Food + Drink / Insights

Aspen's Best Summer Cocktails

Master mixologists divulge Aspen’s hottest summer cocktails.

June 10, 2013

The Aloha Paciano at Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant & Bar.
The Aloha Paciano at Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant & Bar.

Mixologist: Erin “E-Rock” Harris
Where: Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant & Bar
What: The Aloha Paciano
Why: Domaine de Canton (an ultrapremium French ginger liqueur), Vida Mezcal tequila, Amaro Nonino, Bittermans Elemakule Tiki Bitters, Angostura Bitters, pineapple juice, lemon, and lime juice. Packing a tropical punch, the drink perfectly pairs with Jimmy’s grilled fish tacos. Best enjoyed on the outdoor deck during a Rocky Mountain sunset. 205 S. Mill St., 970-925-6020

Mixologist: Steve Smith
Where: Rustique Bistro
What: Jalapeño margarita
Why: Jalapeño-infused Sauza tequila, fresh-squeezed lime juice, a few drops of agave nectar, and a splash of orange liqueur. Steve infuses the jalapeños in the tequila for at least one week prior to serving. Best with Rustique’s mussels, served with garlic, white wine, and spicy sausage. 216 S. Monarch St., 970-920-2555

Mixologist: Distillers Mark Kleckner and David Matthews
Where: Woody Creek Distillers
What: Stobrawa vodka martini
Why: Crafted with premium Stobrawa potato vodka (only 1,000 bottles available), which is made from a high-starch Polish potato grown by Woody Creek Distillers at its nearby Scanlan Family Farm. The result? One of the smoothest martinis in the country, and glutenfree to boot. Sip and savor it on the sun-drenched patio at WCD’s new Basalt tasting room. 60 Sunset Dr., Basalt, 970-279-5110

—by melissa wisenbaker


Top Dishes for Patio Dining

Philanthropist and event planner Esther Pearlstone names the top dishes for patio dining.

May 24, 2013

Pacifica and Ester Pearlstone
LEFT: The patio at Pacifica is right in the heart of Aspen’s action; RIGHT: Esther Pearlstone

Ajax Tavern
The double cheeseburger with Parmesan-truffle fries is the way to go! 685 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-6334

Cache Cache
The French onion soup and the filet with peppercorn sauce are my longtime favorites. 205 S. Mill St., 970-925-3835

Caribou Club
This is a well-kept secret for summer dining. Great for a big group, as it looks stunning with a long table down the center. The seafood plateau is the ultimate summer indulgence. 411 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-925-2929

My son, Remy, suggests the braised artichoke heart bruschetta, served with an organic poached egg, shaved truffles, and Parmesan. 430 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-2976

Garden Terrace at the Hotel Jerome
I love the corn nuts in the barbecue chicken salad. 330 E. Main St., 970-920-1000

An urban Aspen experience. You can’t go wrong with the rock shrimp tempura and yellowtail jalapeño. 303 E. Main St., 970-544-6628

The Meatball Shack
It has an incredible meatball menu, among other delectables. Check out the crowds near the water fountain. 312 S. Mill St., 970-925-1349

Pacifica Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Try the fried calamari and all things seafood. 307 S. Mill St., 970-920-9775

Sundeck on Aspen Mountain
It has the ultimate view! I love the wok station. Order the black bean ginger garlic chicken or shrimp pad thai. 970-923-1227

The Wild Fig
It’s a Mediterranean jewel. Try the “Flavors of the Sun” plate (hummus, baba ghanouj, and falafel) or fish in a bag. 315 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-5160



New Belgium Brewing's Slopeside Eatery

New Belgium Brewing opens a new slopeside eatery.

December 17, 2012

Locals and visitors would agree that chilled Fat Tire amber ale at the end of a hard-earned ski day hits the spot. The king of Colorado brewers, New Belgium Brewing, has opened a new slopeside restaurant dedicated to après ski, in addition to serving lunch and dinner. Located adjacent to the Fanny Hill ski run on the Snowmass Mall (previously home to Goodfellows Pizza), the New Belgium Ranger Station will serve beers from its portfolio and other craft brews, paired with cuisine by The Westin Snowmass Resort and the Snowmass Kitchen chef de cuisine, Jami Flatt. Additionally, the recently renovated Wildwood Snowmass hotel will feature a branded New Belgium bar, where vintage-meets-contemporary in a ski-chic remodel of the entire property. The new 153-room boutique hotel is just one anticipated component of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Wasserman Real Estate Capital’s anticipated Snowmass development, which also includes The Westin Snowmass Resort, a $55 million renovation of the former Silvertree Hotel & Conference Center, debuting this season, too. Don’t miss the Westin’s new restaurant, The Snowmass Kitchen, featuring fare by Flatt and Executive Chef Ronnie Sanchez.


Celebrity Chef Dinners at The St. Regis

Culinary stars sharpen their skills at The St. Regis Aspen’s Chefs Club.

December 03, 2012

St. Regis Aspen’s Chefs Club will feature three “Best New Chefs” this winter

The change of season ushers in the next crop of “Best New Chefs” at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, home to Food & Wine magazine’s inaugural restaurant, The Chefs Club. Opened in June 2012 with celebrity chefs George Mendes, Alex Seidel, James Lewis, and Susan Zemanick, the restaurant rotates its kitchen prowess biannually; this winter diners will experience cuisine by three new rising stars, including chefs Jonathan Sawyer (a 2010 winner from Ohio), Kevin Willman (a winner in 2011 from Illinois), and Jenn Louis (award winner in 2012 from Oregon). The Best New Chefs will curate a locally inspired winter menu and will make appearances throughout the season. Look for out-of-this-world pairings by Food & Wine Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle, and a daring cocktail menu by master mixologist Jim Meehan. 315 E. Dean St., 970-920-3300


A Caviar and Veuve Pop-Up

The Little Nell and Veuve Clicquot take bar hopping to new heights—at 11,500 feet.

November 16, 2012

Veuve Clicquot will be available slopeside beginning in February

When Sabato Sagaria, food and beverage director at The Little Nell, was told a food truck in Aspen was a “no can do,” he opted for something more audacious: The Oasis, a mobile Veuve Clicquot–branded pop-up Champagne bar to grace the slopes of Ajax. “The Oasis was inspired by a trip to LA, where I checked out the food-truck scene and pop-up restaurants,” explains Sagaria. “We wanted to do something similarly spontaneous and unique, but playing to Aspen’s eternal quest for fun.” Beginning in February and operating through the end of ski season (snow conditions permitting), the bar (operating Friday to Sunday) travels by snowcat to changing on-mountain locales; clues to its daily whereabouts are announced on The Nell’s social media outlets. Outfitted in Veuve’s signature yellow hue, the bar features brut, rosé, and La Grande Dame, and a food menu includes California Caviar Company hackleback sturgeon. “It’s a true expression of Aspen’s joie de vivre,” Sagaria adds. “There is no better place on the planet for people to toast the world than at 11,500 feet.” 970-920-4600



Shop a Virtual Farmers’ Market

Find aged goat cheese, Georgia peaches, and more at a new online farmstand.

October 09, 2012

Balakian Farms blended organic heirloom tomatoes

For those Aspenites too busy to spend an afternoon meandering around the local greenmarket, America’s Farmstand, the first-ever virtual farmers’ market, is the answer to your farm-to-table prayers.

The company grew out of founder Todd Greenfield's hope to bring artisanal, organic produce and products from family-run farms to a wider audience across America. “I found myself asking farmers, ‘What if?’ What if there were a way to get your vegetables, fruits, cheeses, organic meats, and other fresh foods directly to the people who want them, rather than having them lose freshness traveling to—and sitting in—warehouses for days before being transported to supermarkets?” said Greenfield.

Surf the site today and you'll find fresh-from-Georgia Pearson Farm peaches, Balakian Farms blended organic heirloom tomatoes, New England Provisions Maine lobsters, Wood Homestead maple syrup from the Adirondacks, aged goat cheese from the Hudson Valley’s Coach Farm, and more. Many of the items offered are fair-trade or gluten-free, two things Greenfield is passionate about.  

—Jessica Ferri


Restaurant Find: a Meat Lover's Paradise

On the hunt for Aspen's best beef? Here, our top picks.

February 07, 2012

Montagna's American Wagyu Roasted Filet

1. Montagna: The locally raised American Wagyu Roasted Filet is complemented by a red pepper jus, roasted root veggies and finished with mustard spaetzle glaze. 675 E. Durant St. Aspen, 970-920-4600

2. Piñons: Grilled Filet, served with Hudson Valley foie gras and decadent black truffle sauce. 105 South Mill St., 970-920-02021

3. Plato’s: Chef Todd Slossberg. The Harris Ranch Manhattan Cut Strip Steak is sizzled to perfection, paired with gold potato hash, creamed spinach and cauliflower sauce. 845 Meadows Road Aspen, 970-925-4240

4. Steak House No. 316: Choose from diverse cuts of meat, sauces and sides to customize the ultimate meal. Try the Kobe Flat Iron Steak, blue cheese bone marrow butter sauce and truffled potatoes au gratin.  
316 East Hopkins Ave., 970-920-1893


Chef Chat: Robert McCormick

Montagna’s executive chef Robert McCormick cooks the perfect steak.

December 05, 2011

What is your favorite cut of steak?
Onglet (hanger steak).

Rub, or no rub, for an amateur chef?
For a rich, robust cut like the ribeye or onglet, you can’t go wrong with a mild rub. If you’re roasting a tenderloin or grilling New York strips, sea salt and coarse ground black pepper are perfect.

What is the best steak-wine pairing you’ve ever had?
Camping at 10,000 feet near Snowmass Lake. The 28-day, dry-aged ribeye, grilled on the fire, paired up with a 2003 Gaja Barbaresco was the best I’ve ever had.


Goat Cheese, Please

For many local cheesemakers, goat is king.

November 21, 2011

Some of the residents at Haystack Farms in Longmont

Raising goats and producing cheeses from their milk is more popular than ever. Much smaller than a cow, a goat is more manageable and easier to care for and feed. And the result is quite satisfying to the palate. Diners will find a type of goat cheese on nearly every charcuterie platter in Aspen –in salads galore, mixed with beets, added as croquettes atop greens, and included in entrees and even desserts.

“The milk ends up making very wonderful fresh and aged cheeses,” says Michelle Kiley, Aspen’s resident cheese expert and co-owner of Specialty Foods of Aspen and The Cheese Shop. According to Kiley, Wendy Mitchell, owner of Avalanche Cheese in Basalt, has “truly mastered her craft” in goat cheesemaking. Kiley calls Mitchell’s selection of cheeses, which includes fresh chevre and Midnight Blue, “absolutely incomparable.”

Chefs throughout the valley use Avalanche Cheese’s products and those of another Colorado standout, Haystack Farms in Longmont. But while many diners savor goat cheese, goat meat is still underappreciated, says Jack Reed, who acts as a liaison between farmers who sell goats and restaurant owners who want them. Reed helps to supply goat meat to Mark Fischer’s Restaurant Six89 in Carbondale and The Pullman in Glenwood Springs. Closer to Heaven Farm in Hotchkiss also sells goat meat to Restaurant Six89.

According to Reed, diners are reluctant to order goat because they think the meat will smell bad, but the taste is actually closer to that of a wild meat dish such as elk. “Goats are pretty active,” Reed adds. “They forage and get around, so they’re lean. And they have a wild spirit about them; that’s what I’m looking for in a meat.”

Reed has been known to drive around the countryside of the Western Slope looking for Boer goats (the most desirable breed for meat). A relative few Boers survive into the autumn months because of the popularity of Mexican summertime barbecues. Not many farmers on the Western Slope raise Boer goats, but Ken Miller of Cedaredge’s Lone Pine Farm sells goat meat, raw goat’s milk, yogurt, chevre, and feta. “The best way to prepare goat is by grilling or smoking,” he says before turning whimsical. “We also grind a bit of it and make goat burgers. We try and not tell anybody until after they are done eating that [they just ate] Annabelle.”



Best Beer Bet: Aspen Brewing Co.

Aspen Brewing Co. debuts a new seasonal ale.

January 28, 2011

The latest seasonal release by the Aspen Brewing Co. is as buzz worthy as the establishment's new downtown locale (304 East Hopkins Avenue, in the former Social space). The new Scottish Ale packs a punch with a formidable alcohol content, but most notable is the strong malt character and caramel notes. Snag a growler of the new brew—it's the latest local craze.

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