Leary’s goals are far from the perception that Cordillera and its restaurants are exclusive establishments; rather, they’re welcoming places for guests to the Vail area and locals, alike. Another thing that gets O’Leary excited? Desserts, which could be anything from a crème brûlée flavor you’ve never heard of to any dessert that includes ice cream. Note to dessert lovers: Mirador has its own ice cream machine, which fuels O’Leary’s creativity as much as it churns out smooth, frozen toppings like the toffee crunch gelato that complements Mirador’s toffee cake dessert. And if you don’t have enough room in your stomach for a full dessert, you can roast your own s’mores at the outdoor fire pit on Friday and Saturday nights.

As if you need additional reasons to make the drive to Cordillera, you’ve got a few more: Wednesday night is prime rib night at Mirador, and Grouse on the Green, the Irish pub that’s only a stone’s throw away from the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, promises a fun vibe and ongoing specials, such as 50-cent wings all day on Sundays. Whether you go to Mirador for fine dining with a

view or to Grouse for a beer and a burger, you’ll find it worth the drive. • 12-ounce rib eye with country mash, grilled asparagus, beer battered onion rings and chipotle bourbon steak sauce. left Colorado striped bass cioppino with smoked bay scallops and mussels, roasted tomato saffron bouillabaisse base, pan seared striped bass and served with garlic bread. above

PRICE

Apps: $10-$15 Entreés: $18-$36 •••

AMBIANCE

Cozy setting with upscale fare‚ it’s destination dining with a view •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Colorado rack of lamb •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


E AT

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

by WREN BOVA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

F

EDWARDS

18

orget what the map says. “Italy didn’t used to be a country,” says Nick Haley provocatively. “It was kingdoms. Regions — each one practicing its own traditional cuisine. Each one staying within its borders.” But not Haley. The Zino Ristorante executive chef and co-owner likes to mix it up a little — it’s one of the benefits of being a contemporary Italian restaurant in Colorado. He calls it “leaving the door open.” His menu draws from those regions, those kingdoms — Tuscany, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna — but he’s not afraid to put his own spin on things. And so his ravioli al forno is stuffed with a succulent short rib-porcini béchamel, but it’s topped with a “dry” pesto (panko bread crumbs instead of olive oil) to give a nice bit of texture. His marinated octopus — tender, pliant— plays off the roasted chickpeas and crispy capers, as well as the requisite lemon. “I stick to tradition with flavor combinations. There are certain things that go well together and you can’t

mess with it,” he says. “But it’s nice to mix up your regions, change up your sauces, mix something else in.” He says this with all the confidence of a chef who’s trained in both Italy and France, and thus mastered the classics. But beyond those classic dishes, Haley embraces an Old World ethos, namely, seasonality. So you won’t find a caprese salad on his wintertime menu, but you will find wild game — rabbit, sourced out of Iowa, served in a rich broth with fettuccine. “We braise it, and the flavor that comes with those bones…” he trails off, smacking his lips. Cured meats, citrus fruits and pears, interesting grains, a primal Berkshire pork chop — these are the stuff of a seasonal menu in the winter months. Though a fair bit isn’t considered mainstream to most American palates, that doesn’t keep Haley in a box. “The wait staff does a great job of connecting with the customers,” he says. “We rely on repeat customers.” And so there’s a fair bit of trust between the diners and the chef. But not all of the restaurant’s warmth comes from that kitchen, gorgeous as it is. Zino’s warm atmosphere and stylish comfort stem from Haley’s partner,

general manager and co-owner Giuseppe Bosco, who seems to have hospitality running in his very Italian blood. Watching Bosco move throughout the room, it’s almost choreographed. Wine recommendations over here, share tales of powder days over there, greet customers as they come in the door, weigh in on today’s specials, help deliver steaming plates to the table in the back, reminisce about that little town in Piedmont… those are a few moments in a typical evening for Bosco. “When people come in, they’re looking for the warmth of our restaurant. It’s so beautiful, from the moment you come in and see that giant staircase, and walk down into the dining room. The atmosphere makes people feel comfortable and warm, like they’re home. I am just a

part of that,” Bosco demurs. But he does so with the dancing eyes of a man who is doing exactly what he wants to be doing: pleasing people. It’s why Zino Ristorante has so many repeat customers. And it’s why people make the drive from their hotel in Vail Village to the riverside restaurant in Edwards. They want to be cared for exactly the way Bosco and Haley do it. • Mele with apples, roasted sun chokes, little gem lettuce, pecorino snow, popped farro and apple cider brown butter vinaigrette. top right Prosciutto di Parma, nebbiolo and balsamic-poached pear and gorgonzola dolce panini. above Polipo — marinated octopus, roasted chickpeas, red bell pepper, lemon, watercress and crispy capers. top left

Apps: $11-$15; Entreés: $16-$34 • AMBIANCE Energetic, lively, vibrant! • SIGNATURE DISH Burrata — housemade cheese; cozze — skillet-roasted mussels; funghi pizza with wild mushrooms, arugula, shaved parmigiano, truffle oil; pappardelle with veal meatballs and house-made ricotta; maiale —Berkshire pork chop Milanese • KID-FRIENDLY? Yes PRICE


v a i l d a i l y

1265 BERRY CREEK ROAD, EDWARDS / 970.477.5353 / BALATARESTAURANT.COM

by KRISTA DRISCOLL photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

W

hen the snow begins to fall, the Sonnenalp Golf Club is a frosted winter wonderland, and its restaurant, Balata, becomes a cozy sanctuary from the cold. The warm, inviting atmosphere pairs perfectly with Balata chef Bradley Stieber’s holiday-inspired creations. “I just like making food,” Stieber says with a laugh, adding that there isn’t one specific goal or theme to the menu. “I go with wintery flavors, like cinnamon and nutmeg, or the carrotginger sauce with the cranberries.” The velvety, intensely orange carrot-ginger sauce accompanies the grilled cobia with tri-colored citrus quinoa, rainbow chard and orangecranberry pecan relish. The fish arrived on a truck at 4 p.m. and was plated for dinner only a few hours later, Stieber said. This fresh, festive thread extends from the starters, such

Apps: $4-$19; Large plates: $21-$28 • AMBIANCE A cozy neighborhood spot for a special night out • SIGNATURE DISH Grilled cobia with tri-colored citrus quinoa, rainbow chard, orange-cranberry pecan relish and carrot-ginger sauce • KID-FRIENDLY Absolutely PRICE

as the duo of roasted beet salad with baby spinach and alternately shaved and sliced roasted red and yellow beets, through the large plates. Tuck into a fork-tender braised lamb shank on a bed of creamy roasted root vegetable risotto with parsnip, carrot and rutabaga, paired with a bold cabernet, or pick up more holiday notes from the clove-and-nutmeg spiced scalloped sweet potatoes that come along with the center cut pork chop in an orange-mustard cream sauce. “The achiote chicken is my favorite item on the menu,” Stieber says. “I use the annatto seed, which is normally used for coloring. It has an earth tone, not saffron but more earthy,

and it goes well with cumin.” The marinated chicken breast is paired with smashed red potatoes, grilled broccolini and chicken jus. Stieber says he strives to put things on his menu that are easily recognizable, and the majority of items are gluten free or can be prepared gluten free by simply leaving the croutons off of a salad or serving the rich and perfectly spiced French onion soup without its traditional Gruyère-crusted bread top. The restaurant even offers a decadent gluten-free, flourless chocolate cake, which pairs perfectly with a glass of port to warm you from the inside out. •

top Steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with Italian sausage and garlicky grilled bread. above Grilled cobia with tri-colored citrus quinoa and rainbow chard.

c o m

EDWARDS

BALATA AT THE SONNENALP GOLF CLUB

.

19


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

JUNIPER RESTAURANT

97 MAIN STREET E101 / RIVERWALK, EDWARDS 970.926.7001 / JUNIPERRESTAURANT.COM

by KIM FULLER photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

E

ach sip I take of brut rose sings in harmony with the sweeping riffs of color on Juniper’s dining room walls. The hues melt together like the oranges, reds, yellows and blues of a brilliant mountain sunset — wall canvases painted by Britten, a renowned local artist, that make moments of intimate perfection right before nightfall seem to last forever. Add the warmth and spice of a Winter Heat tequila cocktail and a dinner guest would want to sit here forever. A high top table in the three seasons room (a patio in the summer) overlooking the Eagle River in the Edwards Riverwalk offers an ideal view of the refined comfort that owner Doug Abel and executive chef Scotty Ofsanko have created. Ofsanko is going on six years with Juniper. The kitchen runs well with this depth and longevity. Pastry chef Charles Broshinsky has been on the team since 2007, and Santos Macias, chef de cuisine, has been alongside Abel since Juniper’s beginning. “The menu is really versatile,” explains Ofsanko, who is in his second year as Juniper’s executive chef. “We just appeal to so many people, and that’s why they keep coming back to Juniper, just because it’s so consistent.” Versatile, yes, and very international. Mountain comfort meets contemporary and dynamic cuisine with dishes like the beef tartare with house-made chips, served with a sunny side up egg and truffle aioli — it’s a delicious first course

EDWARDS

20

Apps: $12 - $25; Entreés: $32 - $43 Inviting and International SIGNATURE DISH Veal Scaloppini with Angel Hair • KID-FRIENDLY Yes PRICE

AMBIANCE

that leaves you wanting more. So, try the savory and perfectly al dente house-made artichoke and chèvre ravioli with piquillo peppers, pine nuts and swiss baby chard. Count on Abel’s years of impressive fine dining hospitality to pair your courses. His wine tastes don’t discriminate, as he suggests both a crisp and bright pinot blanc and an earthy Côtes du Rhône to complement the beef tartare. With seasonal menu changes throughout the year, Ofsanko said Juniper always aims to highlight local ingredients. Take a look at the menu of mains and you’ll see where he takes the local into international. “There’s a lot for everybody on

the menu,” he says. “There’s seafood, great meats, Asian flare, European and even some southwestern influences.” The international touch gets top tier with Juniper’s longtime signature dish, the decadent and to-die-for veal scaloppini. The thinly pounded veal is breaded to buttery perfection, surrounded by a delicate angel hair pasta and asparagus, topped with a lemon beurre fondue and veal reduction. “I think with 2015 coming up, it’s nice that we have incorporated a lot of European influences, because we will have a lot of European visitors,” shares Abel. There’s a nice comfort to be found where fine dining meets family friendly, just like a dish of Charles’ hot sticky toffee pudding with Myers rum sauce and whipped cream. This dessert will leave everyone happy, especially the ofage diners who can wash it down with a pour of Taylor 20-year tawny port. • above Sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna in miso broth with farro and shrimp fried rice. left Beef tartare with house-made chips and truffle oil.


v a i l d a i l y

•••

AMBIANCE

Casual Rocky Mountain style •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Jumbo lump crab cake and ultra game grill •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes

A

visit to the Gashouse is like taking a bite out of true Colorado culture. It means sampling from one of the valley’s biggest selections of Rocky Mountain wild game in an atmosphere steeped in Colorado’s Wild West history. As co-owner Andy Guy explains “There are great restaurants all over the Vail Valley but when you’re in the Gashouse, you know you’re in the Rocky Mountains.” Located in the heart of Edwards, the dining room is itself a reflection of the town’s past, built in the 1930s as the first gas station in town. These days it is filled with ski memorabilia, Colorado-inspired antiques and a collection of mounted animals that puts faces to many of the dishes on the menu, from the Colorado trout to the elk and deer. This is a place where families and friends can relax and dine in true casual Rocky Mountain style. The restaurant is best known for its extensive game selection. “We sell more game than anyone else in the valley: venison, buffalo, elk.” says Guy. They source as much of it as possible locally. “When people are out here on vacation (our menu) gives them a chance to eat the local critters,” he explains. With such an elaborate menu, it helps that the friendly staff is happy to make suggestions, whether you’re a wild game virgin or a seasoned veteran. They also design their menu to allow diners to sample lots of different flavors. Co-owner Connie Irons likes to recommend that first-time guests try the grilled game sampler appetizer, which features grilled quail, buffalo tenderloin, venison chops, buffalo ribs and game sausages

THE GASHOUSE

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

by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR photos by JUSTIN MCCARTY

to start the night off. This is a great introduction to Colorado cuisine. If you’re feeling more adventurous, dive into some Rocky Mountain oysters but as per the menu, “if you don’t know what they are, you better ask.” Make sure to bring a hearty appetite as the entrées are huge with several interesting combo grills available, such as the “Ultra Game” grill or the buffalo combo grill. Buttery buffalo tenderloin, tender dry-rubbed, slow-roasted buffalo ribs and house-made buffalo sausage are served with a “Carolyner BBQ” sauce and sides. There are also plenty of equally appetizing but simpler dishes, such as half a roasted duckling with a blackberry demi glaze or the 8-ounce filet mignon. Fresh seafood is a key part of the Gashouse menu from the hot seafood appetizer platter to the daily fresh fish specials. One of their signature dishes is the Maryland jumbo lump crab cake. Using Irons’ grandmother’s secret recipe the crab cake is made with 85 percent crab and just enough filler to hold it together. For the best of both worlds, guests can also build their own surf-n-turf meal with options like lobster tails and crab legs paired with grilled quail or house-made wild boar sausages. Make sure you save room for dessert

or be prepared to take food home as the warm Kentucky chocolate chip pie topped with crushed pecans is a great way to wrap up your dining adventure. Whether you’re out with the family or looking to feed a big group of friends, a game connoisseur or new to wild game flavors, the Gashouse has something to satisfy everyone’s Colorado palate. “We have great food, a great staff and great prices,” promises Irons. •

top Venison combo game grill with quail, bone-in venison chop and a game sausage. above 8-ounce bacon-wrapped filet mignon with a half pound of crab legs on the side.

c o m

EDWARDS

PRICE

Apps $7-$20, Entreés $15-$40

.

21


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

VISTA AT ARROWHEAD by LAUREN GLENDENNING photos by JANINE GLENNON and JUSTIN McCARTY

T

EDWARDS

22

he stunning views are the first thing you notice at the aptly named Vista at Arrowhead, and it only gets better from there. There’s something very comforting about this restaurant — maybe it’s the husband-wife duo that runs it or perhaps it’s the soothing sound of Micky Poage live on the piano. The gorgeous panoramic view of the snow-covered golf course set against a mountain backdrop certainly doesn’t hurt, either. With Janine Glennon greeting customers at the entrance, and her husband Michael responsible for the creativity coming out of the kitchen, you feel like you’re eating dinner in the dining room at their home. Janine walks around from table to table throughout the evening checking on guests. She opens wine, suggests the best dishes on the menu that evening and just sets an overall warm and friendly tone. “We want to make everyone happy with delicious food, service and atmosphere,”

Janine says. “We strive to give elegant service with extra touches one does not receive at other restaurants.” Ask her for recommendations and she’s likely to lead you to some of the menu’s standout dishes, like the housemade braised veal cheek and ricotta agnolotti. “They’re to die for,” promises Janine. The silky pasta is decadent on its own, but the accents on the plate send this dish over the top — sautéed spinach, a viscous veal jus and shaved pecorinoromano cheese. Another favorite of Janine’s is the arancini — traditional fried risotto ball with luscious fontina and a warm tomato coulis. It’s tempting to just order a couple of these starters as an entrée and call it a night, but there are so many other exciting dishes not to miss. TUSCAN HOSPITALITY With a Tuscan grill theme, Vista offers a lot of rustic dishes with authentic Italian flare. Italian-style tapas, such as assorted salumi and cheeses or house meatballs with tomato “gravy” are a great way to unwind while trying to decide on entreés. The cocktail menu also has Italian-inspired drinks like the lemon-basil or limoncello martinis,

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

and there’s an excellent wine list. Lighter starters include the baby kale salad with portobello mushrooms and a Chianti vinaigrette. It also comes with Peruvian “sweety bell peppers,” which are smaller than a cherry tomato and taste sort of like a chili pepper-tomato hybrid. Janine says they ate them at a restaurant in Denver once and tracked down a supplier who could deliver them to Vista. With ample “from the sea” and “from the land” options, Vista’s menu truly has something for everyone. On the seafood list, the scallops are a bestseller, served with white bean ravioli. But do yourself a favor and fearlessly order the Colorado lamb osso buco. Over the top, the gorgeous cut of local meat almost quivers with tenderness. The lamb jus and four-grain risotto are excellent accompaniments to the dish. Just be sure to save room for desserts — the portions at Vista are more than friendly — because Michael tries to outdo his dinner menu with dessert indulgences such as mascarpone cheesecake. “Paired with a glass of Dolce dessert wine — yum!” says Janine. •

PRICE

Apps, $10-$18 Entreés, $27-$46 •••

AMBIANCE

Country club elegance with neighborhood warmth •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Lamb osso buco with chianti lamb jus and four-grain risotto — best paired with live music courtesy of Micky Poage •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Absolutely

The Vista at Arrowhead dining room is warm and cozy in the winter months. top right Lamb osso buco with risotto and chianti lamb jus. top left


v a i l d a i l y

27190 HWY 6 / WOLCOTT, COLORADO 970.926.1390 / WOLCOTTYACHTCLUB.COM

by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

I

n that no-man’s land midway between Vail and Eagle, where mountain peaks meld into the ranchland’s rolling hills, you’ll find it: the Wolcott Yacht Club, a little culinary outpost that’s big on fun and world-inspired fare. Nestled into a bend of the Eagle River, the Wolcott Yacht Club is a year-round dining destination with a rich local history. Given the area’s ranching roots, I’m not surprised when a man and a woman show up on horseback as I’m sipping a handcrafted cocktail. They hitch their horses out front and come inside to the restaurant’s intimate open dining space that includes a main dining area, a bar, and a lounge. The town of Wolcott’s crossroads location has made the Wolcott Yacht Club a place where ranchers, sheepherders, and travelers have historically come together. And with offerings that range from steak frites to American bison meatloaf to gourmet vegetarian cuisine, the restaurant’s contemporary menu reflects this crossroads experience. FANCY, COMFORTABLE, AND FUN Despite its out-there, Wild West reputation, the Wolcott Yacht Club delivers a variety of upscale, fine-dining selections. Don’t think of skipping one of its handcrafted cocktails, which range from old-school classics to creative concoctions such as the Blackberry Smash, a whiskey cocktail blended with blackberry and sage. On a chilly winter night, the butternut

Small plates: $11-$14; Large plates: $20-$46 Artisan, handcrafted world fare SIGNATURE DISH Bourbon mustard-crusted rack of Colorado lamb; American bison meatloaf with caramelized onion mashies and shiitake-sweet sake gravy PRICE

AMBIANCE

squash puree will warm your body and soul with its velvety texture and smooth taste. But before diving right into a main dish, choose another taster such as the sockeye salmon tartare, which arrives

c o m

WOLCOTT

WOLCOTT YACHT CLUB

.

with artfully arranged accompaniments including alderwood smoked sea salt, a soft-boiled egg, and Szechuan aioli. Main course menu staples such as the pinion-crusted mountain trout and the bourbon mustard-crusted rack of Colorado lamb are done exquisitely well, the trout perfect with a melt-off-the skin texture and a mild, buttery taste. Choose a side of kale sautéed with chanterelles and garlic to complete the course. And for a sweet ending, try one the chef’s latest experimentations in molecular gastronomy, which can transform berries into juice-bursting delights that pair well with bite-sized cheesecake poppers. “It’s sort of an Old Man and the Sea meets Gandhi feel here,” says executive chef Michael Joersz of the restaurant’s classic offerings and ever-evolving menu that contains selections from around the globe. Frequent menu

specials allow the Wolcott Yacht Club to offer the best of the best and to experiment with exciting new flavors. In the summer, the Wolcott Yacht Club is known for its party-perfect outdoor patio and live music. But the party doesn’t end when the winter season begins; it just moves into an inspired interior space that becomes the focal point for live music on Friday nights, special events throughout the season, and innovative cuisine. • Rocky Mountain trout with pine nuts. To get the best flavor, Michael Joersz dry roasts chiles and lemon for the fish. left All the cocktails are handcrafted. top

above

23


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

Lunch sandwiches with fries: $13 Apres: $5-$7 Dinner Entreés: $20-$23 •••

AMBIANCE

Neighborhood grill with room for everyone •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Veal scaloppini •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Very

CASTLE PEAK GRILLE 101 FAWCETT ROAD / TRAER CREEK 970.748.4848 / CASTLEPEAKGRILLE.COM by WREN BOVA photos by JUSTIN McCARTY

B

AVON

24

ig and open, with lively table service and excellent bartenders, Castle Peak Grille is exactly what it sounds like it is: a neighborhood grill that caters to a wide range of palates, be it a 5-year-old picky eater or a 40-year-old refined palate. Open for lunch, après and dinner, the Traer Creek restaurant has a different feel depending on what time of day you stop in. But one thing remains the same. “I want people to come in, feel comfortable and feel good about the time and money they spend here,” says Rob Sinclair, the general manager. So whether that’s a fast-paced lunch, lively après ski or a leisurely dinner with two or three courses, Sinclair’s mantra is about making people happy. Well, that and consistency. In the restaurant biz, the two go hand in hand. Mike Irwin recently joined the crew, and brought his decades of cooking experience with him. Though Castle Peak’s menu is still rooted in comfort

food, Irwin’s touch can be seen in some of the refinements — layered yellowtail tuna crudo, veal scallopini with butter sauce and veal jus, duck confit pizza gets a pop from chimichurri. But the bread and butter of the restaurant’s identity is still there. The wood-fired oven kicks out killer pizzas, and roasted fish and chicken dishes. “I inherited a big, beautiful kitchen,” Irwin says sheepishly about the exhibition-style showpiece. Sinclair and Irwin go way back. Both spent decades in fine dining — at one point working together — before meeting again at Castle Peak Grille. “I’ve known Mike for years and years. The thing I really like is he gives an honest effort. And honestly he wants to make people happy,” says Sinclair. “He gets excited about French fries. I think that’s the sign of someone who is interested in making people happy, that he’s interested in French fries.”

There’s a lot to love in those classically prepared fries — cut in house, blanched, then fried until they’re perfectly crisp. If you’re going to serve fries, why not make them the best fries around? But that seems to be Irwin’s approach to everything on his menu. Sinclair’s favorite menu item is the braised short ribs with baby carrots and parsnip polenta. “Amazing,” is his exact description. But this writer’s money is on the four-day ribs. Left in a sweet and savory brine for two

days, they spend a third day in a pineapple-soy marinade. And then on the fourth day they see the heat of a grill, and finally a plate with apple slaw and the aforementioned fries. Hard to beat — but save room for the pumpkin chocolate bourbon tiramisu. • top Linguini scampi with mussels, scallops, shrimp, saffron, white wine, cherry tomatoes and grilled ciabatta. above Grilled baby back bibs with fries, slaw and pineapple-soy mop sauce.


v a i l d a i l y

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

by KIM FULLER photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

W

c o m

AVON

VIN48

ine pairings are meant to complement a menu, but at vin48, the vino selections provide a dynamic that’s as exciting and inspiring as the food. “Greg is really into finding boutique-y, hard to find wines,” shares Charles Hays, chef of vin48 and owner with wine director Greg Eynon, and restaurateur Collin Baugh. Charles, Greg and Collin have run the restaurant for eight years, all moving from a history in restaurants into a collaborative venture of their own. The Avon restaurant and wine bar has more than 40 wines available by the glass, and more than 400 by the bottle. It’s easy to find a style that you enjoy, especially since you can sample tastes, and order both 3- and 6-ounce pours. French pinot noir bubbles on your palate with a pop, easily paired with the trio of toppings served with fresh cut bread, Vin’s marinated olive bar snacks or variety of small plates. Start with an order of the wild mushrooms — a savory selection of earth-drawn morsels, served with a blue cheese biscuit, fine herbs, thinly sliced garlic and villa magra olive oil. The dish shines alongside a glass of barbera — the gentle and inviting fruit notes ideal as a first-course wine. The same Tuscan olive oil illuminates the favor of the grilled eggplant small plate. The garden egg is cooked to a velvety softness, its deep flavor brightened by bites of pine nuts and a tomato, garlic and thyme sofrito. And with the eggplant, a glass of Arneis, crisp and full with stone and orchard fruit. It can be hard to make it to the

.

mains with so many great small plates. The beef tartare is a signature dish, almost too amazing to share, and the braised pork cheeks equally stand out. These robust starters are perfect on their own, but somehow even better with the Lioco Carignan. It’s from California, but has notes similar to the classic Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, and dolcetto bistro wines of Europe. Large plate options are too delicious to miss, especially the pan-roasted black cod with a glass of Chardonnay. The steak-like fish is served over a bed of black pepper linguine, absinthe spinach emulsion, roasted squash and beech mushrooms. The menu aims to please most palates, and there’s always at least three nightly specials, so the selections stay interesting. “We change the menu so often that I think that’s one of the draws,” says Charles. “People love when they come and get something new, which happens at least every three months.” With a World Cup winter ahead, the restaurant is sure to keep shining in its central stage in Avon. “I am just excited how far the place has come, and that it is an institution as one of the better places around,” Charles adds. “It’s very exciting and very rewarding, and we will just keep on moving forward.” • top Grilled Japanese eggplant with tomato, garlic and thyme sofrito. right Wild mushrooms with Point Reyes blue cheese biscuit.

Small plates: $8-$15; Large plates: $19-$32 • AMBIANCE Highenergy wine bar with excellent food • SIGNATURE DISH Braised pork cheeks with pepper jack grits • KID-FRIENDLY? Yes

PRICE

25


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

BOXCAR 182 AVON RD. 970.470.4121 BOXCARRESTAURANT.COM by MELANIE WONG photos by JUSTIN McCARTY

Y

ou never know what you might see next on the menu at Boxcar Restaurant & Bar in Avon. It’s a spot where you can try a classic mountain dish, such as duck breast on a bed of hearty farro topped with flakes of cured foie gras, in the same meal as a comfort favorite such as West Coaststyle clam chowder. The gastropubstyle eatery has been around for less than a year, but it’s already gained a dedicated following of locals who enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and trendy food from chefs and co-owners Hunter Chamness and Cara Luff. Upon entering, you’ll forget you’re in a mountain resort town and wonder if you’ve stepped into a hip corner pub in

Chicago or Seattle, with the restaurant’s art-deco styling, black grand chandelier exposed metal shelving and worn-wood tables. It’s fancy enough for a date night, but casual enough for beers with friends. Beer connoisseurs can belly up to the always-bustling bar and try out a small, but uncommon selection of beers alongside some snacks and small plates. The brews are constantly changing, but during our dinner, our favorite was the Chimay, a Trappist ale brewed in a Belgian monastery. If you’re looking for a more classic dining room feel, grab a table in the restaurant’s back room and watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. The spread at Boxcar is eclectic and

Apps: $6-$15; Entreés: $16-$40 • AMBIANCE Casual gastropub SIGNATURE DISH Housemade pretzel roll and boudin blanc sausage KID-FRIENDLY? Family-friendly atmosphere, plus a kids’ menu

PRICE

AVON

26

diverse, and diners can expect to see anything from the Southern boudin blanc (a delicious variation of pork sausage) to poutine, the Canadian greasy spoon favorite of fries, cheese curds and gravy. The menu’s common thread is the chefs’ dedication to a farm-to-table philosophy and creative use of seasonal ingredients. I have to admit that initially I was skeptical of the culinary new kid in town, but we were quickly won over by the delicious roasted cauliflower sitting in decadent black garlic sauce and the delicate, flaky pastries stuffed with savory goat cheese and figs. Luff and Chamness, who has roots in Colorado, became culinary partners in Seattle, where they worked together at the award-winning Crush. When Chamness moved back out to Colorado with his wife, he got Luff to come out and “get the band back together.”

The culinary two artists set about specializing in new takes on classic comfort food. They’ve taken ordinary bar food, such as the pretzel, and given it the chef treatment, resulting in items such as a house-made pretzel roll paired with dips that include real beer cheese and smoked butter. Try out Boxcar if you want to try some foods that you normally wouldn’t find in your typical restaurant, or prepared in ways you wouldn’t normally see. “We take simple classics and elevate it. These are familiar, comfy foods, but we give it a twist,” said Chamness. • top Smoked duck breast with caramelized onion farro, braised endive, fig and cured foie. above Pretzel roll with smoked butter, beer cheese sauce and whole grain mustard. left Roasted cauliflower with black garlic, lemon and gremolata.


v a i l d a i l y

.

c o m

AVON

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

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos courtesy MAYA

T

he guacamole man is here!” This was said with such gusto as the cart rolled up to the table. And it was true — the guacamole masters had arrived. Carving out the avocados as they added the serrano peppers and other on-demand ingredients that make it so special, the cart wheeled off just as quickly as it had arrived. Welcome to Maya. Located on the main level of the Westin Riverfront Resort in Avon, the chic and modern Mexican cuisine and tequila bar welcomes its diners into a world of flavors that match the rich tones of the décor. Whether enjoying the Maya martini with hand selected tequila oaked in Jack Daniels barrels in stemless martini glasses rimmed

with cinnamon and sugar or partaking in the traditional margarita with citrus and serrano-infused Agavels tequila — there are many reasons to explore and discover Maya’s “cocteles” menu. One of those reasons is the 100+ agavebased spirits and house-infused tequilas and the reverse happy hour added this season. With the lobby bar happier happy hour ranging from 2:30-5:30 p.m., Maya follows suit with specials from 9-11 p.m. “Maya serves upscale traditional Mexican, but we add a modern twist with bold flavors. Not just spicy, but bold,” says executive chef Kevin Delonay. “Roughly 95 percent of our menu is gluten free. Being a cornbased (cuisine), this comes naturally when you use quality ingredients.” It’s not hard to see the passion and energy that went into creating these dishes. With appetizers ranging from

Apps $8-$18; Entreés $13-$36 • AMBIANCE A vibrant, often surprising tour of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine SIGNATURE DISH Traditional Mexican mole done three ways (classic poblano, smooth pipianor spicy Amarillo, each given a subtle kick of cocoa) and served with achoice of roasted chicken, beef short ribs, pork carnitas or marinated shrimp • KID-FRIENDLY? Yes PRICE

the squash blossom quesadilla and mango “salsita” with plantains mixed right into the dough to the shrimp tamale with poblano chile-green pea puree, panella cheese and chile pulla salsa, it’s enough to whet the appetite and keep going back for more. Enjoy this establishment with floor-toceiling windows highlighting views of the Eagle River and Beaver Creek valley, and release the carefully selected bold flavors by partaking of the “especialidades”

such as huitlacoche-stuffed chicken or the chipotle-rubbed salmon atop sweet potato puree, lacinato kale,and avocado salsa cruda. For carne asada lovers, experience two differently prepared versions of this dish on one plate with achiote-marinated flat iron steak and a bacon-wrapped requeson fresno chile. Of course there’s always black bean soup or the crab cake salad with green apple and jalapeño mustard dressing for those looking for a lighter option. And just in case any of that is not enough to suffice, take a peek at what pastry chef John Rojas concocted especially for modern Mexican menu. Keeping with the gluten free options, there’s quinoa chocolate cake, or relish the more traditional Mexican fried ice cream made with cajeta, pistachio, and vanilla whipped cream alongside a cup of coffee. • Fresh guacamole with ahi tuna. top right The bar stocks more than 100 bottles of tequila. left Authentic tacos with crispy cod, poblano tartar sauce and pickled cucumbers. top left

27


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

KIWI INTERNATIONAL

DELIGHTS & COFFEE CO.

142 E. BEAVER CREEK PLACE, AVON / 970.949.4777 by POLINA LACONTE photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

A

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

AVON

28

“It could take us three days to make one kind of ice cream or gelato,” says owner Martha Trillo. “So why, then, is a kid’s scoop with a gluten free waffle cone only $3.65?” would be an obvious response. “We want people to get to know us first,” says Trillo. “Get to know the quality of our products.” Trillo says everything they make, they make the same way as if they’re cooking at home for their children. “The era that we’re living in right now, everybody is taking care to eat healthy, so we want people to know that coming here is not unhealthy,” she says. Rotating soups of the day include such flavors as roasted pumpkin cream with feta cheese, carrot-ginger-coconut, potato leek and other tasty varieties. And even if you don’t see them on the menu, ask about the tamales — pork and red chile, or cheese and green chile. Both are handmade and completely delicious. It’s also quite an international experience, as the name suggests. It’s the only place in the valley where

Apps: $6; Entreés: $10 • AMBIANCE Hip Mom & Pop with an international flair • SIGNATURE DISH Homemade gelato KID FRIENDLY Extremely

PRICE

you can have a Turkish coffee from a copper dish served with a traditional Turkish delight served on the side. Their Vietnamese and Japanese coffees are authentic, as well. “Everybody can find something that they like,” says Trillo. And that includes moms. As a mother herself, Trillo knows what she likes to see in the places she takes her family. “For our toppings, we use almonds, pistachios, hemp seed, coconut and granola that we make here at home,” she says. “You don’t have to fill your ice cream with gummy bears. You can use almonds instead.” Kiwi International Delights is amazing, pure and simple. • Mint, basil, parsley and avocado gelato. Nutella, strawberry, banana glutenfree crepes with strawberry ice cream and Vietnamese coffee, Mexican Three Delights coffee and Turkish coffee. top

left


29

BEAVER CREEK

BACHELORS LOUNGE

AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH by PHIL LINDEMAN photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

N

ot all après patios are created equal. When I had my first taste of Bachelors Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, it was a mild evening in late September. The 2-year-old cigar bar was wrapping up its summertime “Sip and Smoke” series with a doozy: high-end scotch paired with custom cigars from Dave Haddad, a true Dionysus type and owner of the luxury cigar company Fumar Cigars. The evening was a pitch-perfect introduction to the lounge, what Stephanie Leavitt, the resort’s director of sales and marketing, calls “a Rocky Mountain speakeasy.” The description is fitting for the first cigar bar between here and Denver, but as the event stretched late into the night, I felt vaguely disappointed it wasn’t yet ski season. Before I sound like a snob, let me first explain. Sure, I was tasting Lagavulin 16 year single malt and hand-rolled cigars on the lounge’s luxurious, stone-lined patio, but as a ski bum to the core, patios don’t quite come alive for me until there’s snow on the ground and boots on my feet.

But, again, not all patios are created equal. Some cater to families and foodies, while others are known for live music and shotskis and rowdy college football crowds. A cigar bar hardly fits comfortably into the mix. And that’s just how The Ritz-Carlton wants it to be. Bachelors Lounge is on a different plane, beginning with the urban décor. The entrance hall holds a sprawling cigar humidor and intimate wood-carved bar, which lead to an indoor great room with leather furnishings, sleek wall coverings, a long, lean fireplace and a baby grand piano. Out on the terrace — easily the lounge centerpiece — low tables with private fire pits and plush chairs sit beneath heat lamps. The space is lined with flat screen TVs and rustic whiskey barrels, but it’s semi-enclosed: the walls are high enough to block wind and snow, leaving just enough room for a refreshing breeze, even in the heart of January. After all, what’s après without the outdoors? If the lounge shares anything with other après hotspots, it’s a winterfriendly menu, but even that is given the unorthodox treatment. This season, executive sous chef Ben Christopher channels his love for local herbs and Colorado game into house-

0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE / 970.343.1087 RITZCARLTON.COM/BACHELORGULCH

AMBIANCE

Sultry, contemporary indoor lounge with modern fireplace; 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

made sausages. The bison version is straightforward with just a touch of fennel, salt and pepper, while the elk is a bit more complex thanks to a secret spice blend. They’re served together with spicy white-wine grain mustard, house-pickled vegetables and a toasted baguette. Yet Christopher also knows not to mess with perfection. His French onion soup is done with respect for the classic: A rich veal and chicken stock is cooked for 24 hours and mixed with an infusion of five onions, then served in a traditional crock with parmesan and gruyere cheeses. Then come events like the Sip and Smoke series. This winter, the spiritand-cigar pairings are replaced with four like-minded events, ranging from a craft cocktail class on Wednesdays and Fridays to an artisan cheese and local beer seminar on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The most enticing part: exclusivity, without an exclusive price tag. None of the winter events costs more than $35 and, in keeping with the mountain nightclub theme, they’re only open to folks 21 years or older. And yes, that includes all adults, not just Ritz-Carlton guests. The exclusive-yet-not-exclusive philosophy is built into every lush, elegant inch of the space. And believe me, this ski bum will be back. •


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

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

by KRISTA DRISCOLL photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

D BEAVER CREEK

30

etails from roaming magicians to the build-your-own-sundae cart contribute to the relaxed, kid-friendly atmosphere of the Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouses, and that contemporary casual feel spills over into the menu. Though artfully prepared, each entrée and cut of meat is presented without any ostentatious airs, whether it’s the fall-off-the-bone-tender double bone Colorado lamb chops or the chef’s favorite 16-ounce bone-in rib eye. “It’s more about comfort food,” says Brad Mathews, the Beaver Creek Chophouse’s new executive chef. “I love what we are doing here.” The à la carte steaks and chops are accompanied by a slew of sides that

play a bit with traditional comfort food, including fries drizzled with truffle oil, crisp-tender Brussels sprouts topped with bacon and shaved parmesan and the Chophouse’s signature gourmet lobster mac n’ cheese. “We’re striving for prime cuts of beef and as much local and Colorado produce as we can,” Mathews says, adding that the restaurant is seeking a balance between being eco-friendly and providing the best available ingredients. In keeping with this goal, the Chophouse is sourcing its salmon from a new location off the coast of Chile in the Patagonia region, Mathews says, where the water temperature is perfectly suited for farm raising the fish, making them less fatty. Raised within the state, the lamb and buffalo have a much shorter journey from farm to table.

“We’re trying to keep things from Colorado,” Mathews says. “Items that are locally farmed, locally grown and sustainable.” The Beaver Creek Chophouse boasts a colorful cocktail menu to accompany its cache of surf and turf, including The Heart Beet, made with fresh beets and award-winning Jinn Gin from Berthoud, Colorado, and the barrelaged Extra Age Sour, complex and frothy and a great accompaniment to oysters and other seafood selections. Both Chophouse locations are open for lunch and dinner, with après food and drink specials and the extensive kids’ menu available in between. C Bar, adjacent to the Beaver Creek Chophouse, is also a great spot for après, with $5 draft beer, $2 freshly shucked oysters or a combo of draft beer and three sliders for $10. •

PRICE

Lunch: $12-$23; Apres Plates: $9-18; Apps: $9-$15; Entreés: $28-$49 •••

AMBIANCE

Just steps from the lift in both Beaver Creek and Lionshead, serves an extensive lunch menu and a dinner menu filled with steaks and sseafood with great views from the deck •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Crab cakes, steaks, chops and surf n’ turf •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes — table-side magic, too

Two grilled double bone Colorado lamb chops. top right Seafood stack for two with oysters, crab legs, jumbo shrimp, maine lobster, green lip mussels, avocado and blue crab cocktail and dipping sauces. top left


v a i l d a i l y

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

by CARAMIE SCHNELL photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

T

ucked off the main ski boot drag, the creative minds behind Black Diamond Bistro know they have to offer up a little more incentive to lure you through the lobby of The Charter and into the restaurant. And what’s more enticing than the smell of just-cooked pizza after a day surfing powder? A new pizza oven produces crisp, bubbly New York-style ‘za in minutes. Keep it simple with the Margherita, adorned with mozzarella made inhouse, sliced tomatoes and basil pesto that’s both bright in color and flavor. The menu has traditional afterski offerings —onion rings, burgers and nachos, sure, but each with a special touch. The onion rings are beer battered; Sriracha aioli, grilled onions and Tillamook cheddar are standard on the burger; and the nachos start with house-fried tortilla chips. There are offerings that might seem, well, common, like the beet salad. But this one isn’t ordinary. The deep red root

Apps: $6-$14 Entreés: $18-$26 • AMBIANCE Contemporary American SIGNATURE DISH Lamb osso buco with spaetzle, roasted squash & fresh herbs

PRICE

veggies are salt-roasted and then lightly pickled, adding a tang that complements the creaminess of the Jumpin’ Good Goat Cheese from Buena Vista. Served atop baby kale and topped with a smattering of crispy pancetta and toasted pine nuts, no flavor profile goes untouched. Executive chef Dan Kent strives to source as many organic and local ingredients as he can, all while maintaining reasonable menu prices. Seven of the eight entreés are $26 or less, and the portions are generous. All of the dressings and sauces are made in-house. With a fine-dining background that includes Larkspur restaurant in Vail, Kent wouldn’t have it any other way. From the menu, it’s clear Kent is drawn to comfort food, executed with care. Cue the wild-caught grouper, a fish you don’t encounter on many Vail Valley menus. The white fish is pan-seared

and served atop a lemon risotto cake that’s crispy thanks to its panko coating. Capers floating in the white wine sauce lend little salty bursts, a nice contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes. If you’re craving red meat after a chilly winter’s day, opt for the Colorado lamb osso buco, a signature item carried over from last winter that’s back because it’s so darn tasty. The fork-tender meat is served atop homemade herbed spaetzle, tiny cubes of roasted butternut squash and wilted kale and arugula. Traditional gremolata — breadcrumbs toasted with garlic oil, parsley and lemon — finish the dish, which is hard to quit eating, even if your stomach is full. “It’s perfect after a big day of skiing,” says Karl Krupp, the food and beverage manager. Chef Kent has put just as much thought into the desserts as he has the

rest of the menu, and it’s clear this is a place he really likes to experiment, especially with texture. Case in point, the Devil’s Food Trifle: hunks of chocolate cake are layered with chocolate mouse and coconut crème anglaise. Chocolate crumbles on top give the decadent dessert a bit of crunch, and the hint of

salt inside them makes the chocolate pop. No doubt, it’s a meal worth veering off the well-traveled Beaver Creek path. • top Wild caught grouper with crisp lemon risotto cake and tomato brodo. above Thai glazed fried shrimp with soy lime slaw.

c o m

BEAVER CREEK

BLACK DIAMOND BISTRO

.

31


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

TOSCANINI 60 AVONDALE LANE / BEAVER CREEK PLAZA, BEAVER CREEK 970.754.5590 / TOSCANINIBEAVERCREEK.COM by SUZANNE HOFFMAN photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

A

BEAVER CREEK

32

près-ski is that magical time of winter days in Beaver Creek when shadows lengthen and skiers seek refuge to unwind, share stories and compare EpicMix vertical feet after an invigorating day on the slopes. Toscanini ristorante, in the village’s vibrant heart next to the skating rink, is the perfect cocoon for an Italian-inspired aperitivo experience, and much more. Paul Wade, James Beard awardwinning chef with a talent for music, ear for languages and a love of animals, took the culinary reins at Toscanini in April 2014. His distinguished culinary pedigree spans nearly three decades during which time he captained some of America’s finest restaurant kitchens. Drawing on those diverse culinary experiences, chef Wade designed a compact, but explosively flavorful menu of antipasti, pizzas, pasta and entreés he describes as, “Italian alpine cuisine that includes modern interpretations of classical dishes

and methods inspired by Piedmont, Friuli-Venezia Giulia‎ and Tuscany.” Toscanini’s “Picolli Piatti” après is a great opportunity to graze the small plate menu in the restaurant’s sleek, but cozy bar from 3 until 5 p.m. daily. Chef Wade tantalizes his après-ski guests’ senses with selections of antipasti and pizzas from his dinner menu. Choices include sumptuous savories such as elk carpaccio, grilled calamari, tuna tartare and a fan favorite, house cured wild boar belly with gnocchi. Cheese is serious business at Toscanini. Chef Wade pairs housemade mozzarella with juicy heirloom tomatoes and vibrant green basil to create a colorful caprese salad packed with fresh flavors. Toscanini’s own silky, snow-white burrata adorns the center of the popular bruschetta plate. Soon, the chef will add house-made farmhouse cheddar and Colorado’s own MouCo Cheese Company products to his artisanal cheese board. Wine, beer or spirits are requirements

Small plates: $12-$23 (Après prices between 3-5p.m.) Pasta, Pizzas and Entreés: $12-$100 AMBIANCE Mountain-influenced Italian SIGNATURE DISH 32-ounce prime bone-in beef tomahawk rib eye KID FRIENDLY? Yes, plus Tuscan hot chocolate samples at 3 p.m. daily PRICE

for a complete après-ski experience. Drink specials include $6.00 glasses of house wines, Peroni draft beer and for bubble lovers, La Marca Prosecco. In need of a more spirited imbibing adventure? Try Toscanini’s housemade limoncello or one of the many imaginative craft cocktails on offer. Those seeking greater vinous diversity can choose from the restaurant’s Wine Spectator award-winning 100-percent-Italian wine list featuring a broad array of carefully selected wines from across the Mediterranean country’s oenological landscape. Transformation from après to dinner service occurs daily at 5 p.m. when Wade and his dedicated kitchen team shift into high gear to create adventurous culinary experiences for the early and late-night crowds. Lasagna

Romana is popular with its lamb and veal ragu and San Marzano tomatoes, as is the Local Lamb Duet — a grilled chop and braised shank osso bucostyle, side by side on the plate with goat cheese ravioli. Guests can enjoy three-course prix fixe menus before a show at the Vilar Center downstairs. Whether seated in the main dining room or the bar, both with a panoramic view of the popular skating rink, guests can savor the results of Wade’s attention to detail, creative passion, and incredible culinary leadership skills on display in Toscanini’s open kitchen. Come for après. Stay for dinner. • Pistachio gelato with accoutrements. Harvest Ravioli with bacon, arugula, walnuts, gorgonzola, spaghetti squash and sage cream.

left

above


33

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

by BRENDA HIMELFARB photos by JUSTIN MCCARTY

D

ouglas Hudson, the chef de cuisine at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, is a quiet man. When speaking with him, one gets a feeling of intensity, yet calmness. Like any successful artist his work speaks for him. In fact, the winter menu that he has inspired for the hotel’s restaurant, 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill, is screaming with color and tastes that leave one’s palate, at once, joyful. “I wanted to express winter flavors and a lot of color to play off of the crowds that are coming in for a luxury experience,” explains Hudson, when asked what inspired him to create the menu. And he seems to have a talent to unleash all the flavors that his ingredients have to offer. In order to get the feel and “taste” of the restaurant, we were seated at the “Chef’s Table,” where Hudson brought us dish after dish — from appetizers to dessert — all of them outstanding. And, yes, we had to take home leftovers. For starters we were served lobster chowder, a mini lobster roll topped with a dollop of caviar, followed by oakgrilled Vermont quail over shredded vegetables, charred citrus, toasted seeds and topped with honey mustard vinaigrette. Then came the entreés: milk-fed veal chop, prime steak frites, organic salmon, ginger-glazed duck breast and day boat scallops — each dish a testament to flavors clear and pure. Sides, such as a hickory-smoked beets, purple potatoes and sous vide wild mushrooms, to name a few, are

AMBIANCE

served in individual staubs, which makes for a very unique presentation — especially when ordered in “3’s.” And don’t even ask about the desserts like the apple tart, with fireball salted caramel, green apple sorbet with the candied pecans and vanilla bean crème brûlée or the passion fruit Yule log or the seared carrot cake. ‘Nough said! It’s the blue cheese grits, however, that is a favorite of executive chef Christian Apetz, who makes all sorts of grits available at each meal. “It’s the poor man’s polenta but lends itself to so many people from different places and from all walks of life,“ jokes Apetz who, over the years, has worked with five Hyatt hotels. Like Hudson, Apetz is all about investing in flavor. “We want to know how things are harvested, how cattle are raised, so we can extend that to our guests,” Apetz explains. The restaurant is comfortable, yet sophisticated with a central bar that seats 20, and adjacent to the open kitchen with the 66-inch, wood-fired grill on which most everything from steaks to fish to veggies is cooked, inspiring a plethora of unexpected tastes. And that extends to a kid’s menu, which includes organic salmon, grilled natural New York steak and many more healthy and creative dishes. • top Day boat scallops, red beet puree, hickory-smoked beets, satsuma orange and espresso maltaise. middle Berkshire pork chop with Makers Mark brine, fried Brussels sprouts, compressed maytag bleu cheese and bacon-date relish. right Passion fruit Yule log with white pepper white chocolate pots de creme, dark chocolate and pistachio.

PRICE Appetizers: $12-$14; Entrée: $28-$58 Inviting contemporary • SIGNATURE DISH Milk-fed veal chop KID FRIENDLY Absolutely

BEAVER CREEK

8100


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

THE OSPREY LOUNGE

BASE OF STRAWBERRY PARK EXPRESS LIFT 10 ELK TRACK LANE / 970.754.7400 OSPREYATBEAVERCREEK.ROCKRESORTS.COM/DINING

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

L

BEAVER CREEK

34

ocated in The Osprey Lounge at Beaver Creek, across from the village’s main shuttle stop or over the skier bridge, The Osprey Lounge is ski-in dining at its finest. The newly renovated restaurant offers a hip and comfortable setting in which to warm up, unwind and relax before, during or after your day on the mountain. In a hurry to get on the chairlift? Simply ski up to the new backyard breakfast bar, located just a few feet away from the Strawberry Park Express Lift, and choose one of the three grab-andgo breakfast burritos — from veggie to meat lovers to egg and cheese — and a coffee or hot chocolate, all for $10. Have a little more time to enjoy the ski life? Head into the reconfigured restaurant, which now allows guests to watch the action at the lift through huge windows while ordering from the a la carte menu or feasting on one of the least expensive, gourmet buffets in Beaver Creek. Executive chef David Sanchez brings everything he does up a notch: His pancakes are more cake than flapjack because he bakes the giant, fluffy breakfast favorite, and he adds a Cuban or Copenhagen flair (think fresh salmon) to his eggs Benedict. And then there’s the breakfast burrito. “It’s the best breakfast burrito in the valley,” Sanchez says. “It’s superstuffed with chorizo, smoked ham, smoked pork, potatoes, cheddar cheese and smothered in green chili. It’s a hungry person’s type of burrito.” Lunch features soups, salads, sandwiches and small plates, like crab-stuffed avocado, Cuban tacos and shrimp sliders. “We like to take the familiar and add a twist,” Sanchez says. Take, for instance, his version of chicken wings: We’re talking quail drumsticks wrapped in house-made applewood bacon, with a watermelon radish crudité. Après ski is the perfect time to hand over your skis to the ski valet, slide into the comfortable slippers Osprey provides, and sink into earthy leather sofas and chairs in the lounge area while you sip signature drinks, like the Osprey Martini, a refreshing cocktail with honey and grapefruit; the Rodadora, with muddled sage tequila; or hot drinks like the golden

PRICE

Breakfast: $10-$25 Lunch: $9-$18 for soups, salads, small plates and sandwiches Dinner: $23-$42 •••

SIGNATURE BREAKFAST DISHES

Cuban Benedict, Eggs Copenhagen, breakfast burritos •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes

apple cider spiked with spiced rum. Or, you can pour yourself hot chocolate (complete with marshmallows to add), apple cider or tea for a quick warm up. Dinner features artistically flavored beef tenderloin, scallops, pork, trout and butternut squash ravioli.

With its prime location, modern lounge and cozy dining area, Osprey Lounge is the perfect place for locals to meet up with friends and for guests to start their day. “It’s been a tucked-away Beaver Creek secret,” Sanchez says, “but now we want everybody to enjoy it.” •

top

Crab stuffed avocados. Cuban tacos.

above


v a i l d a i l y

•••

AMBIANCE

Contemporary, rustic cuisine created from locally, farmsourced ingredients blended with warm but crisp service in a relaxing environment •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Buffalos signature vegan Brussels sprouts and Buffalos signature burger •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes

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

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

Y

ou might not expect The RitzCarlton to welcome you into their wide-plank, wooden-floored restaurant with snowy ski boots, but Buffalos extends a hardy welcome to skiers, riders and fine diners alike, with its comfortable, friendly atmosphere. It’s hard to decide which aspect of Buffalos stands out more: the view of Bachelor’s Gulch, with skiers gliding down white runs lined with aspens; the hand-crafted drinks emanating from the long, granite bar surrounded by thick, chunky stone; or the unique cuisine, and the manner in which it’s presented. The Ritz-Carlton delivers everything

first class; even when they serve beets in a mason jar and “meat and potatoes” in a skillet, it’s hardly common fare. They escalate every dish: beet salad transforms into an almost dessert-like appetizer, with light, honey crackers complementing tangy goat cheese mixed with sweet orange confit, served over winter chard, and the Ski Country Cast Iron Poutine wows with duck confit served in a melty blend of seasoned steak fries, cheese curds and gravy . CULINARY SURPRISES Like many upscale restaurants, Buffalos abides by the local farm-totable concept, with its seasonal dishes featuring organic chicken, wild seafood and Colorado meats. However, it takes the dining experience a step further by

working to incorporate all of the senses: dishes emerge steaming hot, offering savory aromas, from the open-air kitchen — where at least five chefs work their magic. And, speaking of the dishes, Buffalos adds the element of surprise by using everything from sleek, square bowls to skillets and mason jars to serve its cuisine. The chefs also please the palate with unexpected twists, like the wild mushroom and farro burger, which melts in your mouth. Of course, they offer more mainstream meals that will send you out to the lifts satisfied, like rib eye steak, a chicken club sandwich or tacos made with sirloin, but it’s worth it to order their more creative dishes — even their garlic whipped potatoes come topped with generous portions of lobster. BOTTOMS UP Bartender Garrett Gosgrove’s libations follow Buffalo’s overall philosophy of having fun with local ingredients and providing the most interactive, memorable experience possible. He tries something new every day, basing

his cocktails on Colorado spirits. His mango and habanero infused tequila starts off tangy, then pops with spice, while his Asian-flavor-infused gin is full of essences reminiscent of tea, and his Harvest Old Fashion will make you wonder if you just downed a homemade pumpkin pie. He stocks his bar with niche Colorado beers and bourbons, as well as extensive, worldwide wines. The contemporary, yet rustic stone and timber, comfort at Buffalos will keep you coming back, be it for a shiraz, a scrumptious S’mores Mason Jar dessert, bison chili, or an indulgent breakfast, ranging from smoothies and banana foster french toast to overthe-top omlettes. Buffalos provides an interactive, upscale mountain lodge experience for everyone. • top Ski Country cast iron poutine with seasoned steak fries, shredded duck confit, melted cheese curds, brown gravy and scallions. above The slope-side Buffalos dining area. left Bison chili with melted Avalanche cheddar cheese and cornbread.

c o m

BEAVER CREEK

PRICE

Appetizers: $14-$16 Entreés: $15-$48

.

35


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

ROCKS MODERN GRILL 26 AVONDALE LANE / BEAVER CREEK LODGE 970.845.1730 / ROCKSMODERNGRILL.COM

Apps: $9-$18; Entreés: $19- $24 • AMBIANCE Casual elegance SIGNATURE DISH Bone-in cowboy buffalo rib eye • KID-FRIENDLY? Yes PRICE

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

M BEAVER CREEK

36

ake your way through the lobby and onto the second level of the Beaver Creek Lodge and into the sleekly rouge-toned mod lighting that sets the sophisticated lively lounge vibe of Rocks Modern Grill. Take notice of the oversized fire pits on the outdoor patio…you’ll want to say hello to them for a very specific reason later. Cruise into the main dining room or even into the reserved private room towards the back and get ready for a treat designed specifically and specially by Chef Andrew Fox. With a history in Jackson Hole and international culinary travels to Switzerland and Venezuela, goodnatured Fox hints that the Rocks staff mantra is “be the opposite of pretentious. We’re here to make people happy.” As one of 12 Kessler hotel properties added to the collection of Richard

Kessler (one of the founders of the Autograph Hotel concept), its affiliation and convenient location overlooking the après shuttle stop and next to the Vilar Performing Arts Center is one of its main draws. Every Kessler property has its own art gallery…this one has its own performing arts center. This year, though, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships being hosted in Beaver Creek with over 700 athletes from 70 countries adds that much more buzz to this Beaver Creek anchor property. Pair a little bubbly Lamarca prosecco with chef Fox’s baby beet salad infused with apple mustard vinaigrette sitting atop an artistic smear of Greek yogurt that seals in and balances the flavors of this starter. Perhaps go with the hot smoked shrimp with jalapeño flakes, or a more traditional elk carpaccio paired

with black truffle aioli, wonderfully smoked sea salt and baby greens. The gluten-free and vegan-friendly butternut squash soup created with coconut milk, ginger-spiced tuile and nutmeg is an equally satisfying option coupled with one of the privately labeled Kessler Collection chardonnays bottled by Raymond Vineyards in California. For a main culinary performance, be impressed by the Colorado-based bone-in cowboy buffalo rib eye with garlic mashed potatoes, prosciuttowrapped asparagus and an ancho demi glace. “You won’t be disappointed,” promises Fox. Or for something of the aquatic variety, the sushi-grade seared Vancouver Island craft-raised Skuna Bay salmon flown in from what chef Fox describes as “Vancouver’s Club Med for

salmon” is served atop twice fried richly brown rice, paired with crispy broccolini and glazed with a kumquat vinaigrette. Remember those lovely fire pits promised a hello on the way in? A little dessert time with them is due. Enjoy plunging the cinnamon dipped dulce de leche churros into the espresso cup of thick and creamy Mexican spiced hot chocolate or roll with the Rocks “Firepit” S’mores with Ghirardelli chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow… any way you go, those fire pits are waiting. • Dry-aged buffalo rib eye with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and ancho chile demi glace. top right Elk carpaccio with black truffle aioli, baby greens shaved parmesan and smoked sea salt. top left


37

BEAVER CREEK

BEANO’S CABIN BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN VIA SNOWCAT-PULLED SLEIGH 970.754.3463 BEANOSCABINBEAVERCREEK.COM by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT and KIMBERLY GAVIN, VAIL RESORTS

B

undle up and snuggle in under the blankets and oversized ponchos provided by your sleigh host for the twenty minute snowcat-drawn openair sleigh ride up Beaver Creek mountain for an exclusive treat in mountain-top dining at Beano’s Cabin. This year’s trek up through the picturesque White River National Forest will take you directly past the finish line and the grandstands set and ready to go for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, taking place Feb. 2-15, 2015. Upon arrival, visit the coat and boot room to exchange your winter wear for optional slippers and the warm atmosphere provided by the floor to ceiling stone fireplace and veteran waitstaff knowledgeable in all things Beano’s. Listen carefully, and you might hear tales of Frank Bienkowski’s original cabin and tales of herb and lettuce farming before Beaver Creek was ever Beaver Creek. This top-notch restaurant steeped in mountain elegance truly focuses on garden-to-table dining and even offers garden dinners on select days by Frank’s original cabin in the summer. While listening to live tunes provided by twenty-five year crooner and guitarist Mac McCaine, start off with the light and

creamy chef’s special squash soup served in individualized copper kettles that match the larger versions hanging above the open kitchen line and the hardwood open flame grill that Beano’s is known for. Executive chef Bill Greenwood captures this feature by designing signature items such as the wood grilled organic egg with mascarpone grits, jowl confit, and Fruition Farm cacao pecora. Chef Greenwood seeks out organic produce from locally grown Eagle Springs Farms, heirloom vegetables and grains, as well as produce from small family-owned farms (mostly in Colorado). Several items offered are prepared sous vide style — a hot water bath of 109 degrees for ten minutes and finished off on the wood fire grill. It’s these type of premium ingredients and specialized techniques that make entreés such as the signature Berkshire porterhouse prepared in a Jim Beam whiskey reduction glaze stand out from any other offerings in the valley. And for vegetarian options, don’t miss the roasted heirloom hominy with black burgundy truffles and herb jus or the roasted potato dumplings in caraway brown butter with hints of fried sage and coal roasted beets. Beano’s benefits from the guidance of

master sommelier Sean Razee. “Where you may find restaurants with wine from specific regions, Beano’s Cabin works to encompass all major wine regions of the world with a very comprehensive wine list,” says George Bigley, general manager. “Beano’s Cabin has been served a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for the wine list, which includes hard to find and sought after wines, plus approachable and comfortable wines that guests can feel confident in.” If at all possible, save room for any of the assorted daily dessert selections of premium sorbets such as the strawberry basil or blackberry pear

scooped into perfectly sized portions. Or even try the maple bacon ice cream or delectable bourbon roasted pear with caramel and crème fraiche ice cream to end the evening on a sweet note. Above all, soak in the overall luxury of the Beano’s Cabin experience and create memories that will be talked about for years to come, lasting far beyond the sleigh ride back to Beaver Creek Village. • Wood-grilled organic egg with Jimmy red grits, jowl confit and Fruition Farm cacio pecora. below The journey to Beano’s is part of the dining experience. above

PRICE

Adults $119 (not including drinks, tax and gratuity); Kids 4 and under are always free.Kids 5 to 12 $55 during the family seatings (5 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.), $75 afterwards •••

AMBIANCE

Comfortable mountain lodge •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Wood-grilled organic egg and Berkshire pork porterhouse •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

SADDLERIDGE BASE OF THE EASTERN SLOPE, BEAVER CREEK BEAVER CREEK ACCESS VIA FREE SHUTTLE AND SKI-WAY 970.754.5456 / SADDLERIDGEBEAVERCREEK.COM by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos courtesy CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT and RIC STOVALL, VAIL RESORTS

G

orgeous train-wheel chandeliers illuminate the SaddleRidge dining room, which is filled with Western artifacts that include the wooden dining chairs. Situated on Beaver Creek’s eastern slope, SaddleRidge provides mountain casual dining with an opulent 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

BEAVER CREEK

38

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 proposed for the dollar bill. “This is an Old West dining experience that you cannot find anywhere else,” says general manager Jeff Baker. “You’ll be

dining in the largest private collection of U.S. Western artifacts, outside of a museum in the United States.” And, to make the experience even more special, for the first season ever, a six-person snowmobile Sherpa 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 rib eye, 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. New this season, guests can ski into the family-friendly restaurant for lunch, which will include steamed mussels, chile rellenos, elk and buffalo chili, rabbit and chorizo pot pie, 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 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. • SaddleRidge has the largest private collection of U.S. Western artifacts outside of a museum. left Elk carpaccio with coriander spiced rare elk tenderloin, arugula, Asian pear and soy vinaigrette. above

Lunch starters and salads: $10-$17; Lunch sandwiches: $14-$19; Lunch entrées: $17-$25; Dinner appetizers and small plates: $9-$15; Dinner entrées: $32-$52 • SIGNATURE DISHES Pan-seared ruby trout, grilled Colorado lamb T-bone, Rocky Mountain elk tenderloin KID-FRIENDLY Yes, with an $18, three-course meal, including fresh fruit cocktail; chicken, grilled cheese, trout or beef; and a chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream • Private ski school lessons have preferred seating at lunch and public guests should call 48 hours ahead • RESERVATIONS REQUIRED PRICE


v a i l d a i l y

•••

AMBIANCE

Creating imaginative, seasonal American cuisine with global accents in a sophisticated, warm environment that captures the essence of the surrounding mountain landscape •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Seared Hawaiian tuna “Hong Kong” Style and Chinois-style Colorado lamb chops •••

SPAGO AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

0130 DAYBREAK RIDGE / 970.343.1555 / WOLFGANGPUCK.COM

by KIM FULLER photos courtesy THE RITZ-CARLTON

T

here’s something about The Ritz-Carlton that always feels right, especially when it sits on the side of a ski slope, like the resort at Bachelor Gulch. The well-known Spago Restaurant entities, created by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, carry their name with respected consistency too. So, pair the top-notch hospitality with exquisite cuisine and get ready for a meal that truly makes memories. Spago Beaver Creek has a sophisticated feel that’s laced with comfort — modern coupled with rustic — just like its refined dining room chairs covered in a cowhide print. Wolfgang Puck himself peppers in his culinary craft into the establishment, especially when he visits every year during the holidays, and chef Jared Montarbo ties it all together with twists of his own. “He likes to add in his input and put the classic dishes on here, and he also gives me the opportunity to do what he has created, add my twist on the dishes and try some new stuff,” Montarbo shares about his kitchen collaborations with Wolfgang, “so I try to include a

lot of different, creative things.” It’s hard to move away from the signature dishes when they have been revered staples for years, like the spicy tuna sesame cones served from the bar menu — smooth and invigorating to the palate with Sriracha aioli, pickled ginger, wasabi soy and Masago caviar. Sommelier Jason Hunter has developed a dynamic wine list, and his knowledge and charisma make it accessible for everyone. In fact, every server in the restaurant is certified as at least a level 1 sommelier, so every pour and pairing is coated with added insight. Hunter loves French Chablis, and you will too, because it says “chardonnay” the Old World way. It goes beautifully with most dishes, which is why it’s so loved, but definitely try it with gifts from the sea, like a first course of Maine lobster and crab salad “Louis.” The shellfish enchants like a siren with the dish’s horseradish panna cotta, remoulade, cherry tomatoes, cocktail sauce and micro basil oil. A lot of the seasonal menu brings in coastal influences,

attributed no doubt to Spago’s California heritage. But a taste of Colorado is on the menu in strong waves, too. The wild mushroom risotto with crispy duck confit pays a mouthwatering homage the local land — made ever better with a glass of Borgogno Nebbiolo.

What always seems to bring diners delight is the seared big eye tuna, “Hong Kong” style. It’s been served to Wolfgang’s guests since the 1980s, and has a pleasant kick that keeps them coming back for more. Montarbo hits home again with the “Chinois style,” Colorado lamb chops, marinated overnight and plated with Hunan eggplant, snap and snow peas and a sweet and spicy cilantro-mint vinaigrette. “I just try to do whatever to make the guests happy, and I add my creative touch on some of it,” Montarbo says. The Spago experience shouldn’t end, so instead it’s always “see you soon” amidst a glass of Ferreira port and dessert — all a slice of gourmet in Bachelor Gulch. • The Spago dining room was designed by New York-based hospitality designer Tony Chi. left Ahi tuna in miso cones. above

c o m

BEAVER CREEK

PRICE

Appetizers: $15-$28 Entreés: $36-$98

.

39


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

wine dinner: $155-$199 •••

AMBIANCE

Private mountainside cabin with plush décor •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Dinner at Allie’s Cabin is a signature experience, made special by an entirely new menu every night •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Best suited for adults

T

BEAVER CREEK

40

here’s a secret to indulging in Beaver Creek’s members-only Allie’s Cabin if you’re not in the “club,” and that’s through its publicly open, weekly wine pairing dinners. (See beavercreek.com for dates.) Your VIP experience begins with an open-air sleigh ride up to the rough-sawn timber cabin, set amid a grove of aspens and decorated with rustic wooden tables and an eclectic collection of fixtures and furniture, which transport you back to the 19th century, when Allie Townsend and her husband, George, became the first settlers of Beaver Creek. Once you settle into the welcoming cabin and its deck adjoining the bar, the evening starts out with a bang, literally, from Thursday night fireworks, which colorfully burst over the village below. Then, the real magic begins, with its blend of fresh ingredients, flavorful combinations and the best, most unique, wines — typically from California. Allie’s Cabin is meticulous in building its weekly wine dinners. The chef takes notes from each winemaker they represent and use those flavor profiles to create the cuisine. “You can come back week after week and experience something completely different each time,” says general manager Robert Battle. “We want people to ask, ‘What is the featured winery at Allie’s Cabin this week?’” “Be prepared to have all new dishes when attending,” Battle says.

ALLIE’S CABIN

LOCATED ON BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN 970.754.5545 / BEAVERCREEK.COM

by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by BOB WINSETT, VAIL RESORTS and RIC STOVALL, VAIL RESORTS

“Executive chef Kirk Weems plays with flavors and is constantly working with new ingredients — everything from octopus to Asian-style cuisine to New Zealand venison and primeaged meats, game, fish and fowl.” His first course may introduce oysters with hints of lime and apple, followed by a second course of hen breast and liver pate. The third and fourth courses may feature tenderloin complemented by lavender, blueberry and heirloom carrots, as well as venison loin. Each course is paired with the perfect wine, followed by a delectable dessert. Weems has mastered the art of pairing wines with his multiplecourse, contemporary regional cuisine by working in numerous Beaver Creek kitchens throughout the past two decades. Each week, within a course or so, the dining room livens up with even more smiles and laughter than when guests entered on the carriage and watched fireworks. “We set the dining room so guests can sit gregariously — sit together with others if they’d like to talk about the wine,” Battle says, “or they can sit in their separate parties, by the fire, or on tables of two. The dinners go

with the pace of the room, and we make sure guests feel comfortable with our attentive wait staff.” Some of the wine dinners are already sold out, so make your reservations soon, so as not to miss an exclusive evening at Allie’s. •

Wine dinners at Allie’s kick off with a fireworks show with Thursday Night Lights. below Each week, a different winery is featured at Allie’s. above


v a i l d a i l y

17 CHATEAU LANE, BEAVER CREEK 970.845.8808 / SPLENDIDOBEAVERCREEK.COM

W

ith each course that arrives from the kitchen, Splendido at the Chateau lives up to its name. But this style of dining is about more than a full tummy. The Splendido experience is one that makes you feel taken care of on a deep level. Chefproprietor David Walford stops in at tables throughout the dining room, chatting with guests, many of whom return season after season. Feeling a tick off after traveling? Walford hand-delivered his cure — bitters and soda — to a woman dining at the table next to ours. Really love a certain course? Mention it to the chef and the recipe might arrive at your table.

Sit near the open kitchen and you can watch the whir of white coats moving in synchronicity in their spotless workspace. Or opt for a table near the lounge, for a better view of spirited pianist and singer Kathy Morrow. Sitting near the middle of the restaurant let’s you peek at both scenes intermittently. Start with bubbles paired with seafood from the restaurant’s impressive raw bar menu. Choose from fresh oysters, littleneck clams, Alaskan king crab legs, Hawaiian tuna poke, Bigeye tuna crudo, or even Royal Ossetra caviar service. The poke is an especially beautiful way to start the meal. Lotus and taro root chips provide the “vehicle” with which to drive the tasty tuna home. A little char decorates the tentacles

c o m

BEAVER CREEK

SPLENDIDO AT THE CHATEAU by CARAMIE SCHNELL photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

.

Mostly $14-$24; up to $150 for Royal Ossetra caviar service; Entreés: $37-$65 • AMBIANCE Intimate and elegant SIGNATURE DISH Whole Dover sole a la meuniere, wood-oven roasted 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. PRICE

on the baby octopus salad, which is infinitely tender thanks to its intensive cooking process — it’s braised for two hours sous vide style before a quick stint on the grill, our waiter tells us. A glass of creamy Hermit Crab viognier marsanne from d’Arenberg is the perfect accompaniment alongside. Longtime diners would revolt if Walford left one of his grand hits off the menu — the whole Dover sole a la meuniere, with its parsley brown butter sauce, for one. Or the wood oven-roasted Colorado lamb rack, accompanied this winter by brown butter cauliflower, fried chickpeas, hemp gremolata and pomegranate jus. The lamb is perfect to quell an appetite that’s extra hearty after a day making fresh tracks. As always, Walford and his team have a steady focus on innovation as well,

bringing in a cast of new creations each season, like country-fried Rocky Mountain trout with pork belly and sweet and sour persimmon; and a dry-aged buffalo strip loin with smoky barbecue carrots and hasselback potatoes. But the slow-roasted Skuna Bay salmon is flawless. “It’s one of my favorite dishes,” our waiter tells us. The tender fish is served atop a sort of deconstructed Borscht, with layers of color and flavor: baby beet puree on the bottom, then braised cabbage and carrots and crowned with the fish and a dollop of crème fraiche and a smattering of sturgeon caviar provide a sweet-and-salty finishing touch. (See photo page 11.) Dessert is not something to skip at Splendido. Pastry Chef Allison Helfer offers not just the traditional Belgian chocolate fudge soufflé, with vanilla crème anglaise, but a lemon blueberry soufflé with St. Germain liqueur, an airy, citrusy affair that’s quite splendid. • Peanut butter-chocolate croustillant, Valrhona choclate mousse, milk chocolate chantilly and roasted banana ice cream. left Char-grilled baby octopus salad with charmoula carrot puree, housemade Greek yogurt, cashews, gaeta olives and Calabrian chilies. above

41


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

HOOKED by SHAUNA FARNELL photos by KRISTIN ANDERSON

L

BEAVER CREEK

42

ittle do you know before entering this unassuming, small and cozy, wood-paneled seafood joint in Beaver Creek Village that you’re in for an experience that will leave even the most critical of foodies reeling with happy belly amazement. Not only does Hooked serve fresher seafood than you’ll find anywhere in the Rocky Mountains but also prepares it in a fashion on par with one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books you read when you were 12. The adventure begins with the restaurant’s signature U-Call-It option, set up like a step-by-step guide on building a simple architectural masterpiece, which is coincidentally what the final presentation resembles.

122 THE PLAZA 970.949.4321 / HOOKEDBC.COM

First, the restaurant’s fishmonger comes by with his plate of whole daily catches —always a surprise, depending on what’s been hand-picked and flown in from Hooked’s eagle-eyed purveyors in Seattle, Alaska and Hawaii. You select your fish, then how you want it prepared. We are not talking about rare or well done. We are talking seared rare with sesame and ponzu sauce, encrusted in macadamia nuts and vanilla beurre blanc or blackened with spicy seasoning … to name a few options. Because the fish is so high-quality, your best bet is to have half the fish flash-fried and the other half served raw, sashimi style. The flash-fried portion is presented on the bone, steaming and emanating rich aromas that can hook your nostrils from across the restaurant, while the sashimi is delicately arranged like rose petals. The fresh catch selection might be the Mediterranean seabream

Entreés: $19-$55. • AMBIANCE Amazing food and libations in a fun and lively atmosphere • SIGNATURE DISH Hot and raw whole fish — chefs use a single whole fish to create amazing an meal of omakase-style dishes serving one filet in hot preparations and the other in raw preparations KID-FRIENDLY? Absolutely

PRICE

(similar to yellowtail). Each smooth petal of the sashimi melts in your mouth as the miso glaze preparation on the flash-fried portion amounts to giant, flaky chunks of meat you pick right off the bone, perfectly crisp and salty from the first outside bite, then so tender it is almost creamy. But fresh whole fish are not for everyone. Luckily Hooked’s menu covers the gamut of burgers, steaks, lamb t-bone and even pasta made in-house. Chef-owner Riley Romanin, who, unlike so many of the valley’s fine dining chefs hailing from New York or San Francisco, is a true local and began his training as a culinary protégé at a local pizzeria before heading to Santa Barbara, and later South America, to hone his craft which expanded to include sushi and other seafood love. One standout warming winter dish is the seafood lasagna, made with tender strips of homemade pasta, succulent white sauce and stuffed with a delightful array of crab, shrimp and smoked mussels so rich in flavor you’d swear there was spiced sausage tucked in it somewhere. Hooked salads are colorful mountains of locally grown produce — carrots,

sprouts, fresh greens — topped with wild rice and candied nuts. There are also expansive selections of exotic oyster, nigiri and sushi rolls comprised of everything from lobster to sweet potato, kampachi to avocado. For lunch the poster-sized menu delivers delights like pork belly tacos, calamari Po’Boys and reubens overflowing with pastrami and house-made sauerkraut. The libation offerings are equally numerous, from rare Spanish cava to creative cocktails like the oneper-person limit Pirata — a Puerto Rican-inspired specialty served inside of a fresh baby coconut (fun to name and pass around!) that puts RumChata to shame. Hooked is so much more than a tasty meal. It’s more like sending your taste buds — and the rest of your senses — through an elaborate and thrilling theme park ride. • top left Pirata cocktails in fresh, green coconuts. top right Seafood lasagna with smoked mussel marinara, crab Alfredo and garlic basil shrimp. above Outdoor patio with new tiki bar.


v a i l d a i l y

•••

SIGNATURE DISH

Seared foie gras with peanut butter and jelly Monte Cristo; chili-crusted elk tenderloin •••

RESERVATIONS (REQUIRED)

Starting at 5:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays •••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes — children’s buffet is $25, with carrots and ranch dressing, salad, roasted chicken, green beans, mac-n-cheese and cookies and ice cream.

ZACH’S CABIN MOUNTAINSIDE, BACHELOR GULCH 970.754.6575 / ZACHSCABINBEAVERCREEK.COM by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT and RIC STOVALL, VAIL RESORTS

T

here’s no better way to begin an intimate dining experience than on the open-air sleigh pulled by snowcat. Crisp snow crunches under the smoothly gliding sleigh as it ascends up Bachelor Gulch and arrives at Zach’s Cabin, a luxury stone-and-log structure characterized by soft light emanating from the expansive windows and long icicles hanging from the snowy rooftop. Inside, Zach’s Cabin envelops guests with its warm glow. White linens, crystal glasses and an enormous fireplace create a welcoming ambiance, high on the hillside. Named after one of the area’s original homesteaders, Zach Allen, Zach’s Cabin is one of the finest restaurants in the Vail Valley, not only because of its romantic and invigorating carriage ride, but also because of its refined cuisine and wine. Zach’s has earned the Wine Spectator “Best Of” Award of Excellence for 10 years in a row, and sommelier Jeremy Gramling ensures

satisfaction by pairing the perfect wine with every à la carte offering. “Our focus is to continue to gain recognition for our list and cater to the wine connoisseurs that visit the Vail Valley,” says general manager and executive chef Tim McCaw. McCaw infuses the restaurant’s contemporary American cuisine with a Pacific flair, blending flavor profiles and ingredients to serve such dishes as the Kusshi Oyster Rockefeller, a Pacific oyster tumbled to mimic the Kumamoto oyster from Japan, blended with smoked bacon. He surrounds main courses with flavors like ginger, chili lime, cherry demi glace and lemon truffle butter. McCaw rarely changes his signature menu, because “we have so many returning guests that love the items they’ve been enjoying for years,” he says. The seared foie gras is one of his standout appetizers; he blends the decadent dish with the downhome flavor of peanut butter and jelly

Monte Christo and vanilla bean. The freshest sashimi, crab bisque and buffalo Carpaccio are only a few other examples of scrumptious starters. This season, McCaw debuts his jalapeno crusted trout and Dungeness crab bisque on his already hardy menu, including staples from chili encrusted elk tenderloin and veal piccata to seared Muscovy duck, accompanied with butternut squash, spinach and pasta tossed in natural jus with grilled pancetta and pomegranate molasses. Zach’s dining experience is hardly complete without sampling bar manager Mitch Graff’s craft cocktail menu. He takes Manhattans,

rums and Old Fashioneds to a new level, with blends of house-made apple bitters, hibiscus-ginger syrup, muddled blackberries and more. And, don’t forget desserts like caramel-soaked toffee bread pudding, which is just one of the sweet endings to an evening at Zach’s Cabin. The final reward comes as you slip under warm blankets in the sleigh and gradually descend into the village, twinkling with festive lights. • top Oysters Rockefeller with kusshi oysters, spinach, smoked bacon stuffing and lemon butter. above Zach’s Cabin is accessible via snowcat-driven sleigh and snowshoe.

c o m

BEAVER CREEK

AMBIANCE

Refined mountain rustic that’s great for special occasions

.

43


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

BISTRO FOURTEEN EAGLES NEST VIA EAGLE BAHN GONDOLA / VAIL MOUNTAIN 970.754.4530 / VAIL.COM by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR AND KIMBERLY GAVIN

A

VAIL

44

fter taking that must-have selfie at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola overlooking the infamous Mount of The Holy Cross fourteener, pull off those gloves and helmet and take a break from the hill for a little nosh with a view. Literally connected to the Eagle Bahn Gondola, this family-friendly establishment offers majestic views of surrounding peaks and the convenience of on-mountain dining. “Bistro Fourteen provides fantastic, family-friendly dining located high atop Vail Mountain, breathtaking views and hearty comfort food,” says general manager John Bailey. “It is conveniently located next to Adventure Ridge, which offers fun, alternative winter activities for the whole family including tubing, ski biking, zip lining, kids snowmobiling and more.” And by offering a three-course children’s menu for $10 for those under 12, there’s sure to be something for even the littlest adventurers in the group. For those with a heartier appetite, there’s plenty to choose from. Warm up by starting with corn & jumbo lump crab dip served with plenty of dip-worthy grilled flatbread, the crispy

wonton beef short ribs with mango salsa and spicy Asian BBQ, or the wild mushroom baked polenta in a gorgonzola cream sauce with enough garlic to make any garlic-lover quite happy. Move along to the portabello mushroom sandwich with grilled onions, herb goat cheese atop a ciabatta roll from none other than the Avon Bakery, or keep it light with the kale Caesar salad crowned with sun dried tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano. The latest concoction to be added to the menu designed by Chef Adam Lawrence is the Colorado lamb shank— braised overnight and served “Fred Flintstone” style atop creamy polenta with sea salted baked kale chips. This delectable choice is almost to the point of ridiculously oversized. Almost. Local ingredients are important to chef Lawrence with cheeses chosen from Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain bison, and herbs grown right in the valley. Beaming, he lets on that they “order Colorado whenever possible.” For the adult sized appetite, also served at Bistro Fourteen are adult beverages to suit any of-age thirst.

Appetizers: $12-$17; Entreés: $20-$32 • AMBIANCE Family-friendly dining with majestic views of surrounding peaks, including the fourteen-thousand-foot Mount of the Holy Cross. • FAMILY-FRIENDLY Yes! Bistro Fourteen offers a three-course children’s menu for $10

PRICE

Warm up with a hot toddy beverage, such as the “Fire On the Mountain,” the “Snuggler,” or a S’mores hot chocolate with Pinnacle marshmallow vodka. With more than 25 beers, and a wine list that’s 60+ bottles strong, there’s sure to be something to find to “cheers” the terrific view. This year Bistro Fourteen is featuring après ski specials Tuesday through Saturday, including live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-6 p.m., with $3 drafts and $5 select wines. Pastry chef Anne Armstrong designed a dessert menu that will not disappoint. End your Bistro Fourteen experience with any one of their petite sweets. Choose from one of the multiple glutenfree options, such as the flourless chocolate cake with caramel cheesecake

gelato and pistachio praline or the coconut panna cotta with guava gelée and mango mousse. Or go all out with the molten Caramelia cake with Bailey’s gelato, Nutella sauce and chocolate almonds. These dessert-lettes are all just the right sizes and just the right prices. Then it’s time to put the gloves and hat back on, maybe take one last picturesque selfie of the unforgettable views, wave to Adventure Ridge, and then cruise back down the hill. • Mustard herb crusted Colorado rack of lamb with jalapeño jelly, red wine demi-glaze, parmesan corn mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. top right Brown butter apple and almond tart with roasted cherry gelato. top left


v a i l d a i l y

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

by PHIL LINDEMAN photos by MATT INDEN

T

c o m

here’s a major misconception about BOL, the sort of misconception frequent diners tend to go over with curious first-timers as they saddle up to the long, gently curving white bar at the combination restaurant/bowling alley in Solaris Plaza. Even servers and bartenders know about it and talk about it. It’s hardly a secret — just a misunderstanding, really. Here’s the Cliff Notes version: Most folks assume BOL is little more than a chic bowling alley with fancy furniture and quasi-gourmet food, like one of those hipster-friendly ping-pong bars in New York City. But the BOL faithful know better. Over the past four years, the restaurant has quietly won converts in the Vail Village dining scene with a vibrant seasonal menu and one of the most electrifying bars in town. Executive chef Julian Smith has the culinary heft to back up BOL’s retro-cool image, and his love for the little things has turned the sprawling, trendy space into a hotspot for distinctive flavors. “I think BOL is a place you can eat every day of your vacation,” says Smith, who’s been with the restaurant since opening day in 2010. “We hit on all notes:

VAIL

BOL

.

comfort food, cosmopolitan food, any of it. I hate to use the word eclectic, and it’s not fusion, either. It’s just a great variety of food to keep you interested.” Sparks of interest begin long before fork meets mouth. BOL is easily one of the largest restaurants in the village, with towering vaulted ceilings and row upon row of indoor columns, but it’s rarely empty or overwhelming. It just feels cool as hell, right down to bowling balls painted like billiards balls and a bar manager, Tacy Rowland, who’s been featured in GQ magazine for the Vegas Cocktail, an award-winning combination of (get this) Bombay Sapphire gin and home-steeped green tea. It runs $14 — pitchers of Session might be better for a bowling party — but it’s impossibly complex and worth the pre-meal splurge. Not to be outdone, Smith’s winter menu is effortlessly elegant to please families and foodies, but it’s also openended, with nearly a full menu available for late-night bowlers. (It’s one of the few kitchens in the village to stay open after 10 p.m. throughout the year.) The shareable starters are typical finger foods given the upscale treatment, like hot-and-smoky chicken wings cooked confit and oysters on the half shell with house-made jalapeño-cucumber mignonette. Then

Apps $8-$18; Entreés $15-$33 • AMBIANCE Cool, cool, cool — from the J. Cotter design artwork on the tables to the flat screens above the bar SIGNATURE DISH Eaton Ranch tomahawk steak frites KID-FRIENDLY? Most definitely

PRICE

there’s the grilled lamb T-bone teasers brushed with mint oil or the bruschetta, another typical dish made memorable when topped with roasted garlic and forest mushrooms foraged locally. Local ingredients are Smith’s gift to BOL. This season, every beef item — including the massive tomahawk steak ($65) — comes from cows raised outside of Edwards at Eaton Farms, a small operation owned by Mike Eaton, the grandson of Vail cofounder Earl Eaton. Eaton provides beef to BOL and BOL only, making it the very definition of farm to table. The hybrid striped bass is another local ingredient, sourced from a small hatchery in southern Colorado. Fish is delivered three times per week, so

it’s never seen a freezer by the time it’s served, skin delightfully crispy and meat delectably moist, in a bowl with greens (actually a hybrid between kale and Brussels sprouts), quinoa-stuffed peppers, cherry tomatoes, pearls onions, and broth made with tomato juice and fish stock. It’s the kind of juice you’ll drink straight from the dish, upscale trappings be damned, right before finishing your frame at the lanes. Bowling alleys will never be the same again. • “3 Spreads and Bread” with black olive hummus, raita, and white bean romesco served with TomCat Bakery bread. left Duck buns with hoisin barbecue sauce and cilantro radish slaw. above

45


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

ELWAY’S VAIL 174 EAST GORE CREEK DRIVE LODGE AT VAIL, VAIL 970.754.7818 / ELWAYS.COM/VAIL by KATIE COAKLEY photos courtesy DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

E

lway’s was bumping when we entered the restaurant. The entire arrival was built upon a sense of entry, from ascending the staircase from the lobby of the Lodge at Vail to skirting the bar (sneaking a peak at the open kitchen) to arriving at the table. Every detail created anticipation, culminating as the napkin was laid on the lap and the menu was opened. It’s like attending a performance, but not a stuffy opera —Elway’s is a modern concert. Lively chatter and the clink of cutlery created the background music of this culinary presentation; the menu set the melody, which consisted of a bold line with a few select, tasty flourishes. Elway’s is, first and foremost, focused on steak — U.S.D.A. Prime hand-cut

VAIL

46

steaks, to be precise. It’s the quality and presentation of the steak that really sets Elway’s apart, explains Ned Robinson, the kitchen manager for Elway’s. “We have one supplier and the variety of cuts that we have — you won’t find that anywhere else,” he says. The cuts of steak range from a filet to a New York strip to a bone-in rib eye to a porterhouse. It’s not just the variety of cuts though, it’s also the sizes: portions range from 8 ounces to a hearty 22 ounces. Flavored with Elway’s signature seasoning, a proprietary blend

of spices that elevate, not dampen the qualities of the meat, the steak is a rock star, drawing in the audience. However, don’t be surprised when the steak arrives in the spotlight on the plate, ready for its guitar solo. “It’s only the steak on the plate,” says Robinson. “Sides should be shared. Our steak is the star — we focus on what we’re good at.” While the appetizers and sides may be the band, there’s no need to relegate them to the liner notes. Order the lobster cocktail (pictured on page 12) for its sweet succulence, but be prepared for the floorshow: It arrives in a vessel perched on a bed of dry ice. The various dipping sauces bring out the subtle nuances of the South African shellfish without overpowering it. However, the breakout star of the appetizers is the lamb fondue: grilled lamb chops are served with a greenchile cheese fondue and roasted sweet potatoes. Gorgeously seared and succulent, the chops are excellent on their own but really shine with the play of the rich fondue. Be prepared for a standing ovation for this dish

PRICE

Apps $19 Entreés $17-$63 (most around $31) •••

AMBIANCE

Contemporary steakhouse •••

SIGNATURE DISH

USDA Prime steaks or lamb fondue •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

(and request extra tortillas to liberate every smear from the bowl). It’s these notes on the menu — bright flavors like truffled beet and mozzarella salad and classic comfort like warm-from-the-oven cookies — that make Elway’s a headlining show in Vail’s culinary line-up. • top 28-ounce porterhouse steak with duck egg and caramelized onions. left Apple and bourbon raisin bread pudding with pumpkin ice cream, macadamia nuts and bourbon caramel.


v a i l d a i l y

.

c o m

PRICE

Apps: $16 Entreés: $32 Energetic, interactive, contemporary and super cool •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Black cod with sweet miso •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes — we love kids that love fish!!!

A

visit to Matsuhisa is more than a night out to dinner — it’s an experience for all the senses. Located in the Solaris complex in Vail Village, the experience begins from the moment you walk in the door and the staff welcomes you with a chorus of “Irishamase,” which is Japanese for “welcome, we are here to serve you.” The sleek dining room is inviting with both mountain views and a warm glowing fire that set the atmosphere for the evening. Start the night with one of their expertly crafted cocktails like the Matsutini, which combines fresh ingredients with their own Nobu specific sake, Hangar one vodka and a champagne float. If cocktails aren’t your style, there is also an extensive wine and sake list to please all palates. A big part of the magic of Matsuhisa is the extraordinary level of service. The staff is attentive and incredibly knowledgeable about the restaurant’s products, imparting snippets of information about each dish you’re served — including the chef’s recommendation on how best to enjoy it. They are also happy to make suggestions on food and drink pairings for a more personal touch, or guide you through either of the two tasting menus available each night. “We train our servers to individualize the guest experience,” says executive chef Brian Busker. If you are expecting a classic Japanese sushi restaurant, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the South American flavors interwoven throughout the food. Nobu Matsuhisa is world renowned for combining traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian and Argentinian ingredients. The tiradito roll is a perfect example, with avocado,

MATSUHISA VAIL 141 EAST MEADOW DRIVE / SOLARIS / 970.476.6628 / MASTUHISAVAIL.COM photos and text by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

tempura shishito peppers and a creamy spicy sauce rolled up together and topped with marinated white fish and a Peruvian rocoto chili paste. Here flavor balances beautifully with texture and presentation, with each dish creatively combining all three elements into a piece of edible art. Japanese red snapper sashimi that is buttery on the palate is dressed with dry miso, tiny garlic chips and finished with a yuzu dressing and olive oil. Each mouthful of the dish is both soft and crunchy with a citrus and savory finish. This season, Busker and head sushi chef Toru Watanabe are especially excited about the new look of the menu, which as been redesigned to showcase some of their specialty items with a focus on incorporating more seasonal ingredients, including some different fish. “We are focusing on making our menu a little bit smaller so that the chefs have more time to create seasonal specials for a guest, so they are not constantly trying the same things over and over again,” says Busker. He is also enthusiastic about their new stone oven that will bring with it some new menu items, including nightly hot pot dishes like the house-made silken tofu with crispy Brussels sprouts tossed with an Ume Tosazu sauce.

For both Busker and Watanabe, the best part about working for Nobu Matsuhisa at his Vail restaurant is the creative control they are given to express their own “koroko” — Japanese for heart — through their cuisine. It is this koroko that is obvious throughout the Matsuhisa experience, from the greeting to the desserts, and it leaves you looking forward to your next visit. •

top Japanese red snapper sashimi with dry miso, garlic chips, chives and yuzu lemon juice and olive oil. above House-made silken tofu hotpot with crispy Brussels sprouts tossed in an ume tosazu sauce.

VAIL

•••

AMBIANCE

47


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

BLUE MOOSE PIZZA

by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

G

VAIL

48

rabbing the mini bucket of crayons, we were ready. I don’t think we had enough talent in our group to make the wall of fame at the Blue Moose Pizza in Lionshead —the 5th graders featured on the wall definitely had us beat — but looking at the blank paper tablecloth canvas, we were willing to try. The crisp sky blue walls contrasted by the red and white checkered tablecloths sets the casual tone, unless of course one chooses to dine on the outdoor patio, which can definitely be enjoyable in the warm Colorado sunshine and winter skiwear. The biggest question, do we order any one of the specialty pizzas by the slice, such as the chicken alfredo pizza topped with bacon and spinach or the cowboy pizza layered with green peppers, smoked gouda, cilantro, and BBQ sauce? Perhaps we should go with a whole pie? Or do we go an entirely different direction with the homemade chicken parm sandwich? Choices, choices.

Restaurant manager, Chris “Bru” Philipps, took a moment to describe the pizza crust choices available while simultaneously sitting down to draw his own cartoon blue moose on the table. While highlighting some of the specials designed by corporate chef Jay McCarthy, mastermind behind the menus at all Blue Moose locations, including Beaver Creek and their newest location in New Braunfels, Texas, Philipps explains, “You have choices and options for everyone in the family.” He continues with a grin, “You can go the route of regular, whole wheat, or one we are starting to get a lot of requests for, gluten free.” That would be the homemade hand tossed traditional Blue Moose crust, the stone ground whole-wheat crust, or the aforementioned gluten free alternative. Thanks for the options Blue Moose! I personally was leaning toward the autumn pizza topped with crimini mushrooms, truffle oil, and goat cheese, but could easily be swayed to go in another direction with a slice of Mediterranean salad pizza with feta cheese and a roasted pepper pesto hummus base topped with locally grown Colorado

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

PRICE

Apps:$5-$9; Entreés: $9-$14 •••

AMBIANCE

A lively Italian eatery Located in the heart of Lionshead and Beaver Creek Villages serving an extensive menu of pizza, salads, subs and hot Italian entreés. •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Hand tossed New York-style pizza •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Crayons with butcher paper tablecloths, kids menu and homemade cookies

artichokes. Either one would be a win, and since they can make any pizza by the slice, (even if you choose from the “build your own” part of the menu), you don’t have to stick to just one. That choice would have to wait, because we were ready to start with the ½-pound Moose wings served with round waffle cut “buffalo chips.” Paired with a “Mooserita” and one of the many local Colorado brews on hand, we were off to a good start. Actually, that’s why we were there. Just steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola and adjacent to the ice skating rink on the square, the daily happy hour of three pizza sliders plus a flight of Colorado beers for a mere $6 was worth taking a pause from the slopes. That, and the freshly baked grab-and-go cookie pack. Who doesn’t want to finish up with a stack of individually wrapped warm cookies to go hit the hill? Yes, please! • Autumn pizza with crimini mushrooms, parsley, parmesan, garlic, truffle oil, olive oil and goat cheese. top right Moosarita with Herradura silver and blue curacao. top left


v a i l d a i l y

•••

AMBIANCE

Gluten-free European cuisine with fresh ingredients •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Oven-roasted elk rack •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

LUDWIG’S by POLINA LACONTE photos by JUSTIN McCARTY

E

uropean hospitality has always shined through at the Sonnenalp, and dining at the hotel’s signature restaurant brings a warmth of tradition to the table. Wood trimmings and refined furniture fit nicely amidst the low-lit ambiance of the space, and while guests return to Ludwig’s to keep the heritage of Vail alive in their hearts, the restaurant has rolled out a new menu this season in the spirit of vitality. The brand new menu consists of entirely gluten-free dishes. Everything on the menu, from the sauces and house made pastas to the breads and desserts, is sans wheat. Ludwig’s is the first restaurant in the valley to exclusively offer gluten-free cuisine. Products include fish raised in a natural ocean environment, and beef from a sustainable ranch, fed with natural grass and mountain spring water. The foie gras is

THE SONNENALP / 20 VAIL ROAD 970.479.5429 / LUDWIGSRESTAURANT.COM

from a small farm, made using artisanal, humane methods of feeding the cage-free ducks. The menu is local, organic, healthy, and contains pretty much every trend and buzz word that’s hot right now — yet, you may not even notice. And that’s the idea. “With the whole menu, I don’t want it to look like it’s weird, or too healthy, or there’s something missing,” says Chef Florian Schwarz. “We want to be traditional Bavarian or European ... but we realized that people are looking for that — local, organic, healthy.” With 25 years in the business, the European born and trained chef Schwarz comes from a classic kitchen. He doesn’t consider himself to be “new age,” but he always appreciates a challenge. “Last year we had a lot of people asking for gluten-free, not because they had Celiac disease, but because they wanted to eat healthier,” he shares. “So we said ‘let’s do something nobody else does here in the valley, let’s make the whole menu gluten

free ... it’s going to be tough, but let’s do it.’” The change was easier on some members of Schwarz’s kitchen staff than others. “Our pastry chef, I told him and he just turned around and walked away,” says Schwarz. “But now he’s so into it, and really coming up with new ideas.” In the new menu, Schwarz uses quinoa with his Chilean sea bass. He has gluten-free couscous alongside the shrimp. And they make an ice cream out of foie gras, served with a white-wine gelatin. “If you order the elk, the crust is gluten-free, but it’s still a classic dish,” Schwarz explains. “It comes from Europe with the red cabbage, and it has an American influence with the sweet potato purée, and I think it really fits in here because it’s kind of a mixture, what we do.” •

top Variety of foie gras with ice cream and brioche, terrine and apple salad, seared and sweet wine gel. above Chilean sea bass with black and white quinoa, pineapple, asparagus, squash, bacon and green curry foam.

c o m

VAIL

PRICE

Apps: $12-$21 Entreés: $29-$49

.

49


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

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

AMBIANCE

French-American contemporary cuisine for lunch, après and dinner •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Dover Sole Meunière •••

KID-FRIENDLY

There is a kids’ menu

LA TOUR

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

by WREN BOVA photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

L

VAIL

50

a Tour is every first date gone right. You know what I mean — when the chemistry is crackling and everything feels slightly more intense, but you’re so comfortable you know you can do no wrong? That’s La Tour. It could be the decades of experience chef-owner Paul Ferzacca has at the stove, the lively warmth in the dining room or the nicely curated wine list. It might just be those playful sculptures on every table, or all the lingering good feelings from diners past. But whatever the reason, La Tour simply works in a fun and invigorating way — just like those terrific first dates. If you happen to be on a first date, don’t hesitate to go for the hibachi-grilled oysters. It’s nice to have a little fanfare, and the hot grill sending aromatic scents into the air is part presentation and part flavor. Play coy with the wild Burgundy escargot swimming in a buttery sauce persillée, or demur with the Hawaiian kampachi sashimi and ginger-pickled Asian pear and yuzu ponzu. Italian by blood but Chicagoan by birth, Ferzacca is inspired by classical French techniques and contemporary, global ingredients. Most of the valley’s young chefs know him as a mentor, and he’s always willing to give culinary

advice to the home cook. But this season, you should take his menu advice and go for the duck. “It’s just ridiculously delicious,” he says. It’s hard to argue with the pronouncement. The pan-roasted breast is served with a hibiscus-infused confit duck leg. After the leg is cooked in its own rendered fat, the chefs pick the meat off the bone and gently heat it up in a little duck fat with dried cranberry and hazelnuts. This is all very decadent and delicious, but it’s the grilled romaine and the blood orange vinaigrette that take it from tasty to amazing. From the pop of the citrus to the bitter flash from the grilled lettuce, it’s all hands on deck for this one. “The leg is so good, you don’t even need the duck breast,” Ferzacca says. Other menu standouts this season include the Colorado lamb loin with house-made ricotta gnocchi and black truffles (simple, delicious, great flavor) and the buffalo petite filet — think filet mignon but make it more tender, leaner and (this is the beauty of bison) more flavorful. Served over exotic mushrooms with a demi glace-based wine sauce, it’s the potatoes that knock this out of the park. The dutchesse potatoes are mashed potatoes enriched with a bit of egg yolk, and Ferzacca pipes them atop roasted bone marrow. After that there’s no turning back. And that’s just as it should be when you’re out for a night on the town. • Buffalo petite filet with red-winebraised king trumpet mushrooms, grilled scallions and bone marrow dutchesse potatoes. left Colorado lamb tenderloin with black truffles, house-made ricotta gnocchi and grilled scallions. above


51

VAIL

FLAME

AT THE FOUR SEASONS 1 VAIL ROAD / 970.477.8650 / FLAMERESTAURANTVAIL.COM by POLINA LACONTE photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

T

o arrive at Flame, one must travel through the luxurious Four Seasons hotel, past glass sculptures and along carpeted floors into the center of the world-class resort. If this sets a certain expectation, the service and presentation at the restaurant is well equipped to meet it. “We get a little competitive with the other chefs when it comes to presentation,” says executive chef Kevin Erving. “Whoever makes the food float, wins.” Indeed, an item as simple as the classic shrimp cocktail becomes an

exciting showpiece when it hovers in front of you on a toothpick-thin skewer slotted into your plate like a peg on a cribbage board. Once again, if presentation like this sets a certain expectation as to the taste, the food meets the expectation and more. The menu is fun, steakhouse styled, blocked off into sections including “Eat your veggies” and “It’s cold in here.” When you really get into the menu, you’ll notice another funny thing. After walking through the hotel, sitting down at Flame and receiving a great introduction to the place from the very professional staff, you’re just

PRICE

Breakfast $6-$19, Lunch $12-$24, Dinner $26-$54

AMBIANCE Fun, fun, fun dining with quality ingredients and excellent service SIGNATURE DISH Colorado Prime steak

not expecting to see corn dogs and doughnuts listed on the menu. However those are two of the most memorable items at Flame as they’re done so well. The corn dog is hand made with an elk sausage, so delicious and unique it becomes truly unforgettable. And

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

eating the meat on a stick is fun, as well, convenient and easy for dipping. We’d recommend getting several corn dogs and asking for Flame’s full selection of sauces including Nagano horseradish cream, black pepper relish, Charleston truffle barbecue, traditional red wine, yuzu butter and garden chimichurri. A main course at Flame can be as over-the-top or modest as you choose — buy Kobe beef by the ounce or try something unique like a bison rib eye. Erving recommends the Wagyu flat iron with foie gras butter. “It’s 10 ounces so it’s a good, entry-level Wagyu,” he says. “Everyone wants Wagyu but they don’t want a massive steak.” Flame’s dessert doughnuts taste similar to a really good Krispy Kreme doughnut from when that outfit was at its prime, however Flame has improved it vastly by adding the most obvious ingredient to improve anything — bacon. And not just any bacon. Caramelized and candied, it’s a dessert bacon and again, it’s a truly unforgettable item for how well it’s done. Sure, Flame offers the sort of quality you’d expect at a Four Seasons property, but it’s decidedly unfussy, comfortable — and fun. Flame is lots of fun. • Herbed shrimp skewers with tomatoes. Dry-aged bone-in bison rib eye and Angus rib eye with crispy Brussels sprout kimchi, smoked gouda, dill macn-cheese and grilled asparagus. top

left


E AT

PRICE

Appetizers: $14-$28 Entreés: $28-$48 •••

AMBIANCE

Modern Chic •••

FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Yes. Also, The 10th has partnered with Kids Live Well to promote healthy menu options

THE 10th

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

by KIM FULLER photos by RIC STOVALL / VAIL RESORTS, JACK AFFLECK / VAIL RESORTS

W

VAIL

52

hile a lot of restaurants use beautiful paintings or photographs to capture an ambiance, the picture-perfect scenes at The 10th are of snow-capped peaks under a bright blue sky, framed together by floor-to-ceiling windows. “The cozy, mountain-chic ambiance at The 10th, views of the Gore Range from the main dining room, and the modern alpine-inspired menu are second to none,” says Vishwatej Nath, executive chef. Slide out of your ski boots and into a pair of their complimentary slippers, and the mountain views seem to get even better. Lunch at The 10th draws skiers and snowboarders off the mountain and into a home away from home. Cozy up in the bar lounge by the fireplace, or sit at a table with friends beneath the high-beamed ceiling in the center of the lodge. For dinner, the experience stays rustic and energetic, but softens

naturally into a little more refinement. Take a starlit gondola ride to the middle of Vail Mountain to start the evening, and complete it with a true taste of modern, alpine cuisine. Nath describes the food as a “salute to the alpine food cultures of Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria and Germany, combined with influences from our own Rocky Mountain region.” Nothing says Colorado cuisine like a dinner appetizer of herbed smoked buffalo carpaccio with charred grape compote and an arugula-frisée salad. The local inspiration continues with the molasses-spice rubbed elk loin entrée, served with sweet potato puree, corn succotash and cranberry bourbon jus. “Colorado has a rich abundance of small, family-run farms that we are proudly associated with, and who deliver high-quality products every day” Nath explains. “Their passion to ensuring they produce the best, so that we can work with the best, is a great bond from which I draw a lot of inspiration.” Getting on the mountain always seems a little more fun when there’s a good place to stop mid-day. For

lunch, it’s hard to beat a steaming dish of heirloom chicken and pheasant pot pie, a delicious and hearty meal complete with winter vegetables and sage vermouth cream. After a morning on the slopes, it will defrost your toes and rosy cheeks with every bite. Kids can take a big bite out of The 10th, too, as the restaurant has partnered with Kids Live Well to promote healthy menu options. What they’ll love the most, however — as will everyone else at the table — is a sweet finale of chocolate fondue. Silky and decadent, it’s a Valrhona milk chocolate dipping sauce, served with mint marshmallows, fresh berries, rice crispy treat bites, honeycomb and chocolate chunk cookies. •

Pheasant pot pie. Lamb chili. bottom right The 10th’s bar area. left

below


v a i l d a i l y

AT THE LODGE AT VAIL THE LODGE AT VAIL, A ROCKRESORT 970.754.7872 LODGEATVAIL.ROCKRESORTS.COM by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR and MARLA MERIDITH photos by JUSTIN MCCARTY

I

f you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy a simple yet hearty meal or just a quick, delicious snack with a warm beverage fireside after a full day on the ski slopes, Cucina could be this season’s best-kept secret. Nestled in the historic Lodge at Vail, Cucina offers guests a family friendly dining experience in a relaxed “mountain comfort” atmosphere in the heart of the Vail Village. Best known for its lavish breakfast buffet, this winter the restaurant is branching out into dinner service with an emphasis on après ski and providing great comfort food at an affordable price. The restaurant itself is warm and cozy with both an indoor and outdoor fireplace and huge cushioned chairs that easily

c o m

VAIL

CUCINA

.

suck you in to unwind after a hard day of skiing. With a European ski lodge feel to it, guests can be forgiven for letting après ski easily slip into dinnertime as they watch the fire burn or enjoy sports on one of the three TVs in the bar area. Warm up around the outdoor fire pit with one of their fireside warmer cocktails like the autumn chai with Bailey’s, brown sugar, chai and cinnamon while you reminisce over the day’s best adventures and misadventures . The new après ski and dinner menu is designed to have something on it for everyone. There are some classic après favorites like “fire pit” wings and chicken quesadillas that make a great shared snack. The cheese board served with a selection of four cheeses, honey,

membrillo, fresh berries and crackers along with the potabello fries offer a great alternative to the traditional après food choices. Pair this with a glass of wine or vintage port from the extensive wine cellar. The house-made breaded mozzarella medallions is a play on fried mozzarella sticks — but creamy and full flavored — served with marinara, arugula, truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Chef Rudy Williams cites it as a favorite. If it’s dinner you’re after, Cucina offers hearty comfort food made with quality ingredients. Sous chef Chris Thielen explains they are trying to elevate the food quality while keeping it fresh and simple. Pasta bowls served with house-made pasta sauces or a juicy 8-ounce Wagyu beef burger with Manchego cheese, loaded with truffle onions, mushrooms and baconnaise, served on a pretzel bun, will send the hungriest appetite into a state of sleepy satisfaction. The lighter meal options include butternut squash soup with avocado oil and fresh nutmeg and the tuna taco salad. Being family friendly, Cucina offers weekly specials including Kids Eat For Free on Thursdays and in-house smoked barbecue paired with

PRICE

Small plates from $5 Entreés from $13 •••

AMBIANCE

Family friendly, mountain-comfort cuisine with an outdoor fire pit •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Pasta Bolognese •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes — kids eat for free on Thursdays

a wine or beer of the day on Fridays. When it comes to what Cucina does best though, breakfast is still the top of the list for Williams “While we’ve introduced all new menus at Cucina, we do breakfast better than anyone. We have an extensive breakfast buffet serving everything from omelets and waffles to order, fresh juice and smoothie station, great pastries and Danishes, and everything in-between.” • top Bacon-wrapped hot dog, avocado, tomato cucumber, served with a side of house pickled vegetables. left Desserts are popular and everchanging, such as the pistachio baklava.

53


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

GAME CREEK RESTAURANT

GAME CREEK BOWL, VAIL MOUNTAIN ACCESSIBLE VIA SNOWCAT FROM EAGLES NEST 970.754.4275 / GAMECREEKVAIL.COM by KIM FULLER photos by JACK AFFLECK, VAIL RESORTS and DANN COFFEY, VAIL RESORTS

T

yrolean tradition and alpine hospitality is what has kept guests warm and well fed for years at Game Creek Restaurant on Vail Mountain. The Europeanstyle chalet sits at 10,300 in elevation on the mountainside of Game Creek Bowl, offering an innovative menu that brings dashes of contemporary into the classics. “I believe the majority of our guests want a balance of innovative and familiar experiences,” explains Collin Meyer, executive chef of Game Creek Restaurant. The menu features dishes inspired by the American West, all delicately accentuated with flavors from around the world. Meyer’s sumac Colorado lamb dish with muhammara takes local meat and adds a Turkish twist. The lamb, as well as the Rocky Mountain elk with achiote, have been long-running favorites on the

Game Creek menu, but Meyer said the wild mushroom dolma in sherry fondu, and the sea bass “bouillabaisse” are quickly growing in popularity. “The techniques used to prepare them are mostly rooted in French haute cuisine along with a few modern twists and methods reaching to the Far East,” adds Meyer. “Game Creek’s philosophy is to offer a dining experience of a lifetime by seeing to our guests’ every desire in an unbelievably beautifully location, all while maintaining an unpretentious atmosphere.” As a private club during winter days and a public restaurant in the evenings throughout the year, Game Creek does maintain a welcomed feeling of exclusivity, but that’s simply because how often does anyone get to enjoy

fine dining on the side of a mountain? The club and the restaurant were the vision of Pete Seibert, one of the founders of Vail. Seibert wanted to emulate the Eurovvpean chalets that he stayed in during his time overseas with the 10th Mountain Division. It was in 1996 that Game Creek opened — a revered space that has stayed true to its roots, while staying innovative in its longevity. This winter, the ginger-dusted Long Island duck breast main course with pomegranate, baby turnip and anisescented yam is a menu stand out. This dish and the rest are easily accentuated by the restaurant’s robust wine program,

overseen by Joshua MacLean, which has won the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” consistently since 2010. “Our wine list features a broad selection of vintages, varietals and price points from around the world,” Meyer explains. “Some of Josh’s favorites are a 1993 Eyrie Pinot Meunier from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, a 2011 Dujac from Charmes-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits sub region of Burgundy, France, and a 2007 Rudi Pichler Riesling from Wachau, Austria.” So sit back and raise a glass to Vail as it was dreamed to be, and to the dream that lives on today. •

PRICE

Appetizers: Prix Fixe menu Entreés: Prix Fixe menu •••

AMBIANCE

VAIL

54

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

FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Yes, it offers a three-course menu for diners 12 and under


v a i l d a i l y

.

c o m

VAIL

LARKSPUR RESTAURANT by BRENDA HIMELFARB photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT and BRENT BINGHAM

L

ast January, Thomas Salamunovich, owner and culinary director of Larkspur, one of Vail’s favorite restaurants, looked at his business model and decided that he didn’t want to do it anymore. “I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing,” he explains. And I’ve never been that way. “I’ve always been passionate about

what I do and where I’ve worked – and I’ve worked at the best places in Europe and San Francisco. And I began to think about what could bring us joy and energy again and after a few trial and errors, we came up with this business model that hopefully satisfies the needs of the community, of our guests and ourselves.” The “we” that Salamunovich is referring to is his staff or rather his restaurant family. As he explains, Larkspur, which is a grand space for any production, is “an events venue with limited restaurant hours.” Not to

458 VAIL VALLEY DRIVE / GOLDEN PEAK, VAIL 970.754.8050 / LARKSPURVAIL.COM

worry — you can still enjoy an intimate dinner on any Friday or Saturday night (other evenings are reserved for private functions) and enjoy the fabulous food for which the restaurant is known. Yes - they’re still open for lunch daily. What’s more, because of it’s unique location, at Golden Peak, you can ski down to their market, get a “grab and go” or pick up a famous Larkburger and other mouthwatering goodies and head right back up the hill. “Essentially, we decided to reinvent ourselves,” continues Salamunovich. “We looked at our business and, really, our biggest strength first and foremost is our people. It’s group functions. It’s doing events for people and showing them hospitality and completely catering to their needs.” And for any group function, it’s Nathalia Souza, Director of Sales, you would want to contact. She has creating a joyful event down to a science! “Taking care of everybody, everything, every last detail and, of course, especially the food is what we’re about,” she says, enthusiastically. “The quality

PRICE

of the product and the quality of the service we provide in every little detail is so important. It’s the plate, it’s the food, and it’s the purveyors that we use. It’s the staff that we hire and the hours and hours of putting everything together to have things just right.” “When this business model happened, I told myself that I’m going to walk in today and I’m going to act as though I’m a new owner and whoever used to own this business just walked out the door and left what’s ever here and we started from scratch,” reflects Salamunovich. “We work at doing everything with fresh eyes. If it makes common sense, and it’s thoughtful, generous, logical and sound financially we just do it! And that’s because my staff is so hardworking and dedicated. “Ultimately, we’re in the business of trying to create memories. So, we’re in the memory business. And hopefully it’s a positive memory business.” • Larkspur Staff photo. Campari tomato, rocket and pesto pizza. left Spiced Fuji apple tart. top left

top right

Appetizers: $11.50 - $19.50; Entrée: $16.50 - $42.50 Contemporary • SIGNATURE DISH Veal Scallopini KID-FRIENDLY? Larkburgers & pizza

AMBIANCE

55


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

Apps: $6 - $10 Entreés: $15 - $19 AMBIANCE

Modern contemporary with a Japanese twist SIGNATURE DISH

Starter: Gyoza. Main: Chashu bowl (ramen bowl with Tonkotsu broth, pork belly, snow peas, bean spouts, soft egg) KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

NUDORU RAMEN BAR 2161 NORTH FRONTAGE ROAD, VAIL / 970.476.7570 / NUDORUVAIL.COM by KATIE COAKLEY photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

T

VAIL

56

echnically, Japan is more than 5800 miles from Colorado. However, stepping into Nudoru Ramen Bar in West Vail provides the opportunity to experience a taste of Japan, one slurp at a time. If the word “ramen” evokes an image of the freeze-dried block of noodles and shiny packet of unidentified seasoning that was a dorm-room staple, it’s time to make some new memories. Ramen is rising in popularity, fast-becoming one of the most popular exports from Japan, along with sushi, anime and karaoke. At Nudoru, chef and owner Chris McKenzie is passionate about ramen and the elements that make an exceptional ramen experience — starting with the ingredients. “We’re as scratch as we can be in an 800-square-foot restaurant,” says McKenzie. “We could buy teriyaki, sweet and sour sauce and peanut sauce, but we don’t. We make all of that stuff.” It’s not just the accompaniments — almost every item on the menu is made in-house. The gyozas, homemade “pot stickers,” are stuffed with hand-ground pork, ginger, green onions and garlic. Perfect little pillows, the gyozas have gained a dedicated following: People come in just for these savory bites. The pork belly, placed like a present on the top of the perfectly composed Chashu bowl,

is cured in-house with celery, which contains naturally occurring nitrates rather than pink salt. And the broth — decadent and silky, with a rich complexity that necessitates abundant slurping — requires more than half a day and several pounds of ingredients to create. This attention to detail, to getting everything as perfect as possible, is at the heart of McKenzie’s passion and Nudoru’s appeal. Enter the diminutive restaurant (22 seated guests puts Nudoru at capacity) and admire the atmosphere. The space is an appealing setting that evokes the feel of a Japanese street-food experience splashed with bursts of pop culture. Prefer to perch? The new bar area allows guests a more authentic ramen experience. “In Japan, you wouldn’t have anywhere to sit down in the streets or alleys,” explains McKenzie. At the bar, guests can stand and slurp. Don’t worry — slurping is encouraged with ramen as it cools the piping hot soup and aerates it, allowing a more nuanced flavor. The bowls come in several varieties, each thoughtfully composed to create the most harmonious blending of flavors. While the Chashu is the most popular, there are options that features

chicken, steak, shrimp or vegetables. Just one taste and every previous ramen remembrance will be erased and you’ll realize: this is what ramen should be. “We’re excited to share our love of ramen with people,” McKenzie says. “We’re in a great place to be able to create lots of new ramen fans.” •

top Vegetarian ramen bowl with vegan miso broth, mushroom, snowpeas, bok choy, soft egg. middle Gyoza with pork, ginger, green onion, garlic and teriyaki and sticky wings with ginger, garlic, chili, scallions above The restaurant’s remodel makes Nudoru a beautiful experience.


v a i l d a i l y

c o m

PRICE

Apps: $8-$16 Entreés: $21-$39 AMBIANCE

Bistro, wine and tapas bar; casual and elegant

THE SEBASTIAN - VAIL 16 VAIL ROAD VAIL, COLORADO 970.306.4612 THESEBASTIANVAIL.COM

SIGNATURE DISH

Seafood stew with langoustine, P.E.I. mussels, scallops, red snapper in a saffron broth and a duck duo with sweet potatoes, duck au jus and glazed pearl onions

by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

KID-FRIENDLY?

I

Yes

favorite that includes thin layers of potatoes, spicy chorizo, fried onion, thyme and a lemon and saffron aioli. Once you’ve got your palate piqued, turn your attention to the intimate dining room’s centerpiece: a pillar of wine bottles that extends from floor to ceiling, showcasing the sommelier’s handpicked selection of wines from around the world. With many amazing options, choosing a glass of wine that will pair well with the entrée of your choice isn’t difficult. CHILEAN MAGIC The best of the best at Leonora reflects Chilean-born executive chef

Rosa Provoste’s creativity. As Leonora’s food and beverage manager Justin Thompson says, “Rosa is the focal point here. She does the magic in the kitchen to bring us authentic, inspired samplings that highlight her Chilean background and her strengths in recreating the traditional Spanish style.” Entreés that best capture Provoste’s magic include the wild salmon, which is served on a bed of basmati and surrounded by shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy, and the lamb osso buco, so fall-off-the-bone succulent that you’ll want to come back again and again to Leonora for this dish alone, which also includes a colorful ratatouille and a creamy parmesan polenta. For a sweet ending to an inspired evening, you really must try to save room for the chocolate hazelnut bar dessert, which layers hazelnut mousse, pralines, and chocolate into a sweetsalty concoction that’s truly unforgettable. Adorned with a delicate gold leaf, the dessert is beautiful and artistic, too, which is as it should be, given the restaurant’s name. The name Leonora is a tribute to Mexican artist Leonora Carrington, whose artworks and sculp-

tures can be found throughout The Sebastian and the restaurant. Guests at Leonora will ultimately find that, with the addition of a little Chilean magic, chef Rosa Provoste creates and shares an art of her own. • top Wild salmon with basmati, shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy. above The wine silo holds 1,000 bottles of wine. left Caulifower tabouleh with pomegranate seeds, orange segments, shaved fennel and mint.

VAIL

LEONORA

f you’ve been to Frost for an aprèsski cocktail or snack, you know that it’s hip to hang out at The Sebastian. And if you venture upstairs to dine at Leonora, you’ll find yet another exciting venue for sharing libations and food with family and friends. With the pulse of lounge music in the background and its warm, inviting décor, you’ll find that Leonora’s the kind of place where you’ll want to sit down, get cozy, and have a glass of wine along with a selection of the restaurant’s tapas-style starters. But don’t stop there. While Leonora’s known for its tantalizing tapas, crudo, and alpine bistro fare, raw bar selections and small plates are only the beginning. The full-flavor ceviche mixto, for example, contains snapper, lobster, and scallops in a cool, citrusy broth seasoned with red chile and cilantro, and the tortilla de patata is Leonora’s version of a traditional Spanish

.

57


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PRICE

Apps: $8-$13; Mains: $12-$30 •••

AMBIANCE

Neighborhood pub with a view SIGNATURE DISH

The Tavern Burger Daily oyster specials •••

KID FRIENDLY?

Yes

TAVERN ON THE GORE by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

A

VAIL

58

sunny après in Vail is well spent next to Tavern on the Gore’s creekside windows. The cozy spot calls for a postslope meal or game day drinks. Settle in with a signature margarita, one of their six hand-crafted Moscow Mules, or warm up with a cocktail from an extensive selection of hot toddies. “We try to do as much local, Colorado product here as we can,” McKenzie says of the extensive brew list and beyond. “All our meats are Colorado ‘never-ever,’ which means local meat with no animal bi-products and no hormones, ever.” Fresh oysters, flown in from the east coast, fill the raw bar with three or four varieties at a time. These gems are tasty and slide down easily at two dollars a piece. “I don’t think everybody should have to be a millionaire to enjoy Vail,” he shares. “So it’s more affordable here.” The restaurant’s lobster mac-n-cheese is a hearty highlight, while the panzanella salad with buffalo mozzarella, farmed tomatoes, cucumbers, basil croutons and citrus basil is both savory and nourishing. Try the bison bistro steak, colorado lamb t-bone or Kobe flatiron steak

for a contemporary twist on a true taste of Colorado, and wash it down with a bottle of Colorado Native and you’re on your way to being a local. Just as finger-licking good is a half rack of ribs, served St. Louis-style with house made BBQ sauce, cornbread, baked beans and coleslaw. A glass of pinot noir stands up nicely to the rack … just keep your moist towel within reach. “The Tavern has a wide selection of items to satisfy many different tastes,” explains McKenzie, “from roasted red pepper gnocchi, grilled Atlantic salmon, to apple cranberry stuffed quail.” Guests will definitely be content on game day, as nearly every table inside has its own personal flat screen. Locals and visitors will feel at home at the neighborhood bar, and larger parties can also enjoy a private back room overlooking Gore Creek. “I want people to feel welcome and comfortable,” McKenzie says. “Just because we really want to offer a casual atmosphere doesn’t mean we don’t offer the highest quality service and food.” While the sun sets over a glow of snow and your team plays on, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy. • Panzanella salad with buffalo mozzarella. right Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell. above

223 GORE CREEK DRIVE 970.476.2828 / TAVERNONTHEGORE.COM


v a i l d a i l y

12 VAIL ROAD GATEWAY BUILDING, VAIL 970.479.0175 / KELLYLIKEN.COM by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR, ANTHONY THORNTON AND TROY CONE

W

hen chef Kelly Liken and her husband, Rick Colomitz, opened Restaurant Kelly Liken a decade ago, they set out to create a one-of-a-kind, personally customized dining experience. Today, they continue that tradition with their contemporary, locally grown, American cuisine, which changes seasonally. Liken knows what it’s like to sit in the spotlight; she has appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef D.C.,” the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and the “CBS Morning Show,” but at her restaurant, she prefers her guests to take center stage, ensuring each person feels fully attended to in her softly lit, contemporary setting, adorned with rich reds and browns. It begins when people call for reservations and the host asks about special dietary concerns, continues with special valet service, and lingers throughout the three-course, fixed price meal, punctuated with special touches, like a star-shaped cookie sprouting with crystallized sugar topping Liken’s signature Sticky Bun Sundae. One of the most exciting ele-

c o m

VAIL

KELLY LIKEN

.

ments of the dining experience involves the opportunity to taste so many dishes, as well as feast your eyes upon their impeccable, artistic presentations. Most couples choose different items, allowing them to taste six to eight offerings, depending upon whether they order starters. Though Liken brings at least one new dish to her menu every couple weeks, popular demand has compelled her to maintain two signature dishes throughout the years: Rocky Mountain elk carpaccio, which not only looks like artwork displayed on white ceramic, but also melts in your mouth, with its thin slices; and her potato-crusted trout filet, a pan-seared, crunchy and sweet course, accented with caramelized Brussels sprouts, raisins, pecans and brandied beurre blanc. Her sommelier guides guests through the robust wine list, featuring over 250 selections, by pairing a wine with each

Three-course menu for $74; Apps: $16-$18 à la carte; Entreés: $42 à la carte • AMBIANCE Seasonal American cuisine — fine dining in modern casual ambiance • SIGNATURE DISH Potato-crusted trout fillet with caramelized Brussels sprout leaves, golden raisins, toasted pecans and brandied beurre blanc • KID-FRIENDLY? Yes, we offer a fun, multi-course menu for children to go right along with the adult menu PRICE

course, or simply recommending special bottles. He has masterfully organized his list by grouping wines by taste, with detailed descriptions, such as: medium bodied with restrained use of oak and earth before fruit; big, extracted fruit qualities; full-bodied structured by ample oak and fruit; and extremely rare, long-lived, best-in-class wines. Liken’s passion is grounded in

Colorado, not only with her friendly, firstclass service that extends beyond the food and wine, but also in the ingredients she chooses for her seasonal menus. “I believe in simple but elevated and exciting cuisine,” Liken says. “A cuisine that represents the land we live on. I really want it to taste like Colorado. It’s more about first honoring the ingredients and then playing with the flavors — sometimes international — but in the end, it all comes back to the ingredients.” And, of course, for her and her staff, it’s always about honoring guests, from the moment they pick up their phone to the end of their dining experience, when they step back into their warm car. • Roasted golden baby beets, braised celery, shaved pecorino, celery leaf and farro salad, brown butter vinaigrette and toasted hazelnuts. top right Alpenglow cocktail with Woody Creek vodka, Cocchi Americano, fresh grapefruit, egg white and grapefruit bitters. far left Pan seared Diver Scallops, roasted salsify puree, crispy and roasted wild mushrooms and tamarind vinaigrette. left Chef-owner Kelly Liken in the restaurant’s kitchen. top left

59


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

ATWATER by TRACI J. MACNAMARA photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

W

VAIL

60

hen you sit down to dine at Vail Cascade’s Atwater on Gore Creek, you can’t help but notice the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows facing Gore Creek. At any time of the day, the creek’s movement adds energy to the dining room, but after a long ski day, Atwater is the place to come and unwind while watching the last bit of purple daylight morph into night. With snowflakes melting into the creek just outside the windows, Atwater delivers a truly inspired Vail experience — and that’s even before you’ve opened the menu. But with the motto that Atwater chef Adam Smith recites from heart, “Colorado food for the Colorado lifestyle, Colorado beers for Colorado cuisine,” the Atwater menu is perfectly suited for such surroundings. Plus, it’s fun. All items on the menu, including dessert, come with a suggested craft beer pairing, and the extensive beer menu offers local,

ON GORE CREEK national, and international beers that aren’t often encountered elsewhere. Let the craft beer and cuisine pairing adventure begin with a fancy bar food starter, such as the shrimp corn dogs paired with a Dry Dock Rye-Zing Sun Saison, a craft on draft selection. Yep, this shrimp’s served on a stick, battered and fried, but it comes on a beautifully arranged plate with brightly colored drops of spicy mustard and a wasabi mango cocktail sauce for dipping. Variety surfaces as a theme on the Atwater menu, and the chefs are also willing to meet a variety of dietary restrictions. The warm spinach salad, which is served in a skillet and bursting with a colorful vegetable medley, provides evidence of such variety. And when paired with the Deschutes River Ale, the floral notes in the beer complement the sweetness of the salad’s caramelized vinaigrette dressing. With so many enticing entrée options, you might have trouble deciding what to order. The scallops are light and flavorful, and the pumpkin tortellini is a hearty vegetarian

1300 WESTHAVEN DRIVE / VAIL CASCADE RESORT & SPA 970.479.7014 / VAILCASCADE.COM/ATWATER

PRICE

Apps $9-$16; Entreés $22-$75 •••

AMBIANCE

Creative Colorado cuisine •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Smoked pheasant soup and 7X Colorado steak

selection, but if you’re sticking with the “Colorado food for the Colorado lifestyle” motto, then choose the grilled Colorado Kobe beef steak from Paonia’s premier 7X Cattle Company. When paired with the St. Feuillien Grand Cru, a choice that’s brewed in the saintly Belgian beer tradition, you’ll get the full sense of the word “heavenly.” Be on the lookout this winter for craft beer happenings at Atwater, such as special dinners and events that include food and beer pairings. As Smith says, “It’s refreshing to take chances and try new things.” That attitude is no doubt what has allowed the Atwater team to develop such an exciting menu, and it’s also the attitude you’ll adopt after enjoying each bite and perfectly paired sip that you experience at Atwater. •

•••

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes

Pumpkin tortellini with sherry cream, walnuts, roasted cauliflower and parmesan cheese. top right Warm spinach vegetable salad with roasted red peppers, zucchini, pomegranate onion, feta cheese, marbled rye croutons and caramelized vinaigrette. top left


v a i l d a i l y

675 LIONSHEAD PLACE THE ARRABELLE AT VAIL SQUARE, LIONSHEAD ARRABELLE.COM / 970.754.7704 by ASHLEE BRATTON photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

T

hirsty? Hungry? Two problems easily solved, and solved in style at The Arrabelle’s Tavern on the Square in Lionshead Village, complete with Old World ambiance and modern day fare. Saunter off the slopes just a stone’s throw from the Eagle Bahn gondola and head through the oversized wooden doors to be welcomed into the upscale-alpine American tavern. Plug your phone in to the complimentary charging station and slide right for a more traditional cozy tavern feel

with arched ceilings, hefty columns and exposed brick, or slide left into the newly renovated slope-side section with a slightly sleeker ambiance with views overlooking the hill. With two lengthy oversized bars dedicated to each side of The Tavern, it’s not hard to find exactly what you’re thirsty for. Go for a signature cocktail such as the bacon-infused vodka bloody mary, the cask aged Dickel 8 Manhattan, or even an espresso martini. Or choose to dive straight in to one of the 40-plus beers or enviable wines available

c o m

VAIL

TAVERN ON THE SQUARE

.

at your beck and call. Your choice. Once the thirst is rightly quenched, consider the easily sharable pork green chile complimented by oversized soft pretzels and mini tortillas for dipping. Any other après apps offered will also do the trick, be it the mushroom and farro risotto with thyme, garlic, and Jerez vinegar or even the trio of curry aioli garlic fries. Executive chef Douglas Dodd knows exactly what he’s doing, offering a variety of seafood fare from Icelandic arctic char with celery puree and shellfish broth to the winter ale seafood boil perked up by Merguez sausage, manila clams and mussels. Then for the ravenous, there’s always heartier eats with the 2-pound bone-in rib eye tomahawk steak with cowboy chili. Not for the faint of heart! As a vegetable lover and convert to the increasingly popular Brussels sprouts trend, Dodd adds his own twist to the sautéed dish with a combination of manchego cheese, cranberries and chorizo with a slight — and enjoyable — kick. “The upscale American tavern gives me a direction for my cuisine. I like to bring in variety from venison tenderloin to Thai curry ramen, but everything we have still fits the tavern theme,” Dodd proudly states. To partake and finish on the sweeter side, pastry chef Cynthia Sheptow connects delectable food art with innovative desserts, in shareable portions. Her Guinness Smore’s feature a Guinness brownie with toasted marshmallow, crumbled graham cracker crust, chocolate syrup and vanilla bean ice cream. There’s absolutely no excuse to walk away hungry. And since this is a

luxurious alpine tavern square right in the heart of Vail Valley…there’s no excuse to walk away thirsty either. • top Bacon and eggs with bacon-wrapped pork belly, fried egg, pancakes and bourbon syrup. above Flight of seasonal doughnuts. left Winter ale seafood boil with shrimp, clams, mussels and Merguez sausage.

Apps: Start at $10; Entreés up to $36 AMBIANCE Upscale Alpine-Inspired Tavern • SIGNATURE DISH Brussels sprouts appetizer, pork schnitzel entrée and Guinness s’mores dessert PRICE

61


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

VAIL MOUNTAIN

TWO ELK, MID-VAIL, WILDWOOD, EAGLE’S NEST / VAIL.COM

by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR, JACK AFFLECK / VAIL RESORTS and KIMBERLY GAVIN

MID-VAIL

Mountain views shouldn’t stop when you take a break for lunch. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mid-Vail is located in the center of Vail Mountain action. The lodge sits at the top of Gondola One, and at the base of the Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) and the Wildwood Express Lift (#3). It was the very first restaurant on Vail Mountain. “At the very top of Mid-Vail, the Look Ma level offers a casual dining experience, where you can grab a burger and fries, a gourmet deli sandwich or one of their signature pot pies,” says Roger Cardoza, general manager at MidVail. “Enjoy Asian cuisine from our wokn-roll station, make-your-own salads, homemade pizzas or authentic tacos at the Terrace level just below Look Ma.” Ski school students thaw out in Chaos Canyon on the ground level with a healthy and tasty kid’s menu, and adults can take a sunny après with barbecue and burgers at Sarge’s Outdoor BBQ.

WILDWOOD

VAIL

62

Step off the top of the Wildwood Express Lift (#3) and the Game Creek Express Lift (#7), and you’ll be greeted with the rustic smells of hickory and pecan from the Wildwood smokers. “Wildwood is a BBQ smokehouse with a country western feel,” explains general manager Thomas Hood. “It is the only BBQ smokehouse located on Vail Mountain and is a popular lunch spot for skiers and snowboarders.” At 11,000 feet above sea level, the restaurant really does elevate its mountain cuisine. Try a pulled pork and brisket sandwich or a rack of ribs. It’s the chicken and wild rice soup that the establishment has coined as their signature from the beginning — it’s savory and creamy, and with just enough heartiness to keep you going strong on the slopes all afternoon.


v a i l d a i l y

.

c o m

EAGLES NEST

TWO ELK

The largest on-mountain dining facility on Vail Mountain is certainly worth making a trip for. The flagship restaurant is located at 11,240 feet at the top of the Sourdough Express Lift (#14), Sun Up Lift (#17) and Tea Cup Express Lift (#36). It’s a beautiful and warm lodge, with high beams and rustic furniture. “Reminiscent of the old great lodges one would see in a national park, this incredible mountaintop restaurant is famous for its spectacular views and ski mountain cuisine,” shares general manager Doug Wooldridge. “Two Elk is the perfect stop for adventurers and hungry skiers and snowboarders, and serves as a gateway to the resort’s legendary China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin.” Two Elk is known for its homemade buffalo chili and pork green chili, and also has a large salad bar, oven baked pizzas, wraps, grilled items and pastas. Cozy up with friends and family at a round table in the middle of the dining room, or sit by a large window overlooking the mountains. •

HOURS WILDWOOD SMOKEHOUSE:

10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. PAVILION:

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. •••

MID-VAIL

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. THE TERRACE LEVEL:

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. •••

TWO ELK

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. •••

EAGLES NEST

9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

VAIL

It’s certainly an eagle’s vantage from the top of Vail Mountain, viewing panoramas of the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross. This is where you’ll find Eagles Nest, and all the fare that makes a mountain-top lunch that much more memorable. Make your way there on skis or the gondola out of Lionshead. “Eagles Nest is a great family-friendly dining spot, conveniently located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and adjacent to the beginner learning areas for the Vail Ski & Snowboard School, as well as a variety of fun actives offered at adventure ridge,” says general manger John Bailey. There’s something for everyone of all ages at Eagles Nest, with a dynamic menu that includes pizza, gyros, burritos, grilled items, pasta, a salad bar, deli and coffee shop.

63


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

LORD GORE AT MANOR VAIL

595 VAIL VALLEY DRIVE, MANOR VAIL 970.476.4959 by MELANIE WONG photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

W

hen Irish nobleman Sir Saint George Gore came through this valley on a three-year hunting expedition in the 1850s, he may have been blazing new ground in the American West, but he was determined to do it in style. Legend has it that Gore, for whom many of the area’s passes and ranges are named, brought more than 40 men and traveled with elegant furniture, china and the finest wines. The chefs at Lord Gore restaurant, tucked away off Vail’s Golden Peak in Vail, took inspiration from Lord Gore’s opulent hunting trip by creating dishes that

VAIL

64

use local ingredients and showcase hearty meats such as Colorado lamb pasta and venison osso buco. “We consider our food to be comfort food, and we try to be sustainable and local whenever we can. At the same time, we make sure the setting is not too stuffy. I try to create approachable dishes that people can understand,” says chef de cuisine Eric Berggren. The space at Lord Gore is cozy and intimate, a small dining room with wood paneled walls and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the slopes. But don’t let the classical interior and formidable stone hearth fool you —

what comes out of the kitchen at Lord Gore is wholly inventive and unique, yet approachable. It’s the kind of place that is delicious enough to have you licking your plate, but elegant enough that you’ll make sure no one is looking before you do so. Berggren uses familiar Colorado ingredients along with trendy favorites, but his flavors are complex and layered, resulting in tastes you won’t easily find elsewhere. Take the kale salad, a festive mix of the usual suspects — kale, red onion, shaved carrots and dried cranberries — but with surprise flavors that include a rich apple-infused goat cheese and an unconventional vanilla vinaigrette that surprisingly is perfect to tie the dish together. You’d also think no one could do anything groundbreaking with peas, but Berggren does just that with his sweet pea gnocchi, a savory, decadent blend of sweet pea cream, delicate pearl onions and wild mushrooms. The Lord Gore menu offers a number of small plates and even half portions of entreés so that you can try a number of items and share with your

PRICE

Price Apps: $10-$18; Entreés: $24-$42 •••

AMBIANCE

Creative Colorado cuisine •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Venison osso buco or Hudson Valley duck •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Better suited for a date night or small groups of adults

fellow diners. That way, you can enjoy your main course and still have room for Berggren’s poached pear tart, a mouthwatering pastry dessert packed full of flavors that range from star anise and allspice to Tuaca-tinged chocolate sauce. • Sweet pea gnocchi with wild mushrooms, pearl onions, fresh herbs and sweet pea cream. left Beet terrine with yellow beet puree, pistachio praline and vanilla and chive goat cheese. above


v a i l d a i l y

.

c o m

PRICE

•••

AMBIANCE

Lively Italian •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Ravioli fungi — homemade ravioli filled with mushrooms in a light cream sauce with white truffle oil •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes

CAMPO DE FIORI by PHIL LINDEMAN photos by CHARLES TOWNSEND BESSENT

I

n the fine-dining realm, it’s one thing for a restaurant to look authentic, taste authentic and even feel authentic. Yet it’s another thing entirely to be treated with authenticity, like stepping into the well-worn kitchen of an old, dear friend. At Campo de Fiori in Vail Village, that old friend is general manager Mira Hozzova. She’s been the public face of Campo for the past 12 years, a warm, welcoming presence in a warm, welcoming Italian eatery (or trattoria, if we’re sticking to the authentic theme). Shortly after checking your coat, she’s likely the first person you’ll meet in the second-floor dining room. She’s the kind of manager who greets diners as they enter and actually remembers their names, then wanders past each table between courses to share laughs and a glass of wine. Hozzova herself is an experience that can’t be replicated, even at the restaurant’s namesake plaza in the heart of Rome. She’s a living, breathing model of Italian hospitality, never mind that she’s Slovakian by birth. Then again, Hozzova’s magnetic charm would fall a bit flat if the kitchen wasn’t on the same level, and that’s where ex-

100 EAST MEADOW DRIVE / 970.476.8994 / CAMPODEFIORI.NET

ecutive chef Simone Reatti comes in. The Italian native has been at the helm for 17 years and is the culinary counterpart to Hozzova’s social butterfly: a smart, funny, passionate chef who’s rarely afraid to mix the traditional and experimental. The antipasti menu has time-honored classics like bruschetta, black mussels and frutti di mare alla griglia, the restaurant’s wildly popular “seafood salad” with calamari, shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams, all grilled on the flattop with white wine and a citrus dressing. Then there’s tagliere, a simple take on the traditional meat and cheese plates that are now hip again thanks to urban tapas joints. Hozzova recommends pairing it with nebbiolo, a surprisingly light Italian red, and her taste for wine is to be trusted. (Her hand-selected wine list is 80-percent Italian and 20-percent domestic, with nary a French wine in sight.) The tagliere plate is new to Campo, but only because Reatti wanted to find the right suppliers: The silky goat cheese comes from a Colorado farm, while the cured meats come from Salumeria Biellese, one of the only U.S. charcuteries approved to cure meats the traditional way, no nitrates required. “Cheese and cured meat in Italy is a way to mingle with friends around a glass of wine,” says Reatti, who uses organic

Colorado beef and avoids GMO products when possible. “But what makes a great dish are the ingredients — the cook comes after. If you don’t begin with good ingredients, you can only do so much.” Come ski season, Reatti trades light, summery flavors for heartier ingredients in the pasta and secondi dishes — an ode to his adopted home. The fettucini agnello is a standout, with a rich lamb

ragu and fava beans over fettuccine. While the fettuccine isn’t made inhouse, the majority of pastas are, including the sublime ravioli funghi. • The tagliere plate, a traditional italian starter with artisan cheeses, cured meats and olives seved on a wooden palette. right Fettuchini Agnello with braised white lamb ragu and fava beans over fettuccine pasta. above

VAIL

Apps: $14 - $19 Entreés: $19 - $26 for pasta, $35 - $49 for secondi

65


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

LANCELOT RESTAURANT

by KIM FULLER photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

T

VAIL

66

he Lancelot that was born in 1969 is still a Vail institution, but with a recent renovation and revamped menu, the “original prime rib house” has been moving from medieval to modern. “When I started here vvv was mostly all prime rib,” shares Werner Schadl, chef-owner of the Lancelot. “Now we have more focus on other entreés like steaks, seafood and fish.” Schadl is Austrian born, and originally worked for the establishment’s founding owner, also from Austria. The menu maintains its heritage with traditional dishes like wiener schnitzel, but has definitely started to diversify its offerings. Start by sipping from the copper mug of your Moscow Mule, or Colorado Mule, or Irish Mule (and the list goes on), to settle into your seat, and then see what chef de cuisine Alexander Noack has lined up for nightly specials. A roasted beet and arugula salad with goat cheese and toasted pine

nuts is a special you may see, or the smoked salmon tartare with avocado and pistachio, topped with a honey mustard orange dressing. Noack is from Germany and worked at the Lancelot seven years ago, making his way back to the kitchen this past summer. Tyrollean taste really comes through in the cuisine from both Schadl and Noack, especially in the veal ambrosia, a decadent dish of veal cutlets, smothered in a mushroom sherry sauce. A touch of sweet in the maple and mustard glaze makes the salmon entrée unique. The fish is served over a medley of green beans, with roasted cipollini onions and asparagus. If it’s shellfish that you’re looking for, the linguine shrimp in a roastedgarlic cream sauce will satisfy. The signature prime rib is tender and flavorful, as it has been for decades, and servers offer tableside dollops of toppings like horseradish cream sauce for the meat, and chive sour cream for the baked potato. You can try prime rib sliders in the bar area, which took on an entirely new look in the 2011 renovation. The space of the bar and beyond was once

201 EAST GORE CREEK DRIVE / VAIL 970.476.5828 / LANCELOTVAIL.COM

dark and dungeon-like, and is now bright and inviting. It still maintains comfort and its castle character with stone pillars, wood trimmings and contemporary steel wall art. The beauty of the establishment is how longtime locals and visitors still come back, year after year. Groups of men can be spotted there often — undoubtedly enjoying the fifth decade of their annual ski vacation — commencing like knights at round tables with daggers, or steak knives. And also the grown children of the once (or still) kings of Vail, who come in to keep the heritage of this town’s history alive; to bite into a slab of tradition or more modern dish. If we’re lucky, Vail will always keep our fairytales alive, and Lancelot is surely a protagonist in that storybook. • Maple and mustardglazed salmon with green beans. top right Prime rib sliders with horseradish cream and au jus. top left

PRICE

Apps: $10 - $18 Entreés: $25 - $39 •••

AMBIANCE

Traditional European •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Prime rib •••

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yes


v a i l d a i l y

PEPI’S

231 EAST GORE CREEK 970.476.5626 / PEPIS.COM by POLINA LACONTE photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

P

epi’s is the most classic of restaurants in the village, held together since the early days of Vail by the well known husband-wife duo of Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer. One of the most legendary couples in town, Pepi and Sheika have been able to create a landmark location as recognizable as the Covered Bridge in their restaurant, the ultimate accomplishment for any small business in any town, anywhere. These days, though, there’s another duo at Pepi’s helping to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, as Pepi and Sheika have found top talent in their executive chef and sous chef, Helmut Kaschitz and Richard Fraser. “We keep the boss happy,” says Kaschitz with a laugh, in reference to Sheika. Kaschitz is a native of Pepi and Sheika’s home country of Austria, as well, and has been in the Vail Valley for 18 years. “If the boss is happy everybody else is happy and it works out very well.” In 2005, after a year of keeping the boss happy, Kaschitz received a nice offer from Sheika to take some travel time. “She said do you want to go to Austria? I said nope. She said do you want to go to Mexico? I said nope. She said do you want to go to Jamaica? I said yes. That’s how I met Richie,” Kaschitz recalls. The two have now been close colleagues and companions for nine years at Pepi’s. “I do it the old fashioned way and he has the new stuff,” Kaschitz said of Fraser. Recently, Fraser had Kaschitz try some infused olive oils and vinegars. Now they use a blueberry-infused balsamic on their fresh tomato and

c o m

VAIL

BAR & RESTAURANT

.

PRICE

Apps $12-$17, lunch $12-$18 and dinner $20-$38 •••

AMBIANCE

Traditional Austrian, patio dining •••

SIGNATURE DISH

Wienerschnitzel •••

KID FRIENDLY?

Yes

mozzarella salad. For this winter, that and a couple of the other summer salads will remain on the menu. “People really liked them in the summer, so we thought why not try winter,” Fraser said. Some things, however, will never change at Pepi’s, and you can rest assured on that, says Kaschitz. “There are certain items that have to be there,” he says. “The tartare, this

is one of the recipes that is not ever going to change. Wienerschnitzel? You want to get rid of it, there’s the door.” And in some cases, the wrath of Sheika would be worse than simply being shown the door. “If Richie or I would take escargot off the menu, Sheika would kill us,” Kaschitz says.

Pepi’s is, as it’s always been, an authentic Austrian and German dining experience. • top Roasted venison loin with Yukon gold hash, broccolini and porcini mushroom sauce. above Roasted beet salad with baby arugula, crispy apples, carrots, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

67


E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

BLU’S RESTAURANT 4695 VAIL RACQUET CLUB DRIVE / VAIL 970.476.3113 / BLUSRESTAURANT.COM by POLINA LACONTE photos by DOMINIQUE TAYLOR

F

or an alternative to the Vail Village dining experience, take the trip out to Blu’s in East Vail. The high-alpine surroundings outside, along with the vaulted ceilings and wooden beams inside and the fireplace in the dining room, give the place the comfort of a neighborhood restaurant, which is exactly what it is. “Is it hip?” asks the owner, T.J. Armstrong, rhetorically, of the newest incarnation of his longstanding restaurant. “Probably not,” he answers. “But is it timeless? Maybe.” For returning customers, who have seen the restaurant through its move from Vail Village to East Vail, the place has maintained some of the longstanding favorites. “We have some signature items that have been popular,” says Armstrong. “But they’re only as good

VAIL

68

as the next one, so if those dishes don’t continue to be appealing to the customers, then we’ll change them.” Recently, his classic chicken-fried steak underwent an adaptation. “That’s an item that’s been on the Blu’s menu for 30-odd years,” he says. “I took one bite of the chef’s new version and said ‘2.0 here we go. It’s changed now.’ And it’s delicious.” Armstrong says he doesn’t try to make assumptions about what will get people to return. He just does what he

PRICE

Breakfast $8-$12, Dinner apps $8-$11, Dinner entreés $10-$27 Eclectic American cuisine • SIGNATURE DISH Chile relleno with goat cheese and pine nuts; Provençal seafood stew PERFECT FOR Dinner with family, groups of friends

AMBIANCE

would want to see as a customer. “And what I would like, is quality and value,” he says. “With value being quality divided by price.” The same goes for the Blu’s wine menu. With a fun selection of wines by the glass, there’s always something new to discover. “The American public has become much more adventurous in what they’re willing to try, and we’re trying to expose the public to as many things as we can that we’re enthusiastic about,” Armstrong says. “Every meal is better with a glass of wine, it’s the ultimate condiment. But every wine doesn’t need to be from Napa, every wine does not need to be chardonnay or cabernet ... there’s a myriad of things that the American public does not typically drink that are wonderful in their place.” Another interesting detail to factor in when considering eating at Blu’s versus a Vail Village establishment is when you look at how close you can park your car to your table, you may find you actually saved yourself some time compared to parking in the structure and walking to your restaurant. Blu’s — a local institution with an eclectic menu. • top Seafood linguini with scallops, shrimp, lobster and a saffron lemon cream. left Fried calamari atop mixed greens, served with a local microbrew.


2015 de win ter gal ler y gui vail val ley

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” PABLO PICASSO pick up your copy of art, the vail valley gallery guide


70

E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

sip your

WORLD CUP

Try some of the valley’s warmest, most delicious soups this season BY K I M F U L L E R

PH O T O S B Y D O M I N I Q U E TAY L O R & K R I ST E N A N D E R S O N


v a i l d a i l y

N

DK’S TEXAS CHILI othing says “winter warmer”

B L A C K D I A M O N D B I S T R O , B E AV E R C R E E K

like a hot medley of goodness,

It was at Larkspur Restaurant in Vail where chef Dan Kent first turned the heads of chili connoisseurs. Kent is now the executive chef of Black Diamond Bistro, and says his chili will make an appearance as a soup of the day special. “It’s a recipe that I got from Thomas Salamunovich,” Kent shares of his time working with the chef-owner at Larkspur. “I am from Texas, and I ended up making it most of the time, so it ended up being DK’s Texas chili.” Like most recipes, both time and collaboration have helped the chili evolve over time. What makes it Texas chili, though, it that it is made by a Texan and includes a Texas beer (Shiner Bock). Kent thickens the chili and adds extra flavor with corn flour. Most importantly, there are no beans allowed. “To me, Texas chili is all about the meat,” he says. “My mom was from Ohio and she always put kidney beans in her chili, and that drove me a little nuts.”

and the Vail Valley’s chefs don’t

skimp when it comes to soup. Take a look at what some of our local kitchens have stewing.

.

c o m

71


72

E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

PORK GREEN CHILI TWO ELK LODGE, VA I L M O U N TA I N Ski days are warmed to the core with a hearty bowl of green chili. Mike Sheard, Two Elk’s executive chef, says it’s made with pork loin, roasted tomatillos, roasted Anaheims and a variety of Mexican spices. The chili, like the establishment itself, was inspired by the indigenous culture instilled in this area. The ingredients in the chili are found mostly in the southwest portion of North America. “The pork green chili combines the subtleness of the roasted vegetables, with the extra kick of the various Mexican spices to create a dish with a multitude of flavorful experiences that are sure to delight a skier’s palate,” explains Sheard.

ROASTED GOLDEN BEET & VANILLA SOUP

RIBOLLITA SOUP

R E S TAU R A N T K E L LY L I K E N , VA I L V I L L A G E

Ribollita soup is a relative to minestrone. Splendido chef-owner David Walford says you’ll know about it if you have a certain Continental heritage. “It you had an Italian grandmother, she would probably make this big, hearty vegetable soup, and it would be almost a meal,” explains Walford. “And she might even throw bread in the bottom of the bowl.” At Splendido, Walford and his team have lightened up the soup, so the first course still has big flavor, but leaves a little room. “We took the idea and we updated and lightened it — we kind of took it apart,” he says. “Our rebuilt version is actually two parts: One is a velvety broth of the vegetables and stock and herbs. Then, we garnish the bowl with some white beans and kale, olive oil, grilled bread and a parmesan crisp, and we pour the broth over that.” Walford says your grandmother’s soup is the best in the world, but this lighter version keeps you on course for the entreés to come.

As an amuse-bouche, this soup is meant to stimulate your palate. It’s vegan and gluten-free, made from roasted and hand-peeled beets, veggie stock, shallots, and a little orange and lemon juice. A touch of honey and orange zest adds to the flavor, leaving it light and bright. Even just a small taste is enough to please, but leaves you ready to keep the courses coming. The recipe is simple — finished with just a little vanilla, extra virgin olive oil and watercress to garnish — because the beautiful golden beets speak for themselves.

( P I C T U R E D PA G E 70 ) S P L E N D I D O AT T H E C H AT E A U , B E AV E R C R E E K


v a i l d a i l y

LOBSTER BISQUE J U N I P E R R E S TA U R A N T , E D WA R D S Chef Scott Ofsanko first learned to make lobster bisque at a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, and he brought it with him to Vail when he moved here a decade ago. “It’s a pretty basic lobster bisque, but one of the things that makes it great is how the sambuca finishes it and gives it an anise flavor, which pairs really well with the lobster — it’s got a bit of sweetness to it,” says Ofsanko, Juniper’s executive chef. The homemade stock is reduced and strained several times to concentrate the flavor. The final puree of stock and mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots and celery that is the backbone of most French soups), is finished with the sambuca and butter, and lastly with a dash of salt and pepper.

PALISADE TOMATO SOUP L A R KS P U R R E S TA U R A N T , VA I L Larkspur’s Palisade tomato soup has been a tradition since Larkspur opened in 1999. The restaurant gets around 600 pounds of tomatoes from Wynn Farms in Palisade every year between the months of October and November. This is what creates the base of the soup, which is stored and served all winter long. The recipe starts with an amber sofrito, the basis of Italian cuisine: celery, carrots, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper, slowly cooked. Then, the tomatoes are added in and the soup is thickened with polenta; a touch of cream is added at the end to balance the acidity and promote roundness. The soup is served garnished with basil oil and grana padano, and it’s delicious with fresh grilled cheese. The soup is available at lunch and après daily, and also at the Larkspur Market.

.

c o m

73


CONVERT NOW! GALLON

PINT

QUART

CUP 1/3 CUP

2/3 CUP

TEA SPOON

TABLE SPOON

1/16 CUP

3/4 CUP 1/8 CUP

1/4 CUP

3/8 CUP

1/2 CUP

THE CAKE IS COMING...


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

8 25 Hurd Lane Avon, CO 970.748.1600

Holiday Inn West Vail, CO 970.476.7223


76

E AT

w i n t e r

2 0 1 5

Mistaken for truffles by Spanish explorers, the potato was taken from South America to Europe in 1536.

were inspired by Venus’ bellybutton.

MARY SHELLEY’S FAVORITE VEGETABLE?

MEXICAN RIDDLE:

If you eat his mouth, he’ll eat yours. What is it? A chili pepper

In ancient days, a wreath of celery leaves was known as a hangover cure.

Pennsylvania produces

When first introduced to Western Europe in the 1500s, the fork was declared pretentious.

of America’s pretzels.

FORMER SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE STAR SETH MEYERS ON HIS FIRST JOB IN FOOD SERVICE: “I never have stress dreams about SNL — arguably the most stressful job in the world — but I still have stress dreams about table nine needing their chimichanga.” SOURCES: MENTAL FLOSS MAGAZINE, BON APPÉTIT MAGAZINE AND SAVORY SPICE SHOP.



Exceptional properties in exceptional locations

Discover premier condominiums right in the heart of Vail Village and Lionshead. Designer decorated, high-end finishes, rich construction, and steps to the gondolas, shops and restaurants. Arrabelle Penthouse 608

Gateway Penthouse

Tyrolean Residence 3