| VailDaily.com

Open for Business: Avon Liquor

Name of business: Avon Liquor 

Physical address: 100 West Beaver Creek Blvd. Avon, CO 81620

Phone number: 970-949-4384

Email: info@avon-Liquor.com

Website: www.avon-liquor.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are offering all of our wine, liquor, beer, mixers and accessories.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We’ve added delivery and curbside pickup. 

How can the community support you?

The business is open with regular hours. Customers are allowed in the business but feel free to order online and schedule a delivery.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Our website is www.avon-liquor.com or follow us on Instagram and our Facebook page.

What’s the response been?

The response has been positive. Customers have told us how thankful they are to be able to shop normally, but by still following state guidelines for Covid-19.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? Moving forward, Avon Liquor will operate normally but we encourage customers to take advantage of delivery and curbside pickup.  

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, area restaurants are here for you: Tricia’s weekend picks 3/27/2020

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily has been publishing an updated list of open restaurants each day online and in print. If you don’t see your favorite restaurant listed there, call ahead to see if they are open and what their options are and encourage them to get on our list by emailing details to Kaylee Porter at kporter@vaildaily.com.

Currently, restaurants in the Vail Valley are able to be open and doing takeout, delivery or a combination of both during these trying coronavirus times. Some staffers at the Vail Daily had a chance to dine in while eating food someone else had made for them. Here’s a round-up of what they ordered. (Warning: Reading this article may make you hungry!)

Pam Boyd – Vail Daily reporter and editor of the Eagle Valley Enterprise

Which restaurant?

Grand Avenue Grill in Eagle

What did you order?

Asiago Crusted Chicken Club Sandwich and a Castle Peak Burger

Was it takeout or was it delivered to your home?

Takeout, super convenient from their ice cream window.

Was there a good variety of items on the menu?

These two items are my favorite (club sandwich) and my husband’s favorite (burger) and it is our standing order at Grand Avenue Grill. We were thrilled we could get them.

How did it taste? 

Terrific. Like always. The Grand Avenue Grill has had outstanding quality for nearly two decades.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

In the middle of these weird days, it was a great break to treat ourselves to our favorite lunch.

Morgan Allman – Digital content manager for Everything Vail Valley

Which restaurant?

Thai Kitchen in Minturn

What did you order?

I went for the classics and ordered pad Thai and Thai tea from Thai Kitchen in Minturn

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

Takeout- called in my order, and when I went to pick it up there were sanitizing wipes by the door (which I used to wipe down my hands as well as my card before I handed it over). I was greeted at the door and asked for my name.  I was given my receipt, I gave her my card, she ran it and brought me the to-go bag.  She was also wearing a precautionary mask and gloves.

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

The full menu is available for takeout.

How did it taste?

Delicious. I spent a summer backpacking through Southeast Asia and both the pad Thai and Thai tea tasted exactly as I remember.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share? 

The woman who helped me was very nice and my food was ready by the time I got to the restaurant, in about 10 minutes.

Emily Peterson – Vail Daily account manager

Which Restaurant?

Red Canyon Cafe in Eagle

What did you order?

We got delicious iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches along with amazing cinnamon rolls.

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

You can call in or go in with your order and you can do takeout or pick up your order curbside.

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

Looks like they have their regular breakfast menu featuring bagels, pastries and burritos. They have a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch. Coffee and espresso drinks.

How did it taste?

It was awesome! We think they also have the best lunch sandwiches and the best coffee.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

Ryan, the owner, is always there taking care of guests with a big smile and this time was no different. It was also obvious that he was taking all the precautions from having hand sanitizer available to guests, wearing gloves, etc.

Tyler Buscemi – Digital content manager for Everything Vail Valley

Which restaurant?

Asian Fusion in Gypsum

What did you order?

We ordered a few of their lunch specials: General Tso’s chicken and kung pao chicken with egg drop soup and crab rangoon

Was it takeout or was it delivered to your home?

Takeout

Was there a good variety on the menu or were there only a few items available?

The full menu is available

How did it taste? 

This is our favorite Asian restaurant in the Valley. Great service, fast, dependable.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

When mentioning a “birthday lunch” for my wife, Brooke she didn’t hesitate to say that she wanted Asian Fusion.

Tricia Swenson, Vail Daily reporter

Which restaurant?

Zino Ristorante in Edwards

What did you order?

I took advantage of Zino’s deal going on that day which was 50% off appetizers. I ordered the melanzane – roasted eggplant parmigiana, mozzarella, marinara and dried basil pesto; cavolini – Brussels sprouts with house-made pancetta and frito misto – crispy calamari, shrimp, catch of the day, shishito peppers and harissa aioli.

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

I went online and ordered off the menu on their website. I called and gave my credit card information over the phone. The to-go bag and credit card receipt was on a table in the entryway at Zino, so, in its own little room. I waved at Giuseppe through the glass of the door between us. 

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

It looked pretty much like their regular menu with appetizers, soups, salads, pizzas, entrées and even desserts. Don’t forget the deals on bottles of wine, too!

How did it taste?

It was delicious and a nice break from the humble meals we’ve had at home. The frito misto was a treat since I don’t make fried calamari at home. Since I ordered three appetizers I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share? 

When I called Zino, owner Giuseppe Bosco answered the phone in his enthusiastic Italian accent. It was good to hear his voice and he said he’s so grateful for the community’s outreach and thanks everyone who is supporting them during this trying time.

EAT: Maya brings together traditional and modern Mexican flavors in Avon

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.

At Maya, there is traditional and boundary-pushing cuisine, executed with precision and style. And then there’s the setting.

Located at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon with sweeping views of Beaver Creek, it welcomes a vibrant clientele well beyond hotel guests. Its spacious decor mimics its menu’s sensibilities: traditional Mexican tile and warm natural textures layered within a hip modern design. The space is bookended by its renowned tequileria to one side and floor-to-ceiling windows on the other.

Those windows and the restaurant’s location across from the hotel gondola to Beaver Creek set the tone of the restaurant throughout the day. In the morning it’s a bustling breakfast and Sunday brunch space; by afternoon the expansive patio boasts a lively après scene. As the alpenglow fades on the mountains, the restaurant lights up with a warm, inviting glow. Long tables accommodate larger groups while high leather-backed booths are perfect for an intimate meal.

Chef Richard Sandoval, originally from Mexico City, is committed to the traditions of Mexican cooking while incorporating bold flavors and techniques that have earned him praise as the “Father of Modern Mexican Cuisine.” Executive chef Angel Munoz Jr. oversees the daily operations with a tightknit team.

“When you work long and hard together, it is important to relax and laugh together as well,” Munoz said. That sense of camaraderie feeds directly into the welcoming atmosphere of Maya and inspires the dynamic dish and drink offerings.

One of the newest additions to the menu is the roasted vegetable sopes. The sope’s cornflour dough is dyed with beets to create a rich purple color then topped with black beans, roasted vegetables and crispy lettuce, with cotija cheese. It’s a perfect appetizer or vegetarian main dish.

While most people opt to start their meal with Maya’s tableside prepared guacamole (and for good reason), don’t miss the deceivingly simple tortilla soup. Blended in the traditional manner, its layered and rich flavors are warming to the core, a perfect end to a snowy day.

For the main course, the chicken mole poblano is a multi-tiered taste experience. The chicken is served with a warm cake of cilantro polenta and plantain hash with kale. Sandoval’s mole includes four types of chiles, chocolate and a secret ingredient you won’t believe: See if you can find out what it is from your server.

A visit to Maya wouldn’t be complete without sampling from the selection of over 150 carefully curated tequilas. One to look out for: the exclusive Maya Patrón that the restaurant developed in close collaboration with Patrón. The tequila flights are a popular option, as are the nine margaritas, each paired with its own unique salt rim. For something a little more indulgent, try the Casa Horchata, featuring housemade horchata spiked with Casa Mexico Añejo and topped with whipped cream. Not a tequila drinker? Sommelier Grant Lewis was recently brought on as Dining Room Manager and has developed a thoughtful spirit, wine and beer selection. 

Maya

Price

Starters and small plates: $13-$17

Entrées: $15-$29

Ambiance

Hip, modern and family-friendly Mexican kitchen and tequileria

Signature dish

Carne asada

EAT: Loaded Joe’s grows into new, bigger space in Vail Village

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.

Loaded Joe’s tagline is: Coffee. Food. Drink. And with their new digs in Vail, the coffee shop powerhouse embraces the concept in both Vail Village in addition to their flagship space in Avon.

Part restaurant, part bar, part community center, Loaded Joe’s holds a key spot on the local scene. Open for the early crowd at 7 a.m. with coffee and breakfast options, straight through the lunch hours into après ski, evening and late night, both locales close at 2 a.m. Though the menu is bigger and more complicated in Avon (think avocado toast or a lamb burger), the Vail shop is ready with breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. Grab them to go or stay and soak up the atmosphere.

“We outgrew the original Vail space, which is why we moved,” said owner Brandt Olsen about the Vail location.

The original Vail space was located down some stairs across from Russell’s: It was tiny and felt crowded with 10 people inside. Now, it’s located next to Sundae.

“It’s really allowed us to do more, and do it better. It’s about the same size menu, but we can use much better ingredients. And the bar is expanded. You can come relax and chill at any hour of the day and we’ve got you covered,” he said.

Though plenty of locals use the spots as impromptu office space, working on laptops and holding meetings over food and drink, the comfortable, cozy places are conducive to easy relaxation.

Loaded Joe’s

Price

Breakfast: $8.50-$11

Lunch: $8-$13.50

Ambiance

Friendly neighborhood coffee house with a full bar

Signature dish

Rococo coffee and anything with Tender Belly bacon

Tequila tasting with Chef Richard Sandoval at Maya: varieties to drink and some authentic apps to pair it with

Can’t view the video? Click here.

What do you like to pair with tequila? If you said lime and salt, chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval would like to expand your palate and introduce you to a different way of enjoying the blue agave-based spirit.

Sandoval, whose Latin-based restaurant concepts span from Colorado to Tokyo, was in town on Tuesday, Feb. 25 to pair his culinary creations with Cantera Negra, a family-owned and operated tequila distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. Sandoval and his team at Maya at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa swapped out the typical multi-course dinner with small plates.

“Instead of having four courses you’re trying seven or eight different dishes with various tequilas and it’s a little more exciting, it allows you to engage more,” said Sandoval, who had just flown to Colorado after being at the Miami Food and Wine Festival.

Even though Cantera Negra was founded more than 40 years ago, it’s only been in the United States for two years (check out how it finally got to the U.S. at www.canteranegra.com). “This time last year we were in four states and we’re now in 20 states. We started distributing to Colorado this past Labor Day,” said David Szydlik of Two Sons Imports.

Szydlik offered tastes of Cantera Negra’s silver, reposado, añejo and extra añejo tequila to Maya’s guests and was greeted with the same response he’s heard the last several months while promoting the product. 

“Usually I hear things like, ‘I can’t believe that’s tequila’ or ‘this is the smoothest and best tequila I’ve ever had,’ and I’ve been in the spirits business for almost 20 years and I’ve never seen reactions like this. It’s so consistent,” Szydlik said.

Cantera Negra also has a cafe liqueur, which has just exploded in the last four months. It’s made with Mexican espresso beans, 100% blue agave spirit and liqueur. “It’s only 40 proof, 20% alcohol but the flavor that comes out from the Mexican espresso beans is just amazing,” Szydlik said. 

The food received rave reviews as well. Sandoval paired the Acapulco-style shrimp ceviche, the guacamole and the tortilla soup with the silver tequila. The subtle flavor of the añejo paired well with the tuna tostada and the stone crab taco. The al pastor pork belly taco stood up to the reposado.

“There are over 2,000 different tequilas today. It’s amazing what different distilleries do to it, whether it’s aging it in French or American oak, they are very different,” Sandoval said. “If you compare them, each one has a different profile. It’s very interesting to see what they’ve done and it’s fun to match the flavor profile with the food.”

5 local restaurants receive four diamonds in annual AAA restaurant awards

Each year, AAA awards diamond ratings to restaurants across the United States, and five Vail Valley restaurants received awards.

Each chosen restaurant can receive up to five diamonds, and 18 of the 77 Colorado restaurants honored received four diamonds.

The Vail restaurants that received diamonds are: Grouse Mountain Grill, Mirabelle, Splendido, Game Creek Restaurant and Beano’s Cabin. Beano’s was the only new addition to the list from last year.

“This mountainside restaurant is located in a former hunting lodge and comes complete with antler chandeliers and a cozy fireplace,” AAA said in its description of the restaurant. “The seasonal fixed price menu offers multiple courses and features fare such as venison, Wagyu beef and Colorado lamb. The restaurant is accessed by a scenic shuttle or sleigh ride.”

Here are all 18 of the four-diamond restaurants in Colorado this year:

  • Beano’s Cabin, Avon
  • Grouse Mountain Grill, Beaver Creek
  • Mirabelle at Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek
  • Splendido at the Chateau, Beaver Creek
  • Game Creek Restaurant, Vail
  • Element 47, Aspen
  • Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder
  • Flagstaff House Restaurant, Boulder
  • Summit, Colorado Springs
  • Edge Restaurant & Bar, Denver
  • Guard and Grace, Denver
  • Mizuna, Denver
  • Palace Arms, Denver
  • Panzano, Denver
  • Rioja, Denver
  • Alpenglow Stube, Keystone
  • Keystone Ranch Restaurant, Keystone
  • The Cliff House Dining Room, Manitou Springs

View the full list of four-diamond restaurants in all 50 states here. View the full list of five-diamond restaurants here.

Burton US Open, Leap Day, sleigh ride dinners and more: Tricia’s Weekend picks 2/28/20

Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships

The Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships return to Golden Peak in Vail for the eighth year, but the event itself has been held for 38 years. This iconic snowboarding competition brings in the sport’s best veteran riders as well as up-and-coming riders to the Halfpipe and Slopestyle competitions.

The Slopestyle finals are Friday with the women’s competition beginning at 11 a.m. followed by the men’s finals at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the women will kick off the Halfpipe Finals at 11 a.m. followed by the men’s competition at 2 p.m.

This is typically the last competition of the season and attracts top-caliber riders like Red Gerard of Summit County and Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand returning to defend their Burton US Open Slopestyle titles. Scotty James of Australia and America Maddie Mastro took top honors at last year’s Halfpipe finals.

The competitions attract a crowd, so prepare for parking to fill up fast and if you want to watch the competitions along the halfpipe or slopestyle course, get there early and be prepared to trek up to the venue. You can also watch from the base areas on jumbo television screens.

Download the Burton US Open app to your phone to keep up on any schedule updates, photos and videos, a list of riders and results. Live coverage can be found on www.burtonusopen.com and on www.redbulltv.com. For the complete low down of events, go to www.burtonusopen.com.

Burton US Open – beyond the competitions

The Burton US Open base area has a festival-like atmosphere with an interactive sponsor village with fun swag and a Burton pop-up store and meet, greet and ride opportunities with the athletes.

Last fall, the snowboarding world and beyond lost Burton founder and snowboarding pioneer, Jake Burton Carpenter. To honor him, there will be a Ride with Jake and Fireworks for Jake events throughout the weekend.

For the Ride with Jake on Friday, meet at Gondola 1 at 8 a.m. and the group will go to Chair 4 and then reconvene at the top of Riva Glades for a group ride down one of Jake’s favorite runs. This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to honor him for what he did for the sport of snowboarding and the Burton US Open. On Saturday night, join the family and friends of Burton for a special fireworks display that can be viewed from the concert venue at Solaris.

Burton helps the youngest aspiring snowboarders get on the hill with Riglet Park. Strap the kids aged three to six on a tiny snowboard and watch them learn the basics of snowboarding in a fun environment at Golden Peak. This designated area features small berms, rollers and ground level features so kids can try tricks, too. Check out the free Burton demo equipment at Riglet Park as well.

Friday

Sponsor Village – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Golden Peak

Ride for Jake – 8 to 10 a.m. Meet at Gondola 1, Vail Village

Meet the Riders – 1 to 2 p.m. Burton Pop-Up Shop, Golden Peak

Free Burton Concert Series and Awards – 6 p.m. Solaris Concert Stage – Big Freedia and Arrested Development

Party at Bol – 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Solaris – music by Money 2 Burn

Saturday

Sponsor Village – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Golden Peak

Women’s Ride – 10-11:30 a.m. Burton Pop-Up Shop, Golden Peak

Ride with Burton Team – 1 to 2 p.m. Burton Pop-Up Shop, Golden Peak

Free Burton Concert Series and Awards – 6 p.m. Solaris Concert Stage – EVAN GIIA & Big Wild

Fireworks with the Carpenter Family – 7:45 p.m.  – Solaris Concert Stage


Burton US Open Closing Party – 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Dobson Ice Arena – DJ Cre8, 99 Neighbors & J Espinosa   

Party at Bol – 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Solaris – music by Gavlak  

Shut the Funk Up Silent Disco – 9 p.m. to midnight – Mountain Art Collective – 1310 Westhaven Drive, Vail.          

Leap Day

Did you notice that February has an extra day of the month this year? Saturday marks Leap Day, so take this extra day and do something special.

We use leap years to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons. It can get kind of complicated, but according to www.timeanddate.com, leap days keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the sun. If we didn’t do this, over the centuries we’d be having a Fourth of July barbecue when the snow was flying – although, it can snow during any month in Colorado, I’ve been here when it snowed on July 3 – but you get the idea.

While researching leap year, I found all sorts of folklore and traditions that happen on this day around the world. According to Lonely Planet, women could propose marriage to men on this day. It’s believed that this tradition began in Ireland in the 5th century, with a deal brokered between St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Patrick, but the tradition spread across Europe and beyond.

Also in Europe, superstition in Greece holds that marriages that take place during a leap year will end in divorce. Scottish farmers apparently worry about their livestock. There’s an old saying that states a “leap year was never a good sheep year.”

In the U.S., the city of Anthony, which straddles the borders of Texas and New Mexico, is now known as Leap Year Capital of the World. Since 1988, Anthony has hosted a celebration for leaplings (those born on Feb. 29) who travel there from all over the globe. The chance of being born on a leap day is 1 in 1,461.

Regardless of the science and folklore behind it, you get an extra day! If you say, “I wish I had more time to (fill in the blank),” do that thing with the extra 24 hours you get in 2020.

Friday Afternoon Club

Maya’s popular Winter Friday Afternoon Club returns for its second concert of the season Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. with a special evening of live blues, rock and country music by Robby and the Peoples in The Westin Riverfront lobby.

The lobby at the Westin is hopping almost every night with live music filling the great room, but they let the party go a little longer and a little louder for FAC. Don’t be afraid to get up and do a little dancing if your legs aren’t too tired after a day on the slopes.

Winter FAC guests can enjoy $3 tacos, $5 beers and $7 margaritas as well as the full menu of handcrafted cocktails, Colorado microbrews and bites served at The Lookout lobby bar. Or venture into Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaria and choose from more than 150 agave-based spirits and house-infused tequilas and modern Mexican fare curated by chef Richard Sandoval.

Enjoy après ski music with a stunning view of Beaver Creek. There are no reservations taken for the couches or tables throughout the lobby, so get there early to get a seat. The Westin Riverfront offers complimentary on-site valet parking for Maya diners and bar patrons, based on availability.

Allie’s Cabin Family Dinners

There are many places to have dinner in the Vail Valley, but how about traveling via an open-air sleigh to that dining destination with the whole family? Allie’s Cabin in Beaver Creek is hosting family dinners on select nights throughout the season with special pricing for adults and children.

The snowcat-driven sleigh departs from Beaver Creek Village at 5:15, 5:45, 6:15, 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. On the ride, view the stars and slopes at a time when no one is on the mountain. Once you arrive at Allie’s Cabin, exchange your boots for cozy slippers and enjoy the large fireplace and views before sitting down to either a three-course dinner for adults or a buffet for the kids.

A few tasty items to note on the three-course menu include Colorado rack of lamb, pan-fried ruby trout and elk filet mignon. The kids’ appetite will be satisfied with crowd-pleasers like white cheddar mac and cheese, roasted Boulder natural chicken and a sundae bar.

Reservations are required for the Allie’s Cabin Family Dinners, which are held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights through April 4. For more information, please visit www.beavercreek.com or call 970.754.5545.

EAT: WYLD holds true to its name with inventive takes on proteins, vegetarian and vegan options

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.

As you enter the gates to the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch and make your way to the resort, you’re heading toward the “edge of wild,” a destination that promises a creative culinary journey that starts with the stroll to the table and ends when the last of the wine has been sipped, the dessert plate has been scraped clean and every member of the party has sighed in satiation. This is WYLD, a place where ingredients are elevated and transformed at the whims of master culinary magicians who, above all, want it to be fun.

Since his arrival at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Chef Jasper Schneider has been leading guests on a merry dance of flavors, textures and unique combinations using fresh and local ingredients. From his introduction of oatmeal as a dinner item to his delight in shaving truffles on almost anything, Schneider has created a culinary experience that is constantly changing based on what’s in season and spectacular.

WYLD’s menu offers options for a variety of palates. Yes, there is the wild game that the name implies, such as the signature venison loin with parsnips, caramelized onion and juniper jus; duck, squab and Colorado lamb are also on offer, all beautifully prepared and succulent. But the “wild” is also present in the fresh seafood such as the ahi tuna with piquillo peppers, Marcona almond and Iberico sauce or the Maine diver scallops. Schneider also creates vegetarian and vegan dishes that would make even carnivores salivate.

The pumpkin farro is vegan and comes with an optional white truffle shaving.
Dominique Taylor | Special to the Daily

Consider a whole-roasted curry pumpkin that incorporates three different types of roasted pumpkins with farro, roasted apples, an apple puree and house-made macadamia nut butter; this vegan dish can be supplemented with shaved white truffles for a an earthy decadence. The roasted cauliflower, which was an unexpected favorite, is getting a makeover this winter with a new jalapeño chimichurri and silky tofu, creating another vegan dish.

“I think we finally now, after being here over a year, myself and my chef de cuisine Manuel Gutierrez are starting to come into our own of what our clients want and what we can do on the menu,” Schneider said. “We’ve taken our time to do certain techniques, to develop flavor. It was thought about; it wasn’t rushed. When you taste it, you understand. We’re having fun with it.”

WYLD

Price

Table snacks from $19-$34

Entrees: $23-$155

Ambiance

Elevated dining experience in an upscale, mountain modern atmosphere

Signature Dish

Wild salmon with asparagus, chanterelle mushrooms and winter truffle vinaigrette; venison loin with parsnips, sausage, caramelized onion and juniper jus

EAT: Chelsey Gardner’s Chow Time catering business brings Asian fusion cuisine to you

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.

There’s a new personal chef and caterer on the scene, and she’s bringing high energy and creative flair throughout the Vail Valley. Chelsey Gardner, founder and owner of Chow Time, graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College Of Culinary Arts in Orlando.

She’s an Army veteran who spent five years in South Korea and mentored at some of the South’s eclectic restaurants… the result is a chef who fuses flavors and can create a totally unique menu or something more traditional.

Check out Gardner’s stuffed avocado — it’s a mouthwatering display of amazing flavor. The half avocado is set on a bed of sushi rice; it’s stuffed with cream cheese and diced ahi tuna that’s been rolled in Sriracha. Gardner then torches the avocado, so the tuna is seared on the outside. Add in spicy mayo, Sriracha, unagi and green onions to finish.

Sushi is what lights up Gardner, but she’s quick to share that she’s a full-range chef. “My food’s a little different. It’s Asian fusion but I can do anything.”

Some of her other specialties are an English cucumber cut on the bias with a nice piece of smoked salmon, drizzled in crème fraîche and just a touch of dill and salami baked in muffin tin full of antipasto.

She’s also ready to teach classes, whether it’s a basic cooking class or more elaborate and fun sushi classes. This chef is using her tenacity as a disabled veteran to bring new culinary creations to town.

Circus tricks, comedy, hockey, BBQ and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 1/17/20

Circus acts and comedy at the Vilar

This week brings thrilling acrobatics and comedy to the stage of the Vilar Performing Arts Center with Cirque Mechanics and Tom Papa.

Cirque Mechanics returns to the Vilar on Saturday at 7 p.m. with its newest production, “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.” The number 42 signifies the size of the ring in this one-ring circus filled with amazing acrobats, aerialists and strongmen. Chris Lashua created Cirque Mechanics in 2004 after collaborating with the Circus Center of San Francisco on the show “Birdhouse Factory.” After its success, Lashua created this company that has since produced shows like “Boomtown” and “Pedal Punk.”

The Vilar Performing Arts Center provides the perfect venue to see the aerials and acrobatic feats up close. Tickets are $68 for adults and $48 for children. The show is part of the Pay Your Age ticket program (18-30 years old) and also included in the ticket package Pick 3 Shows for $90, Pick 5 Shows for $175 or Pick 8 Shows for $240. Tickets are available now at the Vilar box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or by going online to the website: www.vilarpac.org.

On Sunday at 7 p.m., enjoy the comedy of Tom Papa. Based out of Los Angeles, Papa travels to perform stand up comedy across the nation when he’s not busy on the airwaves. Papa contributes to NPR’s “Live from Here” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and also hosts podcasts including SiriusXM’s “Come to Papa,” featuring guests like Mel Brooks, Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld.

“If you don’t know Tom Papa, he’s got an awesome, smart and clean sense of humor, a lot like Jim Gaffigan,” said Ruthie Hamrick, senior marketing manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “I’m super excited about this show.”

Tickets are $48 and can be purchased at the box office, website or by calling the box office.

Vail Yeti Hockey

Semi-pro hockey returns to Vail with the Vail Yeti hockey team hitting the ice once again this weekend. Dobson Ice Arena plays host to the home team as well as many top teams across the nation.

Last weekend, the Yeti were matched up against the New York Fire Department hockey team and squeezed out a win on Friday during an exciting third period and lost to FDNY on Saturday. This weekend is rivalry weekend, with the Yeti taking on the Breckenridge Vipers.

In their seventh season, the Yeti has grown in popularity among loyal fans and as a destination for quality hockey teams from out of town. Regionally, the Yeti not only compete against Breckenridge but also teams from Aspen, Boulder and Denver.

“The games are usually high intensity, high hitting and high scoring affairs. At $10 for a general admission ticket, its cheap entertainment in an expensive valley,” said Bill Foster, who is the Yeti coach and also a player on the team. Coach Foster gives us some info on the roster:

Players to look out for:

Justin Elmore (leading goal scorer all 7 seasons) 

Kirk Golden (Vail local, 7 seasons professional in Europe) 

Brent Sands (professional Europe/SPHL) 

Andy Canzanello (11 years professional AHL/DEL) 

Derrick Gerhardt (Vail local, 7th season with the Yeti) 

Matt Merritt (Vail local, Gustavus Adolphus Division 3 college hockey)

Spencer Gold (starting goalie)

Newcomers: 

Dom Panetta (Ferris State Division 1 college hockey)

Casey Kleisinger (Vail local, Air Force Academy Division 1 college hockey) 

Dave Ramsay (Williams College Division 3 college hockey)

The Yeti’s success has attracted talented players from the American Hockey League, which is the direct feeder league to the NHL, professional leagues in Europe and Australia as well as top college teams.

“W“We are taking this upcoming weekend to get prepared and really dialed in. We have a challenging five-week stretch approaching with teams from Texas, New England, New Jersey, Denver and Minnesota,” said six-year veteran of the Yeti team, Brent Sands. “These teams are stacked with hockey players, not just guys that play hockey. We need to be ready and we can’t take any team lightly.” 

The puck drops at 7:45 p.m. at Dobson Arena in Vail Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 years of age and younger. For more information, visit www.vailyetihockey.com.

First Tracks at Beaver Creek

You may have heard about people getting first tracks, which can either mean you were fortunate enough to get in line before everyone else to get some unforgettable turns, or first tracks is also an offering on Vail And Beaver Creek that is reserved for members of Vail Resorts Signature Clubs or donors to a particular group like the Vail Valley Foundation. Now, you can be a part of First Tracks at Beaver Creek on select dates throughout the season.

This Sunday, meet other early risers in your group at the Centennial Express lift at 7:15 a.m. Beaver Creek will have its top ski and snowboard professionals greeting you and letting you in on their top terrain recommendations for the morning excursion.

If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll time your First Tracks experience on a powder day, but even if there’s no fresh snow, the feeling of being the only one out there, even on the corduroy, is an experience all its own.

After you’ve taken a few runs with your guides and have worked up an appetite, you’ll be led down to Allie’s Cabin. This on-mountain restaurant is on the eastern hillside, just off of the Gold Dust trail and above the Haymeadow Express Gondola. The Allie’s Cabin culinary team will welcome your group with an amazing breakfast spread.  

Adult tickets are priced at $160 per person with children 12 and under priced at $80 per person. You will still need a pass or a day lift ticket to access the mountain. Advanced reservations are required, please call 970-754-5310 or visit www.beavercreek.com. If you miss First Tracks this Sunday, you can still aim to get out there at the crack of dawn on Jan. 26 or Feb. 16 and 23.

Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo race

New for 2020, the Vail Recreation District brings their winter race series to Beaver Creek for the first time this season with an uphill and skimo competition at Arrowhead.

The Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo is the first event in the Vail Grail Winter Race Series. The Vail Grail is a championship series consisting of three winter events: the new Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo, an uphill at Vail Mountain and a snowshoe shuffle. Participants can sign up for one, two or all three races. Racers who complete all three races have a shot at winning the coveted Vail Grail, a permanent trophy that will bear the male and female division winners’ names for years to come. Athletes wishing to participate in all events and compete for the Vail Grail can sign up for the full series for a discounted rate of $85.

Competitors can choose the uphill or skimo (ascent and descent) option and can use any means to get up the mountain (snowshoes, skis, splitboards or winter running devices). Skis or a snowboard are required to compete in the skimo competition.

Participants will ascend approximately 1,700 vertical feet and just under two miles from the base of Arrowhead Village to the top of Arrow Bahn Express Lift. The event will conclude with breakfast and awards at Broken Arrow Restaurant at the base of Arrowhead. 

Online registration is available prior to race day at vailrec.com/register. Day-of registration and bib pick up will be available at Broken Arrow in Arrowhead Village prior to the race starting at 6 a.m. Race entry fees are $35 through Saturday and $45 on the day of the race. 

BBQ at the Westin’s Gondola Plaza

If you’re riding the Riverfront Express gondola toward the end of the day on Saturday and smell barbecue instead of the flavors of Mexican food from Maya, it’s because The Westin Riverfront is hosting a special après-ski barbecue next to the gondola on Saturday.

Held on The Westin Riverfront’s Gondola Plaza, the party will feature a delicious array of barbecue favorites including smoked pork, brisket and chicken all cooked up in a big smoker that will be outside for the event.

“We wanted to create a fun new event where both locals and Vail Valley guests can enjoy our delicious food and drinks after a great day on the mountain,” said Kevin Delonay, director of food and beverage at The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa.

“While we are known for our delicious Mexican food, it is always nice to change things up and serve different dishes, and of course we all like to be outside to bask in our gorgeous Beaver Creek views,” Delonay said.

Wash down all the barbecue flavors with drink specials like $3 Colorado draft beers and $5 margaritas. Guests can enjoy live music by The Evolution, who play a wide variety of modern tunes, including rock & roll and Caribbean sounds. This weekend celebration will happen between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Don’t forget to Seize the Summit at Maya this ski season. Simply show that you reached 15,000 vertical feet during your day on the mountain and receive a free house margarita in Maya or a draft beer or house glass of wine in The Lift from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There will be tables and chairs outside and seating near the fire pits, but if you do get cold, hop into Maya, where they pour more than 150 agave-based spirits and house-infused tequilas. Maya offers complimentary valet parking for restaurant patrons. For more information, please visit www.westinriverfront.