My sister Julia invited me out to spend a long weekend with her in Vail and Aspen. Having never been to either, I quickly penciled in the dates on my calendar and booked a flight to Denver. Not only was I interested in the snowboarding part of her “inspiration” trip (and I don’t mind so much the shopping part either), but I was very interested in the food scene.
It was the most serendipitous weekend for meeting up with friends. Julia and I got in touch with some friends we met over in Thailand who work in Vail. We met them at the local bar for some drinks, a bite to eat and to catch up since we last saw them in the islands. They had a few recommendations for us, in particular one catchy restaurant suggestion being the Woodside Cafe. Scottie recommended the Redneck Benedict: poached eggs, pulled pork, homemade biscuits, chipotle hollondaise and bbq sauce. It was a spicy take on the original, and a very tasty version at that.
We definitely made the rounds of breakfast diner-y food spots, sampling eggs and potatoes along our weekend sojourn. We ate egg whites, triple egg omelettes and poached eggs. We accompanied those eggs with hash browns, biscuits, toast, avocados and lots of hot sauce and ketchup. We ate breakfast the hearty, fill-your-gut-before-you-snowboard kinda way. And we liked what we tasted!
We did splurge on one fancy meal that turned out to be fancier and yummier than I expected. My friend Grayson put me in touch with one of her CIA friends who now is a sommelier at one of Aspen’s nicest restaurants, Montagna. My sister and I stopped by in the late afternoon on Sunday to introduce ourselves and make a new friend. I immediately liked this new friend. Carlton is one of those people that, upon meeting him, you feel like you’ve already known him for ages. Comfortable, warm and incredibly friendly, he has the attributes of a long time friend. He offered us a glass of wine, we chatted for a few minutes and then my sister and I made reservations to eat in the restaurant where he works.
The delicious glass of Riesling he offered set me up to expect great things from the meal. The chef has worked at many of the finest restaurants in the states, and so we left it up to him to create the meal. It was a visually beautiful meal with simple and well seasoned ingredients. Nothing was overly flourish-y; there were no tweezer placed herbs, no foams and no fluid gels. The food was gorgeous yet not finicky. It was definitely a fun meal to share with my sister.
As each course was brought out, Julia and I would eat half our plates and then switch. We wanted to taste everything and talk about all the flavors. We both melted when we ate the teleggio agnolotti, and we both reminisced about Asia when we slurped the coconut and cilantro soup. The wine pairings added a few degrees of fun to the meal as well!
We ate our fare share of casual breakfasts and splurged a bit on dinners, but our last dinner in Colorado was a great middle ground dining experience. My friend Keegan opened a restaurant a few years ago called d Bar Desserts. He had told me his ideas for a restaurant before it ever opened, so it was really incredible to see how all his thoughts and dreams had come to fruition in the form of a very successful restaurant. Not only does this restaurant do desserts, but the savory food is comfort food rethought – quirky and fun.
Julia and I ended our fun weekend of food, snowboarding, dancing and driving with a great last meal. We ordered the pizza salad (a fun dish of arugula and radiccio salad atop a pesto pizza, and then folded into a sandwhich), wagyu sliders and two desserts. The German chocolate cake and vanilla shake (cake and shake!) were easily enough to satisfy a sweet tooth craving. The chocolate cake is intense and rich and the shake is exactly what’s needed to wash it down with. We almost didn’t have room for the second dessert… almost.
We scraped the plates clean of crumbs and slurped the last of the shake. We cut it kinda close, savoring the last swipes of chocolate on the plate. We semi-rushed to the airport (Julia is a very safe driver…) so we made it to the airport with minutes to spare. Every moment of the weekend, from seeing friends to eating with friends, was lovely and delicious. And I’m looking forward to doing it again next year (right Julia? hurry up and have more work jobs in Colorado!)
Here are a few of the places we chowed down in.
Westside Cafe (extensive options of Benedicts, but the Redneck is worth a try)
2211 North Frontage Rd W Vail, CO 81657
Hickory House (huge plates of breakfast foods that are a perfect start for a day of snowboarding)
730 West Main Street Aspen, CO 81611
Montagna at The Little Nell (fancy food and tasty wines)
675 East Durant Avenue Aspen, CO 81611
Main St. Bakery (cozy breakfast nook with fluffy biscuits and preserves)
201 E Main St Aspen, CO 81611
d Bar Desserts (comfort foods and rich and satisfying desserts)
1475 E 17th Ave Pkwy Denver, CO 80218