By Eileen Ogintz
BRECKENRIDGE, CO — What happened to greasy burgers at snow resorts?
At Breckenridge Ski Resort’s new Pioneer Crossing, just off the Independence Super Chair on Peak 7, there was Caribbean Chicken Stew served with Cuban con Gris rice.
As for the burger–it was Epic–made from brisket served up with bacon, cheddar, and served on a challah bun. You could also have a Chile relleno burger, a mountain burger or a Cowgirl Grilled Chicken Sandwich complete with guacamole, southwestern slaw and pickled red onion.
We opted for Tacos al Pastor “shepherd style,” based on the shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico—lamb, chicken and pork. Yum!
So was the freshly made tomato soup served up with a Cuban sandwich. There was also Cowboy bison bean chili and chicken chowder.
At Beaver Creek Resort, the next day, a sister Vail Resort, the chefs at Spruce Saddle Restaurant at the top of the top of the Centennial Express lift were serving up freshly rolled sushi, pho, pad Thai, while the salad bar included green beans with feta, lemon dill tuna salad Greek Pasta and Brussel sprout salad. There were baked potatoes—regular and sweet—that could be topped with chili and all the fixings, street tacos. It was hard to choose among the soups—chicken and dumpling, tomato and basil, lentil potato and spinach, beef barley stew. I can vouch for the turkey and white bean green chili—it was outstanding.
Vacationers–and that includes kids—these days are more interested in food and they demand not only higher quality food but more sophisticated offerings whether they are on cruises ships, all-inclusive resorts or ski resorts.
Keystone Resort, in fact, has an upcoming Kidtopia Culinary Festival from Feb 9-17 complete with celebrity kids’ chef, cooking classes, a Gumbo cook-off with free beignets, cookie decorating and even a special gourmet dinner.
Kids, of course, can still have a burger but they also can have a chicken quesadilla, freshly baked, hand-crafted pizza, or grilled cheese with a side of fresh fruit.
How about an evening snowshoe followed by a wine pairing with charcuterie? Perhaps First Tracks followed by a special on-mountain breakfast?
After a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than a good meal you don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterward—like at Maya at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, a quick gondola ride from the Beaver Creek slopes. After the hot tub (there are three to choose from) or the spa, enjoy Mexican food with a modern twist (not to mention more than 100 kinds of Tequila and all varieties of margaritas) at Maya Mexican Grill. The guacamole is made table side and served with warm chips and smoky salsa. Take your pick of Adobo brisket tacos, blue crab and shrimp enchilada or pork carnitas, among the offerings, including plenty for vegetarians.
There are plenty of options at Beaver Creek, one of the most upscale family-friendly resorts for those seeking a special mountain experience. Beaver Creek boasts a sit-down lunch at Saddle Ridge and your choice of three restaurants reached by sleigh ride—Zach’s Cabin, Allie’s Cabin or Beano’s Cabin. Allie’s Cabin has special three course family dinners certain nights and wine pairing dinners as well. Zach’s cabin boasts locally-sourced food.
We opted for the five-course dinner at Beano’s Cabin–there is a kids’ menu here as well and despite the steep tab (over $100 for adults; $79 for kids), more than 30 percent of the guests are families. The kids can opt for Ants on a Log–apples, celery, peanut butter and raisins followed by grilled tenderloin and mashed potatoes, house made macaroni and cheese, pasta, chicken pot pie, or seared wild salmon followed by a brownie ice cream Sundae.
I’m amazed the kids could sit for such a long dinner but then again, there are a lot of junior foodies out there. It seemed a great place for a romantic dinner—in fact, we met a couple who had gotten married here, ultimately moved from Miami to the mountains and now bring out of town friends.
I can see why–starting with the sleigh ride, up the ski slope, bundled in comfy wool ponchos. We started with pureed pea soup served in a copper pot, followed by all kinds of delectable appetizers (braided pork belly, Ahi Tuna Poke or short rib pappardelle among them. I opted for the pan-seared striped bass complete with fingerling potatoes, pancetta, green beans and charred onion rosemary vinaigrette; my husband went for the beef tenderloin, though I suggested the roasted venison.
And this was a place not to skip desert—smoked pineapple upside-down cake with cherry sauce, chocolate mousse cake, banana sticky toffee pudding among the choices.
Good thing we are skiing tomorrow. And no fries for lunch either!