No matter when you plan to visit Aspen, Colorado — winter, spring, summer or fall — plan to spend some time and money on dining. You won’t regret it.
Before we visited this winter, I had no idea Aspen was such a foodie town, and I’m not kidding when I suggest that you should go there and eat all the things. Seriously, forget about the diet and don’t cry over carbs, just eat everything and be happy.
While nothing in Aspen is cheap, the bar is set high for good food in this resort town, and it’s nearly impossible to have a bad meal here.
Of course, when at Meat & Cheese, a restaurant and farm shop, you must order the Meat & Cheese board, which serves two, and follow it up with one of the restaurant’s creative entrees such as coffee chocolate rubbed short ribs or the rotisserie chicken (the best I’ve ever had).
Dining here is a true foodie experience. We relied heavily on the staff for information about what we were eating and Parker, the manager on duty, knew the menu inside and out, including the fantastic craft beer selection.
For a quick pick-me-up, drop into Aspen Overeasy for a freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice concoction. I met up here with my friend Jillian Livingston of AspenRealLife.com. I ordered the Super Sunrise which had pineapple, strawberry, orange, and grape, and Jillian went with the Avocado Dreamboat, a coconut water infused green drink filled with good-for-you stuff.
If you’re looking for a swanky après ski destination in Aspen, but don’t want to break the bank, check out BB’s bar. BB’s restaurant serves up delicious items like antelope steak ($42), and the bar keeps the creative spin going, but has more affordable bites.
I highly recommend the pork belly steamed buns ($16). Great for sharing, add a side of kale and Brussel sprouts and you’ve got a high-end meal for a reasonable price. In addition to après ski, the bar at BB’s is a fun Aspen late night destination.
Bloody Marys are a big deal in Aspen. I saw them on every menu in town, and if you google “best Bloody Mary in Aspen, Colorado” a ton of lists come up, but the place that makes every list is the St. Regis. In fact, their Bloody Mary is so popular that they have a free Bloody Mary tasting every day at 11:15 a.m., which just so happened to be when I stumbled in.
The Regis Hotel in New York, is said to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. Originally called “The Red Snapper,” it was invented by a bartender working there in the early 1920s.
At the St. Regis in Aspen, you can sample this hotel’s unique recipe, the “Downhill Snapper,” and order from their Bloody Mary menu that includes versions from their hotels around the world.
I ordered the “Downhill Snapper,” which is made with Woody Creek Vodka and muddled dill and basil. It was well-worth the $18 price tag, although, at that price, I didn’t order more than one.
My last Aspen dining tip is Home Team BBQ. If all this gourmet fare has you longing for down home grub, this brand new Aspen restaurant is the place to go, especially for those who love Carolina style barbecue.
Located in the Inn at Aspen, at the base of Buttermilk, this is a family-friendly dining option. Everything here was quite tasty, although the southern style mac ‘n’ cheese was my favorite. On a tip from a server, I added a little Home Team Death Relish to my mac ‘n’ cheese, a habanero salsa — and my life was complete.
Thank you to the Aspen Chamber for hosting us on this trip and to the various restaurants that invited us to dine with them while we were in town. We can’t wait to dine in Aspen again!
Ryan and I hadn’t been out in the big city since the fall, so when we read that the Colorado Symphony was playing Beethoven, we decided it was time for a Denver date night.
We used to frequent the Colorado Symphony quite often. In fact, for several years we bought concert packages to the CSO, giving us an excuse for a Denver date night every month. The Colorado Symphony has all sorts of subscription packages available, making it easy to pick and choose the number of symphonies you want to attend and which shows.
We started our Denver date night at TAG Restaurant on Larimer Street, an eight minute walk from Boettcher Concert Hall. This restaurant has been on my radar for awhile now and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
The food scene in downtown Denver has come a long way since we lived in the Mile High City in the early 2000s.
Chef Troy Guard, who opened TAG in 2009, is a big part of the city’s culinary expansion. He has opened a number of restaurants since, and there are still more in the works. Guard’s restaurants elevate food, while still making it approachable, and I think this is why he’s so well-loved by Denver foodies. Continue reading
I used to call this annual post “Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights,” but I’m going to change it up this year because everyone loves a “Best Of” list, right? It’s a hard post for me to compose because every year seems to bring with it many incredible Colorado experiences. This makes it hard to boil an entire year down to ten major highlights, but every year I do it.
This was a big year. I turned forty and we traveled a lot – to every corner of the state and the middle parts too. One of the major highlights was visiting Trinidad, Colorado (1) for ArtoCade, an art car extravaganza. This town blew us away. I love being surprised (in a good way) about a new place and I’m truly excited about the future of this friendly, quirky community.
Another standout experience was staying at a Never Summer (2) yurt near Cameron Pass last winter with our old dog, Xena. We’d never stayed in a yurt, let alone during winter and it was terrific. I loved the smell of the wood burning stove and the feeling of total peace as I snuggled into our yurt’s queen bed. I didn’t even mind having to use the outhouse, something I usually hate with a fierce passion. Continue reading
Know someone who loves food? Instead of buying them a cookbook or newfangled kitchen item, how about buying them a foodie experience?
Colorado has blossomed with food tours over the last several years, and I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing several of these delicious excursions.
Local Table Tours
This company was started by a Boulder food blogger who has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad. Today, Local Table run tours in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. In Denver, they do a tour at The Source, a Taste of Highlands and in downtown (Taste of LoDo and Union Station).
Their Boulder-based tours including A Taste of Boulder, Cocktail Tours, Coffee & Chocolate Tours and May through October they offer tours at the Boulder Farmers’ Market.
In Fort Collins, tasting tours include a Cocktail Tour, Waffle & Chocolate Tour, Artisans at Scotch Pines Tour and, the one I experienced this past summer, the Jessup Farm Tasting Tour. Continue reading
Jessup Farm was a working farm built at the turn of the century. In 2011, the Campana family of Bellisimo Inc. rehabilitated the property and repurposed the buildings to house modern-day businesses scattered around like a village. Today the property is home to multiple small businesses, a flock of chickens and a large garden.
According to Steven Sorensen, a Campana family member and part of Bellisimo Inc., when the family first conceived of the plan for Artisan Village, they didn’t visualize it as a destination for anyone other than those who lived in surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading
If you’re planning to celebrate the harvest season, why not do it in one of Colorado’s most bountiful areas? Mountain Harvest Festival takes place in the North Fork Valley, an area that is brimming with small family farms and vineyards.
I didn’t know about the North Fork Valley until three years ago, and the region has stolen my heart. It is located in Delta County on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s 40 minutes east of Delta, which straddles Hwy 50, the road connecting Grand Junction and Ouray.
Farm-to-table has been part of everyday life in the North Fork Valley long before it became trendy. It is made up of three communities; Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford. Mountain Harvest Festival takes place in Paonia, but celebrates the entire region.
The four-day event kicks off on Thursday, September 22, with a variety of activities including a Farm-to-Table dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Living Farm Cafe.
Things really get going on Friday afternoon. There’s a pumpkin contest, bike parade, a Drink Locally event at Town Park and live music.
This festival is a celebration of all things local, including food, music and art. After all, the North Fork Valley isn’t only a great growing region, it’s a place where artists flourish as well, and there are a number of area art schools.
On Saturday there’s a smorgasbord of events planned. Don’t miss the Cirque Bike Farm Tours at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We did a bike to farm tour with Cirque while we were in town earlier this summer (read all about it here). You can also do self-guided farm and winery tours while in town for the festival.
A festival farmers’ market will take place throughout the weekend and the Drink Locally event in Town Park happens Friday through Sunday. In addition, Mountain Harvest Festival has loads of live music schedule, farm-to-table dinners, yoga, bike Olympics and so much more.
Mountain Harvest Festival is a feast for the eyes, heart and stomach.
And here’s a warning: If this will be your first visit to the North Fork Valley, you may fall in love. Because what’s not to love about a region filled with vineyards, rolling hills dotted with sheep and trees heavy-laden with fruit? In a recent magazine article I dubbed the region “the land of milk and honey,” and that’s not an exaggeration.
If you’d like to experience this Delta County’s North Fork Valley to the fullest, you need to attend Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia, Colorado.
Mountain Harvest Festival
winner of the Governor’s Award for Best Small Community Festival
September 22-25, 2016
Some events ticketed/Most events are free
Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
As alert readers will have noticed, we’ve been riding bikes a lot this summer. I love riding bikes – not any downhill craziness, mind you – I prefer cruising on country roads or trails. Earlier this summer we did a bike to farm outing in the North Fork Valley, located in Delta County, Colorado. This is the story.
We rented bikes at Cirque Cyclery in downtown Paonia. A destination in and of itself, Cirque Cyclery is one of several awesome small businesses under the same roof.
Cirque Cyclery rents and sells bicycles, plus unique clothing and gifts, Shish KaBikes repairs bikes and Remedy Juice Bar Cafe provides refreshments, including adult beverages. The entire place, which was formerly the Paonia Post Office, has a laid back, neighborly feel. Continue reading
There are still 144 days until Christmas, so please don’t panic, however, it’s never too soon to plan holiday travel. And after this summer heatwave we’ve been experiencing, a cool down in the beautiful village of Ouray, Colorado sounds heavenly.
Imagine spending a wintry weekend surrounded by snowy peaks in Ouray, Colorado. Snowshoe on a local trail, enjoy a delicious meal or cozy up with a warm whiskey drink at KJ Wood Distillers. Top it all off with Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.
Discounted tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival
The Annual Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival takes place during Ouray’s Winterfest, a seven-week holiday season of events and promotions. It starts after Thanksgiving and last through the Ouray Ice Festival in January. Festive activities take place throughout Winterfest, including Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.
This blog post is your chance to purchase discounted tickets to Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, and to start planning your winter getaway in Ouray.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday, December 10, 2016.
This festival features Colorado wines, chocolate and cheeses, and has expanded to include local craft distillers and arts and crafts. Of course, there’s live music too and this year’s festival theme is 1930’s Swing.
Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is a beautiful way to ring in the holidays with a few of everyone’s favorite things. And it’s also an opportunity to purchase last minute Colorado gifts for all your favorite people.
Click here and enter “HeidiTown” into the “Enter Promotional Code” box to receive a 10% discount on your 2016 tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Promotion runs through August 31, 2016.
Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is online at ColoradoWineFest.org.
Start planning your visit to Ouray at OurayColorado.com.
Each year, Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival supports a local non-profit and this year’s benefactor is Weehawken Creative Arts, helping kids and adults in Ouray County and neighboring communities discover their creative potential through the arts.
Winterfest is supported by the Annual Ouray Jeep Raffle, a half-century-long community fundraiser that gives participants the opportunity to win a jeep.
This post is a paid advertisement. Interested in marketing your event, festival or destination with HeidiTown.com? Please email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
New festivals crop up every summer in Colorado and it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I try. Here are five new ones that will appeal to a variety of different tastes.
Tequila & Tacos, Winter Park, July 9, 2016
Winter Park is a wonderful summer festival town and when Tequila & Tacos came across my radar, I immediately saved the date on my calendar.
Located in one of Colorado’s best festival venues, Hideaway Park, this new event is a celebration of one of my husband’s favorite things (tequila) and one of my favorite things (tacos) – so, yes, we have to go.
As you might expect, Tequila & Tacos includes tequila tasting and taco tasting, plus, live music provided by The Rick Lewis Project.
Keystone River Run Village Art Festival, July 30-31, 2016
Keystone is another great summer festival town. River Run Village is well-laid out for fun fests such as Wine & Jazz Festival and the Mountain Town Music Festival. This art event is the newest festival in the Keystone Festivals summer lineup.
There will be 80 artists at this juried, outdoor event. Admission is free.
Vertex Festival, Buena Vista, August 5-7, 2016
This new “camping” festival is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado. The Vertex Festival website states, “Vertex merges the best of worlds to create a present-day frontier where anything is possible. Diverse music, exhilarating outdoor adventures and artful fun and games bring people together for an enduring shared experience.”
Vertex includes lots of live music, field trips, art events and more. If you’re looking for an event that will inspire creativity in a fantastic destination, Vertex may be the festival for you.
Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, August 12-13, 2016
This festival makes me want to start singing, “these are a few of my favorite things!”
Hotchkiss, Colorado is in Delta County, which is our state’s hidden gem. The region is bountiful and offers everything from vineyards to farm stays, and this festival is a celebration of those things, plus arts and crafts. Events include music, demonstrations and of course, wine, hard cider and lots of delicious, farm fresh food.
Breckenridge Wine Classic, September 15-18, 2016
A new wine event is coming to Breckenridge, Colorado. This festival brings together food artisans, wineries, breweries, distilleries, epicurean purveyors and locally made products. There will be cooking demonstrations, seminars and other opportunities for wine education. Events will take place at various venues around town.
The Breckenridge Wine Classic is for discriminating wine aficionados and it is also for those who may be new to the wine world.
If you know of any new festivals in Colorado this summer that aren’t listed here, please leave me a note in the comment section.
When people think of Colorado, food isn’t what immediately comes to most minds, but the state is brimming with delicious, fresh food during the summer. If you’d like to celebrate the bounty of Colorado, look no further than these foodie festivals taking place across the state over the next few months.
Like strawberry shortcake? Strawberry ice cream? How about simple, fresh strawberries straight off the vine? Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs is a small town picnic that has evolved into a big summer party.
Taking place June 17-19, 2016, the event features music, an arts and crafts fair, a carnival, a parade and free strawberries and ice cream. This festival is what small town America is all about.
Cherry pie is my husband’s favorite, so I need to take him to Paonia Cherry Days in beautiful and bountiful Delta County, Colorado. The event takes place over the Fourth of July holiday (July 1-4, 2016) and there’s a whole slew of events taking place including a cherry pie eating contest, because it wouldn’t be a cherry festival without one. Continue reading