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February 21, 2011
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Michelle Obama's Vail meal becomes talk-show topic

VAIL, Colorado - Some conservative bloggers and talk-show hosts act like the short rib in Michelle Obama's dinner entree was, like Adam's, extracted from them personally.

The first lady, in Vail with her daughters and some friends for the Presidents Day weekend, dined at Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail Village Saturday night, enjoying a pickled pumpkin salad with arugula and a braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale.

So, of course, some people are taking the short view of the short rib.

A braised short rib is a relatively lean cut of beef, braised with most of the fat cooked off. The 5-ounce serving runs about 600 calories, Liken said - a far cry from the 1,500 calories and 141 grams of fat it's accused of.

"A proper 5-ounce portion of protein is what nutritionists say we should have," said Kelly Liken, who launched the highly successful restaurant.

Let's not forget that the 5-ounce rib is served with local kale, nurtured and grown by students at Eagle's Brush Creek Elementary School.

"Kale is one of nature's super foods," Liken said. "There are more nutrients in the 3 ounces of kale we serve than you'll get in a massive green salad."

A skier will burn off about 6,000 calories during the course of a day.

"It's a hearty meal for sure, a great meal after a day of skiing, well-balanced and nutritious," Liken said.

Obama is championing her anti-obesity campaign. She ate at Restaurant Kelly Liken because of the restaurant's association with Brush Creek Elementary School's Sowing Seeds program. Students grow vegetables in a greenhouse, and some of it lands on their lunch trays.

Liken, who helped spearhead Brush Creek's Sowing Seeds program, says she uses produce from the school's greenhouse whenever she can.

"The food at Restaurant Kelly Liken is the healthiest food you can get in a restaurant," Liken said.

Liken said she is committed to her customers' health.

"I want to nourish the people who eat it, to teach people they don't have to sacrifice taste and texture to eat nutritious and healthy foods," Liken said.

Liken met the first lady Saturday night in her restaurant's dining room.

"It was refreshing to see how interested she really was and how passionate about the kids' healthy lunches, as well as the movement to eat locally here in the Vail Valley," Liken said.

So, as to the carrying-on about how the first lady could eat that 5-ounce rib, Oliver Tito noticed it was eaten with a knife and fork, just like Saturday night's other diners lucky enough to get a table at Restaurant Kelly Liken.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Feb 22, 2011 12:07PM Published Feb 21, 2011 10:05PM Copyright 2011 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.