Our week in the Vail Valley is just about over, with only one dinner remaining.
The highlight of the entire week was dinner last night (Thursday) at the counter overlooking the kitchen at Dish in Edwards. We chatted all evening with Jenna Johansen, the chef owner, as she was stationed immediately in front of us. She totally took care of us, suggesting dishes and pacing the service. Everything was incredible, from the savory bread pudding to the corn cakes with *fresh* huitlacoche (!), from the chanterelle stew with a perfectly poached egg on top to the shaved zucchini with pesto, and on and on. We also met Pollyanna Forster, the managing owner, and talked with her for awhile. It was altogether a sublime evening.
We also ate at Dish on Monday night, and everything that night was excellent as well. I think one of the standouts was actually the bread served with house-churned butter, a deliciously fruity olive oil, and Murray River pink sea salt. We also sampled their cashew bacon brittle, glad we had it but one piece was enough for me.
Breakfast on Sunday, and lunch on Wednesday, were at Route 6 Café in Eagle-Vail. This place is so down to earth, with reasonable prices for large servings of delicious food. Egg dishes and sandwiches we sampled were all very nice.
We ate twice at Sweet Basil in Vail – lunch on Monday, and dinner on Tuesday. The service was highly professional yet not at all stuffy, and everything we had was really good. For lunch, we shared the Vietnamese spring rolls, then my husband had a crab-stuffed poblano chile and I had a salad with pulled chicken, walnuts, apricots, cherries and other goodies. Dinner the next evening started with the local tomato salad, then venison carpaccio which was served with Oregon huckleberries and some mascarpone cream making for a really sophisticated presentation. My husband had the pork loin for his main course and I thought it was interesting that it was served more like a steak, rather than sliced. I had duckling which was served three ways – sliced breast, a confit cassoulet, and sausage – the cassoulet was my favorite component. For dessert we splurged with the sampler where our favorite was the (justifiably famous, I guess) sticky toffee pudding cake, but we enjoyed every last bite of all the desserts.
Dinner on Sunday was at Juniper in Edwards. I started with the roasted tomato soup with an aged balsamic drizzle, and my husband had the ahi tartare. My soup was really densely flavored, delicious. For mains, my husband had the lamb “t –bones” and I had the halibut atop a chickpea puree, both really nice presentations and good flavors. Dessert was a chocolatey cakey thing with some super sweet toffee sauce, too sweet for my taste. We enjoyed Juniper quite a lot and decided to re-book there for tonight’s dinner which we are happily anticipating.
Our first dinner in town, last Saturday, ended up at the Gore Range Brewery. We hadn’t made plans because we didn’t know what time we’d be arriving and we wanted to leave things open. Well, the beer was very good and the atmosphere was befitting a brewpub, but the food was mediocre, the less said the better.
Our final lunch in the area was today at EatDrink (same owners as Dish, in fact the fellow who made our lunch today was one of the chefs working at Dish last night). Wow, another great meal – flatbread with burrata and prosciutto, and a hot panini with more prosciutto, pesto, roasted tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, served with a lovely salad. I would like to eat there every day, once again the staff were so incredible, knowledgeable and friendly. What a gem.
Almost forgot, we had dinner on Wednesday at Fiesta’s in Edwards. We really enjoyed the margaritas and the food was pretty good too – the New Mexican emphasis was nice to experience since L.A. Mexican food totally lacks in this area. Chiles rellenos were quite tasty.
We had a couple of lunches outside of the area, one in Leadville at the Columbine Café (apparently a popular moniker) and one in Glenwood Springs at Daily Bread. Both were good for simple café food.
We also enjoyed the Vail Farmers Market on Sunday until it started storming. We picked up a few different prepared food items to bring home to California, and some apples for my husband to enjoy during the week. One difference between this Farmers Market and the ones I frequent at home (most often Hollywood, sometimes Santa Monica, sometimes Studio City) is that you couldn’t buy fruit by the piece in Vail – everything was pre-bagged. I asked one of the vendors about it and he said it has to do with the calibration of the scales, apparently the state of Colorado is much more stringent than California. I probably would’ve bought a couple of local peaches but couldn’t use eight of them and didn’t want to waste them.
Anyway, thanks for reading this and thanks again to everyone who helped me in prior posts.