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EAT an epicurean experience

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Team Green Four great vegetarian cookbooks Puff Piece Decadent soufflés at home Wine to Dine Italian wine culture for beginners




EAT winter 2012


vail Golf course

Bachelor Gulch

cordillera divide

Bachelor Gulch condo

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228 Tall Timber Road B achelor 6 Bed/ 7.5 BathGulch 228 Tall Timber Road $7,300,000 6 Bed/ 7.5 Bath $7,300,000

350 Little Andorra c ordillera divide 6 Bed/ 8 Bath 350 Little Andorra $2,800,000 6 Bed/ 8 Bath $2,800,000

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970.390.1402 Joni@JoniTaylorRealEstate.com 970.390.1402 vaildaily.com






WINTER

2012 SEASON OF SHOWS SYBIL HILL January 27th & 28th

JAMES JENSEN February 17th & 18th

DAVE DEVARY March 9th & 10th Shows will be featured www.mastersglaaeryvail.com Keep up with us on Facebook throughout the year

100 East Meadow Drive | Vail, Colorado | 970.477.0600 | www.mastersgalleryvail.com EAT winter 2012


editor’s letter Publisher

Don Rogers drogers@vaildaily.com

Editor

Wren Wertin wren@vaildaily.com

Art Director

Alithea Doyle

adoyle@vaildaily.com

photo editor

Kristin Anderson kanderson@vaildaily.com

Photographer

Dominique Taylor dtaylor@vaildaily.com

writers

Krista Driscoll Kim Fuller Lauren Glendenning Brenda Himelfarb Molly Massey Scott Miller Charlie Owen Cassie Pence Caramie Schnell Randy Wyrick Marketing guy

Mark Bricklin

mbricklin@vaildaily.com

Circulation

Jared Staber

jstaber@vaildaily.com

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 ©2011 Colorado Mountain News Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

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hort of various types of offal, I haven’t met an ingredient

I didn’t want to experiment with at least once. I read about things like huitlacoche (corn smut) and finger limes (pinkie-sized limes full of caviar-looking citrus bursts) and think, “I’d love to cook with those.” Local chefs read about these items — or travel to some far-flung country and experience them first hand — and then call up a purveyor and order some. Done. It’s enough to make you jealous. Luckily, these chefs are not hoarders. Pretty much anybody who waltzes in and sits down at a table gets to try them… as long as they’re adventurous enough. We EAT writers have spent the better part of the last three weeks cruising through the valley’s culinary offerings and I can say with certainty: It’s fun out there. It’s not all new and exotic, either. There’s still plenty of Colorado lamb, Dover sole and La Bella Farms foie gras for the most traditional of diners. There’s also fluke, kampachi and rabbit for those who want to step out a bit. But most importantly chefs seem to be having fun, and the menus reflect it. Welcome to the latest issue of EAT. The owners and chefs of the restaurants featured asked us to come in so we could tell their stories to you. EAT writers have done so with the goal of giving you a snapshot of what dining at each restaurant is like. But there’s always more to every story, so we suggest you meander in to whichever establishment piques your interest and give it a go.

Cover photo by Kristin Anderson The Ortolana antipasti from Zino Ristorante in Edwards includes roasted squash, grilled portobellos, ovendried tomatoes and a bright beet vinaigrette.

Happy EATing, Wren Wertin Editor Illustration by Sandra Berardi

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EAT winter 2012


25th ANNIVERSARY SEASON

H UNGRY FOR G REAT M USIC ? YOUR D ESSERT AWAITS...

Celebrate Bravo’s 25th season this summer in Vail! World-renowned musicians, world-class venues and culinary delights — it’s a recipe for pure harmony.

DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA | NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC PLUS BIG MUSIC FOR LITTLE BANDS, SILVER NIGHTS AND A VERY SPECIAL PIANO EXTRAVAGANZA 970.827.5700 VAILMUSIC.ORG

SEASON 25 JUNE 25 - AUGUST 4, 2012

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

TICKETS ON SALE IN APRIL

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EAT winter 2012


contents

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64 13 Photo Gallery

Before pleasing the palate, these dishes delight the eyes. BY Kristin Anderson and Dominique Taylor

17 Featured Restaurants

Read these snapshot reviews of the valley’s best restaurants, from Vail to Edwards. BY EAT STAFF WRITERS

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64 The Green World

Eat staffers’ four favorite cookbooks for veg-heads. BY EAT staff Writers

65 Dessert Time

David Walford and Alex Daley dish on chocolate soufflé. BY Kim Fuller

68 Vino Italiano

Italian wine culture for beginners is about one thing: trying everything. BY Wren Wertin

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70 Bite Sized

Fun facts and interesting tidbits to nosh on. BY Wren Wertin

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contributors food experience you loved recently: “230” in Laguna Beach. (The locals call it “Two Thirty.” That’s the address.) Food you fight with: A thick pea soup without bacon.

Krista Driscoll Caramie Schnell Writer First dish you got really good at making: Chicken enchiladas. Go-to dinner party dish: Not a single go-to. I like to experiment too much! Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Cardamom and sage. Fruits, veggies or grains? Veggies. A nice little treat/snack: A nice wine-cheese-fruit-bread spread. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Dim sum at Super Star Asian Cuisine in Denver. Food you fight with: Pizza crust. Though I’ve only tried a few times, I can’t get it quite right.

Brenda Himelfarb Writer First dish you got really good at making: Honeymustard, pecan/walnut- crusted baked salmon. Go-to dinner party dish: Sweet and sour meatballs with chile sauce, ginger snaps and brown sugar. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Rosemary. Smells yummy, too. Fruits, veggies or grains? I’m a grain person. A nice little treat/snack: Dark chocolate truffles. Out-of-town restaurant/

EAT winter 2012

Scott miller Writer First dish you got really good at making: Old school meat-with-beans chili. Go-to dinner party dish: It depends on the party — last time out it was “Razorback corn bread” with green chiles, sausage and roasted corn. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Smoked paprika. Fruits, veggies or grains? Yes, please. A nice little treat/snack: Cheese from Rocking W Dairy in Olathe. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Steamworks Brewing Co. in Durango. Good food, better beer. Food you fight with: I’ve given up on fighting with food, so I observe the wisdom of Dirty Harry Callahan: “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

Writer First dish you got really good at making: Grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s an art, you know! Go-to dinner party dish: My mom’s tortilla roll-ups. The original Mexican-style recipe is great, but I recently did a Mediterranean-inspired version that was amazing. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Tarragon. It’s fantastic with anything that uses a lot of cream or butter. Fruits, veggies or grains? Grains, I’m addicted to carbs. A nice little treat/snack: Fried corn tortillas dredged in cinnamon and sugar. They’re great crumbled on ice cream, too. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Buenos Aires Pizzeria Argentinian restaurant in Denver. Their specialty pizzas use fresh, creative ingredients and tasty herb combinations that are off the beaten path. I have only been there once, but I can’t wait to go again. Food you fight with: Any time a recipe is complicated and I’ve never made it before, there is friction. I tried my hand at mole sauce for the first time recently, and there was a good amount of swearing coming from my kitchen. I’m just clumsy in general, and though the sauce turned out tasty, my favorite shirt now carries multicolored battle scars from the experience.

Charlie Owen Writer First dish you got really good at making: Baked salmon with a brown sugar glaze. Go-to dinner party dish: Seven-layer dip. Quick, easy and cost efficient. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Dill. Fruits, veggies or grains? Fruits, all of them are delicious. A nice little treat/snack: Mint Moose Tracks ice cream. The best ever. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Man, I’ve got to get out more — I’ve got nothing. Food you fight with: Almost everything I can’t cook on the grill.

Lauren Glendenning Writer First dish you got really good at making: Omelets and frittatas. Go-to dinner party dish: Whole roasted chicken with garlic, herbs and root vegetables. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Thai basil and mint, together. Fruits, veggies or grains? Veggies, especially greens. A nice little treat/snack: Olive, feta, tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic, salt, pepper and olive oil, on a slice of toasted French baguette.

Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. I go every time I’m there, sometimes multiple nights in a row, because it’s just the best Thai food I’ve ever tasted anywhere (Thailand included). Food you fight with: Panang curry. I can’t seem to get the spice or creaminess right, even when I shop at my favorite Asian market in Denver and buy all of the right ingredients.

Molly Massey Writer First dish you got really good at making: Stuffed bell peppers. Go-to dinner party dish: Green chile-cheese-chicken enchiladas. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Thyme. Fruits, veggies or grains? LOVE Quinoa. A nice little treat/snack: Candied ginger. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Pasqual’s in Santa Fe. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is amazing any time of day. Food you fight with:: Baking at high altitude.


Randy Wyrick

Rosanna Turner

Writer First dish you got really good at making: The microwave frozen burritos from the convenience store following evenings of major misbehavior. It’s like ordering a Grolsch. No matter what shape you’re in, you can still do it. Go-to dinner party dish: A guy’s idea of a dinner party is smacking a mastodon upside the head just right, so it falls over onto the grill. My job is to swing like Mickey Mantle. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Does the Spice Girls’ Scary Spice count? Fruits, veggies or grains? Fruits, veggies and grains are the foodie equivalent of an ornamental date from an escort service. You’re not really serious about them, but they look good next to the standing rib roast. A nice little treat/snack: In the world of Guy Cuisine, a balanced diet is a cheeseburger in each hand. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: A true foodie road trip includes at least one stop for each of the Four Major Food Groups: pizza, cheeseburgers, chili dogs and chocolate. Food you fight with: Guys do not fight with food. We own firearms, fishing gear and pickup trucks to drive to the store when we feel more like gathering than hunting. We also own the secret of fire, and, when combined with chunks o’ meat, are the two great elements of Guy Cuisine.

Writer First dish you got really good at making: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Go-to dinner party dish: Maybe three-bean tacos. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Cheap Chai: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with chai tea. Fruits, veggies or grains? All three! A nice little treat/snack: Homemade spring rolls. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Sherpa’s, a Nepalese restaurant in Boulder. Food you fight with: Pad Thai — never as good as the restaurant version.

Kim Fuller Writer First dish you got really good at making: Butternut squash, spinach and Gruyere gratin. Go-to dinner party dish: Smoked salmon and goat cheese bruschetta. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Cinnamon. Fruits, veggies or grains?: Avocado on toasted and olive oil-drizzled rosemary sourdough bread. A nice little treat/snack: Scottish oatcakes with blue cheese and honey. 

Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Eating fresh mussels and drinking Cinque Terra dry white while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in  Manarola, Italy. Food you fight with:: I can’t get my popovers to pop. 

Dominique Taylor Photographer First dish you got really good at making: Carrot cake. Go-to dinner party dish: Fresh spring rolls with salmon, avocado and mango. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Galanga. Fruits, veggies or grains? Veggies — bell peppers, spinach, tomato, avocado. A nice little treat/snack: A crisp cracker with butter and golden syrup on it. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Dim sum in San Fran. Food you fight with: Rice and gravy.

Kristin Anderson

Wren Wertin

Photo Editor First dish you got really good at making: Eggplant parmigiana. Go-to dinner party dish: Tomato pie. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Basil. Fruits, veggies or grains?: Fruit. A nice little treat/snack: French bread with oil and vinegar. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Being able to have sushi again after my pregnancy. Food you fight with:: Artichokes.

Editor First dish you got really good at making: Formerly known as the Meatloaf Queen of Denton, Texas. Go-to dinner party dish: Chicken tikka masala and naan. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Tarragon, cardamom. Fruits, veggies or grains? Veggies. A nice little treat/snack: Chicken liver pate on toasted something. Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Fruition in Denver. Paul Attardi was such a welcoming force, as was the pistachio-honey cake. Yum. Food you fight with: Rice. It is such a mystery.

Alithea Doyle Art Director First dish you got really good at making: Chicken stir-fry. Go-to dinner party dish: Dessert. Herb/spice you’re digging right now: Cardamom. Fruits, veggies or grains? Grains. A nice little treat/snack: Dark chocolate-covered ____ (fill in the blank). Out-of-town restaurant/ food experience you loved recently: Make your own Bloody Mary at 5 Napkin Burger in Astoria, NY. Food you fight with:: Bierocks. Dough!

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Jewelry,

Miner als, Fossil Ammonite – Canada & Three Bronze Frogs from Tim Cotterill – Frogman™ | Machairodus giganteus - Asia – Late Miocene

Fossils…

By NatURe GaLLeRy specializes in the finest rare fossils and minerals available anywhere in the world. From museum-quality artwork to accessible and functional pieces, It’s the best gallery of its kind. Come see for yourself at our NEW location. Up the stairs from the ice rink, on the right, across from the Children’s Ski School.

• Ne w Lo c at i o N •

45 w. thomas Place | Gerald R. Ford Hall, Unit c8 | Beaver creek, co 81620 | 970.949.1805

EAT winter 2012


Nice stack

Ludwig’s pan-seared arctic char with sweet potato orzo utilizes super fresh fish. photography by Dominique Taylor

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Pure sin

La Tour’s flourless chocolate cake is embellished with blood oranges. photography by Kristin Anderson

EAT winter 2012


A bird in the hand

The farmed greens salad with smoked duck and soft boiled egg is sweetened with honey dressing at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill. photography by Kristin Anderson

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Life under glass

The poached pear dessert with blue cheese is fruity, sweet and pungent. photography by Kristin Anderson

EAT winter 2012


Eat here now! Featured Restaurants Avon The Blue Plate . ......................................... 18 Cafe de Luna . ............................................ 19 Cima ............................................................... 20 Northside Coffee & Kitchen. ......... 21 Ticino . ............................................................ 22 vin48 ............................................................... 23 Beaver Creek 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill................................................... 24 Beano’s Cabin . ......................................... 25 Beaver Creek Mountain ................... 26 Black Diamond Bistro........................ 28 Flying Pig Sandwich Shop .............. 29 Foxnut Slopeside Sushi . ................... 30 Mirabelle Restaurant. ......................... 31 The Osprey.................................................. 32

Rocks Modern Grill . ........................... 33 SaddleRidge ...............................................34 Splendido at the Chateau ................ 35 Toscanini ..................................................... 36 Zach’s Cabin .............................................. 37 Edwards The Gashouse . ......................................... 38 Gore Range Brewery............................. 39 Lodge and Spa at Cordillera . ....... 40 Marko’s Pizza & Pasta........................ 41 Vista at Arrowhead. .............................. 42 Zino Ristorante........................................ 43 Vail Bistro Fourteen ...................................... 44 Blue Moose Pizza .................................. 45 Elway’s ........................................................... 46

Flame................................................................ 47 Game Creek Restaurant .................. 48 Kelly Liken ................................................. 49 La Tour .......................................................... 50 Larkspur Restaurant ........................... 51 The Left Bank ........................................... 52 Lord Gore . .................................................... 53 Ludwig’s ....................................................... 54 Matsuhisa Vail ........................................ 55 Mezzaluna................................................... 56 Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant. ................... 57 Sushi Oka. .................................................... 58 Tavern on the Square ......................... 59 The 10th ....................................................... 60 Vail Chophouse & Beaver Creek Chophouse ................ 61 Vail Mountain ......................................... 62

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Avon

The Blue Plate 48 East Beaver Creek Blvd / The Boat Building / 970.845.2252 / blueplateavon.com By Wren Wertin photos by Elli Roustom & Kent Petit

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ometimes crossing the street makes all the difference in the world. Adam and Elli Roustom, owners of The Blue Plate, have made the leap from funky little spot in Avon’s Christie Lodge to beautiful space in the Boat Building. Of the two window-rich dining rooms, one has a “living wall” — a row of pothos ivy lined up at the top with its own watering system. As the days pass, the ivy will grow, eventually covering the walls completely and making the air a little moister, richer. It’s going to be a lovely sight, though the muted paint and colorful Carlo Trost wood art is beautiful, too. (As are all of the cushions, sewn by Elli.) Yes, the new Blue Plate isn’t just bigger. It’s prettier. Airier. Classier. And there are some significant menu changes, too. But to prove that it’s still the same restaurant,

EAT winter 2012

Sous Chef Kyrie Givens, General Manager Elli Roustom and Executive Chef Adam Roustom are the heart and soul of Blue Plate Bistro. Below The steak (your choice of cut) comes with a side and a sauce. The fondue can be ordered as an appetizer and an entree.

at its core, all of the menu staples that people have fallen in love with over the years are still there: meatloaf, crispy roasted duck, Colorado lamb and “The Black” pork ribs. The Personal Chateaubriand is still a bestseller, and schnitzel has gone from a popular Thursday-only special to a regular menu item. “We’re not changing who we are,” Adam says. Classics and beyond But they are embracing it. Adam spent most of his childhood in Syria before moving to the East Coast with his family. Elli’s from Austria. The two met in Vail, under personally explosive circumstances, and it’s been one of those great love stories ever since. He’s the executive chef; she’s the general manager and sommelier. But they both influence the menu, which Adam likes to call Americana. “Americana is a hodgepodge,” Adam says. “We take from everything.”

In addition to their cultural heritage, there’s Adam’s classical French training as well as their unabashed love of American food. In short, there’s a little bit of everything. Fondue is available as an app and an entrée — the classic Emmenthaler-based cheese fondue is excellent, especially when you get down to the Holy Grail of crispy brown cheese. They also have oil and broth fondues. The steak program is ambitious — all of the premium Angus beef is raised in Colorado; Adam has spent a lot of time touring the ranch and meeting the cows. The flavor is excellent, and each steak (filet, ribeye, New York strip or T-bone) comes with a sauce and a side. The brandy-peppercorn sauce is decisively piquant, a terrific foil to the beef. And that creamed corn… peppery and barely creamed, it’s bound to become a locals’ favorite. Blue Plate has great fish and chips for lunch and dinner, thanks in part to the Portuguese-style bouillabaisse. What? Yes. He gets in whole fish and breaks them down. The haddock tail is bound for the bouillabaisse, where it does its best to outshine the linguiça sausage, mussels and shrimp. The bones go for the fumet, a light fish broth. And the rest of the fish meat becomes fish and chips. Adam’s “whole food” approach is what makes his food so special. And Elli’s terrifically priced wine list is a great complement to everything his kitchen sends out. •


Avon

Cafe de Luna 47 E Beaver Creek Blvd By Kim Fuller Photo by Dominique Taylor

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ebbie Marquez has been cooking her whole life, but she began under the watchful eyes of grandmother Luna. “My grandmother was a big influence on how food was cooked in our family,” Marquez says. “Making traditional foods like tamales and empanadas was always a big part of our lives.” Though not opened at press time, Cafe de Luna is slated for a late January opening. It will hold true to Marquez’s culinary heritage. The restaurant will be serving her family recipes of New Mexican and Colorado cuisine. It will be offering traditional specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the former Blue Plate Bistro space in the Christie Lodge, the room has been redone to reflect the warmth of the cuisine — colors of red, orange and yellow cover the walls and richly wrap around the dining room. The restaurant’s entrance greets the guests with a horseshoe bar, inviting thirsty customers to saddle up on stools and kick back sweet and salty

margaritas. Opposite the bar is Luna’s new bench seating, settled against the west-side wall to cushion the community’s appetite. New Mexican cuisine “We are very excited to serve the guests of the Christie Lodge and the local community,” Marquez says. “We are offering a quality menu at a good price point.” Marquez is bringing over family recipes from Fiestas, a restaurant in Edwards that she co-owned previously. “We will be making sauces in the traditional way and providing Avon and Beaver Creek with New Mexicanstyle cooking,” Marquez says. Marquez speaks with pride about her family’s red and green chile sauces, made straight from red and green chile pods from farms in Mexico and Colorado. “These chiles are the key ingredients for our flavorful sauces,” Marquez says. “These same farms have supplied chile for our ancestors, which allows Cafe de Luna to serve

Left Tim Indermuehle is the manager of the new Cafe la Luna.

superior quality food and beverages to make our grandparents proud.” But it’s her white jalepeño sauce that puts a sparkle in her eye. Marquez said it’s the chicken enchiladas in this creamy homemade sauce that will keep customers coming back for more. The sauces will complement other menu items such as Mexican combination plates, tamales, burritos and burgers, so you won’t have a hard time spicing-up your meal. “We are eager to start cooking and fill the hotel with flavors of Cafe de Luna,” Marquez says. “We’re proud to serve homemade New Mexican cuisine created from the Marquez, Luna and Chacon family recipes using fresh, authentic, wholesome ingredients.” •

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Avon cheese-covered beans and rice. Cima is an entirely different beast. It’s also influenced by the culinary cultures of Peru, Brazil and other Latin American countries. And boy, is it fun.

Cima The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa / 126 Riverfront Lane / 970.790.5500 / richardsandoval.com/cima By Wren Wertin photos by Brian Klingbail

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hen Richard Sandoval took over the Avondale space in The Westin Riverfront, the intention was to keep it the same. But as the restaurateur looked around the valley, he decided a little variety was called for. So now when you walk into the chic dining room with a buzzy bar and prime views of the Eagle River and Beaver Creek Mountain, you walk into Cima. “We serve modern Latin American food,” says Executive Chef John Calloway. He has traveled all over the world with Sandoval, opening restaurants and nurturing them into health. Avon’s Cima is his 19th, and he just might call it home for a good, long while. The restaurant draws heavily from Mexican cookery, though you should banish thoughts of

EAT winter 2012

Clockwise from top The Berkshire pork tenderloin is a bestseller. There are a variety of ceviche options, served with house-made chips. Churros with spicy gelato come with a chocolate dipping sauce. Below The oxtail pizza is topped with strategically placed quail eggs.

Shareables The ceviche starters will certainly become a tradition. So fresh and bright, there’s the seafood ceviche with shrimp, octopus and calamari in a sweet orange marinade; likewise, the ceviche Nikee includes toothsome chunks of fluke studded with sweet potato in a “leche de tigre” clam juicebased sauce. Other starters such as the pork arepas (Columbian) and rock shrimp quesadilla (Mexican) offer familiar flavors for hearty appetites. The lobster causa (Peruvian) is intriguing. A smear of mild chile-potato puree looks like a rectangle of pasta. Heaped with a tousle of Maine lobster and sweet peppers, the kicky yuzu-siracha aioli is like a tango, searing here, seductive there. The octopus a la plancha is a merry dish — generous and fulfilling like a host at a good party. Large chunks of octopus are springy-tender, and find excellent friends in the white bean ragout and bites of frisee. The black olive vinaigrette lends levity. Heart and soul The oxtail flatbread gave me a moral dilemma. Topped with smoked gouda and caramelized onions, little quail egg jewels dot the pizza. A couple of my compadres were uncertain about

eating an egg on a pizza. I knew that silky yolk was made for the labor-oflove oxtail and homemade dough. Do I insist they try it, knowing they’d be instant converts, or do I smile blandly and proceed to hoard all of those awesome bites for myself? Tricky. A nice selection of fish will keep more than the pescitarians happy — pan-roasted fluke, Scottish salmon, peanut-crusted tuna and a seafood mariscada in a coconut-lemongrass broth. Meat eaters will adore the lamb chops with a smokily spiced sauce, as well as the Wagyu beef short rib. Adventurous diners should try the rabbit two ways — a “New Wave” interpretation of Southern Mexico’s mole made with dried plums. The tenderloin is grilled, while the rest of the rabbit is braised for 10-plus hours. “We don’t braise anything over 150 degrees,” Calloway says. “Once something gets over that temperature, the juices and collagen leave it and it dries out.” There is nothing dry about this rabbit. The intense, meaty flavor is a nice foil for the veggies. No matter how full, make time for Pastry Chef Bill Fitzgerald’s authentic churros, crispy and dredged in cinnamon sugar with a kicker of cinnamon-chile gelato on the side. The Mexican chocolate cake is outrageous, served with dulce de leche mousse and homemade cinnamon marshmallows. Or simply ask for some of his sorbets and gelatos, a constantly revolving selection. •


Avon

Northside Coffee & Kitchen 20 Nottingham Road / 970.949.1423 By Wren Wertin Photos by Dominique Taylor

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alk into Northside Coffee & Kitchen and the room tells you everything you need to know about the eatery: Energetic cooks spin in the exhibition kitchen, griddling sandwiches, scrambling eggs and searing ahi tuna. A long communal table makes a center stripe down the room, with more seating at a bar that snakes the perimeter of the dining area. And wonder of wonders, a deli case is packed with baker Angela Smith’s homemade baked goods in all colors and sizes — cake and raised doughnuts, whoopee pies, rugelach, fried and glazed croissants, bear claws… you get the picture. And amongst the hubbub is owner Jim Pavelich, bussing tables, chatting with customers or, when there’s time, asking for another cup of the killer Blue Bottle Coffee the restaurant serves. “Northside is the most conveniently located place to eat in the county for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Pavelich says about his new restaurant, located just off the Interstate at the base of Nottingham Road. “And we’ve got the best coffee imaginable.” That coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee, is roasted in small batches in San Francisco. It’s shipped within two days of roasting to cafes across the country who have committed to preparing and serving the coffee according to their specifications: in a pour-over drip system that takes exactly 28 grams of coffee for each cup and requires 3 minutes of slow-drip time. Blue Bottle Coffee’s fans are legion, and include Alice Waters who serves it at her famous restaurant Chez Panisse. Pavlich and manager Jerry Weiss have also hunted down the best chai tea.

The dish But Northside isn’t all about the hot drinks. Chef Noah Bender has created a dynamic menu that jumps from traditional, everything-homemade-really-good-deli fare to inventive entrees in racy combinations. “Everything we can possibly make ourselves, we do,” Bender says. “We are not about shortcuts.”

The roast beef sandwich includes house-roasted top round, horseradish cream and homemade challah bread. It’s best served with a cup of homemade tomato soup. Below Lizzy Moran slowly pours water over exactly 28 grams of coffee grounds to make a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee.

The roast beef sandwich is a good example. They take a cut of beef and roast it low and slow to rare. When it’s time to make a sandwich they start with homemade challah, soft and slightly sweet, and layer it with thinly sliced beef and traditional accoutrement. Bender is a big fan of the ahi tuna, which he dusts with espresso before searing. “It gives it a chocolaty, roasted flavor,” he says. The Reuben sandwich is a secret weapon, while The Elvis immortalizes The King with a bacon, peanut butter and banana sandwich. And Northside might be the only place in the county where you can get a Hebrew National Hot Dog on a bun, smothered with mac ‘n’ cheese. The specials The Working Stiff breakfast special dishes out a breakfast burrito and a coffee or an orange juice for $5 before 8 a.m. “That’s cheaper than any nationally-known franchises,” Pavelich says. “And why not have real food?” Happy hour starts every day at 3 p.m. and includes $2 sliders — the ground beef is great, the marinated cherry tomato topping is fantastic — and $2 fish, beef and chicken tacos, as well as select $3 wine, beer and wells. •

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Avon

Ticino 100 W Beaver Creek Blvd / Avon Center / 970.748.6792 / ticinorestaurantavon.com by Charlie Owen photos by Dominique Taylor

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he only hurdle Ticino has to overcome is its location. You can find it in the Avon Business Center if you follow the signs to the back corner of a hallway in the building, and it’s worth the hunt. This Italian eatery is small, quaint, cozy and classy. And the food is rock-solid. Since co-owners Charles and Sacha Frey took over the restaurant about six months ago, they’ve installed a full bar, increased the wine list and beefed up the menu. They also did away with the deli aspect of the restaurant and the counter service. “We wanted to make it a sit-down, full-service restaurant,” Sacha says. Some of Ticino’s signature entrees include the

EAT winter 2012

Homemade penne pasta comes with a savory al rosa sauce. Right The antipasti misto includes a selection of imported Italian meats and cheeses with traditional accompaniments.

medaglione di maiale alla panna, a sautéed pork filet served in a cream sauce over baked tomato and fettuccini, and the Bistecca di Manzo Ticino, a grilled New York strip steak topped with a secret sauce and served with

sautéed potato and assorted vegetables. That will be changed to a filet for the winter menu, Charles says. Ticino does not have a walk-in freezer or fridge, which means everything must be made fresh and to order. And this being an Italian eatery, of course they serve pizza. “We made (the crust) a little thicker and we use our own (dough) recipe,” Sacha says. “We focused on the ingredients and spent a lot of time sampling different meats and cheeses … to try to figure out what we wanted to put on it, and we’re still working on it.” And all that experimenting has paid off. A simple-but-delicious pizza choice is the Margherita. One of the other bestsellers is the chipotle, a pizza topped with tomato, pepperoni, pepperoncini, artichokes, mozzarella and chipotle sauce. The Freys know they’re taking chances with some of the options on their menu, but they’re not afraid of criticism or advice on their food. They stress that it’s almost impossible to please everyone’s personal opinions of what real Italian cuisine should be. “It doesn’t matter what I like it, doesn’t matter what the chef likes. It matters what the customer likes,” Charles says. •


Avon

vin48 48 E. Beaver Creek Blvd. / The Boat Building / 970.748.9463 / vin48.com By Lauren Glendenning photos by Preston utley

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hen you eat at a place that is owned by people who are passionate about what they do, it shows. At vin48, the three owners each have a passion that makes their restaurant stand out in a valley where good restaurants are everywhere. The owners, Executive Chef Charles Hays, Wine Director Greg Eynon and Restaurateur Collin Baugh, all play a special role in making vin48 special. It’s Eynon’s passion for wine that has helped make vin48 one of the most spectacular places in the valley to drink wine — there are more than 40 selections available by the glass, more than double the amount many restaurants typically offer by the glass. It’s Baugh’s attention to detail in the front of the house that makes everything run smoothly and look beautiful. And it’s Hays’ creative mind and talent that make the menu at vin48 like no other menu around. Wine When you walk into the bar and lounge area you can see that wine is the centerpiece of this restaurant. One of the first things that you see is about 40 bottles on display that are all attached to a dispenser machine called an enomatic. The system prevents oxidation in the wine and extends its shelf life once opened, which is how vin48 is able to offer so many wines by the glass and serve them fresh to each customer. You can also choose what size glass you’d like to order — 3 ounces or 6 ounces. It’s a great way to be able to taste several wines without drinking too much.

There’s a perfect loft area upstairs, too, that Baugh says can accommodate roughly 35 people for private parties or wine tastings. A back room in the dining area is also where many of the restaurant’s winemaker dinners take place — there are two coming up in January. Food There aren’t many places in the Vail Valley where you see beef tongue or pork cheeks on a menu, but Hays likes to play around with ingredients in order to create the perfect dish. The menu isn’t full of these kinds of ingredients, but there are a few to choose from for the more adventurous diners. The beef tongue potstickers small plate, for example, arrives looking like a typical Asian dumpling, but when you bite into it and taste the beef, the texture and flavor just work so perfectly. The braised pork cheeks large plate, a staple on the menu because customers might revolt if Hays ever removes it, is something to rave about. The meat is brined and braised, and

From top A fried egg is always a welcome accompaniment to asparagus. The antipasti platter changes constantly. Beef carpaccio gets its tang from capers and arugula.

when it arrives on a plate surrounded by pepper jack cheese grits and fresh guacamole, it just falls apart with the simplest little tap of your fork. And when you taste it, an audible “mmmmm” will almost definitely happen. A Maine lobster gnocchi large plate, served with parsnip and a sherry lobster sauce, is surprisingly light with a delicate flavor. Then there are surprises, like the small plate scallops dish seared in duck fat. It adds a special something to an already perfectly cooked scallop. And the four-cheese ravioli small plate is served in a tomato water, which looks like water but when you taste it, the flavor is smoky and vibrant — a delightful surprise. And save room for dessert. A creamy pumpkin cheesecake with orange caramel and a devil’s food cake stuffed with vanilla cream and served with a chocolate-covered strip of bacon are just two ways you can end a spectacular dining experience. •

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Beaver Creek er appetizer options from the dinner menu include jumbo shrimp wrapped in jalapeño-cured bacon with a drizzle of spicy white barbecue sauce or try the buffalo meatballs stuffed with Colorado goat cheese and paired with a cranberry gastrique, pistachios and pickled shallot.

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill 50 West Thomas Place, the hyatt / 970.827.6600 / hyatt.com/gallery/beave8100 By Krista Driscoll photos by Kristin Anderson

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xecutive Chef Christian Apetz and JuJu Salazar, a longtime chef with the restaurant, have taken the entire menu at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill and “twisted it all around,” Apetz says. “The direction of the menu is all about responsible eating,” Apetz says. “Responsible eating” incorporates everything from sourcing ingredients locally to buying organic and sustainable meats and seafood to proper portion sizes, so food is not wasted. Apetz is particularly fond of 8100’s wood-fire grill. The grill is situated in the front part of the kitchen, visible from the restaurant, and the grill imparts a smoky, tannin-laced flavor to every item cooked on it. It’s not uncommon, Salazar says, to see individual cooks building their own small fires within the grill to

EAT winter 2012

Chile-topped steak is one of the options customers can choose on the build-yourown section of the menu. Below The flatbread pizza gets a smoky flavor from the grill.

create the perfect amount of heat and smoke for whatever they are grilling. “You get some awesome flavors from the woods,” Apetz says. Snack on a bowl of truffle-oil popcorn while waiting on a grilled flatbread from the après menu. The buffalo mozzarella flatbread is the perfect combination of sweet cherry tomato jam and savory, made-from-scratch, wood-fire pizza dough. Brushed with garlic oil, it’s topped with roasted garlic, basil and a smoked tomato jam spiced with star anise and cinnamon and finished with aged balsamic. Oth-

Build your own Like all of the menu choices, the apps are simple and straightforward, using a few carefully selected, fresh ingredients, Apetz says. Apetz calls the butter lettuce salad “the wedge that’s not a wedge.” It starts with a fresh Bibb lettuce heart, which is deconstructed with curedin-house jalapeño bacon, marinated and grilled portobello, plum tomatoes, avocado and blue cheese. The wood-fire grill also comes into play with all of 8100’s meats. The dinner menu is a la carte, allowing guests to choose their protein, starch or vegetable. “The customer has the ultimate play to build their own meal,” Apetz says. Marry the Berkshire pork chop, topped with vanilla cider-poached stone fruit and a drizzle of vanilla cider, with 8100’s signature bacon Brussels sprouts, or match the North American, free-range elk loin with wild strawberry-balsamic glaze with grilled leek mascarpone risotto or chipotle kabocha squash puree sweet potato. For a little spice, choose the espresso-chile-crusted filet of beef with smoky-sweet cherry tomato jam. The filet starts with Mexican chiles, which are toasted and ground with brown sugar and a touch of sea salt, Salazar says. To add a little flair, tack on the organic blue cheese grits, a spin on the traditional Southern dish. “(The grits say) I want to be serious, but I came to party,” Apetz says, laughing. Wrap it all up with the chef’s sour cream cheesecake, a dense, flavorful treat with a gingersnap crumb crust, topped with seasonal fruit — uncomplicated, inviting and comfortable. •


Beaver Creek

Beano’s Cabin base of Grouse Mountain / 970.754.3463 / beanoscabinbeavercreek.com By Lauren Glendenning photos by Dominique Taylor

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sleigh waits to whisk you away to a fairytale-like restaurant at the foot of Beaver Creek’s Grouse Mountain — there couldn’t possibly be a more exciting way to travel to dinner. The experience begins at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, where guests board a snowcat-drawn openair sleigh equipped with blankets and ponchos for the five-or-so-minute ride to the cabin. It takes off, and you can enjoy the uphill ride while a guide provides some interesting trivia about the history of Beaver Creek. Then you see it, this glowing cabin perched on a hillside surrounded by snow — and it looks like it was built just for you. You step inside, and the smiling hostesses greet you and invite you to hang your coats. There are also slippers available for those who really want to get cozy in the dining room, and a large fireplace burns near the entrance to warm up guests from the sleigh ride. Beano’s Cabin is set up as a fivecourse dinner because, well, you just don’t want to leave this place once you’re here, so why not keep eating? The best part is that the food is as elegant as the surroundings. General Manager Casey Kaut, who recently came to Beano’s from a job at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, exudes an energy and excitement about the restaurant that is contagious throughout his staff. “I am only getting started here at Beano’s, and my vision is nothing short of Beano’s Cabin clearly being the best restaurant in the state,” Kaut says.

The five-course dinner begins with the chef’s amuse-bouche, typically a soup such as the broccoli and brie cheese with roasted red peppers. It’s served in a kettle with a handle that’s perfect for tilting so you can scoop out every last drop. The soup course is followed by a salad course, and Beano’s uses the freshest local ingredients possible. You’ll enjoy a salad such as fresh mixed greens accompanied by Colorado goat cheese — from Buena Vista on a recent visit — and candied pecans with light vinaigrette. The first two courses are easy because there aren’t other options to choose from, but when you get to the appetizers, entrees and desserts, it becomes obvious why Beano’s is such a “feast for the senses,” as the restaurant proclaims. Appetizers such as the pan-seared Georges Bank scallops with white bean ragout and herb vinaigrette or the buffalo carpaccio with mustard and crispy capers — so silky and thin you don’t even need to chew it — excite your palate. On the entrée side, there’s pork tenderloin, elk, trout, lamb, beef, pheasant and rabbit, and other items as they become fresh and available throughout the season. The food is Colorado style — perfect for this winter log-cabin setting. A double rack of lamb is served a perfect medium rare with braised red cabbage that adds a touch of sweetness and acidity, paired with a sweet potato gratin. The beef filet is so tender you can

From top The pickled beet and goat cheese tower is sometimes an option at Beano’s. The lamb chops with a rich jus are very popular on the winter menu.

cut it with a fork, and it’s served with rich and creamy blue cheese scallion mashed potatoes. And save room for dessert, as Pastry Chef Sarah Thompson is creating dishes such as chocolate molten cake with fresh pistachio ice cream or a chocolate raspberry crunch cake. There’s crème brulee, homemade sorbets and ice creams and other imaginative desserts that Thompson is constantly creating. Just don’t forget to have Sommelier Jeffrey Petrello pair wines for you with every course — he’ll take your dining experience beyond the already extraordinary journey that is Beano’s Cabin. •

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a hot spiced mulled wine that heats the throat after a long day on the cold slopes. Mamie’s feeds American-sized appetites with European-style flavors. A fun cookout with good food that keeps people coming back every year, Mamie’s is a mountain experience that one will remember.

Beaver Creek Mountain ski-in/ski-out around Beaver Creek Mountain / beavercreek.com by Rosanna Turner photos by Rick Stovall & Jack Affleck

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amie’s Mountain Grill For those who want to grill “mountain style,” Mamie’s is the place. A beefed-up backyard barbecue, the outdoor restaurant has a sunny deck for warm days and a yurt with a pellet stove to keep the kiddies cozy. Adirondack chairs out on the snow allow one to enjoy the view. What makes Mamie’s different from the rest is that customers have the chance to cook the food themselves. “The Beaver Creek tagline is ‘not exactly roughing it,’” Manager Nina Dippy says. “Our tagline here at Mamie’s is ‘slightly roughing it.’” Mamie’s is perfect for those who want to grill their own Angus-beef burgers, 12-ounce ribeye, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, portobello mushrooms and asparagus. Kids can roast s’mores, and foreign vacationers especially

EAT winter 2012

This page It’s fun and easy to apres at Broken Arrow in Arrowhead.

enjoy the European-style hotdogs served in a warm baguette. Its third year in business, Mamie’s is known for its specialty cocktails, such as Loco Cocoa, the “Gulch” and gluwein,

Broken Arrow Broken Arrow is a bit off the beaten path, which is what many people like about it. Featuring homemade meals and fresh soups and salads, this fast-casual restaurant is quite popular among people searching for a healthy alternative to feed a hungry appetite. New on the menu for this winter season are the salmon burger, a Southwest and carnitas quesadilla and a baked potato, which was added after frequent requests from guests. In the seventh season at its current location, Broken Arrow caters to those looking for a peaceful and relaxed dining atmosphere. “We don’t get the skier crowds,” Manager Chris Darrohn says. “We have a beautiful outside deck that seats 200 people, which offers a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures. People can drive in and get on the chairlift or have lunch; they don’t have to be on skis.” Broken Arrow has expanded its après-ski menu this year by adding chicken wings, parmesan garlic fries, barbecue pork sliders and a roasted garlic and brie plate. The restaurant also offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free items, such as veggie wraps, soups, salads and gluten-free pizza. For those who want to combine fresh powder with fresh eats, the short trek to Broken Arrow is worth the distance. Spruce Saddle Spruce Saddle is Beaver Creek’s largest on-mountain dining facility. Spruce Saddle offers a large selection of items and caters to both American and international tastes. Opened in 1982, the restaurant features every-


Beaver Creek

thing from Italian pasta to fresh sushi. General Manager Chad Anderson says that when planning the menu they try to make sure there’s a little something for all tastes and ages. “At Spruce, we’re trying to cater to a wide variety of demographics and make it so the whole family can get something they like,” Anderson says. Popular picks at Spruce include the Epic Mountain Burger, made with certified Angus beef, and a salmon club sandwich, made with grilled salmon and applewood-smoked bacon. New this year is the prime-rib sandwich, made with slow-roasted prime rib, horseradish sauce and caramelized onions. Designed as an international food court, Spruce Saddle strives to combine fresh food with fast service. The restaurant is designed for skiers and others who want to head back to the slopes as soon as they put down their forks, though if some in the group don’t ski, it’s easy to ride the chair up and down sans ski equipment. Fit for families with picky eaters, Spruce Saddle specializes in both quantity and quality fresh food.

ing food from flaming-hot grills. Those who work up a hungry appetite on the hill can rest up and reboot with all the protein-packed items on the menu. “Red Tail is the place you need to eat when you’re up skiing on the mountain,” Anderson says. According to Anderson, the smoked beef brisket, served with Red Tail’s own homemade barbecue sauce, is a favorite for many. The whiskey

Above Spruce Saddle is at the top of Centennial chairlift. Below Mamie’s Mountain Grill has plenty of seating with a view.

brisket sandwich is another hot item. Although Red Tail is a smokehouse that focuses on barbecue, it does offer both gluten-free and vegetarian options. Red Tail is also a popular spot, featuring live music and plenty of cold beers. Red Tail is committed to serving food quickly, fast-casual style. One can also savor their selections outdoors on the deck during sunny weather. If you’re not worried about getting a little sauce on your chin while eating, and as long as you’ve got plenty of sunscreen, then head up the mountain to Red Tail smokehouse. •

Red Tail Camp This year, the Birds of Prey World Cup racecourse passed right through Red Tail Camp. Is it because pro skiers can’t get enough of the popular barbecue? In-house smoked barbecue is Red Tail’s specialty, serving its finger-lick-

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Beaver Creek can say, “wicked awesome!” Buechel represents one of his fondest food memories with his mom’s seven-layer salad, which typically made an appearance at large family dinner parties. Peas, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, scallions, shredded iceberg and sweet mayonnaise add up to seven — and big flavor. It’s not just the recipes that beckon of home. Just like mom, Buechel is a from-scratch cook. From the bar Two bistro classics combine forces to create the restaurant’s signature Black Diamond Burger. Fresh mozzarella and tomato — AKA caprese salad — are stacked high on a burger and then drizzled with basil pesto aioli and balsamic. Who needs a side salad, right? The mac ’n’ cheese of the day is a creative rotation at the kitchen’s whimsy.

Black Diamond Bistro 120 Offerson Road, in The Charter / 970.949.1251 / blackdiamondbistro.com by Cassie Pence Photos by Dominique Taylor

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lack Diamond Bistro’s family-friendly fare fills a need in Beaver Creek, where fine-dining restaurants are the bulk of your choices. Owners James and Lisa Misakian wanted to create a place where tourists and locals alike can grab a burger and a beer or sit down for a casual dinner with the whole brood. So that’s exactly what they did. Located in The Charter, one of Beaver Creek’s original hotels, Black Diamond Bistro offers a fun bar menu, with favorites like burgers, pizza and “mac ‘n’ cheese of the day,” and a dinner menu for those who feel more like steak or pork chops. Home cookin’ Executive Chef Andy Buechel describes the menu as “straightforward comfort food,” and it’s no wonder after you learn that many of the recipes draw on

EAT winter 2012

The bone-in pork chop with acorn squash puree is served with a house barbecue sauce. Below The signature Black Diamond Burger is topped with a caprese-style salad.

family traditions. The Misakians bring tastes from New England, like clam “chowda,” a lobster roll with a split-top bun and the must-try fried scallops. Tender chunks of white scallop are dipped in Buechel’s special beer batter and then deep-fried to golden perfection. Light, airy and crisp, with a dollop of tartar and a squeeze of fresh lemon, these morsels disappear before you

It’s a sit down affair Black Diamond’s dinner menu maintains the restaurant’s casual vibe but doesn’t forget its Beaver Creek roots. The flatiron steak – smothered in whiskey peppercorn sauce, a Misakian family recipe — and served with shoestring fries and grilled asparagus is top choice. The dish was originally created for adventurous little ones on the kid’s menu, but why should they have all the fun? Chef’s choice is the ribeye; bonein to guarantee its moist, big flavor. He pairs it with creamy polenta and a goat cheese poblano chile relleno. New England makes another appearance, this time as baked scrod — baby cod — coated in buttery Ritz crackers and served with seasonal veggies. For vegetarians, there’s homemade pasta of the day or red curry tofu, served over rice noodles with tender chunks of acorn squash, slices of red pepper and broccoli florets. For a sweet treat, try the Misakian grandmother’s icebox cake. A unique twist on s’mores, layers of chocolate and vanilla custard are sandwich between two graham crackers and frozen solid with whipped cream. •


Beaver Creek

The Flying Pig BBQ & Sandwich Shop 122 the plaza, beaver creek village / 970.845.0333 / flyingpig970.com by Scott N. Miller photo by Nate agnini

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ver wondered why pigs don’t fly? It’s because their wings are so tiny. Yes, friends, there are “pork wings” — at least at the Flying Pig Sandwich Shop & BBQ in Beaver Creek. The little hunks of pork shank are meaty, smoky and, during the happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m., they’re $1 each. Combine that with $1.50 Pabst Blue Ribbon, and you have a nice way for a local to grab some reasonably priced food and refreshment at the end of the day. The pork wings, along with ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken, are all smoked on site. That means the smoker fires up every day at about 6 a.m., so the first round of barbecue is ready for the Flying Pig’s sweet, made-on-site sauce by the time the place opens at 11 a.m. Manager Chris Mayer says he and the other smoke-wranglers at the Flying Pig also spend their early-morning hours making bread at the restaurant. Mayer acknowledges he was new to meat smoking when the Flying Pig added barbecue to its menu of soups and sandwiches. But, unlike the people who want you to believe that there’s a mystical blend of dark arts in successful smoking, Mayer is more matter of fact. “It wasn’t any harder than learning to make bread at 8,500 feet,” he says. In fact, he says, bread can be an even bigger challenge. “Even high-altitude recipes are just for 5,000 feet,” Mayer says. “We made a lot of bricks before we got it right.” That light, chewy white and wheat bread is used on the Flying Pig’s generous hot and cold sandwiches, all of which are named for various mountains around the state.

Mayer says the most popular might be the Mt. Columbia, a combination of pulled pork, red onions, pickles, coleslaw and barbecue sauce. The Mt. Elbert — with turkey, dill havarti, avocado, tomatoes and cranberry mayo — is another big seller. Mayer says the Flying Pig has become a popular lunch stop with both guests and local residents, and the place started to fill up quickly on a recent mid-day Monday visit. At $8.95 for a whole sandwich — enough food for even a teenage boy — the prices are right in line with the restaurant’s

All of the sandwiches come on bread made daily at the restaurant.

goal of providing reasonably priced, wholesome food served up quickly. Mayer says the whole sandwiches are often wrapped up for guests to take along and recommends that people might want to try a half-sandwich and a salad or bowl of soup. While the Flying Pig is just starting its second ski season, Mayer says the restaurant has already become a popular lunch and dinner spot for both local residents working at Beaver Creek and families vacationing there. “We’ve had several families stop in every day their vacation lasts,” Mayer says. Hopefully, folks coming back this season will remember to wear their barbecue-colored shirts. •

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Beaver Creek

Foxnut Slopeside Sushi Base of Centennial, Beaver Creek / 970.845.0700 / bcfoxnut.com by Caramie Schnell photos by Nate Agnini

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ushi served slopeside: Beaver Creek’s Foxnut has the market cornered on this dining concept. Where else can you watch the twinkling lights of snow cats grooming the mountain, while tucking into fresh nigiri and sashimi that until recently was swimming in the salty ocean instead of a sea of soy sauce? Foxnut has been at its new Beaver Creek location, next to The Chophouse and just steps from the chairlift, for a year now. The space is sleek and contemporary in a way that’s both soothing and hip. Executive Chef Brendan McCue has been at the helm for a year now too, and you can usually find him behind the sushi bar, creating edible art. Meanwhile his little brother, Eric McCue, heads up the kitchen operations. Eric had been living in Chicago, working for Charlie Trotter’s for about a year when he answered his brother’s call for help and moved home. Together they’ve culled the menu down to the best offerings.

EAT winter 2012

Above Executive Chef Brendan McCue likes to play with fresh flavors in his multi-faceted rolls, such as the Kodiak Roll with salmon, shiso, avocado and topped with ikura and yuzu tobiko. Below The new location offers front-row seats for Centennial, both inside and out.

“We don’t put it out there unless we like it,” Eric says. Start with the Poketini, where fresh fish and creativity meet in a martini glass. A generous heap of cubed red gem-like tuna is served on a bed of seaweed salad. Fanned cucumbers and bright green avocado slices

add color, while wonton chips add a satisfying crunch. Paired with one of the specialty cocktails, like the Bloody Suki, made with jalapeño- cucumberinfused Finlandia vodka and a splash of truffle ponzu, it’s a nice way to begin the night. Next, try some of the New Age Sushi, like hamachi with jalapeño relish and ponzu sauce. Or go unconventional, with the Surf & Turf Roll, one of the items the wait staff recommends for those who like their protein cooked. Snow crab, asparagus and avocado are wrapped with seared Kobe beef and drizzled with truffle ponzu before being torched. Next up, spicy tuna and fresh mango dance together in the Tango Roll. But it was the Chinook Roll, Brendan’s creation, that really lit our fire. Spicy crab, cucumber, avocado and cream cheese decorate the inside of this roll, which is then topped with thinly sliced salmon, honey mustard aioli, kabayaki and tempura crunch. Eric, the sous chef for both The Chophouse and Foxnut, has been spending a lot of time making sure the entrees are perfect, since not everyone who comes through the door has a hankering for raw fish. Take the roasted halibut, a new item for the season. The light flaky fish is topped with a sweet miso mustard glaze worth savoring. “It comes out like caramel and then I continually baste the fish with it as it cooks,” he says. The plum wine-braised short rib, which Eric cooks low and caterpillar-slow for 26 hours, is another standout. Substitute lobster fried rice on the side to make it surf and turf, and infinitely “more sexy,” Eric says. Vegetarians will rejoice for the Roasted Vegetarian Press Box, another of Eric’s new creations. Roasted portobello mushrooms and asparagus are pressed with rice pilaf and topped with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and Sambal Oelek (a spicy Southeast Asian condiment) and Asian pesto, rife with good stuff — lemongrass, jalapeños, garlic and onions. •


Beaver Creek

Mirabelle Restaurant 55 Village Road, just past the security gate / 970.949.7728 / mirabelle1.com by Brenda Himelfarb photos by Dominique Taylor

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t the base of Beaver Creek Mountain lies a quaint, inviting structure built in 1898 as a one-story log cabin that was called The Ranch House. Over the years, the cabin was expanded and is now the picturesque home of Mirabelle Restaurant at Beaver Creek, a romantic restaurant away from the hubbub and hosted by owners, Nathalie and Chef Daniel Joly. The charm of the building and its surroundings is enough to draw you inside where a cozy sitting room, warm fireplace and small bar evokes the warmth that this homey-yet-sophisticated restaurant exudes. Chef Joly often says that he “likes to cook things that are fresh and healthy that you don’t eat at home.” And the restaurant bustles with patrons who look forward to tasting Chef Joly’s newest creations. Le Menu Gourmand follows a fourcourse dinner that includes two appetizers, entrée and dessert. Or one can choose to order à la carte from a menu that reflects some of the tastiest dishes in the valley. Marvelous menu Starters include a daily vegetarian soup du jour, lobster bisque, homemade ravioli with ginger-infused roasted acorn squash purée in a lobster mushroom broth, and seared melt-in-you-mouth Hudson River Valley foie gras with sauterne-poached Anjou pear, chestnut coulis and baby greens. The delicate flavor of the seared New Zealand langoustine, a mild white fish, served with winter vegetables brunoise and lemongrasshoney-coriander foam is exceptional.

A delicious variation is the Colorado goat cheese balotine, with an herb and dry fruit crust, maple syrup with peanut and pomegranate vinaigrette. The lobster carpaccio with cucumber, horseradish and a Thai infusion of ginger and soy sauce is also very tasty. Main-course fish and meats shine. Fish radiates the imaginative expression of Joly, whether it’s the natural Scottish salmon Pot au Feu with coconut milk, green curry lentil ragout and ginger and root vegetable chips or the popular North Sea Dover sole meunière with baby spinach, crispy potato tuile and lemony brown butter sauce. The Maine lobster a la plancha, out of the shell, is served with infused risotto-style quinoa with a Parmesan-orange-xeres (a type of

The Mountain River Ranch elk is a beautiful dish, especially served wtih the potato-leek stoemp, rosemary-orange juice pears and shallot confit. A twirl of pomegranate seeds adds a pop of zippy sweetness.

sherry) demi glace. Favorite meat dishes include the Colorado farmraised rack of lamb served with ratatouille cannelloni — flavorful enough to gnaw at the bone. Another winner is the Mountain River Ranch elk with potatoleek stoemp, rosemary-orange juice pears, shallot confit topped with port sauce. Each night Pastry Chef Jérome creates a delightful trio dessert that might include creme brulee and chocolate fondant, somewhat like a flourless chocolate cake. The brulee and chocolate fondant are also available as individual servings. The restaurant’s sorbet and ice cream, as well as the scrumptious bread, is made in house to assure freshness. Chef Joly probably best describes his restaurant. “It’s a nice place to be,” he says. “In the summer it has a lovely garden. It’s charming and sets you in a special mood.” And we agree. •

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Beaver Creek

The Osprey 10 Elk Track Lane / 970.754.7400 / ospreyatbeavercreek.com by Wren Wertin photos by Kristin anderson

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t’s simply not possible to get any closer to a lift. Sure, they try at the base of Centennial, and even over at Bachelor Gulch. But at The Osprey, you could literally take a running jump out the back door and hit the Strawberry Park Express. So for skiin/ski-out lunch, it’s a no-brainer. But that’s not why you should go there. Oh no. People should check out The Osprey because Executive Chef Michael Wilganowski’s food is out-of-the-park good, and the staff can roll with just about anything you throw at it — including indecisive guests, rock-and-rollers, and enthusiastic children. Small plates make up the bulk of the menu, though everything can be ordered as an entrée size. There are also sandwiches, soups and salads. But seriously, everything you need is on the tapas

EAT winter 2012

Jumbo fried shrimp and creamy grits get some zing with a tomato-jalapeño aioli. Right The chicken tostaditas are refreshed with lime juice and come layered with avocado relish, cabbage slaw and Red Voodoo salsa.

menu, which flows from vegetarian selections to seafood to chicken to red meat. Chef Wilganowski’s fried asparagus with a balsamic reduction and lemony aioli is crunchily addictive, while the Brussels sprouts are roasted to sweet and crispy perfection and then bathed in a toasty brown butter rich with sage. “Yeah, the Brussels sprouts is one of those converter dishes,” says Wilganowski, acknowledging that even people who think they dislike Brussels sprouts get on board with his. “I want to make food I want to eat,” Wilganowski says.

Which is why there’s a gyro on the menu. He and his sous chef wanted gyros for lunch and so they decided to have them. If I were in the kitchen, I’d spend most of my time eating the chicken tostaditas — little triangular bits of fried tortilla crisps topped with almost-creamy chicken, lime, avocado and a crunchy slaw dotted with Red Voodoo Salsa. “I like to serve things that are a little outside the lines, but still approachable,” Wilganowski says. “You should be able to recognize it.” Already a bestseller for the winter are the seared diver scallops served swimming in white lobster cream. And it gets better — there’s a brick of applewood-smoked braised bacon riding sidesaddle with the scallop. It’s a triple threat of decadence. The grilled chicken breast is another standout, marinated for three days and then cooked to deliver a crispy skin. Truffled mashed potatoes and a chive cream round out the dish. Lamb T-bone, beef ribeye and flank steak are all red-meat options. But don’t forget about dessert, which is best served warm. The Osprey Cookie Plate goes into the oven when you order it. There’s just no rushing home-baked goodness. Warm and gooey cookies make a fitting end to such a delicious sojourn. •


Beaver Creek

Rocks Modern Grill 26 avondale lane / Beaver Creek Lodge / 970.845.1730 / rocksmoderngrill.com By Caramie Schnell photos by Dominique Taylor The steak with an intense jus is best served with piping hot fries. Below Salmon is served atop a wild rice medley.

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ome night time, there are two distinct ways to experience Rocks Modern Grill, the contemporary restaurant in Beaver Creek Lodge. Stop in for a long, leisurely dinner, replete with wine and dessert, or grab a quick bite and some cocktails at the bar before catching a Vilar Center show. The affable longtime bartender Carlos Martorell serves up a crisp cucumber jalapeno margarita that plays very well with the buffalo brisket sliders, which are topped with more of the good stuff — jalapeños, this time fried — and whiskey cheddar sauce. Or try the decadent lobster dip and chips. Just-fried potato chips, seasoned with a spice rub rife with ancho chili powder and a slew of other seasonings, are piled high alongside the seafood-heavy dip, which comes in a mini Staub, complete with a tealight candle underneath to keep it warm. If you just got off the mountain, there’s an aptly named appetizer awaiting you. The Skier’s Cheese Plate comes with a brown Norwegian caramelized cheese called Gjetost. In Norway, this goat’s milk cheese is a traditional post-mountain rendezvous snack. “They first make dulce de leche from the milk, and then make this really sharp, dark, rich cheese from what’s left over,” says Executive Chef Mike Spalla. After tasting the cheese at a wine tasting in Napa Valley, Spalla knew it had to be on his menu, especially after he heard its nickname. He relentlessly searched until he found a small supplier in Denver who imports it. Served with flatbread, fresh berries and grapes, and caramelized walnuts,

pistachios and sunflower seeds, the plate is a lovely appetizer, and would also be a nice European-style end to your meal.

For the long dinner If you’re looking for white-tablecloth-worthy fare, there’s plenty to choose from. The spice-rubbed duck breast is a standout. Served with a not-too-sweet port gastrique, the tender bird is complemented by Brussels sprouts certain to sway even those who think they don’t like the vegetables, which have gotten an undeserved bad-rap. The steak-and-potatoes carnivores should consider the dry-aged New York Strip steak. It hails from Rifle, Colorado and is aged for 21 days. It’s served with a colorful array of roasted baby peppers and onions on top, and a drizzle of red wine sauce on top. A hefty portion of hand-cut black pepper parmesan fries are served in a cone alongside. For a nice liquid complement, sip on a glass of the fruit-forward Kessler Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. The funnel cake fries on the dessert menu make one thing quite clear: Spalla and Sous Chef Chad Barbier — you’ll know him by his signature cowboy hat — know how to have fun. Served with hot fudge, butterscotch sauce and fresh strawberries, the piping hot sticks can make anyone feel like a kid again. It was the rose petal vanilla bean ice cream, made in-house, that really stole the show. The lovely floral flavor is sweetened up with a touch of strawberry. Served alongside chocolate lava cake dripping with chocolate sauce, dessert doesn’t get much better. •

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Beaver Creek

SaddleRidge Base of the eastern slope of Beaver Creek Mountain / 970.949.1938 / saddleridgebeavercreek.com by Scott N. Miller photos by Kristin Anderson & Rick Stovall

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magine you’ve been invited to dinner at Teddy Roosevelt’s mountain lodge. Now imagine that lodge is in Beaver Creek, and you’re officially thinking of SaddleRidge. Saddle Ridge was built in 1987 as a corporate retreat for Shearson Lehman and its bevy of Gordon Gekko types. No expense was spared to make the place look and feel like a cross between a national park lodge and a living museum — the place has the largest private collection of Western and Native American artifacts in the country. Vail Resorts bought SaddleRidge a few years after the Wall Street types built it. Since then, it’s been one of Beaver Creek’s best-kept secrets for conferences, events and, during the winter, some seriously fine dining. Chef Adam Roth, now in his fifth season at SaddleRidge — his first as executive chef — says the menu has been inspired by his surroundings.

EAT winter 2012

SaddleRidge’s brown sugar glazed bone-in pork chop is trailed by the jumbo lump crab cake and tangy barbecue-glazed quail. Right The dining room is an homage to the Wild West. Chocolate mousse cake is rich and appropriately decadent.

The result is that the menu features mostly things that live on land, from the buffalo, lamb, pork and beef to the fresh squash, corn and other vegetables to the rhubarb and strawberries in one of SaddleRidge’s desserts. There are a few things from the water on the menu — mussels and rock shrimp for appetizers and ahi tuna and trout for entrees — and even those come fresher than any restaurant on a mountain could have hoped for even a few years ago. “We get fish the day after it’s caught,” SaddleRidge General Manager Jeff Baker says. “It’s like sitting on the shore.” On a recent visit, though, the land creatures were the stars. The filet mi-

gnon was pronounced “the best steak I’ve ever had,” and a young teenager made short work of the pork chop. The buffalo sirloin — which can be a challenge for any chef — was done to perfection, too. The rabbit loin wrapped in Serrano ham appetizer was more good news. For most chefs, rabbit tastes like chicken. This appetizer is a treat for any dedicated omnivore. “Food’s my passion, just ahead of snowboarding,” Roth says. And, with SaddleRidge’s hours, Roth can indulge both. The restaurant is open for dinner only from December through March or early April, and reservations are required. So is a shuttle ride from somewhere else in Beaver Creek, as the place doesn’t have any public parking. But the food at SaddleRidge is well worth the effort to get there. And while waiting for your shuttle after dinner, you can enjoy a game of pool on the 1800s-vintage pool table or head down to the library to examine the antique books and other artifacts, including the hat and canteen General George Custer used in parades — but not on his last mission. Roosevelt would most surely approve. •


Beaver Creek

Splendido at the Chateau 17 Chateau Lane / 970.845.8808 / splendidobeavercreek.com by Wren WErtin photos by kristin Anderson

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he chefs at Splendido at the Chateau play just enough. No matter the season, a quick glance at the menu will show a selection of finely chosen items — pristine oysters, heritage pork, sushi-grade fish, cote de boeuf for two. But look closer and it becomes apparent Executive Chef-Owner David Walford and his crew are having fun with exotic products. Finger limes spill their cache of caviar-like citrus pops onto the kampachi crudo, playing against the toasty pine nuts and creamy avocado. Confit-ed Buddha’s Hand lemons offer spiced sweetness to seared foie gras. Parsley root is tempered by heat, then pureed and topped with sea scallops. Yes, that kitchen of chefs is having a good time keeping it lively. “I’m thankful for what I have here,” Walford says, looking across the wellappointed dining room and into the exhibition kitchen a-whirl with chopping, sautéing, stirring and shucking. “I’m very fortunate to have the clientele I have, so I can use the ingredients I use and have the staff I have.” That staff includes Chef de Cuisine Brian Ackerman, Sous Chef Quintin Wicks and Pastry Chef Alex Daley in the kitchen and, in the front of the house, Brian Rhodes (manager) and Patrick Mildrum (sommelier). “We don’t set out to be the best in the valley,” Walford says. “We just do what we think we should do, the best we can do it.” It’s a sentiment that serves them well, as the restaurant is known as a premiere dining spot not just for the detail-oriented food, but also for the warm hospitality, extensive wine list and impeccable service. All the servers seem trained to anticipate that

first hint of an inquisitive expression and swoop in to answer questions, refill water glasses or deliver a little more butter before the request is even fully formed in the diner’s mind. Culinary highlights Though it’s usually the highlight of a vacation, Splendido doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion. Folks are welcome to wander in and sit in the piano bar, munching fresh shellfish and cheese platters or even tucking into a burger. On the regular dinner menu there are those mainstays that will never leave, such as the wood oven-roasted lobster, the pomegranate-marinated rack of lamb, and even Dover sole. But I predict

Grapefruit in three incarnations is a zippy palate cleanser. Below Clockwise The buffalo steak Diane is embellished with mushrooms and salsify. The kampachi crudo is a refreshing starter. The creme fraiche and goat cheese cheesecake gets some color from mandarin sorbet and pomegranate.

that the buffalo steak Diane will be this season’s crowd favorite. Lean and tender medallions of buffalo tenderloin crown a puddle of husky — sexy — pan juices. That sauce will be in demand by the au gratin potatoes, the earthy mushrooms and the toothsome salsify, but it was made for the savory bison. As for dessert, try to resist the baked-to-order soufflé and explore some of Daley’s new desserts such as the goat cheese and crème fraiche cheesecake with orange-honey sorbet. Tangy and smooth, even full diners will be compelled to finish it. Yes, not too many leftovers leave Splendido, not because of the portion sizes but because the food is so lovely. It’s hard to resist cleaning the plate. •

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Beaver Creek

Toscanini 60 Avondale Lane / Beaver Creek / 970.754.5590 / toscaninibeavercreek.com by Caramie Schnell photos by Kristin Anderson

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ith a view overlooking the ice rink, the very center of Beaver Creek Village, it’s no wonder that General Manager Lana Gordon wishes every table at Toscanini could be next to a window. “Everyone wants a window seat,” she says, smiling. And why wouldn’t you? All the better to watch bundled-up skaters gliding around the shiny rink. But don’t worry if you don’t score one — the view isn’t the only thing worth looking at here. The Italian food Executive Chef Michael Izbicki and his cohorts are creating in the kitchen is worth your attention, too. Start with the tender carpaccio — thinly sliced Wagyu beef complemented by crispy fried shallots and a micro-herb salad lightly dressed in a bright lemon mustard vinaigrette. If you’re craving a little seafood rather than Japanese beef, opt for the calamari; the generous portion of Atlantic squid is served the traditional way

EAT winter 2012

Toscanini’s pettini del mare, left, and fettuccini with Bolognese are both bestsellers. Right The caprese salad is topped with fresh mozzarella.

— crisp, with a sprinkling of parsley, marinara and lemon wedges. Before tucking into the entree side of the menu, try the spinach salad. Chef Izbicki serves baby spinach leaves with paper-thin house-made bresaola, toasted pine nuts, creamy goat cheese and shallots, made sweet after being slow roasted with sherry vinegar. The Mediterraneo salad — a quartered head of butter crunch lettuce topped with roasted tomatoes, Kalamata olives, tiny Italian white beans, pepperoncini, caper berries, feta cheese and a tangy red wine vinaigrette — is substantial enough to nearly pass for a meal. That’s not to insinuate that you should let it. Espe-

cially since the pettini del mare is back on the menu. Pan-seared Georgia Bank scallops ride atop sweet cornstudded risotto with sautéed spinach. The dish is made downright decadent with a rich truffled white-wine sauce. Diners loved it when it was on the menu before, so now it’s back, says Izbicki, who’s been a familiar face at Toscanini for seven years now. For meatier fare, try the grilled Colorado lamb. Two hefty T-bones are served atop crispy gnocchi and pepperonata, and sprinkled with feta cheese and a few candied sage leaves. Even people who don’t love bananas find they adore the toasted pecan waffle, served with caramelized bananas, candied walnuts and a dark rum caramel sauce. Created by Sous Chef Matthew Timmerman, this treat takes the idea of bananas Foster to another level. If you can’t fit any dessert in your stomach, at least try the homemade limoncello, something that’s become a tradition both for Toscanini staffers, who make 50 gallons of it at the beginning of each season, and the visitors and locals who toast with it all winter long. “We’re definitely known for it,” Gordon says. There are three varieties, all made with a base of Everclear (a word that translates to “be careful”): lemon, blood orange and our favorite, grapefruit lavender. Even better, on the drink menu it’s offered as a trio, with a 1-ounce pour of each, so there’s no need to make decisions. •


Beaver Creek

Zach’s Cabin mountainside high above Bachelor Gulch / 970.754.6575 by Cassie Pence photo by Kristin Anderson

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hey say the journey is half the fun, and it’s particularly true of Zach’s Cabin, perched high above Bachelor Gulch on Beaver Creek Mountain. From the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, diners load into a cat-drawn sleigh and zip through the aspens to a luxurious log cabin. Falling snow adds to the ambiance of the open-air ride, but if it’s clear, so does Colorado’s famous starry sky. Your sleigh host entertains with an interactive history of the original bachelors who settled the area. Needless to say, Zach was one of them. Taste experience If the ride wasn’t experience enough, the food will define your evening. Executive Chef Tim McCaw describes the menu as contemporary American with a specific Pacific influence, and what he means by Pacific is the ingredient-driven fare made famous by Californian chefs. McCaw takes the same approach with his food, focusing on quality, fresh ingredients. Signature starters His signature starter is seared foie gras atop a peanut butter and jelly Monte Cristo sandwich. It’s an amazing profile of flavors that return diners go to again and again. But don’t overlook Zach’s simple roasted beet salad with its thinly sliced red and golden beets, mixed greens, pistachios, Laura Chenel goat cheese and pickled onions or the spicy sesame seared Kobe beef, thinly sliced and topped with tiny, powerful Serrano peppers and a ginger-ponzu sauce. The main performance Elk is essential to any meal in the mountains, and Zach’s is perfectly executed.

A chipotle chili crust adds smoke and spice to the inherently sweet meat, while the cherry demi glace mellows all the flavors marrying the whole dish together. Lobster makes repeat appearances on the menu, as McCaw feels it’s quintessential for a destination dining experience. Try its subtle performance — lobster chunks mingling with a root vegetable hash that sets the stage for a filet of barramundi. Or try its lead role, grilled lobster tail with lemon truffle butter over poached leek mashed potatoes. Standout sommelier Don’t navigate the wine list on your

Zach’s Cabin’s foie gras with a peanut butter and jelly Monte Cristo, left, is paired with the Chateau d’ Yaquem Sauternes wine and the trio of seafood, right, is lovely paired with Jermann chardonnay.

own, not when you could be in the hands of standout sommelier Jeremy Gramling. Knowledgeable, entertaining and never stuffy, Gramling errs on the side of lighter wines because he says, “I don’t want to overpower the food. I want chef’s food to shine.” He’ll take you all over the world with vintages, describing the terroir to boot, but his penchant is for French wines. He recently toured the land by bicycle, meeting many of the winemakers whose wine he might pour for you. Leave room Fresh food leaves room for dessert, so you’re in luck. The white chocolate and toffee bread pudding warms the soul before the sleigh ride back, but it’s a tough choice between that and the Mile High frozen s’mores pie •

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Edwards The Gashouse serves hand-cut Colorado aged beef, ridiculously fresh seafood and a selection of wild game, both large and small. The unpretentiously rustic surroundings contribute to the hunting lodge ambiance, which is further highlighted by the menu itself. Start strong Whether you need wild game “training wheels” or you’re an expert on the bison-venison-elk circuit, the buffalo carpaccio is a go-to app. Barely roasted at very high heat to create a thin, savory crust, the extremely rare meat resembles an exotic flower blooming on the plate. Embellished with briny capers, crispy toasts and dressed greens, it’s a lean and easy foray into a typical Gashouse experience. As clean and light as the carpaccio is, the oysters Rockefeller is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Garlicky spinach makes the large oysters downright creamy. The clams casino, another classic, makes excellent companions of bacon and clams. And the crab cake has a cult following: a profusion of jumbo lump crab meat is lightly massaged with a sprinkling of bread crumbs to bind it together, and then pan-fried to create a crispy crust. “It’s Connie’s grandmother’s recipe, and there’s no filler,” says manager and bartender Jay Beacham. Connie Irons owns the restaurant with Andy Guy. The crab cake doesn’t have to be a stand-alone appetizer — The Gashouse

The Gashouse 34185 Highway 6, edwards / 970.926.3613 / gashouse-edwards.com by Wren Wertin photos by Andy Guy & Kristin Anderson

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ring your sass. Bring your appetite. Bring your friends. The Gashouse in Edwards is a feisty, freewheeling dining experience. Split-log walls give the restaurant a cabin feel, and the deer and elk mounts vie for space with authentic historical photos. There are even jackalope mounts — complete with a “license” — for sale. Don’t know what that means? Ask your server.

EAT winter 2012

The Gashouse is the place for wild game. There’s no meat — or fish — they’re afraid to cook.

has a choose-your-own-adventure surf and turf selection. Crab cakes, shrimp skewers, lobster tails and fresh fish can all be added to whatever turf you’ve got going. From the land In addition to the usual beefy suspects (sirloin, NY strip, porterhouse and prime rib, all carved to order), there are some more exotic options. The thickly cut bone-in lamb porterhouse — both husky and deeply flavored — plays against a lightly sweetened berry sauce. On the leaner side the elk tenderloin gets a nice hit from the viscous blackberry demi glace. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the quail. Marinated and then grilled to deliver a smoky char to the skin, the delectable little birds are best eaten with the fingers. Roasted duck, a variety of chicken and fresh fish like salmon, mahi mahi and trout are menu mainstays. Scallops are new this season, and there’s also a daily fish special. All of the entrees come with a potato option (the twice-bakers are excellent) and veggies. Dinner service is available all day long. It’s not unusual to wander in for après and share the dining room or the two-sided bar with a handful of tables who’ve been going strong since lunchtime. It’s just that kind of place. “The Gashouse is an unpretentious place with really excellent food,” Beacham says. “We rock it.” •


Edwards

Gore Range Brewery 0105 Edwards Village Blvd. / 970.926.BREW (2739) / gorerangebrewery.com by Lauren Glendenning photos by Dominique Taylor

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here’s an expectation that brewery food is a step above just regular old bar food. Pascal Coudouy’s food at the Gore Range Brewery just might make you raise your expectations for brewery food everywhere. Coudouy bought the Gore Range Brewery last spring and made some pretty drastic changes to the menu and the quality of the food — all for the better. The Gore Range Brewery that Coudouy bought was 13 years old, but Coudouy’s Gore Range Brewery is brand-new. His passion has rubbed off on everyone from Sous Chef Matt Paula to the servers and bartenders who know the menu well.

dipping sauce. And the saltiness is just enough to keep you craving beer because this is a brewery, so drink up. Another so-called bar bite, lamb meatballs, is juicy, with a rich lamb flavor that is paired with a creamy chipotle lime sauce. You can also order staples like fried calamari, fries with garlic mayonnaise or onion rings. And you can catch just about any game on one of the TVs scattered throughout the bar and dining room. Quality is a virtue There’s an attention to detail in Coudouy’s food that you can taste as you eat it. The stout-rubbed barbecue

The seared scallops crown a plate of butternut squash puree. Below The smoked beef brisket dip with Swiss cheese and spicy slaw comes on a pretzel roll with a stout au jus.

brisket dip is a brilliant twist on a French dip. The brisket is sliced so thin that you can almost swallow it without chewing. It’s silky and tender, and served on a salty pretzel roll paired with a spicy slaw and au jus — you’ll be licking your fingers down to the last bite with this one. The brewery is also cranking out crispy, thin pizzas from its wood oven. Burgers are fresh— the restaurant grinds its own meat daily, the fish is fresh, and meats are all natural whenever possible. Coudouy is even making his malt vinegar from scratch because homemade cooking is worth the effort, he says. •

Elevated pub fare Coudouy is passionate and committed to fresh, local and organic ingredients whenever he can find them. He comes from a fine-dining background, and it’s fun to see how he has integrated this into a brewpub setting. “Because you use fresh food, the price doesn’t have to be more expensive,” Coudouy says. And who says brewery food can’t be fine dining? There might not be white tablecloths or a sommelier walking around, but there is excellent food and an in-house brewmaster because, as it turns out, beer is an excellent pairing with food, too. For those looking for a new kind of bar bite, there’s an adventure to be had. The fried pickles, a Southern favorite, are perfection. The batter is crisp, with a hint of salt that flawlessly complements the flavor of the dill pickle inside, as does the horseradish-paprika

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Edwards

The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera 2205 Cordillera Way / 970.926.2200 / cordilleralodge.com by Kim Fuller photos by dominique taylor

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trip to the hills above Edwards rewards you with more than breathtaking views and natural tranquillity. Just 5 miles up from Highway 6, the Cordillera Lodge and Spa restaurants are mountain retreats that should not be missed. Grouse on the Green Grouse on the Green is an authentic Irish pub that sits overlooking the Cordillera Short Course. During colder seasons, the pub is the perfect place to nestle up to the fireplace with a Smithwick’s red ale as you watch the sun fall to rest behind the horizon. Don’t miss out on the Irish nachos, a savory plate of thick-cut potato “crisps” covered in Roquefort sauce and garnished with chives and tomato. But it may be Grouse’s signature soda bread, served with a cayenne-honey butter, that makes it easy to stay for another round.

EAT winter 2012

Mirador’s lamb ribs with lemony garlic-mint gremolata come with spicy “micro insanity” greens. Below Grouse’s Irish roulade includes corned beef and cabbage with a piquant mustard sauce.

Mirador Executive Chef Ashton Fichtl has more on his plate than this quaint pub. Just up the hill from Grouse on the Green is Mirador, where Fichtl has created an impressive menu that brings in local flavor with a French and Italian influence.

“We buy our ingredients as locally as possible,” Fichtl says. “I just want everybody to come in and feel like they have had a good, fresh meal, and know that most of what they are eating comes from Colorado.” Mirador’s picture windows create an open — but intimate — dining room, where attentive and friendly service helps you sink into the rustic atmosphere. The food is comforting in its classic and rich flavors, and not a single dish disappoints. A crisp and clean sauvignon blanc pairs perfectly with Mirador’s Rocky Mountain trout piccata, rich and tender underneath a caper-lemon butter sauce and alongside wilted spinach and herb-roasted heirloom potatoes. But it’s the Durham Ranch boar chop that Fichtl brought to the table with a twinkle in his eye. The flavorful meat rests on top of roasted apple farro, Brussels sprouts and a pancetta pan sauce, hearty ingredients that fill every bite with enjoyment. Save a little room for a taste of homemade sorbet and maybe even some vintage cheddar and semisoft Swiss. Fichtl’s farm-to-table philosophy makes Mirador and Grouse on the Green favored local dining destinations. The restaurants are just far enough away from it all, making an evening escape from the Vail Valley a welcome occasion. Share the getaway with visiting family and friends, who are sure to be impressed with the drive that leads up into this scenic oasis. Just know that after you get your fill of Mirador’s local flair and sample some of Grouse’s delicious draft ales, all you’ll really want to do is settle in and stay a while. •


Edwards

Marko’s Pizza & Pasta Edwards Plaza / 970.926.7003 / markospizza.com by Krista Driscoll photo by Dominique Taylor

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ark Esteppe, owner and operator of Marko’s Pizza and Pasta in Edwards, has found the key to restaurant longevity. “Consistency” he says. “We have the most consistent food in the valley.” When Mark and his wife, Kathy, opened Marko’s, there were no options for pizza in Edwards. In fact, there were only four restaurants in the whole town. Mark says they had to meet delivery drivers from Domino’s or Pizza Hut at the gas station on Highway 6 because they wouldn’t drive all the way out to their home in Lake Creek. Mark and Kathy recognized this void, and Marko’s was born. “We’ve been here for 18 years,” Mark says. “People come from all over the world who say they love our pizzas.” Now there are no less than 28 options for a meal in Edwards, Mark says, but people keep coming back to Marko’s for the homemade sauces, fresh salads, dough and desserts. Marko’s makes its own marinara, a thick, lively red sauce with chunks of tomato and onion and 11 herbs and spices, and its own alfredo, which is made from scratch in individual batches for every order. “It’s out of this world,” Mark says. Two of Marko’s salad dressings are also homemade, the balsamic house dressing and the Caesar. Kathy makes the house dressing, and Mark encourages diners to dip everything in it — from pizza to sandwiches to Marko’s famous garlic knots — and the creamy, tangy flavor means everyone is willing to comply. “I used to cook Italian at home all the time,” Kathy says. “The meatballs are my mom’s recipe. It’s a family effort.”

Through trial and error, Mark and Kathy took those recipes and found ways to multiply them — by a lot, Kathy says. And the results are evident in the lick-your-plate fare and the alwaysgrowing base of loyal customers. Pizza is the answer Above all else, Marko’s is a pizza joint, and the secret to its fantastic pizza lies in the crust. Marko’s crust is so popular that they have even added dough balls to their carry-out menu, so customers can try their hand at their own homemade pizzas. Mark says the thing that separates Marko’s from other pizza places is its pizza oven.

Any of Marko’s many pizzas, both standards and custom-builds, can be made with a gluten-free crust. Because worse than not being able to eat gluten is going without pizza.

“We cook all of our pizzas straight on an authentic brick pizza oven,” he says. The restaurant also offers a new gluten-free pizza crust, made with rice flour. Also new on the menu is the pizza sub, a 10-inch pizza cooked without sauce, cut in half and stuffed with all the things that make a great sub sandwich — Canadian bacon, Genoa salami, lettuce, tomato and red onion. The final product is hot and toasty on the outside, with cool, fresh meats and veggies on the inside. “It’s like having a sub, but it’s a pizza,” Mark says. “It’s nice for hot summer nights.” Enjoy a pizza sub and a beer or one of Marko’s daily lunch specials — a huge pasta and a drink, enough for lunch and dinner — on the patio in the summer, or sit inside at the black and white tiled bar and take in the funky, casual atmosphere of the establishment. And don’t forget to bring your kids. “Kids love Marko’s,” Mark says, also mentioning that the restaurant partners with schools to get kids in the kitchen tossing their own dough and making their own pizzas. Because after all, Marko’s is and always will be a family affair. “Our whole family is here,” Kathy says. •

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Edwards them once a year on their ski holiday. “The energy is just fantastic,” says Janine Glennon, who owns Vista with her husband, Michael Glennon. Though people often love to sit right next to Poage in the “inner circle” of tables around him, the music can be heard throughout the restaurant. It starts off friendly, perfect for an accompaniment to dinner. But as the evening goes on, people loosen up and the energy kicks into high gear. The consummate entertainer, Poage works the entire room and he never leaves his piano.

Vista at Arrowhead Country Club of the Rockies / Arrowhead / 970.926.2111 / vista-arrowhead.com by Wren Wertin photos by Kristin Anderson

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hese days, “Vail’s Piano Man,” Micky Poage is found a few miles downvalley in Arrowhead. The saucy, sassy, plays-everything piano man has taken up residence at Vista at Arrowhead. Monday through Saturday evenings he plays in the bar to an inevitably full room. Poage is able to roll with it — “it” being everything from Billy Joel to Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini to Andrew Lloyd Webber. He sits at his piano and moves to his own music, tossing out big band standards, musical numbers and classics both old and new. Folks occasionally wander up to the bar and begin singing along. Sometimes they’re “neverevers” new to the restaurant and to Poage. Usually,

EAT winter 2012

Micky Poage plays the piano at Vista Monday through Saturday evenings. Right The braised Colorado lamb shank has been a signature dish for the Tuscan restaurant since its inception.

though, they’re people who have sung with Poage before, be it high school students interested in the performing arts or old friends, both local and out-of-towners, who’ve been fans of his for the past three decades. A man with a million best friends, Poage’s got an uncanny ability to remember people’s names, even if he only sees

Tuscan fare Entertainment is a big draw, but for people to come back several times a week they need a little something to nosh on. Though there’s a pub menu available, Michael’s menu of Tuscanstyle cuisine has its own fan club. The roasted pear and mascarpone-filled purses are a standout on the appetizer list — little pasta purses with sweet and creamy interiors, tossed with sage, brown butter and balsamic. The ricotta pancakes — made almost entirely out of house-made ricotta with a little binder in the way of egg and a dusting of flour —are hearty enough to share. The braised duck atop them comes swimming in Palisade tomatoes the chefs snatched in the height of tomato season and cooked down to last the winter long. Chef Michael has been serving his braised lamb shank since the restaurant was located over in Avon. A winter-only staple, the tender-as-canbe lamb finds appropriate plate-mates in the chianti-lamb gravy and roasted winter vegetable puree. “There are people who come in especially for that,” Michael says. “They get really upset when we take it off the menu in the summer.” Luckily, there are plenty of other treats to choose from. And when all else fails, kick back and enjoy the music. The piano man always brings his A game. •


Edwards

Zino Ristorante 27 Main St. / 970.926.0777 / zinoristorante.com by Brenda Himelfarb photos by Kristin Anderson

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asual yet sophisticated might be an oxymoron, but it’s the perfect description of Zino, a favorite of locals for just those reasons. Executive Chef Nick Haley, who has studied and worked in Paris and Italy, steeps the menu in beautifully conceived dishes. He changes them often to keep it fresh and new. Haley, with the assistance of Sous Chef Alfonso Espinosa, has created some savory dishes for the new season. Keep in mind that Zino is known for its Tuesday night cozze special: skillet-roasted mussels drowned in lemon butter for just $6. The mussels, accompanied by the restaurant’s outstanding pizzas, will keep even the most critical pizza maven satisfied. In addition to the already popular Margherita, funghi and Mediteranea pizzas, Zino is introducing the zucca, topped with roasted pumpkin, prosciutto, gorgonzola and sage, and the cariofi, with grilled artichokes, saffron mozzarella and arrabiata. Handsome salads like the ortolana with grilled portobello, crispy roasted

squash, oven-dried tomatoes, beet vinaigrette, parmesan and truffle oil are presented in colors as varied as the colors of the rainbow. The bottarga — baby romaine with shaved parmigiano, ciabatta crostini and bottarga (cured fish roe) — is a new favorite. Haley has a way with introducing interesting, unorthodox appetizers. A grilled baby octopus, accompanied with braised heirloom beans and arugula, topped with chili oil and carpaccio, fennel-crusted tuna, caper berries and pepperoncini, can now be found on the menu. And one cannot forget the fabulous burrata made with house-made cheese, grilled ciabatta and vine-ripened tomatoes. The raviolo with ricotta cheese, hen’s egg and brown butter is also sensational. Newly added items also include tonno — seared ahi tuna, chickpea puree, puttanesca and saffron butter — and the maiale, which is a grilled pork chop served with Swiss chard, currants and pine nuts. The restaurant’s old standby, however, is the sinfully tasting smoked duck with roasted

The ortolana antipasti includes roasted squash, grilled portobellos, ovendried tomatoes and a bright beet vinaigrette. Left Guests can dine in the bar area if they prefer.

butternut squash and balsamic fig reduction. One never knows what fabulous dessert Pastry Chef Molly Harrison will come up with, but you can be sure that making a choice will be difficult. Be it a cannoli, tiramisu or the evening’s special, it’s a given that it will be sensational. Zino is a happening place. It’s at once friendly and contemporary. The upstairs bar area is very welcoming: One can eat at the bar or have intimate conversation at the low tables while relaxing on the comfy leather furniture. And the restaurant has an exceptional wine list. “We’re always trying to do something different,” says Chef Haley. “We have a diversified group of customers — locals, second homeowners and visitors who appreciate trying new things. We like to keep a nice balance.” You can be sure the Zino is unpretentious with an enticing menu that is always satisfying. •

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Vail

Bistro Fourteen Eagle’s Nest, Vail Mountain / 970.745.4530 / vail.com by Wren Wertin & Melanie Wong photos by Kimberly Gavin

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ometimes, it feels good to look down on the rest of the world. For the crew at Bistro Fourteen, it’s a daily occurrence. Located on top of Vail Mountain, it’s accessible by speedy gondola or steep snowshoe. So named for Colorado’s many peaks that are 14,000 feet and higher (“fourteeners”), out the window is a panorama of trees, rocky peaks and Mount of the Holy Cross, a local fourteener. It’s a reminder that there’s no reason to ski hungry. Executive Sous Chef Webster Lee has designed a menu with broad crowd appeal. “We get a lot of families, so I want it to be available to everybody,” he says. “But it’s such a beautiful spot, and sometimes people want to come up for a nice date night. And I want that to happen, too.”

EAT winter 2012

Located at the top of the gondola, Bistro Fourteen is good for families, couples and friends. Right Fresh and crunchy salads can be embellished with chicken, flank steak or shrimp.

That menu begins with several apps that are designed for sharing — if you can make yourself. Three-cheese fondue, buffalo carpaccio and steamed mussels are all free-wheeling options. But the duck potstickers are a highaltitude treat. Flavored with scallions, ginger and Chinese five-spice, the duck gets a little vavoom from homemade the plum sauce. “We have the manpower, so I like to make as much from scratch as possible,” Lee says. Bistro classics The bistro has transformed slowly over recent years from a nacho and burger joint to a classier familyfriendly restaurant that draws people up for dinner as well, says Executive Sous Chef Webster Lee. “We still have the simple sandwiches and burgers if you want, but now we’ve got more variety,” he says. “We’ve

focused on quality service, and quality product with great presentation.” For more unique and substantial fare, try one of Lee’s Asian-influenced dishes, such as the grilled flank with sautéed udon noodles, cabbage, mushrooms, bell peppers and carrots. Or try the sesame-crusted ahi tuna with a soy sake beurre blanc and wasabi vinaigrette. Lee’s favorite sandwich is the apple stuffing-stuffed pork loin. It’s served open faced with gravy and bacon jam. Bacon jam? “It’s delicious,” he says, laughing. But word to the wise: Leave room for dessert. Pastry Chef Anne Armstrong’s old-fashioned apple pie is popular with its sugar cookie crust and pomegranate caramel. There are also smaller, two-bite options for those who want to sample a couple of items. But honestly, simple baked-to-order cookies and milk can’t be beat. Available to go, stick some in your pocket and get back out on the slopes. •


Vail & Beaver Creek

Blue Moose Pizza Lionshead Village / 970.476.8666 / bluemoosepizza.com Beaver creek Plaza / 970.845.8666 by Charlie Owen photos by Kristin Anderson & NATE AGNINI

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slice of pizza in a familyfriendly environment shouldn’t be hard to find in America’s top-rated ski resorts — and it’s not. The Blue Moose Pizza restaurants in Vail and Beaver Creek are not hard to find. Just locate the outdoor ice-skating rinks at both resorts, and you’re there. And Blue Moose knows pizza — they’ve been doing it for 16 years now. “The fact that we make all of our stuff from scratch, we hand toss our dough, really helps separate us from other pizza places,” says Sarah Franke, communications manager for Blue Moose. “I think when it comes to the restaurant, it’s one of the few places that really is just family fun and casual.” With specialty pizzas such as the Winter Pizza, topped with Roma tomatoes, fresh minced basil, garlic, olive oil and mozzarella, or the Buffalo Wing Pizza, The Blue Moose refuses to be a standard pizza joint. It even has a pizza called The Vonnderful, created

with the help of professional skier and Vail resident Lindsey Vonn. A little different but definitely worth trying, it’s covered with grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto, and is sprinkled with mozzarella and goat cheese. But it’s not just pizza the Moose serves up. Cheese-stuffed fried ravioli has returned to the menu, and, of course it has calzones, pasta and sandwiches. There’s even a wholewheat crust option that — surprisingly — doesn’t taste like whole wheat. The family-friendly environment is still what Blue Moose is all about though. As Dennis Doherty, manager of The Blue Moose in Vail, puts it, “It’s the family atmosphere.” The prices are very reasonable. “I’ve had a lot of people come in here from New York, and they come in with the attitude that they’ll never have a better pizza than one from where they’re from,” Doherty says. “And 99

Above The Moose Wings are a study of succulent spiciness. Left The Vonnderful pizza begins with a whole-wheat crust and is topped with chicken, garlic, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese. One dollar from every purchase of this pizza is donated to SOS Outreach.

percent of the time, they leave fulfilled and happy.” That’s especially easy with all of Blue Moose Pizza’s specials. From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily, any one-topping slice and a soda can be had for $5, and you can double up on the slice or add a salad for another $3. And the Apres Special from 3 until 5 p.m. daily, snow or shine, includes any one-topping slice and a Bud or Bud Light draft for $6 and Moose Wings for $5. And don’t be fooled — it’s a pizza joint, but Blue Moose knows wings. •

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Vail

Elway’s 174 E. Gore Creek Dr. / Lodge at Vail / 970.754.7818 / elways.com/vail by Lauren Glendenning photos courtesy of Elway’s

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hen you walk into Elway’s in the Lodge at Vail, it’s almost obvious that Denver Broncos great John Elway is the owner — it’s masculine and elegant, and every last detail seems to have been thought through. It’s the way Elway played football — with precision — and it’s how the chef at his newest Colorado steakhouse location is executing the food. The transformation this space made in just a few months is nothing short of remarkable. It’s unrecognizable from what it used to look like when it was Mickey’s Lounge and the Wildflower restaurant. The space has been modernized and brought to life. Executive Chef Shawn Cubberley, who came to

EAT winter 2012

Clockwise The bone-in ribeye is USDA-certified Prime beef — the best of the best. Crab cakes are a great way to start the meal. Tyler Wiard and John Elway know good steaks.

Vail from his sous chef role at the Elway’s Cherry Creek location, is excited about the food at the new location. You can see him in Elway’s open kitchen just about any night of the week, preparing the classics and leading his team to create delicious dining experiences for every guest. The menu is generally the same as the menus at the two Denver locations, serving up steakhouse-style classics and specifically USDA Prime beef, the best of the best. There are creative twists at Elway’s, though — this isn’t just a steak-and-potatoes restaurant, although you can satisfy your steak and potatoes craving here just as well. Appetizers such as the Rhode Island-style calamari served with pepperoncinis and cherry peppers, tempura blue cheese olives and baby corn excite the palate and make you realize the food is fun here.

The lamb chop fondue — tender lamb served with a creamy greenchile cheese fondue and crisp roasted sweet potatoes and tortillas — is a brilliant way to have lamb in a place where you should really order a steak. With this appetizer, though, you can have the best of both worlds. Shellfish is a standout on this menu, too, with everything from shrimp, lobster and crab cocktails to fresh oysters by the half-dozen. Steakhouse classics like Caesar salad and an iceberg wedge are done traditionally and deliciously. Fish entrees are flown in fresh and include salmon, ahi tuna, Alaskan crab legs, Maine lobster tail and an incredible dashi-braised Chilean sea bass that has a flavor resembling bacon — mmmmm, bacon. And now for the steak — the USDA Prime steak — the best beef there is, perfectly charred on the outside and beautifully marbled on the inside. Steak is the star at Elway’s, and they’re offering tons of it. There’s New York strip, filet, bone-in filet, bone-in ribeye, bone-in New York, prime rib, sirloin and porterhouse. All steaks at Elway’s can also “surf,” meaning you can throw on a lobster tail or a crab cake for a surfand-turf option. Then there are add-ons such as Hudson Valley foie gras, Maytag blue cheese butter, duck egg, caramelized sweet onion or a black pepper-horseradish aioli. You can sauce it with peppercorn sauce or classic béarnaise, or just eat it the way it is. And, in true steakhouse fashion, side dishes are served a la carte. Classics such as creamed spinach and au gratin potatoes are fantastic, and there are creative twists like roasted cauliflower with truffle butter or a Brussels sprout hash with toasted pistachios. Elway’s was destined for a place like Vail where we ski hard and want a good, and often large, meal at the end of the day. Elway’s is that place. •


Vail

Flame One Vail Road / Four Seasons Resort / 970.477.8600 / fourseasons.com/vail By Caramie Schnell Photos by Kristin Anderson

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lame, the polished-but-not-pretentious steakhouse in the Four Seasons Vail, turned 1 in December. Chef Jason Harrison bravely opened the doors a few weeks before Christmas in 2010, and his rock-solid menu was a hit from the beginning. And yet, he’s somehow managed to outdo himself with this winter’s offerings. Carefully layered flavors and textures build on one another in dish after dish that Harrison, a native Canadian, touches. Take the Chilled Tostado Tasting. The two-bite-sized tacos come in three varieties — lobster salad, tuna tartare and achiote beef — all served in crisp wonton shells and topped with a creamy avocado puree and aji, a Peruvian condiment made from jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice. Chef Harrison came up with the light, refreshing appetizer when he was scheming about how to better cater to the Latin American clientele that frequents the restaurant. He wants everyone to feel welcome, and his friend in bourbon, and assistant bar manager, Steven Teaver wants the same. Not sure if you want Sancerre or sauvignon blanc? Lean back, take a deep breath, and leave those pesky decisions behind. Salad with sex appeal Flame is a steakhouse, which means there are dishes that diners expect, along with filets and chops and loins. Items like a wedge salad. Harrison bucked tradition last year but relented this year, since he found a way to take an expected dish and give it some unexpected touches, just the sort

of thing this perfection-driven chef strives for. The just-out-of-the-icebox cold iceberg lettuce is quartered and topped with blue cheese dressing, made in house with Cashel Blue cheese from Ireland. Candied bacon slivers and tangy, still-crunchy red onions, pickled in cabernet sauvignon, add a little sex appeal. “That’s how I write my menu

The milk-fed veal chop is both tender and decadent. Below Flame’s Chilled Tostado Tasting is a fun way to begin dinner; it includes tuna tartare, lobster salad and achiote beef.

— would I come back for it?” he asks. The maple and miso-glazed salmon is served atop a spool of ginger-infused glass noodles swimming in a rich miso broth with bonito flakes, bright-green edamame and carrots. Candied ginger is sprinkled on top for just a little crunch. It’s “light enough for those who want fish but bold enough to be fulfilling when it’s cold outside,” Harrison says. Listen to Teaver’s advice and sip on a glass of the ultra-silky Lioco Pinot Noir, a refined red from California’s Sonoma Coast, alongside. With hints of black tea, it’s the perfect foil for this Asian-influenced dish. “We think through every step of each dish, instead of just the complete product,” Harrison says. Creamy grits, in honor of Teaver’s Georgia roots, set the stage for the rustic ricotta-stuffed bison meatballs. The garlic and basil pomodoro sauce on top has more spicy sass than you’d expect. Dessert is big enough to share, though you won’t want to after the first bite. The Black Forest dark chocolate cake has layers of deep, dark mousse, homespun cherry ice cream, macerated cherries and (what else?) bourbon. •

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Vail — it’s an indulgence topped only by the spectacular array of dishes waiting beyond the front door. Game Creek is all about exceeding customers’ expectations, from gondola door to plate. “I think (people) are very surprised that the food is modern; it’s worldclass dining, even in the rustic mountain setting,” Executive Chef David Clawson says. Game Creek has a prixe fixe menu with a choice of three, four or five courses, or patrons can opt for the chef’s tasting menu, which changes from week to week according to Clawson’s whims. Clawson says it’s a meal for the culinary adventurer. “They’re waiting for whatever I send out next, which is really exciting,” he says.

Game Creek Restaurant Game creek Bowl, Vail mountain / 970.754.4275 / vail.com by Krista Driscoll photos by Kimberly Gavin

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t first glance, the allure of Game Creek Restaurant on Vail Mountain is the location. Riding up the gondola on a crisp winter’s evening with its tiny thread of winking lights, being scooped up by a snowcat and whisked to an idyllic mountain chateau

EAT winter 2012

Game Creek Restaurant serves top-of-the-line food, such as rack of lamb and bite-sized rare ahi tuna cubes.

World flavors The menu at Game Creek has global influences, reflecting Clawson’s background in French cuisine and a stint at a Japanese hotel, among other places. An example of this world culinary approach is the shrimp appetizer: jumbo shrimp with a shrimp dumpling, Meyer lemon, jicama, pea shoots and spiced pork. The crunchy jicama provides a texture balance to the tender dumplings, and the Meyer lemon leaves a touch of tangy sweetness on the palate long after the shrimp has melted away. Clawson says the restaurant tries to follow all of the principles of sustainability. “We’re looking for shrimp and how it was harvested, how it was transported,” he says. “With all of our products, we like to dig a little deeper and make sure they are coming from great sources.” Other Asian-inspired dishes include the ahi, coupled with pureed purple Korean sweet potatoes, ginger emulsion, bok choy, tamari and basil oil, and the sea bass, served with manila clams, shiitake mushrooms and broccolini. The succulent fish is glazed

with a sauce reminiscent of the type used on eel in sushi restaurants and seared crispy, again providing texture. It’s a healthy dish, as the veggies and clams are cooked in broth, rather than butter — all the intense flavors without the fat, Clawson says. Mountain style Clawson says for the marinated Rocky Mountain elk tenderloin, he took a Southwestern twist, coupling it with crispy-fried poblano mac and cheese, mustard greens and cilantro pepper. Clawson says customers equate the tender, buttery elk with Colorado. “It’s like they’re waiting for elk to run by the window, so it’s a big seller,” he says. Or let Game Creek’s sommelier, Matthew Pauls, pick something special that will marry perfectly with each dish, from a sweet Riesling to cut through the richness of the foie gras and smoked duck starter to a white Rioja to calm the spice of cardamom rubbed on the hiramasa. “Our sommelier puts his expertise into the experience.” Clawson says. “We like to sell wines by the glass that really go well with each dish.” Clawson says people who visit Vail Mountain usually try to fit in at least one on-mountain dining experience, and Game Creek offers the atmosphere and cuisine for a memorable evening. “We’re flexible about letting people create the dining experience they’re looking for,” Clawson says. •


Vail

Kelly Liken Gateway Building / 970.479.0175 / kellyliken.com by Wren Wertin photos by Andrew Rupczynski

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fter winning fans (and round after round) on Bravo Network’s “Top Chef D.C.,” as well as spearheading Eagle County’s Sowing Seeds program which helps elementary school children learn about and grow food, Kelly Liken has become a household name. She hit the ground running when she opened her Vail restaurant years ago and has continued to twist and tweak key elements. Her unabashedly Colorado-centric approach to her food has always been best experienced through the customized tasting menu offered nightly — a multicourse journey that flows from flavor to flavor, building along the way. This season she’s changed her menu so that everyone designs their own tasting. “Our goal has always been to raise the bar in the dining community here and to really create a custom dining experience for each guest,” Liken says. “This is the next step in that experience, to create more of a custom tasting menu for everyone.” She and her team, Chef de Cuisine Matt Limbaugh, Sous Chef Tyler Hansen and Sous Chef Brian Long, have created a dynamic menu and, as always, front-of-the-house staff such as Lisa Lockwood and Andy Rupczynski know it intimately. The three-course savory tasting starts with light, bright first-course options such as fluke crudo with pickled beet kimchee and a ginger-lemongrass sorbet. The Jonah crab salad is as pretty a dish as you’re likely to see, thanks to the shocking watermelon radishes. “It’s delicious and exciting and just so bright,” Liken says. “It is seasonal, but the flip side of winter: tangerines and crab and radishes. It’s just so light and fun.”

The good stuff Second-course options get a little sexier with sweetbreads, scallops, marrow bone risotto or the piece de resistance, the homemade garganelli and chanterelles. Hand-rolled pasta is engaged by a tumble of earthy mushrooms speckled by toasted almonds. As if that weren’t enough, foie gras butter crowns the whole shebang. It’s the perfect example of a few wellchosen ingredients making mountains out of molehills. The third course can be considered a traditional entrée. The potato-crusted trout has long been a signature item, and Colorado lamb is always

Clockwise Chanterelle mushrooms and homemade garganelli pasta were made for each other. The hazelnut-brioche bostock gets a seasonal kick from butternut squash. Tangerine supremes and watermelon radishes make sure the Jonah crab salad is beautiful.

on the menu as well. But the Story Farms duck flat- out steals the show. Raised just down the road in Sweetwater by Kevin and Sandy Story, all of that livin’ large must affect the ducks’ flavor. Even without the embarrassment of riches on the plate, both the seared breast and confited leg are fantastic. But add in the sweet pumpkin puree, pickled pumpkin and caraway jus and it’s positively over the top. Now the tasting is three courses, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself. There are starters for the table, such as a charcuterie board, oysters and caviar. And Pastry Chef Megan Kaminski’s sweet creations are just as seasonal and innovative as the rest of the menu. Not only did she rework the sticky bun sundae, which has been on the menu since day one, but her butternut squash and hazelnut brioche bostock is a slam dunk. •

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Vail tine ingredients really shine. Sommelier Paul DiMario — Old World tastes with New World glee — went for a 2003 Koehler Ruprect “KallstadterSteinacker” Riesling. It was one of those inspired, made-for-each-other pairings. The pungent bouquet of the Riesling smoothed out with the fish, in what seemed like a magic trick.

La Tour 122 East Meadow Drive / 970.476.4403 / Latour-vail.com by Wren Wertin photos by Kristin Anderson

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ith four cozy dining rooms instead of one large one, La Tour has always felt intimate and personal. From General Manager Chad Russel’s welcoming smile to the slew of friendly and educated servers, there’s a comfortable air of expectation: You’re in for a treat. The La Tour kitchen is just as “intimate” as one of the dining rooms, but you’d never know it from the parade of delights that Paul Ferzacca, chef-owner, has made the mainstays of the menu. An everevolving affair, La Tour’s menu changes often but always has the same backbone of carefully sourced ingredients classically prepared with some really inspiring zingers. Beginnings A restaurant with classic roots, the lobster bisque

EAT winter 2012

The Colorado striped bass with Pernod shrimp includes roasted and pickled fennel. Below Lobster, endive and beets make excellent friends in this citrusy salad.

has always been a hit. But this winter, try a different approach to lobster, in a salad tossed with roasted baby beets, mint, endive and a mélange of citrus segments. Of course, the lobster is rich, the way lobster should be. But all of that citrus, tempered by the herbal olive oil, lightens the load and feels virtuous. Paired with a glass of NV Domaine de Vaughondy cremant de Loire, it’s a great start to dinner. Another seafood option is the tuna poke, layered with varying sizes of tuna, bits of crispy wontons and avocado. Barely dressed with sesame, the pris-

Little gifts Entrees like Dover sole and Colorado rack of lamb will always be on the menu, but everyone should dare to foray into any of several other choices, which really showcase the chefs’ passions. Take the Colorado striped bass, for instance. Roasted with fennel, it’s served atop a creamy potato puree with shrimp so sweet and creamy you’ll dream about them for days. Dueling sauces — anise on one side, herb butter on the other — give it a mix-and-match feel. Peek under the succulent fish, and you’ll find wee bits of fennel stem that pack big flavor. “It’s pickled fennel stem,” says Chef de Cuisine Oliver Philpott. “It’s an old-school approach, looking at what we’re throwing away and then trying to do something with it.” Fennel comes in and they use the bulb as expected, but Philpott wanted to do something with all of those stems. So he pickled them, making them sweet and savory and like little gifts tucked under the fish. It’s the same philosophy that has him making lamb bacon or using the very most interior leaves of the Romaine heads. Desserts are fun Choco-fiends should try the flourless chocolate cake, which dances a little jig with blood oranges. And the fig apple cake is a little bit like the most interesting toffee pudding cake you’ll ever find. Figs offer a great texture and scale back on the sweetness, which is in abundance in the caramel sauce. It, like the overall La Tour experience, is a sharable delight. •


Vail

Larkspur Restaurant Larkspur / 458 Vail Valley Drive / VAIL / 970.754.8050 / larkspurvail.com by Wren Wertin Photos by Josh Stevenson

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arkspur Restaurant is experiencing a revolution. “We’ve toppled the dictator,” says Mark Metzger, executive pastry chef. By dictator he means that one solitary person who has all the power, makes all the rules and decides on the realm’s religion. In a kitchen, that’s typically the executive chef. And though proprietor Thomas Salamunovich is still the executive chef and, therefore, guides the overarching vision of the place, each member of the team is expected to bring some integral part of him or herself to the kitchen — something authentic. It’s not just that everyone gets a turn to talk; everyone is listened to. “We’re pushing ourselves to never be satisfied,” says Allana Smith, director of operations. And she means it. Whether it’s the quality of the prosciutto, the texture of the bread or the shape of the salad plate, nothing is taken for granted. Not even which meals they serve. This winter, for the first time ever, Larkspur will be open for breakfast — gorgeous, sumptuous breakfast. Or, if you prefer, simply a sexy pot of brewedfor-you coffee and a newspaper. Now in its 12th year, Larkspur has stood the test of time. Still a beautiful room filled with a whir of well-trained servers, Larkspur has been serving seasonal and thoughtful food since its inception. More-casual dining can happen in the bar, though folks are allowed to eat from whatever menu they prefer wherever they happen to be sitting. There has never been a shortage of talent in the Larkspur kitchen

— Salamunovich’s impeccable taste always allows him to see talent, as in Chef de Cuisine Robert Kennon. But the focus, these days, is also on channeling that explosive creativity his chefs lay claim to and planning ahead, getting in front of it. Instead of approaching dinner rush with a seatof-their-pants enthusiasm, they aim to be a well-honed machine introducing new dishes every few days instead of all at once. Consistency is of paramount importance, and to that end, Sous Chef David Bielecki is creating Larkspur’s very own “Book of Spells.” It’s not unusual for a restaurant to have recipes they consult, but this allencompassing tome doesn’t just give instructions on how to make the pizza dough but also what size cubes the cheese should be cut into and exactly how many go on a pizza for optimal tastiness. Sous Chef Mike Schimelphfenig is working on a companion book to the “Book of Spells,” which deals with how food is handled from the moment it walks in the door, among other things. And Zach Jakubowski,

Larkspur’s new breakfast includes homemade doughnuts with a dipping sauce and smoked salmon with accompaniments. Below The chefs at Larkspur work as one big team.

the kitchen manager, sources it all (and sometimes demands substitutions based on what’s available at the many local farms they utilize). Despite all this precision, from the dining room the view of the kitchen will look the same — chefs tending every station, a blur of activity. And the food will be just as inspired — Laughing Bird shrimp, creamy and sweet, atop a nest of finely diced spaghetti squash, a chocolaty Brooklyn Blackout Cake or, if you’re very lucky, borscht with little presents of earthy, roasted beets, zingy smears of beet puree, wisps of crème fraiche and, naturally, pork belly. “It’s a team mentality,” Salamunovich says. “Check your egos at the door, and let’s just make the best food we can make.” And they do. •

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Vail love that goes into preparing so many French dishes because you make everything from scratch, he says. “If you start something with the right ingredient, and make sure it’s perfect to begin with, the result will be perfect,” Jean-Michel says. “If you start with something that’s not perfect or from a can or something, then the result can’t be the same. It will never be the same.”

The Left Bank 183 Gore Creek Drive / 970.476.3696 / leftbankvail.com by Lauren Glendenning photos by Kristin Anderson

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restaurant with a 41-year history in Vail Village can only still be around for one reason: fantastic food. The Left Bank has been serving up authentic French cuisine since 1970, with current owners Jean-Michel and Kimberly Chelain taking over in 2006. Jean-Michel is the chef and Kimberly the hostess, and when you walk into their dining room you’ll feel as if they’ve just invited you into their home — in France. And this season, Jean-Michel says there will be new dishes, along with the traditional favorites that have kept people coming back for decades. “We’ve decided to take it to what we call elevation,” he says. A passionate chef Jean-Michel has been a chef since he was a boy. He says he used to bake cakes when he was 8 or 9 years old. He would have Wednesdays off from school and he would spend the day in the kitchen

EAT winter 2012

The Left Bank’s pan-seared veal chop is grandiose. The chocolate and almond cake comes with raspberry sorbet. Below Shigoku oysters are a lovely way to begin a meal.

— a place where he has always felt he belonged. Jean-Michel has been at the Left Bank since 1998. He first worked as a sous chef, and bought the restaurant in 2006. The previous owner also did true French cooking, Jean-Michel says, and he’s proud to say the tradition continues. It’s hard for Jean-Michel to describe what exactly French cuisine is because it’s all he has known his entire life. It’s a cuisine that involves tradition and quality ingredients, and there’s a labor of

The food The Left Bank’s steak au poivre is a perfectly medium-rare beef filet rolled in crushed white peppercorns. The sauce, a cognac cream reduction, accompanies the meat in a way that doesn’t overpower it. That’s the thing about French cooking, Jean-Michel says — it’s not about creating an intense mix of spices and competing flavors, it’s about letting the quality ingredients stand out on their own. “If you have a lamb dish or a beef dish, that’s what you’re going to taste,” he says. “Nothing will overpower the main dish.” Main dishes like bouillabaisse, a mainstay on the Left Bank menu, featuring fresh shellfish, a savory broth. Then there’s the vol au vent, a spinach-lobster-and-shrimp-filled puff pastry with creamy saffron sauce. Sauces are a staple in French cooking. They take time to make, and the time is worth it because a sauce will make a difference, Jean-Michel says. “Sauce — you go to school for it,” he says. School is not foreign to Jean-Michel, but his school is not the traditional kind. He started his first kitchen job when he was 14 years old and soon began an apprenticeship as a chef in the French Alps. His classroom has always been the kitchen. And to have learned the classics and to execute them well — that’s something not everyone can simply learn. You have to have that chef gene, that passion for cooking that can’t be faked. Jean-Michele has it — he exudes it.•


Vail

Lord Gore 595 Vail Valley Drive, Manor Vail / 970.476.5000 / manorvail.com by Molly Massey photos by Dominique Taylor

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majestic fireplace warms your soul as you arrive at Lord Gore. The spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows create a view into a winter wonderland. The restaurant’s layout is intimate, comfortable, and draws people in. The cuisine The menu includes selections that highlight organic, sustainable foods. Executive Chef Matt Petrie’s cuisine has proven to be a success. “I’m a believer. Chef Petrie is spot-on with the dishes he creates,” says Adam Lewis, director of food and beverage. The chef’s Southern flair brings unexpected flavors and ingredients to each dish. One of the standouts is the jumbo lump crab cakes, perfectly paired with low-country slaw and a smoked tomato remoulade. Order a glass of Mendocino chardonnay and savor the taste. The Manchester Farms quail starter is an eye-opener. The petite bird, which hails from a sustainable farm in South Carolina, is sauced with a zesty five-spice glaze. The dish is served beautifully with an apple-date chutney and warm wild-rice salad. Another house specialty is the crispy skin rainbow trout. This delectable wintry dish is served with candied pecans, basmati rice, glazed grapes and a rich citrus beurre blanc. The lamb two ways entrée is a locals’ favorite. The grilled lamb chop is simply seasoned and seared; sautéed spinach and a delicious braised lamb croquette complete the second part of the dish – drizzled with a delightful rosemary jus. Save room for the sweet stuff. The banana bread pud-

ding Foster is topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and laced with a silky, rich fosters sauce. Hidden gem Nestled at the base of Vail Mountain, at the bottom of Golden Peak, the restaurant is tucked away inside Manor Vail. Enjoy the award-winning wine list while dining by the fire. Whether you wish to eat like a king or dine like a queen, Lord Gore offers something for everyone. Half and full entrée portions are available, with prices to match. This hidden gem is charming, welcoming and warm. Lewis and his

The lamb two ways includes generous grilled chops and braised lamb croquettes with sauteed spinach and rosemary jus. Below Banana bread pudding Foster is a unique twist on the traditional dessert.

team provide a casual ambiance with mouth-watering views. And for those who want to have a snack with a cocktail or two, The Fitz, the hotel’s bar, is right around the hallway from Lord Gore. It offers up equally tasty treats with the occasional evening of live music. •

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Vail

Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Resort 20 Vail Rd. / 970.479.5429 / sonnenalp.com/dining/ludwigs by Lauren Glendenning photos by Dominique Taylor

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he new chef at Ludwig’s is far from new to the valley’s exquisite culinary scene. Steve Topple recently joined the Sonnenalp Resort from Beano’s Cabin, a popular Beaver Creek fine dining mountaintop restaurant, and has made some changes to the menu that have transformed Ludwig’s into a real competitor within the Vail restaurant world. Topple took over for all the restaurants at the Sonnenalp, but it’s Ludwig’s that is changing the most in terms of the menu. The ambiance remains the same — quaint and elegant — but the departure from the European fare to fresh seafood has changed the restaurant entirely. Topple immediately decided he did not want Ludwig’s to have a stuffy kind of feel anymore. He

EAT winter 2012

The Georges Bank scallops are served with a white bean ragout and bacon vinaigrette. Right Using the freshest of fish is a priority, such as the pan-seared arctic char with sweet potato orzo.

decided it would be a seafood restaurant, and that the seafood would be as fresh as you’d find in any fine coastal United States restaurant. “It’s fresh, it’s exciting,” Topple says. “We’re doing a daily and weekly seafood menu that changes.” The changes will be determined by whatever Topple can get in fresh. If it’s Faroe Islands salmon and Prince Edward Island mussels, then that’s what you’ll see on the menu. If it’s Pacific Northwest halibut and Florida snapper, then that’s what he will work with. “This is a new concept for Ludwig’s,” Topple says. So why take a European-style restaurant in a Bavarian hotel and turn it into a seafood place? Because Topple says it’s what the valley needs — higher-end seafood. The new theme at Ludwig’s is “bringing seafood to new heights.” Topple is playing with small bite offerings, as well as specialties like Champagne and caviar and oysters on the half shell. The baked green lip mussels are

served open-faced, baked with bacon, spinach and a Parmesan hollandaise — a rich, delicious version that could turn a mussel-hater into a lover. The jumbo lump crab cake features a vanilla mango salsa and herb dressing, while a tuna and foie gras combination dish is served with orange French toast and cherry sauce. There are meat and game options like elk Wellington, Colorado rack of lamb with an herb crust and cabbagepotato ragout, and a dry-aged New York Steak with Parmesan polenta fries and Brussels sprouts. However, the highlight of the menu is, of course, the seafood. Weekly specialties include dishes like the Georges Bank sea scallops with white bean ragout and bacon vinaigrette — creamy and decadent. A Colorado striped bass has a blue crab crust, leek potato hash and chive sauce. The baked Florida grouper is served with sweet potato orzo and lobster cream. While the feel in the dining room is rustic and European, somehow the seafood menu works. Topple’s passion for it has permeated through and the theme is obvious when you open the menu. “The seafood thing kind of works perfectly in there,” Topple says. “The feedback I got from Vail Restaurant Month was great.” He hopes Ludwig’s new reputation in Vail will be that of an exceptional seafood restaurant — a place where people will want to go to enjoy the freshest seafood available in a truly cozy and inviting atmosphere. •


Vail

Matsuhisa Vail 141 East Meadow Drive / Solaris / 970.476.6628 / matsuhisavail.com by Wren Wertin photos by Dominique Taylor

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rasshaimase,” says General Manager Anthony Viera as we come through the front door. “Irasshaimase,” echo five, six, maybe eight servers from various places in the high-ceilinged room. The traditional sushi bar greeting has become synonymous with Nobu Matsuhisa and his 29 restaurants around the world, and his newest in Vail’s Solaris is no different. It’s a way of bringing everyone in the restaurant together for a split second. And if people are loose and gregarious enough, they start chiming in. Like all facets of Matsuhisa, it’s more of an all-encompassing experience than dinner and drinks. The large room with floor-to-ceiling windows offers second-story views of Vail Mountain, while the chic room in muted tones and stone serves as backdrop for the glitter of impeccable fish.

just be the way to go for first-timers. Translated as “I’ll leave it to you,” the chefs decide what you eat and in what order, sending out a series of courses. Though a traditional sushi-restaurant way of eating, at Matsuhisa it will likely include a variety of raw and cooked dishes, from sashimi to beef. Nobu made famous the combination of yellowtail sashimi topped with jalapeño and a perfect cilantro leaf. At Matsuhisa the kampachi (Hawaiian yellowtail) is plump, rough the way velvet is rough, and seemingly made for the yuzu sauce it’s drizzled with. Or go for the toro tartare, crowned with caviar and served with Japanese peaches — small, exotic — that will leave you wanting more.

Matsuhisa’s dining room is lively and airy. Below Foie gras tops the truffle-kissed halibut, one of many intricate entrees that goes beyond — way beyond — sushi.

A universal staff favorite is the tai with dried miso — uni wrapped in red snapper and topped with dried miso flakes. Good “uni training wheels” for those who are leery of sea urchin, the soft spoken dish’s three distinctive textures work delightfully in tandem. For beef lovers, the Australian Wagyu beef is an example of the care given all dishes: daikonwrapped asparagus not only offers a mid-dinner chopstick rest, but allows the asparagus bundle to be easily picked up and eaten with the fingers. The soft and savory beef, sprinkled with chive confetti, is decadent. And delightful, just as the whole dining experience is at Vail’s Matsuhisa. •

Good guides Though diners can control their own destiny and order strictly for themselves, the staff encourages everyone at the table to share with each other and order accordingly. “It makes it so much more fun if everyone is experiencing the same thing, “ Viera says. “We speak with them, ask them if they’ve eaten here before and if so, what did they like. We have to get to know our guests because we need to help them order. The menu is so large.” While pondering likes and dislikes, sip on a cup of the gently floral TK 40 Dai-Ginjo sake, available only in Nobu’s restaurants. He liked it so much he bought the distillery in Japan. Chef’s choice Omakase or grand omakase might

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Vail tuna poke. Raymond, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, also spent a year and a half rolling sushi at a previous restaurant, which explains this more Asian-inspired appetizer. Fresh sushi-grade tuna is dressed as simply as possible, with a little sesame oil and a spattering of black sesame seeds, so the ruby-colored fish can shine. Layers of nori seaweed and wonton skins are fried and served alongside, adding a nice crunchy contrast to the mix. “You glue layers of nori paper together with an egg wash,” says Raymond, who learned how to make the seaweed chips from a chef at the sister Mezzaluna in Aspen, where he worked for three years. This is Raymond’s first winter season in Vail and if his food is any indication, it seems to be a very nice fit. “We have a small menu but that let’s us focus on doing everything really well,” Raymond says.

Mezzaluna 660 Lionshead Place, inside Lion Square Lodge Vail / 970.477.4410 / mezzalunavail.com By Caramie Schnell

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ezzaluna is one of those in-hotel restaurants that can fall off your radar when you’re standing in the center of Lionshead, scratching your head and wondering where to head for apres ski, or to grab a quick bite for dinner, or a late-night pizza. Don’t let it. The calamari at this Italian eatery, tucked inside the east side of Lion Square Lodge, is reason enough to visit. Executive Chef Kyle Raymond takes a thick octopus steak, tenderizes the meat and gives it the ol’ buttermilk-egg-panko dunk before flash frying it. The golden, crispy hunks of fish are served with a house-made spicy-and-sweet chili sauce in which he heat builds bite after bite. Indeed the appetizer is Restaurant Manager Roberto Pacheco’s “indulgence,” whether he’s celebrating a good day, or wiping away a bad one.

EAT winter 2012

Mezzaluna, which is Italian for half moon, serves modern Italian food near the base of the Gondola in Lionshead.

Modern Italian, with an Asian flare The food at Mezzaluna is modern Italian fare, with an Asian ribbon woven throughout the menu. There’s the traditional bruschetta, caprese salad, and a slew of pizza and pasta options, but there’s also items like the Chinese chicken salad, with orange miso dressing and crunchy lo mein, on the lunch and bar menu, and the appetizer

Pizza dreams While there are eight solid pizzas from which to choose, you might find yourself thinking about the prosciutto pizza, and its crispy, thin crust, days or weeks after eating it. The paperthin cured meat is paired with mushrooms, peppery arugula, ParmigianoReggiano and mozzarella. A drizzle of truffle oil finishes the piping hot pie. The pepper-seared beef tenderloin is another stand-out dish. Perched atop a truffled mashed potato croquette, and a mound of Napa cabbage greens sauteed with onions, Gorgonzola and bacon, the meat has the ever-elusive perfect crust. It’s hard not to eat every speck. But if cleaning your plate means you won’t have room for dessert, box up the leftovers and order the warm banana bread pudding. Flanked by half a caramelized banana, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce, it could incite a spoon war over the last bite. •


Vail

Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant 231 East Gore Creek / 970.476.5626 / pepis.com by Brenda Himelfarb photos by Brent Bingham

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here are very few people who have visited Vail who have not heard of Pepi’s. Whether it be the hotel, Gasthof Gramshammer, Pepi’s porch, Pepi’s bar, Pepi’s restaurant or the Antler’s Room, there’s no denying that the place is a beloved Vail institution, smack-dab in the middle of Bridge Street. And if they’ve eaten at the restaurants, they will be sure to tell you about spectacular food. At the main restaurant you will find familiar dishes: veal picatta, wiener schnitzel, spicedrubbed ribeye, roasted half duckling and seafood risotto, to name just a few. But, the Antler’s Room, internationally known for its wild game, features an array of dishes that will take you on a culinary journey — all under the watchful eye of Chef Helmut. Those eating in the main restaurant are able to order from the Antler’s Room menu if they so desire. You might begin with a house specialty, steak tartare that is served with German rye bread. Seasoned, perfectly, with capers and subtle spices, the tartare is especially tender and assuages the most discerning diner. The Graubündner teller, air-dried beef from Graüden, served with Gruyere cheese and German rye bread, is also a savory choice. Seafood lovers might try the ahi tuna sashimi, seared rare on mixed field greens with pickled ginger and a spicy wasabi dip or the locally smoked salmon served with a dill cream cheese and toast points. Light and creamy, the lobster bisque delivers a boost to the palate. Or you might want to order the Caesar salad, served tableside — for two or more — with Pepi’s homemade Caesar dressing and garlic croutons.

It’s the wild game specialties that are a must. The Wilddieb platter features braised quail, wild boar and elk accompanied with Minnesota wild rice and a selection of sauces. There is also wild Russian boar loin with a smetana sauce and Canadian caribou cutlet with a porcini mushroom sauce, both served with creamy polenta and red cabbage. Two or more persons can share a rack of caribou, or roasted Alaskan elk loin, on a chanterelle mushroom demi-glace served with spätzle. Rack of venison, buffalo tenderloin and antelope are also on the menu.

Pepi’s celebrates all things wild in the Antler’s Room, which has a menu rich with wild game offerings.

The fish entrées are charismatic enough to stand up to their wild comrades. Be it the Dover sole “almondine,” filleted table side with an almond-lemon butter, salmon in tomato olive sauce with puttanesca — tomatoes, onions, capers, olives, garlic and pickled jalapeños — or the sea bass with parsley sauce, pan sautéed in butter and topped with a lemony, parsley sauce. And Hiesse Liebe, which means “hot love,” is the ideal light dessert of vanilla ice cream covered with hot raspberries and whipped cream. The Antler’s Room with its European decor is particularly cozy and lends itself to a very intimate dinner. That ambiance, together with Pepi’s distinctive menu and extensive wine list make for an outstanding wild evening. •

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Vail

Sushi Oka 100 E Meadow Dr / 970.476.1588 / sushiokavail.com By Scott N. Miller Photos by Kristin Anderson

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ick and Joyce Woo have returned to Vail Village in style, with a combination of fine food and fun. The Woos opened Sushi Oka in the Vail Village Inn Plaza in the summer of 2011, bringing to the Village the restaurant’s hibachi-style dining, along with a deep sushi menu and other Asian items. Some of that menu was inspired by the Woos’ original Vail restaurant, May Palace, which moved from the Village to West Vail in the mid-1990s. “My husband always wanted to come back to Vail Village,” Joyce Woo says. “This was our opportunity.” But while May Palace and Sushi Oka are sisters, about all they share is their owners’ commitment to Vail, and the desire to be places where people feel at home. Exhibition style Diners can order sushi or a la carte menu items at

EAT winter 2012

Sushi Oka features hibachi grills and chefs. Right The tuna and avocado tower is both fresh and zesty.

Sushi Oka, or, watch the world go by on the patio when the sun warms the south-facing deck. But the restaurant’s heart is in the stainless-steel cooktops around the restaurant that can be seen by everyone in the place. Those cooktops provide more than great beef, chicken and seafood — they’re a place to catch a culinary show and make new friends in the process. With clanging steel, flying seasonings and the occasional “volcano” of

onions, those chefs are a combination of culinary musketeers and stand-up comics. The results are memorable meals for tables of up to 10 people. Once the hibachi heats up, the only thing they don’t provide is the soup and salad that come with every meal, and the house-made sauces that rev up the flavors of the meat and seafood that come flying off the cooktop, along with the vegetables and rice. Even with the humor and flair, the food is expertly prepared, and, in the case of the steaks, sliced into fork- or chopstick-sized bites by your chef’s knives. That’s an Asian tradition, too — knives are for cooks, not people talking and laughing around a table. Next to our table, a family from Australia oohs and ahhs as their chef works away. The youngsters at the table are rapt, watching as their dinners are created before their eyes. That’s the sort of thing Joyce Woo loves to see, and she hopes Sushi Oka soon becomes like its sister restaurant — a place people come whenever they’re in Vail. The Woos hit their mark with new friends at our table, a couple from New Jersey who come to Vail every year. Every year, they make sure to hit a handful of the best restaurants in the Village. “We’ll be back here next year,” they say as they’re leaving. And they will, you know — for the food, for the show and for the place itself. •


Vail

Tavern on the Square 675 Lionshead Place / 970.754.7700 / arrabelle.rockresorts.com by Randy Wyrick photos by Dominique Taylor

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hen you stroll into the Arabelle’s Tavern on the Square, pay attention to the details. They did. The Tavern is a modern version of a traditional public house, only it’s in one of the classiest places in this spiral arm of the universe. The floors are small white Carrera marble hexagons that give it a genuine Old World tavern feel. Go ahead, tap that solid limestone pillar. It’s permanence with elegance. At first glance the ceilings appear to be covered with painted metal tiles, made of lead or tin, which took artisans years to hammer out. Look again, closely, and you’ll see that it’s a perfect photographic reproduction. Because it’s a tavern, whimsy lives here amongst the big game animal heads on the wall, which are ceramic, except for the rhino head. It’s sculpted from wire. And also because it’s a tavern, there are televisions with the sound muted set to sports channels, while music plays. But not so loud that it drowns out conversation. Speaking of music, they have live music during après ski and again during the dinner hour. The bar and massive sundrenched patio face Lionshead, which allows you to sip a dignified adult beverage and watch the skiers glide toward you. The fire pits and lounge chairs make it comfortable even on the coldest days.

They understand that presentation is important, but theirs is not pretty little food. It’s well presented, wonderfully prepared and satisfying. Yeah, you can get traditional tavern food like burgers, steaks and chicken wings, and they’re perfect. But try something different. Let’s start with the starters. The queso fundido is a cheese and chorizo fondue, served with their pretzels and homemade chips. If you know anything about pretzels, you know these are great. Dunk them in the fondue and enjoy as queso fundido lives up to its name. The ahi tuna poke with ponzu and wonton chips is a generous serving and a delight. The grilled elk lettuce wraps with mango salsa, scallions and cotija

Right The Tavern’s French onion soup is a standard. Below The 22-ounce bonein ribeye tomahawk steak sits on the restaurant’s new bar with a view of the mountain behind it.

cheese are gluten free and a surprising mixture of saltiness and sweetness. The menu has a large selection of both gluten free and vegetarian dishes, which will make even a carnivore crave veggies. And you’ve absolutely got to try the Brussels sprouts with chorizo and manchego cheese. The sandwiches and entrees are sophisticated comfort food. Let your server help you with wine pairings. The service, by the way, is exceptional — attentive while not intrusive. Then there’s the wide-ranging drink menu. You could have something as pedestrian as a PBR, but why would you when you could enjoy an Avery “The Reverend” Quadruple Ale? Finish it off with something from their dessert menu. The chocolate fondue, a perfect ratio of fruit to chocolate, is a classic finish to a leisurely meal. •

Savory delights Don’t get the idea that the food is an afterthought. Executive Chef Douglas Dodd and General Manager Paul Phillips have put together a menu to make you wonder why other taverns have not been doing it this way for years.

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Vail

The 10th Base of Look Ma, next to Mid-Vail / Vail Mountain / 970.754.1010 / Vail.com by Krista Driscoll photos by Justin McCarty

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n a busy day at Vail Mountain, The 10th restaurant is a relaxed oasis amid the throng of bodies whooshing through Mid Vail. Once through the wide front doors, patrons are greeted by a hostess and invited into the coatroom, where they can trade clunky ski boots for soft slippers. The coat hooks are a tiny crossed pair of skis emblazoned with The 10th logo, a first glimpse into the monumental amount of detail that went into creating this fine-dining venue. Once seated, it is apparent that every table in the spacious, vaulted-ceiling dining room has a spectacular view of the Gore Range, with minimal intrusion by either the Mid Vail lodge to the west or the chairlift towers to the east. The food at The 10th is of the same caliber as the view, and Sommelier Matthew Pauls describes his approach to The 10th’s wine list as value-oriented.

EAT winter 2012

The 10th’s bar area draws a crowd. Below The 10th accepts reservations for lunch, but outside seating is first-come/first-served.

“Some of these wines could sell for more,” he says. “But we wanted to pass the savings along (to the customer). The wine list really delivers for the price point.” The menu is large, starting with a variety of appetizers from melt-inyour-mouth, wood-roasted mussels in a parsley and shallot broth with frites and spicy aioli to a choice of soups. A brie and brioche crouton hovers atop the caramelized onion soup with porcini mushrooms and caraway. Unlike a traditional French onion, this

soup is thick and sweet, almost akin to a gravy, rather than a broth. Pauls’ suggested pairing for the dish is a Burgundland Hopler Gruner Veltliner, a wine with bright tones to dissipate the delicious, sticky texture of the soup. For slightly heartier appetites, Executive Chef Paul Wade offers spicy Rosen Ranch lamb chili with smoked green chilis, Anasazi beans and Humbolt Fog chevre. The soups are served in individual cast-iron crocks, which keeps them piping hot from first bite to last. These soups and others are available on a rotating basis in the restaurant’s bar area, part of a quick, hot soup buffet, complimented by freshbaked breads and pastries. The bar itself is immaculate, a long, curving chunk of polished green and brown marble backed with a wide glass aperture that looks into the restaurant’s expansive wine display room. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the bar lounge area reveal The 10th’s outdoor patio, set with small tables. Outdoor seating is first-come, firstserved, Pauls says, and each table is equipped with an individual propane heater set into the base to keep feet toasty while patrons watch skiers descend Look Ma. The 10th describes its menu as heritage, local, authentic and inspired, and these tenets are quite obvious in the chef’s choice of hot plates. Try the pheasant and heritage chicken pot pie with heirloom root vegetables in a vermouth cream. The dish is served in the signature cast-iron crock and topped with poppy seed-dotted pretzel bread, rather than a traditional pastry crust. Sweet accompaniments to round out a meal include the molten Gianduja chocolate cake with a gooey center, served with a rainbow of orange caramel, fresh raspberries and blueberries and crystallized orange peel. A square of house-made vanilla marshmallow stands watch over the cake, its fluffy texture mirroring the fallen snow outside. •


Vail & Beaver Creek

The Vail & Beaver Creek Chophouses Base of Gondola, Lionshead / 970.477.0555 / vailchophouse.com & Base of centennial, Beaver creek / 970.845.0555 / beavercreekchophouse.com By Brenda Himelfarb Photos by Dominique Taylor & Shane Macomber

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t the base of Lionshead and Beaver Creek Mountains, you’ll find a chophouse — THE Chophouse — where you can go for lunch and literally stay ‘til closing time. The food at each location is that good and that diverse. You’ve got a bar, a television set, a knockout warm setting and a stellar menu and wine list. And at 3:30 p.m., throughout the winter season, a bell rings and corks pop to signify the daily complimentary Chophouse Champagne Toast, a thank you to guests from owner Brian Nolan. As well, the restaurants’ atmosphere is peppered with red and dark brown tones with wood and leather chairs, a beautiful example of mountain sophistication, yet exceptionally cozy on these cold winter days. Need we say more? You can begin your gastronomical adventure with lunch, by ordering one of the restaurant’s luscious burgers — steak, buffalo, lamb or organic salmon — each made with a special, delicious blend of ingredients and served with French fries. Après ski brings oysters, oysters and more oysters. The addition of Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Casino provide a new addition to the restaurant’s already robust seafood bar that also includes a cold seafood tower, an impressive display for the healthy appetite. Not a seafood lover? The spinach and artichoke dip, a delicate, creamy blend of three cheeses and artichoke

hearts, served with wafer-thin lavosh crackers made locally at Rimini’s, is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And the panko-crusted brie with apricot sweet chili glaze with, once again, crispy lavosh is also a tempting dish. Of course, any of the appetizers can be accompanied with an ice wine martini or, perhaps, a Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Hot Toddy — both new to the menu — to help warm you up after a vigorous day on the slopes. Dinner adventures Dinner at The Chophouse brings an array of dishes to whet the most refined appetite. Of course, burgers and mac and cheese are available for the more casual diner. However, the restaurants are known for their steaks and chops, prepared exactly to your liking. Though the lamb is a top seller, the piece de resistance has to be the 32-ounce buffalo tomahawk chop that literally melts in your mouth. As a matter of fact, the chop, accompanied by grilled romaine hearts with hot bacon dressing and marinated olives and rustic crostini just might be the highlight of your epicurean adventure. If you are with a group, a must is one of the “designer” mac and cheese dishes, each large enough to feed four. For the kids, there’s plain ‘ole Mac n’ Cheese. The gourmet, however, should indulge in the lobster, blue, truffle or the recently-added-tothe-menu, crab cake mac and cheese — all so creamy and rich and not to be

Lobster mac and cheese is one of several options on the menu. The 32-ounce bison tomahawk chop looks made for cavemen, but it’s butter-knife tender.

missed. Comfort food at its most satisfying. What’s more, each child dining with a family before 6 p.m. will receive a complimentary ice cream sundae with a variety of yummy toppings from which to choose. As well, in-house magicians Dan Fleshman and Danny Archer provide “table-side magic,” starting at 5:30 p.m., throughout the winter season. •

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love Gondoly’s Pizza, on the first floor of the building, and the third-floor Marketplace serves grilled cheese and hot dogs for the little ones, among other things. New this year for kids is the Ripperoo meal. Ridenour says the meal typically contains half of a turkey and cheese wrap, a cup of fruit, a granola bar and a brownie. “It’s grab and go,” Ridenour says, perfect for families with children who struggle to sit through an entire meal when they are tired after a day of skiing.

Vail Mountain Ski-in/ski-out fast casual restaurants around Vail Mountain / vail.com by Krista Driscoll photos by Dominique Taylor

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arketplace at Eagle’s Nest Situated at the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola, Marketplace at Eagle’s Nest offers a variety of onmountain fare for everyone from hard-core skiers and riders looking to refuel to little tykes who need a snack after attending the nearby ski school. “It’s a great place with great views,” says Jack Ridenour, executive chef. “It’s a great place to start and finish your day.” For adults, Marketplace’s signature gyro is fast, hot and made to order. Try the traditional version, which is piled high with feta cheese, thinly sliced lamb meat, fresh greens and tomatoes and then topped with pickled onions and creamy, homemade tzatziki sauce.

EAT winter 2012

The majority of the sauces served in the restaurant are made in-house, says line cook Kyle Uselton, including everything from Bolognese and marinara pasta sauces to hummus and guacamole and all of the salad dressings on the substantial salad bar. Marketplace caters to the fingerfood set, as well. Ridenour says kids

Mid-Vail Restaurant As the first restaurant on Vail Mountain, the Mid-Vail lodge has been serving the crowds at the current vortex of Chairs 3, 4 and 8 for years. The building now comprises four restaurants — from Chaos Canyon’s kid zone on the first floor to the fast-casual atmosphere of the Mid-Vail Restaurant at the apex of the building, there’s something for every appetite. Executive Chef Greg Anderson invites visitors to browse the new digital menu boards to mix and match a meal or take advantage of Mid-Vail’s Lunch for Less dining deal: an entrée, side dish and drink for $9.95. Anderson says a few items that were available as Lunch for Less specials last year were so popular that they have been added to the daily Mid-Vail menu this season, including the meatball sub and the homemade lasagna. A newly revamped Asian station will be another hot item on the mountain this winter. The Mid-Vail restaurant also serves its famous fish tacos, sushi, sandwiches, soups and grilled items and boasts a full-service bar, featuring Bloody Marys made with jalapeño-infused vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix. “We have a little bit of everything,” Anderson says. Diners can take advantage of


Vail the gluten-free menu, with soups, hamburger buns, muffins, cookies and more. Anderson says the restaurant prides itself on making most everything from scratch, down to the patties for the veggie burgers. On your way back out to shred the mountain, grab a Mid-Vail Bar. Layered with crushed Oreos, coconut, M&Ms, white chocolate chips and walnuts, it’s a perfect snack for that long chairlift ride — just don’t drop your gloves! Two Elk Restaurant Cooking at high altitude can be a challenge, one that’s been met head-on at Two Elk Restaurant on Vail Mountain. “We have to adjust all of our recipes because of the altitude,” says Doug Wooldridge, general manager at Two Elk. “Everything takes a little bit longer to cook. Baking is especially challenging, but our executive chef has been with us for a long time and he has tweaked and dialed in the recipes.” Wooldridge says Mike Sheard, who heads the kitchen crew at Two Elk, has been modifying a lot of the Southwest-themed dishes this season, adding new ingredients. “Last year, we tried a tri-tip steak burrito,” Wooldridge says. “We’re adding that to the menu on a daily basis.” The burritos are made to order, starting with a choice of spinach or flour tortilla and topped with the tritip steak and all the usual suspects, including your favorite of three salsas, made fresh every day at the restaurant. Another addition to the menu is a Cajun-style chicken Creole dish, which will be served at Coco’s Cabin, a secondary room off the main Two Elk dining room. “One of our sous chefs came up with this dish about a month ago,” Wooldridge says. “It’s a spicy Cajun, hot Creole dish on a bed of rice, completely new from our normal fare, but we think it’ll be pretty popular.” Coco’s Cabin also features hot and cold sandwiches, ranging from Italian beef, pastrami and corned beef to

All of the meats at Wildwood are cooked in the massive smoker plopped squarely on the top of the mountain, two miles above sea level. There are four smoky selections at Wildwood: beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs and smoked sausage. “We are slicing brisket to order this year, something we haven’t done in the past,” Hood says. Wildwood is now offering the 2 Mile High Platter, which is a choice of three of the four smoked meats paired with a side of waffle fries, macaroni and cheese, onion rings, barbecue beans or coleslaw and a hunk of corn bread to wipe up the last bits of barbecue sauce from the plate. And you’ll want to do that, as the sauce is definitely boss. “The barbecue sauce is unique for us,” Wood says. “It took first place at the Frisco BBQ Challenge this summer.” Wood says Wildwood has 700 gallons of the bar-

more traditional deli options, and a variety of soups and chilis, including Two Elk’s signature buffalo chili. “It’s a traditional red-style chili,” Wooldridge says. “It has American bison, along with American Angus beef and beans. … It’s kind of a medium spice; we have others that are spicier, but that one we keep medium because it’s so popular.” Two Elk uses a lot of organic and natural products from the southwest part of the country, Wooldridge said, and its wide variety of menu options sets it apart from the other fast-casual restaurants on the mountain. “Two Elk is truly a destination,” Wooldridge says. “It’s a great meeting place because of location and size. Everyone should check it out to see what we’ve done up at this altitude.” Wildwood For Tom Hood, general manager at Wildwood Restaurant on Vail Mountain, there are obvious advantages to grabbing a bite at the cozy little barbecue joint at the top of Chair 3. “At Wildwood, you can ski right up, take your skis off and you’re at a barbecue place,” Wood says. “You can get in and out fairly quickly and get back on the mountain.”

Opposite, from top Build-your-own-sandwich and a side of wild rice salad at Marketplace in Eagle’s Nest. Honey teriyaki beef on stir fried noodles and Thai coconut chicken curry with fried rice from the wok station at Mid-Vail. This page, from top Buffalo chili and cornbread (with mountain vista) from Two Elk. Wildwood’s famous ribs are smoked on site, overlooking Sundown Bowl.

becue grog stored on site at the restaurant, so your sandwiches and platters will never go thirsty. It’s also for sale in retail sizes, so you don’t have to lug a 5-gallon bucket down the slopes. Wildwood also sells mix for its famous chicken and wild rice soup, which Hood says is a big crowd pleaser and one of his favorite things to grab after a morning on the mountain. And before you leave this mid-mountain pit stop, get a warm coffee drink with a dash of Bailey’s and take in the view. “Mount of the Holy Cross in our backyard and the Gore Range on the other side,” Hood says. “You can’t beat the views up here.” •

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The green world Vegetarian cookbooks, both new and tried and true by eat staff

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to go meatless every once in a while. In fact, even carnivores such as Mario Batali have begun a Meatless Monday movement at their restaurants, offering veggie-centric specials for that day of the week. Though eating a grain and produce-based diet is healthier as well as easier on the planet, the best reason to focus on vegetables is their tastiness and diversity. Here are our four favorite cookbooks for vegetarian mains, sides and snacks. Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson $23 Blogger Heidi Swanson is best known for her site, 101cookbooks.com, which she started when she decided to stop (or scale back on) purchasing new cookbooks and use the ones she had. Armed with a camera, a journal and ingredients, she’d attack a recipe and offer up her honest opinion about it — why it worked, why it didn’t, what she changed. Her mission has evolved a little, as she’s writing her own recipes now. Readers new to her site might not realize her vegetarian proclivities. She doesn’t make a point of talking about them, and there’s no sense of deprivation in her work. She is committed to using all-natural ingredients — no aerosol nonstick spray or fake sweetener for her. Rub that dish with butter; use four eggs in those quinoa cakes; pour on the maple syrup to sweeten. Divided into chapters on breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, drinks, treats and accompaniments, the inventive and earthy recipes are usually simple, delicious and easy as stand-alones or as sides to meat or veggie meals. Our favorites are the baked oatmeal with blueberries (it works beautifully with frozen berries), kale with toasted coconut and farro and the “Mostly Not Potato Salad.” Our only gripe is the occasional use of tempeh, and that’s just personal preference.

Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi $35 Brits have been enjoying Yottam Ottolenghi’s sassy veggie dishes since he opened his upscale markets, Ottolenghi’s, in various London neighborhoods. When the Guardian approached him to write a weekly column, The New Vegetarian, he balked. He wasn’t a veg-head. Surely there were better options? But that was exactly the point. He wasn’t a vegetarian, he just really loved vegetables, and it showed in his markets. Readers could relate to him. (They also took him to task for suggesting grilled lamb chops as a perfect accompaniment to a particular salad. Oh well, live and learn.) His new book, “Plenty,” is his second. But it’s a chart-buster. His chapter headings are revealing as to how he thinks of his food: roots, funny onions, the mighty eggplant, green beans, pulses, peppers and many more. Some are ruminations on one ingredient, such as mushrooms. Others are broader, such as grains. But all offer fun options. We particularly like the cover recipe, eggplant with buttermilk sauce. Garlicky and succulent, it’s a beautiful main dish.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison $35 The culinary equivalent of “Joy of Cooking” for vegetarians, Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for

Everyone” is tried and true. Probably the best compendium of all veggie dishes out there, it’s already had two printings since its 1997 release. Beginning with basic cooking methods like roasting and sautéing as well as cutting and chopping, it’s a good book to give to a beginner. But don’t mistake the intro with less-than-terrific recipes. Some are basic and others are complicated — but they are for the most part delicious and eye-opening. With headings on soups, stir-fries, gratins, grains and subsections on every vegetable out there, it’s a massive tome. We especially love her recipe for fideos, a Mexican dry soup with noodles and a chile broth.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman $35 New York Times writer Mark Bittman followed up his “How to Cook Everything” cookbook with this vegetarian slant. It follows Bittman’s own interest in vegetarian eating. He’s got a rule of thumb: Go veggie for breakfast, lunch and snacks. And then go nuts for dinner. It’s his own formula for staying fit. The man has a way with legumes, and especially utilizes chickpea flour with commendable inventiveness. Drawing from international culinary traditions, chapters on items like dumplings might jump from Italy to China without blinking. Filled with lists suggesting mix-and-match options, the “everything” in the title is no joke. This book is packed. We adore the recipe for socca, a chickpea pancake known throughout France and Italy, as well as the decadent poblano custard. •


Something chocolaty this way comes Recreating Splendido’s chocolate fudge soufflé at home by kim fuller | Photography by Dominique Taylor

onsidering how hard it is to make the perfect soufflé, it’s understandable if you gave up making this dessert after your first trial and error. ¶ David Walford, owner and executive chef at Splendido at the Chateau, acknowledges the difficulties in preparing this decadent dish. ¶ “A lot of cooks are afraid to attempt soufflés for fear of disaster — and maybe they will be failures the first time you try,” Walford wrote in his 2009 book, “Wood Fire and Champagne Powder.” ¶ Walford mastered this velvety soufflé early on, and has been serving it to his guests at Splendido for decades. It’s a heavenly treat that will melt the heart of every chocolate lover who is lucky enough to try it. ¶ “People love chocolate,” Walford says. “It’s just not very common to get a made-to-order chocolate soufflé.” ¶ On a Wednesday afternoon in the Splendido kitchen, Pastry Chef Alex

Daley is about to make just that. The dessert requires an extensive list of ingredients and steps, but Daley has everything already prepped — mise en place — on the front marble countertop of this spacious and well-known culinary haven. ¶ You can make your own chocolate fudge soufflé, although it may just take a few practice runs to get it right. Pastry chefs like Daley master their art with precision and patience, and they are certainly not afraid to get a little flour on their nose. ¶ “Chocolate is a pretty messy ingredient,” Daley says. “Don’t wear your nicest clothes, because you should expect to get a little dirty.” ¶ Take a look at Splendido’s chocolate soufflé recipe, which is easily the most popular dessert in the restaurant. The recipe was created at high altitude, and Walford says it holds up at lower elevations. ¶ “Souffles are funny things,” Walford says. “It’s one of those recipes that just takes a little practice.” ¶ Making this soufflé requires three distinct processes, so be prepared for a little diligence before you sink into decadence:

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{ Recipe Serves 8 }

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First:

Second:

Chocolate Pastry Cream

Souffle

Ingredients: 1 ¾ cups whole milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 8 ounces Valrhona semisweet chocolate, chopped ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted ¾ cup sifted Valrhona dark cocoa powder 1 pinch sea salt 6 egg yolks ½ cup sugar

Ingredients: 8 8-ounce soufflé dishes Soft unsalted butter, to prepare the dishes 12 egg whites, at room temperature 4 tablespoons sugar, plus more to prepare the dishes Chocolate pastry cream, room temperature Powdered sugar, to finish

Preparation 1. Bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer in a stainless steel saucepan at medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir the chocolate until it is completely melted and keep the chocolate warm. 2. In another mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour, cocoa powder and salt. 3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar until the mixture is smooth and continue whisking until it becomes thick and the color of lemons. 4. Gradually mix the flour/cocoa mixture into the egg mixture and stir until it’s smooth. 5. Pour this mixture into a clean saucepan and cook it over low heat, stirring continuously with a stiff whisk or rubber spatula. Cook slowly until the mixture is thick and bubbling. After cooking for about five minutes, the mixture will be very thick and start to come away from the edges of the pan. 6. Move the pastry cream to the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on high speed until it is smooth and cool. Set aside in a large mixing bowl with plastic wrap lying on top to prevent a skin from forming.

Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Prepare the soufflé dishes by generously buttering the insides and bottoms of each dish with softened butter and dust the insides with sugar. Shake out the excess sugar and then place the dishes on a sheet pan. 3. Place the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the mixer’s whip attachment, begin mixing on medium speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and when the whites begin to get frothy, slowly add the 4 tablespoons sugar while continuing to whip until the whites are thick, glossy and holding soft peaks. With a plastic spatula, fold the egg whites very gently into the bowl of the chocolate pastry cream. 4. Carefully spoon the soufflé mixture into the dishes to about half an inch from the top, leveling off the tops. Gently tap the dishes on the countertop to settle the mix a little bit. 5. Place the tray of soufflés on the center rack of the 375-degree oven and bake until the soufflé has risen and is firm (about 15 minutes; ideally the insides should be soft and underdone). Sprinkle the powdered sugar to finish and serve with crème anglaise on the side.


{ Continued }

third:

10

CrÈme Anglaise Ingredients: ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out Zest of ½ lemon 1 ½ cups whole milk 5 egg yolks ½ cup sugar

11

6

7 Preparation 1. Add the scraped vanilla bean and seeds and lemon zest to the milk. Heat the milk mixture in a small saucepan over high heat, bringing it to a boil. Remove from heat. 2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Whisking continuously, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. 3. Transfer the mixture to a heavybottomed pan and, over low to medium heat, cook the custard, stirring it continuously with a wooden spoon until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow the sauce to boil. 4. Immediately strain the sauce into a bowl set over ice and stir until it has cooled. Serve a side of crème anglaise with the hot chocolate fudge soufflé. Break into the soufflé with a spoon and pour some crème anglaise inside before enjoying. Both Walford and Daley remarked upon how this version of soufflé has a richer texture than classic French soufflés—and that’s what makes it unique. “This is a lot thicker than your average pastry cream, that’s for sure.” Daley says. “If you’re a chocolate lover, it’s a good dessert for you.”

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Vino Italiano Because life’s too short not to be Italian by Wren Wertin | Photography by Greg Eynon

Wine is food. Unlike in the U.S., where wine is lumped in with all alcohol and is regulated by the same government entity that rides herd on firearms and tobacco, in Italy wine is an agricultural product. It’s food. It’s meant to be consumed while eating, and nobody would consider serving wine without a little something on the side. “Anywhere you go and taste wines, you’re never drinking wine by itself,” says Greg Eynon, sommelier and co-owner of vin48 in Avon. “Americans can sometimes be underwhelmed by Italian wines because of their high acid, but put it with a food — salumi, cheese — and all of a sudden the wines make sense. They’re not trying to stand on a pedestal, they’re trying to be part of a meal.” Eynon has toured through Italy, tasting wines in cellars, kitchens and little wine bars. When wine

EAT winter 2012

tasting in Italy, it’s not in glamorous tasting rooms but in smaller, more intimate wineries. He’s met character after character, such as the crazy count Luigi Cataldi Madonna who lives in a palace — yes, palace — damaged by a recent earthquake. He made Eynon and the rest of his group wear hard hats for most of the evening, which included a dinner where, halfway through, half of the folks at the table stood up and started making a batch of ricotta. “There’s a generosity to the winemakers of Italy that you don’t normally see in other places,” Eynon says. “They’re always taking you down to the cellar to pull out another barrel to try.” Eynon loved kicking back at a wine bar and sharing a plate of roasted rabbit with his compadres. Roasted and chopped into pieces, it was served on platters for the table. “It’s sort of the equivalent of a plate of awesome

Italian wings,” he says. “Nothing fancy.” Though Italy has a long history with wine dating back to the Etruscans, the wines were nothing special. There was a lot of mass produced wine, none of it good, especially in the 1940s after World War II. But with improved viticulture as well as new technology, the wines starting improving. By the ‘90s winemaking — and the wines themselves — were a whole different ball game. They were good. Great, actually. And they continue to be so. But as relaxed as Italians are about eating and drinking, there’s actually an order to how things are served. “Italians are very particular about the progression of wines over the evening.” Eynon says. “So there’s no ‘go to the bar and do a shot,’ kind of thing. You start with aperitifs, then go into white wine, then red wine, and then apertivos.”


That’s what it says

What those letters mean on an Italian wine label VDT Vino da Tavola Literally translated it means table wine. It can come from anywhere in Italy, from any grape or combination of grapes. IGT Indicazione Geografica Tipica One step up from VDT, IGT means the wine is made from grapes from a particular region, not a combination of regions. DOC Denominazione di Orgine Controllata A mark of a specific place in Italy, and a testament to how a wine is produced.

There are agreedupon guidelines in winemaking for specific varietals, and DOC means those guidelines have been followed. DOCG Denominazione di Orgine Controllata Garantita DOCG promises the same things that DOC does, but it’s a designation reserved for the most historic of wines. It’s not a guarantee that the wine is going to be good — getting a winery designated DOCG can sometimes be a political process — but it’s a good place to start.

It’s difficult to get a handle on Italian wines simply because there are so many grapes — as in thousands of them. “Italy can be confusing because of the diversity,” Eynon says. “But that diversity is also the great thing about Italy. The goal isn’t to be able to cite every varietal, but to be able to enjoy them. Just accept that and it will go easier for you.” But with that in mind, Eynon says there are three major regions within Italy that are worth learning about and looking for: the north, including Piemonte; the south, including Campania; and central Italy which includes Tuscany. But within these regions there is so much variety, it’s best just to pick something and dive in. Piemonte Piemonte is a great place to try some Italian white wines, such as Arneis and Cortese. “Arneise is a crisp, high-acid white,” Eynon says. “It’s good with lighter things like salads. The Cortese is age-worthy and complex.” He also likes the Muscato di Asti from that region, a fun, low-alcohol semi-sweet wine with a bit of peach in it. But people really like the red wines of Piemonte, which is where both Barolos and Barbarescos come from. They are Italy’s two most-important wines. Both Barolos and Barbarescos are made with 100 percent Nebula grapes; they get the name

Barolo and Barbaresco due to the area in which the wine is made. “The great thing about Nebula is it has high acid and high tannins,” Eynon says. “So they’ve got a lot of structure, but aren’t heavy. It has intensity.” Tuscany The second-most famous region in Italy, the main red varietal is Sangiovese, the grape that’s always in Chianti, Brunello de Montalcino and Vino Noble de Montepulciano. “I think a lot of Sangiovese’s popularity in the U.S. is because most people have a sense memory of being in the Tuscan hills, that region between Florence and Sienna.” He especially likes the Brunello di Montalcino, calling it interesting and age-worthy. Super Tuscans also come from Tuscany, though they’ve lost a lot of their following. Campania “The most important wine region is Campania, where Naples is,” Eynon says. Mount Vesuvius has made the soil rich in volcanic ash. The Taurasi region produces some grapes similar to Piemonte’s Nebbiolos, so it’s often called the Barolo of the south. White varietals like the Greco do Tufo, with excellent citrus and minerality, and the Falinghias, which are great with seafood, come from Campania. •

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Bite Sized

Did you know...

Unhappy with the “mother grain’s” role in religious ceremonies, the conquering Spaniards destroyed Peru’s quinoa fields. It still grew in the wild, though.

The longer the

balsamic vinegar ages, the more complex, and expensive, it becomes.

“If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?” — Anonymous

American airmen stationed in Britain in 1943 used to anchor cans of

Rye can get a fungus

called ergot, which is poisonous and causes hallucinations. Some historians blame rye ergot for triggering the

Salem Witch Trials. Used since 500 BCE,

pepper was the most popular spice of the ancient

world.

EAT winter 2012

ice-cream mixture to their rear gunner compartments and freeze it by

Because the veins in Gorgonzola are so often green, London’s old green-marbled Stock Exchange was known as

Gorgonzola Hall.

flying over enemy territory at high altitudes.

In ancient Rome, meals began and ended with

lettuce.

Eggs on a Spit:

“Pierce eggs lengthwise with a well-heated spit and parch them over the fire as if they were meat. They should be eaten hot.” This is a stupid invention and unsuitable and a cook’s joke. — Platina, “De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine,” 1475


L I M I T E D E D I T I O N , V I N TA G E - S T Y L E

LI T HOG R APHS

Available at the Colorado Ski Museum and the Vail Daily Call 970-748-2956 to order

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ail Mountain View Penthouses Vail Village

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EAT  

Dining guide to the Vail Valley

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