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In case you missed it: The Bookworm hosts its first-ever Adult Book Fair

There are few childhood joys that equate to the feeling of shopping at a school book fair. All the new books, fun toys, and colorful school supplies make you feel alive. There’s no reason this feeling shouldn’t carry on into adulthood, right?

The Bookworm believes that the joy of reading is for any age, as well as the love of good office supplies. The store recently hosted its first-ever Adult Book Fair. In addition to supplying tables of great books and colorful office supplies, four booksellers gave their top picks of the moment, perfect for any reader.

Matt Lee, owner of the Bookworm, said his top pick right now is This Is What It Sounds Like,” written by Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas. “It’s like the best music class you never knew you needed. Rogers was most famously a producer for Prince, and her grasp of music mixing paired with a vast array of music recommendations makes it the perfect crash course to deepen your connection to the music you already like and appreciate music more as a whole,” Lee said. “Plus there’s some great industry anecdotes, like the opening scene which takes place at a dinner party between Prince, the author, and Miles Davis. Any music fan will love it.” Lee also recommended “Ridgeline,” by Michael Punke, and “Small World,” by Jonathan Evison.

Karin Barker, lead bookseller at the Bookworm, highly recommends “Solito” by Javier Zamora. “Zamora’s memoir of his two-month, 3000-mile, solo journey from El Salvador to the Arizona desert is stunning. There is no politics or pointing fingers, just Javier recounting his harrowing voyage and the people he encountered along the way,” Barker said. “Through strong force of will and the care of three strangers who became his second family, Javier is finally reunited with his parents. It’s perfect for anyone who liked American Dirt or anyone who like moving stories of bravery and resilience.” Barker also recommended “Widowland” by C.J. Carey and “Properties of Thirst” by Marianne Wiggins.

Whitney Bloom, bookseller and office manager of the Bookworm, loved “Olga Dies Dreaming” by Xochitl Gonzalez. “At its core this book seeks to answer the question of whether or not it is possible to achieve the American Dream without sacrificing your morals. The book follows siblings Olga and Prieto Acevedos, who were raised by their grandmother in Brooklyn after their mother left to pursue a revolutionary agenda in Puerto Rico. Olga is a wedding planner for the Manhattan elite and Prieto is a congressman representing their gentrifying community,” Bloom said. “Gonzalez adeptly tackles complex issues like cultural stereotypes and appropriation, saying so much with as few words as possible. I both wanted to devour this book to know more about the Acevedos, and savor Gonzalez’s writing.” Bloom also recommended “Thank You for Listening” by Julia Whelan, and “Deadly Education” by Naomi Novik.

Mack Burner, assistant manager and buyer at the Bookworm, couldn’t stop talking about “Lost Boy” by Christina Henry. “As a connoisseur of Peter Pan retellings, I feel uniquely qualified to say that this is one of the best out there. The writing is beautiful, the characterization of James and Peter unique and spot on. James is the first Lost Boy and as such, he is responsible for all the other Lost Boys, despite how intent Peter seems to be on getting them all killed. One day, fed up with Peter’s antics, James grows, just a little, but enough. From then on, every time Peter does something particularly reckless or savage, James gets a little taller and a little older. Until one day, it all comes to a head, and Captain Hook is born,” Burner recounts. “You should read it, and if you need further reason to trust my assessment, I have a Peter Pan tattoo. To say I’m committed to this story and its retellings would be an understatement.” Burner also recommended “Dirtbag Massachusetts” by Isaac Fitzgerald, and “Never Say You Can’t Survive” by Charlie Jane Anders.

Want even more recommendations on what to read next? Go to their website at BookwormOfEdwards.com to see the latest staff picks or stop in and talk to a bookseller today.

Painting a full moon, a food drive, 10 years of beers and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/6/20

Cocktails and Canvas

If you’re not watching the big Clemson-Notre Dame football game on Saturday night, maybe Cocktails and Canvas is more your thing at Alpine Arts Center. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as an artist, you can still create something and you may even amaze yourself.

This week’s art project lets painters create a moonlit scene with a mountain backdrop. An Alpine Arts Center instructor will guide you through a step-by-step process on how to paint the full moon, stars, evergreen trees and a lake with a reflection on it.

Advance registration is required and you can do this from the comfort of your own home or in the studio. Visit alpineartscenter.org for options on how to register for an in-person class, which is $45 per person, or a virtual class. If you’d like to attend virtually through Zoom please select that option for $25. It excludes materials but class kits available for purchase online.

Saturday’s class starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes for about two hours. Beer and wine are available at Alpine Arts Center’s bar for $6. Soft drinks are available for purchase, too.

Congratulations to Alpine Arts Center for earning the gold medal for Best Art Gallery in the Vail Daily’s Best of the Vail Valley contest for 2020. View the entire list of top spots here.

Bonfire Brewing’s 10th Anniversary Party

Bonfire Brewing in Eagle turns 10 years old this weekend! To celebrate, this popular brewery is hosting a weeklong celebration with retro beer styles re-released to the public along with a commemorative pint glass, brewery tours, live music and more.

Stop by on Sunday to get your hands on a limited-edition pint glass that Bonfire Brewing is deeming a “Decade of Pints.” The artwork depicts the exterior of Bonfire Brewing’s location on Second Street in Eagle and shows the number of pints sold throughout the past decade.

Bonfire Brewing will be conducting tours of its production facility on November 12. Pre-register for the tours in advance as space is limited to four to 10 people per tour due to social distancing guidelines. Tours are free and are 45 minutes long.

Congratulations to Bonfire Brewing for earning the silver medal in the “Best Happy Hour” and “Best Brewery” categories as well as bronze in the “Best Patio” category in the Vail Daily’s Best of the Vail Valley contest for 2020.

Bonfire Brewing has decided to celebrate the occasion with a week full of events:

  • Sunday – Commemorative Glass Release, Chalkboard Art Revealed
  • Monday – Throwback Beer Release #1
  • Tuesday – Guess Your Flight Night and Throwback Beer Release #2
  • Wednesday – Specialty Slush Release #1
  • Thursday – Chambers Brew Tours and Throwback Beer Release #3 and Live Music: Lance Boyle and the Red Bottom Boys 6-9 p.m.
  • Friday – Throwback Beer Release #4, Specialty Slush Release #2 and Live Music: The Evolution from 6-9 p.m.
  • Saturday – Final Hurrah – Mug Club Auction, Prize Drawing, No. 10 Bottle Release and Live Music: Hardscrabble from 6-9 p.m.

For more information visit Bonfire Brewing’s website at bonfirebrewing.com and follow its social media accounts.

Giving with the Grooms Food Drive

In a few weeks, many families will be feasting on turkey and all the fixings during the Thanksgiving meal. But while many don’t feel the strife of food insecurity, it is a problem in the Vail Valley. To help get food into the hands of those in need, rock band The Runaway Grooms have stepped up to host a food drive.

Throughout the month of November, The Runaway Grooms is hosting “Giving with the Grooms” at various locations up and down the valley. Donate non-perishable goods or City Market gift cards at any of the drop-off sites. All donations will benefit the Vail Valley Salvation Army Food Pantry.

The Vail Valley Food Pantry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many more households needing assistance. According to the Vail Valley Salvation Army’s website, non-perishable food and hygiene items are needed. Non-perishable food items include canned soups, peanut butter, pasta and rice, canned vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and cereal. Hygiene items include soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion and toilet paper.

Drop off locations:

  • Bonfire Brewing
  • Vail Brewing Company – Eagle-Vail
  • Vail Brewing Company – Vail Village
  • Riverwalk Theater
  • Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy

The Runaway Grooms is hosting this food drive until the end of November. For more information, go to therunawaygrooms.com.

Colorado Snowsports Museum

Unlike other ski towns that were mining operations first, Vail was created because of the ski area. Vail started spinning its lifts for the public in December of 1962 and the town was erected around the slopes and was incorporated in 1966. This short yet impressive history is brought to life with the Colorado Snowsports Museum. The museum also houses artifacts and much more about the history of skiing in Colorado. 

Vail’s history has a lot to do with its past. Just south of Vail is Camp Hale. At one point, up to 14,000 soldiers were stationed there training with the 10th Mountain Division, the winter warfare unit of the U. S. Army during World War II. The Colorado Snowsports Museum has a full exhibit dedicated to the stories of the men of the 10th, complete with a movie called “Climb to Glory” that shares stories from that era, vintage footage from Camp Hale and the battles in Europe.

When the men of the 10th returned home after the war, many of them went into the fledgling outdoor ski industry as we know it today. One of the founders of Vail, Pete Seibert, was in the 10th Mountain Division.

In addition to information about the 10th Mountain Division, the Colorado Snowsports Museum houses Olympic memorabilia, the evolution of ski equipment, lost ski areas, the history of snowboarding and the Hall of Fame.

The Colorado Ski Museum’s Snowsports Hall of Fame includes an interactive touchscreen monitor display of information on the movers and shakers in the winter sports industry of Colorado. Each year, Hall of Fame candidates are nominated under the established criteria of Athlete, Sport Builder, Inspirational or Pioneer categories, with the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee evaluating and confirming the nominees to move onto the final ballot.

Join the Colorado Snowsports Museum on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a 60-minute Walking Tour in Vail. During the tour, the guide will relay how Vail became the town and resort it is today. The tour information dates back to when Vail was a remote area, accessed only by the Ute American Indians as a summer residence. The land around Vail was part of the Gold Rush and became home to ranchers and eventually became America’s number one ski resort. Learn the story of Vail and share it with others time and time again after you take this tour.

To join a tour, call (970) 476-1876 to make a reservation. Then, meet at the Colorado Snowsports Museum just before 11 a.m. to start the tour. Masks and proper social distancing are required on tours and in the Museum. Have a larger group? Private tours can be arranged outside of the Museum’s regular schedule. The Colorado Snowsports Museum’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, view the website at snowsportsmuseum.org.

Cheeseburgers in paradise

According to the National Day Calendar website, Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day. In honor of this American staple, we thought we’d share some delicious details on the places that serve up a fantastic cheeseburger up and down the valley.

Restaurant: Craftsman – Edwards

Name: Schmidt Mac

The Goods: Two all-beef patties, Fromage Américain (American cheese), tender belly bacon, griddled onion, shrettuce (shredded lettuce), special sauce, dill pickles on a Hovey & Harrison sesame seed bun.

Word has it that Christopher Schmidt, chef-owner of Craftsman, created this as a staff meal when he worked at Sweet Basil. Made with fresh ingredients like grass feed beef, “freedom” (American) cheese and quality bacon and secret mayo-based sauce has qualified the Schmidt Mac to win the Vail Daily’s Best of the Vail Valley gold medal for best burger last year and the bronze medal in 2018.  

Restaurant: Southside Benderz – Avon

Name: Original Benderz Burgerz

The Goods: Your choice of a single, double or triple one-third pound beef patty served on Benderz’ signature fresh-baked, house-made-every-day bun with 2,000-island dressing, lettuce, tomato and red onion with your choice of American, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, provolone or bleu cheese. Other add-ons include mushrooms, jalapeños, grilled onions as well as avocado, bacon and a fried egg.

Stop by Southside Benderz for what Denver’s Westword Magazine calls the best burger on I-70. What makes its burger so great? “It’s the beef! Fresh, never frozen Angus beef is what sets our burgers apart,” said Noah Bender, the namesake behind Southside Benders. “We make our buns at our Northside bakery and people love our atmosphere with the big giant bar and patio,” Bender said. The Benderz burger has earned the Vail Daily’s Best of the Valley bronze medal in 2019 and the silver medal in 2018 and 2017.

Breaking news, there will be even more space to enjoy a Benderz burger. Its sister restaurant, Pavalici’s Pizza, is closed and Benderz Burgers will open an additional location in its original spot where Northside Coffee and Kitchen sits on the north side of 1-70 in October.  

Restaurant: Bully Ranch  – Vail Village

Name: Various

The Goods: Bully Ranch gives you a choice of protein: Redbird chicken, 7X Wagyu Japanese beef, buffalo and even a non-meat option with the Impossible burger.

“We have five distinct styles of burgers that are regionalized, from our South of the Border burger with house-made spicy guacamole to our Bully Bourbon burger with smoked cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and house-made bourbon demi-glace, cheeseburgers are the ultimate American comfort food,” said Jeffrey Geller of the Bully Ranch at the Sonnenalp Hotel Vail. 

“What I love the most is how wonderful and warming they can be. It brings you back to that place where you had your first cheeseburger,” Geller said. “Come try one along with one of our signature mudslide drinks.”

Restaurant: Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse – Lionshead and Beaver Creek

Name: Mountain Cheeseburger

The Goods:  a one-half pound patty of the chef’s special grind, choice of eight types of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, brioche bun, fries, pickle and then pick add-ons like bacon, avocado, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms and grilled jalapenos.

“Our chef’s grind is 80% chuck beef and 20% brisket. The brisket is a bit fattier and we fold that in to give the burger that rich flavor,” said Joe Griffith, manager at Beaver Creek Chophouse. “We’ve kept this same burger on the menu for the past several years. We sell them all day and all night.”

Restaurant: Dusty Boot Roadhouse

Name: Various

The Goods: Choose from building your own burger to the classic Boot Burger with crispy fried onions, Applewood bacon, jalapeño jack cheese and house-made guacamole. The Fat Burger takes things to new heights with onion rings piled on top of bleu cheese crumbles, Applewood bacon and barbecue sauce. Need more? Add a fried egg or pork green chili to your burger.

“Everybody loves our burgers. We use Colorado raised hormone-free Angus beef,” said Alina Dabrowski, bartender at Dusty Boot. She also suggested you pair it with a Hazy IPA beer.

Restaurant: Brush Creek Saloon – Eagle

Name: Various

The Goods: With over a dozen burgers to choose from you’ll need to head down to the Brush Creek Saloon a few nights a week to taste them all. Try the Eagle Fire Truck with natural beef, bacon, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo.

“The Eagle Fire Truck is our most popular burger on the menu,” said Brush Creek Saloon bartender Devon Sartori. “We use Aspen Ridge beef and it’s served with hand-cut fries, a fried jalapeno on top and it’s about six inches tall.”

S’mores ice cream?

Nothing says summertime like camping and you can’t have a campfire without s’mores. Sundae Homemade Ice Cream decided to take that summer staple and create a flavor around it.

“We set out to combine all of the iconic ingredients of a traditional s’more into a unique ice cream flavor, right down to the toasted marshmallow,” said Ashlyn Streetz, general manager at Sundae.  “We started by making a graham cracker ice cream, then folded in mini marshmallows we roasted ourselves and finished it with the dark chocolate chips our customers know and love.”

Sundae’s unique and creative flavors of the month inspire many of its customers to share what flavors they’d like to see next. “Sometimes it’s a customer suggestion we find intriguing or sometimes its something we’ve been dreaming up ourselves,” said Streetz, who is a pastry chef by trade. “We featured a chocolate raspberry sriracha ice cream this winter, and recently featured a cucumber melon sorbet.”

Sundae prides itself on offering quality ice cream that starts with quality ingredients. “We’re not looking to cut corners or do what’s easy, real homemade ice cream takes time and tons of effort,” Streetz said.  “We’re always looking to create the best ice cream possible for our customers and for ourselves.”

Sundae’s mission is to simply spread joy, one scoop at a time. Sundae is expanding its reach this summer and besides the Edwards Corner and Bridge Street ice cream parlors, expect to find scoops of deliciousness at other places as well.

“We’ve added an ice cream cart to our team this summer.  We’ll be spreading our wings in Garfield and Summit Counties this summer scooping up joy at farmers markets,” Streetz said.

Sundae has also honored requests to have its homemade ice cream at special events and now offers catering services for weddings, backyard parties and other gatherings. June is flying by, so stop by Sundae to try the s’mores ice cream flavor before it’s gone. To learn more about Sundae Homemade Ice Cream, visit www.sundaeicecream.com.

National Rosè Day this Saturday

After a long and chilly spring, the temperatures are on the rise, prompting our palettes to switch from the heavy red wines and buttery chardonnays to lighter and brighter wine varietals. This switch is just in time for National Rosè Day, which is held on the second Saturday of June. 

National Rosè Day was submitted to and approved by the registrar of National Day Calendar in October of 2014 and first celebrated in June of 2015 by Bodvar House of Rosès, a winery specializing in rosè wines that hopes to raise awareness and give rosè lovers a day to unite together and celebrate.

Rosè may be one of the oldest types of wine known but it’s been gaining popularity recently, even becoming a mixer for use in other cocktails, rather than just being consumed as a straight wine.

To celebrate National Rosè Day on June 8, area bars are trying various ways to serve it up. White Bison serves a rosè frozè, which is reminiscent of those frozen flavored slushy drinks you enjoyed as a kid.

They start with rosè wine then add Domaine de Canton, which is a cognac-based ginger liqueur. Then they add some sugar, fresh lemon juice and cranberry juice to add the pink color back into it. Oddly enough, when you put the rosè wine into a frozen slushy machine, the color fades. It’s garnished with plenty of mint to add another element of flavor and a little color to the pale pink drink.

These drinks are great summer sippers on the White Bison deck, which was voted “Best Deck” in the Vail Daily Reader’s Poll last year. If you have a large group, ask if you can get the “golden swan” which is basically a copper punch bowl shaped like a large swan, allowing you to keep everyone’s glasses full right at your table.

Foods of Vail offers grab-and-go, stay and eat options

Editor’s note: This story first ran as a paid feature in EAT magazine.

It was a summer spent in France that inspired Tracey Van Curan to learn as much as she possibly could about the world of fine foods. The owner of Foods Of Vail has put in the hard work and dedication to establish herself and her business within the world she loves, and the Vail Valley thanks her for it.

Foods Of Vail, located in Avon, has been in business since 1981.

The chef-driven establishment never cuts corners, ensuring every ingredient is fresh and from the best possible source. Three words describe what Van Curan has maintained over the years: homemade, convenient and creative.

“Even our stocks are made from scratch,” shares Van Curan.

Drop by and eat on site, choosing from a rotating menu of daily specials. Or pick up a quick lunch, dinner for two or order for a family of 20. Try staple items like the Thai Curry Soup or Van Curan’s Lasagna — made from the original family recipe derived from her New Jersey roots.

In addition to the soups, casseroles and salads readily available every day in this gourmet delicatessen, Foods Of Vail delivers and also has a catering division to service weddings, rehearsal dinners, at-home entertaining and more.

Local Brewery: Vail Brewing Co.

Best Local Brewery: Vail Brewing Co.

  1. Vail Brewing Co.
  2. Bonfire Brewing
  3. 7 Hermits Brewing Co.

Enjoying a local craft brew after a day in the sun in perhaps one of the finest things in life. What makes it even better is the fact that Vail Brewing Co., one of the locals’ favorites, has two locations in which one can sidle up, select a tasty beverage and enjoy it, either at the Solaris Tasting Room in Vail or at the brewery’s home in Eagle-Vail.

General Manager Sarah Boberschmidt said a combination of things makes VBC such a popular spot for locals.

“It starts with the beer — people wouldn’t come that far and drink terrible beer,” she said. “But it also has to do with the people who are there on a day-to-day basis.”

These day-to-day folks include the friendly staff, as well as the locals who are happy to shoot the breeze on any given day. Add to that the cozy atmosphere, the live music and other entertainment and the tasty taco truck parked outside the Eagle-Vail location, and you have the recipe for a beloved local brewery.


— Katie Coakley

Margarita: Maya Modern Mexican & Tequileria

Best Margarita: Maya Modern Mexican & Tequileria

  1. Maya Modern Mexican & Tequileria
  2. Agave
  3. El Sabor

When diners rave about a meal they had at Maya, they’ll typically mention an amazing margarita, whether it’s a fruit-pureed rendition enjoyed after a summer hike or a traditional, perfectly balanced marg sipped after a day on the slopes.

There’s stiff competition around town when it comes to making a great margarita, but Maya stands out from the crowd with fresh-squeezed juices, handmade sours and quality tequilas from their collection of nearly 100 agave-based spirits.

“We have a list of margaritas on the menu, but you can customize your drink with different spirits and really make it your own. I think that’s part of what people like so much about the margaritas here,” said Kevin Delonay, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa director of food and beverage.

Bar favorites include the mango or blood orange margaritas, both made from fresh fruit puree, and the signature Maya Margarita, a drink with a kick, thanks to Serrano-infused tequila, tamarind simple syrup and a chili powder rim.

— Melanie Wong

Mexican Food: Rocky Mountain Taco

Best Mexican Food: Rocky Mountain Taco

  1. Rocky Mountain Taco
  2. Taqueria No Se Hagan Bolas
  3. Fiesta’s Cantina

Just as there are different types of cuisine in different areas of the United States, different regions in Mexico have their own unique flavors. At Rocky Mountain Taco, the flavors are a bit Chihuahua and a bit southern California.

“It’s traditional Mexican food with a southern California twist,” said Dan Purtell, one of the owners of Rocky Mountain Taco, along with Jose Reza and Chris McGinnis.

Jose’s wife, Noemi, was a big influence and brought flavors from Chihuahua, Mexico, to the group. Purtell and McGinnis are from Orange County and brought some of those flavors to items such as the Hippie Crack; Jose grew up cooking Italian food, McGinnis said: The White Chick, with its creamy, alfredo-like sauce, was Jose’s idea.

With tortillas from Avon Bakery & Deli delivered fresh each day and ingredients prepared by hand (“the long, hard way,” Purtell said with a laugh), the guys at Rocky Mountain Taco are dishing up some of the Vail Valley’s favorite Mexican food.

— Katie Coakley

Patio: White Bison

Best Patio: White Bison

  1. White Bison
  2. Vail Brewing Co.
  3. Garfinkel’s

While White Bison is a great spot to grab a delectable bite in Vail, it also features a patio to write home about.

One of the more scenic spots in Vail Village, the White Bison patio overlooks Gore Creek and offers a beautiful backdrop to any meal: winter, spring, summer or fall.

Whether you’re there to chow down on lunch or dinner, or just to grab a drink, the patio is a popular rendezvous location for locals — not to mention, their food and drinks do not disappoint.

With special events and live music occasionally held outside, there’s something new all the time, so don’t expect to be bored. Even if there isn’t an event taking place, the babbling of the creek and the bright, colorful surroundings are enough on their own.

— Nate Day