| May 30, 2013 | Food & Drink
The Eight K bar at the Viceroy Snowmass.
Ajax Tavern’s delightful garden terrace is the ideal spot for an alfresco meal.
Double cheeseburger and fries from Ajax Tavern
Gerry and Christine Goldstein enjoy the Crêperie’s ambience.
The quaint garden at Crêperie du Village.
Jeff Posey and Elizabeth Slossberg tuck in to dinner at Eight K.
John Oates is a regular at Woody Creek Tavern
Robin Smith chats with a fellow diner while indulging in her favorites: crispy oysters.
Scrumptious onion soup
The eatery’s signature shrimp and grits.
The funky and eclectic Woody Creek Tavern
CHRISTINE GOLDSTEIN, cofounder of Potatote
My husband, Gerry, and I love our evenings together at Cache Cache, The Wild Fig, L’Hostaria, and many of our town’s other eateries, but for a romantic interlude at a tiny French bistro that will instantly transport you to backstreet Paris, you cannot beat Crêperie du Village. With 14 tables decorated with funky, old barn siding and burlap, this tiny baita returns a small piece of Aspen’s golden age. Candles create an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of a subterranean Tyrolean café of yore.
Top table: A tiny banquette perched in a bay window is a romantic spot. For a festive large après-hike or ski groups looking for giggles and excellent French beer, ask for the long joiners table.
Who to know: Crêperie du Village coowner Karin Schwendtner.
Not-to-miss dish: A ridiculously small excuse for a kitchen somehow serves up scrumptious onion soup and raclette.
Vinoculture: The modest wine list has an excellent Châteauneuf Du Pape.
Best cocktail: Tequila drink by Rafael.
Little-known fact: Co-owner Rafael Derly, from Marseilles, France, used to be a ski racer.
“Only in Aspen” moment: Patio lounging after a summer bike ride up to the Bells. Crêperie du Village, 400 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-925-1566
ELIZABETH SLOSSBERG, founder of EKS Events
Jeff, my husband, and I enjoy Eight K Restaurant at the Viceroy Snowmass, which is sexy, fun, and serves amazing food. And it’s one of my favorite event spaces, too. When the restaurant is booked for a private party for our special clients, we work with Viceroy’s catering director, Katie de Beshe, who is so creative and fun. Eight K has that relaxed style, with the beautiful ambience that makes driving to Snowmass worth every bite and every sip!
Top table: If you have never been, the best is the oversize handmade “piano table” that seats eight. Take a big group and have a blast.
Who to know: Emily Albers for scoring a reservation; Rick Lang for the inside scoop on everything Eight K.
Not-to-miss dish: My Southern roots returned with chef Will Nolan’s New Orleans cuisine. My favorite is his barbecue shrimp and grits. This dish has put him on the map. I also love the “low-cal” roasted eye of rib eye, both aged beef and confit style. To die for!
Little-known fact: Chef Will Nolan was not only born and bred in the heart of New Orleans, but he also had his culinary training at the worldfamous Commander’s Palace.
Summer cocktail: Champagne mojito—yummy, crisp, and refreshing. Marcus muddles the best.
Vinoculture: Rick Lang is the most fun. Not only is he a Level Two sommelier and certified wine expert, but he also has a wonderful wit and humor that are as crisp and dry as the wines he serves. I love trying the new finds he discovers from all of his travels and hearing about his pursuit of the next great bottle. Eight K Restaurant, Viceroy Snowmass Hotel, 130 Wood Road, 970-923-8008
JOHN OATES, musician
As a longtime Woody Creek resident, the Woody Creek Tavern is tops for me and my family. It’s funky, eclectic, and there’s no restaurant remotely like it in the Valley. In the summer you’ll find the outdoor patio packed with bikers, tourists, horseback riders, and locals. Coming here is a rite of passage for visitors to Aspen.
Top table: The corner booth or any table outside.
Who to know: Tell them you’re friends with Ibby.
Not-to-miss dishes: The burger (of course!), chicken enchiladas, and “dinos” (chicken fingers shaped as dinosaurs) for the kids.
Favorite summer drink: Draft beer. Insider tip: Snag the porch swing outside while you’re waiting to be seated. And remember, it’s cash-only. Woody Creek Tavern, 2858 Upper River Road, 970-923-4585
ROBIN SMITH, owner of Meridian Jewelers
I love sitting on the deck at Piñons in the summer and looking at Ajax without a care in the world. Piñons is remarkable because it makes every single person feel special, whether she’s eating from the bar menu or hosting a party for 50. And the quality of the food and service has been fantastic and consistent for as long as I’ve been going.
Who to know: Jim Andre is my man for reservations.
Not-to-miss dishes: My recommendations for dinner always include the crispy oysters with crème fraîche and caviar, the famous Freddy’s salad, and the grilled filet of beef with foie gras.
Vinoculture: The Piñons wine list is second to none, and the staff is made up of oenophiles. You always feel you’re getting the best bottle of wine, even on a budget.
Little-known fact: Piñons is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Summer cocktail: I’m partial to the roasted jalapeño margarita. Piñons, 105 S. Mill St., 970-920-2021
CHRISTINE LIGHT, High on Aspen blogger
To me, Ajax Tavern epitomizes Aspen in the summer. Nothing beats sitting on the patio on a sunny day with a glass of rosé in hand.
Top table: Anywhere on the patio is a top table in my book.
Who to know: Being polite and friendly usually does the trick.
Not-to-miss dish: The Ajax double cheeseburger, the best in town.
Best summer cocktail: Peach Bellini.
Vinoculture: A glass of rosé or Sauvignon blanc is always my pick.
Insider tips: The menu changes seasonally.
“Only in Aspen” moment: The view overlooking Aspen Mountain. Ajax Tavern, 685 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-6334
photography by brooke casillas/courtesy of viceroy snowmass (eight K); Larry Marano/Getty Images (oates); brooke casillas/courtesy of jason dewey (ajax tavern garden)