By Damien Alexander Williamson | December 28, 2015 | Food & Drink
Pine Creek Cookhouse proves that no one does high-country fare quite like Colorado.
Peak flavor! Whether you arrive on snowshoes, skis, or a horse-drawn sleigh, Pine Creek Cookhouse is a (gastronomic) haven in the high country.
Few experiences say Colorado like a moonlit horse-drawn sleigh ride or cross-country ski expedition to a secluded cabin at the base of the Elk Mountains. Fewer still end with a culinary prize rivaling those you’d find at restaurants in the hearts of major cities across the country. But then, no one ever said Aspen offered standard fare.
Starting at the Adventure Lodge—located just 11 miles up the Castle Creek Valley, near the historic ghost town of Ashcroft—guests can cross-country ski, snowshoe, or sleigh a few miles over the river and through the woods to Pine Creek Cookhouse. Warm up by the fire before feasting on Colorado classics from chef Chris Keating’s prix-fixe menu, like sautéed ruby-red rainbow trout, North American buffalo tenderloin, La Sal Peaks bone-in elk chop, or one of the unexpectedly delicious vegetarian options, such as stuffed acorn squash. While these dishes are appropriately rustic, dessert doesn’t disappoint either, with choices like warm apple crisp and pretzel bread pudding served with bourbon vanilla sauce and salted caramel ice cream.
If you don’t relish the thought of a chilly nighttime trip back to the lodge after a hearty dinner, enjoy the warm winter sun by trekking to Pine Creek for lunch, which offers lighter, à la carte fare and stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks under bluebird skies. Either way, it’ll be a Centennial State experience you won’t soon forget. 11399 Castle Creek Road, 970-925-1044
photography by ross Kribbs