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Walking Mountains Film Series starts Wednesday

Walking Mountains Science Center will host its eighth annual Sustainable Film Series on a new night and at a new venue. The Riverwalk Theater in Edwards will host films each month on Wednesday nights from now until April. Walking Mountains had been showing the same film upvalley and downvalley each month. With a centralized location, the series will now host one movie per month in an actual theater.

“When we were looking for a new venue, we reached out to Grant Smith from the Riverwalk Theater, and he was interested, said Melissa Kirr, senior programs director of sustainability for Walking Mountains. We decided that by moving to a centrally located spot in the valley, we could combine the two film nights into one. We are very excited to be able to have everyone in one place.”

Smith is excited to host. “This aligns with our mission to really have the Riverwalk Theater be involved with the community. We are happy to host locals and visitors and bring some great films to the big screen,” Smith said.

Kirr sources the films from all over the globe, reviewing flicks that are out on the festival circuit and checking in with film publishers and promoters.

“I try to find a variety of sustainability topics so that everyone can find an interest. I always take recommendations from community members, too,” Kirr said.

The topics center around energy, waste, natural resources, climate change, sustainable food, sustainable tourism and sustainable communities and lifestyles.

On Wednesday, Walking Mountains will kick off the series with “Paris to Pittsburgh.”

“This film focuses on how Americans are demanding and creating real solutions around climate change. This hits home as the community continues to meet goals created by the local climate action plan,” Kirr said.

She is also looking forward to “The Wild” film in March.

“This is the third film that we have shown since we started the film series on the Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay in Alaska. I had the chance to see this film at a festival recently, and it is really impactful,” Kirr said. “We always partner with Kaleb’s Katch to share these films, and he always ends up bringing some tasty salmon appetizers.”

Speaking of food, the Riverwalk Theater can take care of dinner for you right at the theater. They serve more than just popcorn. Try the pizzas from Village Bagel or gourmet hot dogs from Colorado Meat Co. Come early and enjoy happy hour specials on beer and wines by the glass from 3-6 p.m. (Yes, when Smith took over the Riverwalk Theater, he also brought in the adult beverages.)

In addition to a new night and new venue, Walking Mountains will also bring in a few directors from the films and outdoor apparel company Fjallraven will be giving away an item at each event. 

Walking Mountain’s goal for this series is to provoke thought and create action, so take part in the opportunity to learn at this free monthly film series. For dates and more on each film visit walkingmountains.org.

Kevin Clair of Sweet Basil received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Restaurant Association

Kevin Clair, owner of Sweet Basil and its sister restaurants, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Restaurant Association.

Of the several honors that the CRA awards to restauranteurs in the Centennial State, the Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious. Awards were presented at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors Inaugural Dinner on Oct. 15 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.

When Clair opened Sweet Basil in 1977, its center-of-Vail location was considered off-the-beaten-path. The restaurant quickly blazed its own trail, raising the caliber of the town’s whole dining industry in the process and today is a fan favorite for fine dining in town.

After graduating from the University of Denver’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Clair spent a year in France as an apprentice cook at two different Michelin three-star restaurants. When he returned to the U.S., he fostered a culture of constant improvement to his own restaurant. Sweet Basil became of the first restaurants in Vail to serve varietal wine by the glass while the norm was to serve boxed wine. He also banned smoking in the dining room.

Kevin Clair (center) with KC Gallagher (left), CRA chairman of the board, and Sonia Riggs (right), CRA president and CEO.
Danielle Lirette | Special to the Daily

Clair’s tenacity is part of the reason Sweet Basil remains a contstant, and since, it’s spawned several siblings. Clair opened Montauk Seafood Grill with partner Gary Boris in 1988, Zino Ristorante in Edwards in 1997, and Mountain Standard with partners Matt Morgan and Paul Anders in 2012. All of the restaurants are still operating successfully.

Outside of his restaurants, Clair was the first president of the Vail Restaurant Association and was a founder of the Taste of Vail. He and his wife Sally spend their free time traveling, biking, and boating.

Others who received the Lifetime Achievement Award this year include Patricia Calhoun of Westword in Denver, Jeff Hermanson of Larimer Square in Denver, Jose Ramirez of Los Dos Potrillos in Centennial. Josh Wolkon of Secret Sauce F&B in Vesta won the Noel & Tammy Cunningham Humanitarian Award, and KC Gallagher of Little Pub Company received the Richard P. Ayers Distinguished Service Award.

Gluten-free folks and vegetarians, rejoice: here’s what you can eat at Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week in the Vail Valley is an undeniably good time. What’s better than eating old favorites and new specials from the best restaurnants Vail and Beaver Creek have to offer? But for those who follow an alternative diet, planning outings like these usually pose a challenge.

Here’s a list of where to get gluten-free and vegetarian options at Fall Restaurant Week $20.19, which runs from now until Oct. 6.

Gluten-free

10th Mountain Whiskey: A tasting flight and a bowl of mixed nuts goes for $20.19.

8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill: Lunch options include a kale salad. Though it comes with a draft beer, gluten-free diners could bring a beer nerd friend or ask for a substitution.

Beaver Creek Chophouse / Vail Chophouse: For lunch, grab a house salad with a Mountain Cheeseburger with one topping – ask for their gluten-free bread – and a house dessert for $20.19. For dinner, both restaurants are also serving a Loch Duart Scottish Salmon with summer sweet corn succotash, rock shrimp and roasted corn sauce or a Slow Cooked Pork Shank with green apple mustard, mascarpone polenta and fennel slaw.

Blue Moose: Grab all-day food specials with a Guenoc Chard, Cabernet or Sangria for $2.19.

Bol: This eatery is offering 20.19% off the entire check – pair a sweet discount with poke, wings or gluten-free flatbread.

Buffalo’s @ Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch: The food options – cauliflower masala with a cashew raita and the cast-iron nachos – are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free. But each entrée comes with a Colorado draft beer, so try asking for subs or donate your beer to a friend.

Boneyard: The two other menu options are burritos, so gluten-free people should try the low roasted prime rib with garlic mashed potato and asparagus or the short rib platter with garlic mashed and broccolini.

Elway’s Steakhouse: Try the USDA prime New York Strip, Prime Rib, Vancouver Island salmon or half a roasted chicken for $20.19.

Fall Line: This restaurant is also offering $20.19 entrees, or grab 2 cocktails for $20.19. The steak frites, the shrimp pad thai and the Vietnamese noodle bowl are all gluten-free, and so are most of the starters.

Garfinkel’s: Go classic with a rib eye, salad, baked potato and a vegetable. It comes with either a draft beer or a soda, so naturally, gluten-free people will want to go for the soda.

Gessner: Sip on $20.19 select bottles of wine, and pair that with two-for-one entrées when you order an appetizer. Stick around for fall spa specials if you’re stopping in after a busy day of hiking, climbing or other activity.

Golden Eagle Inn: With select entrées at $20.19, and a menu that contains several gluten-free options, diners should head over to check out what’s on tap.

Grill on the Gore: Take 20.19% off the entire bill, but the discount is only valid from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and diners must mention restaurant week to receive the discount.         

La Bottega: Take $20.19 off select pastas and entrees, and most pasta dishes can be made gluten-free.

La Tour: Start with two cocktails for $20.19, and pair it with select $20.19 entrees. Go traditional with a chicken Paillard, or warm up with the roasted maitake mushroom and lettuce curry.

Leonora: Choose three items off the small plates menu for $20.19. All menu items are labeled, and bonus, many of them are also nut-free and dairy-free. Keep in mind that the deal did not apply on Friday, but will continue until Oct. 6.

Matsuhisa: Pair a miso soup with a three-compartment bento box for $20.19. Get creative with some sushi and sashimi.

Mirabelle: Chef Daniel Joly’s Colorado lamb meat bowl with local mushrooms and potato gratin is sure to bring an aire of luxe to your dining plans.

Moe’s Original BBQ: Share a Double Wide Family Pack with three to four people. The whole spread includes one pound of pork, chicken or turkey, two pint-size sides and choice of four buns or cornbread. Skip or share the bread it for a gluten-free meal.

Montauk Seafood Grill: Take 40.38% off full-size entrees for double the savings. Menu highlights include shrimp and scallop fra diavolo and steamed Alaskan crab.

Pepi’s: For a $20.19 lunch, choose any two items off the “Sandwiches” or “European Specialty” menus: gluten-free folks can eat veal, pork or smoked buffalo brats or leberkäse, a mashed potato dish with spinach and a fried egg. Moving into the evening, then gluten-free entree option for $20.19 include is the double veal or pork bratwurst.

Root & Flower: Toast to your small bowl of olives with a glass of Italian bubbly: the bar is offering a bottle of prosecco and olives for $20.19.

Russell’s: Take 20.19% off of the entire check, but leave the King Crab off the table, because it’s not included in the deal.

Splendido: Wine lovers can snag bottles of Naonis or Prosecco for $20.19.

Sweet Basil: Pair a small plate and a drink for $20.19. Gluten-free options include a half-dozen oysters with a glass of sparkling wine or the Salmon Tataki and their special Perfect Margarita.

Swiss Chalet: The restaurant at the Sonnenalp Hotel is offering assorted entrées for $20.19.

Tavern on the Square: The restaurant is offering a four-course chef’s tasting menu that changes nightly, so there’s a chance that items could fit dietary needs. Call ahead to confirm.

Terra Bistro: Try a buy-one, get-one-for-$20.19 deal on house entrees, many of which are gluten-free.

The George: All entrees are $20.19, including the king crab and the surf-and-turf. Both are gluten-free, and would pair nicely with happy hour drink specials.

The Met Kitchen: This restaurant leaves it open for creative menu selections with signature cocktails for $20.19 and 20.19% off the total bill. There are plenty of options, including the lobster tacos on a corn tortilla.

Toscanini Ristorante: All entrees are $20.19 – and they have a whole gluten-free menu. Check it out on their website.

Up the Creek: Entrees are $20.19. For gluten-free options, try the pan-seared scallops with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, grilled sweet corn, basil, balsamic and buffalo mozzarella.

Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week kicks off Friday, Sept. 27, and spans 10 days.
Townsend Bessent | Daily file photo |

Vegetarian

10th Mountain Whiskey: A tasting flight and a bowl of mixed nuts goes for $20.19.

8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill: Lunch options include a kale salad, and it comes with a draft beer.

Big Bear Bistro: Pair two crepes with a bottle of wine for $20.19, or do two smothered burritos – plant-based options available – with two coffees for the same price.

Blue Moose: Pizza and beer is the perfect pairing, and get any 3-topping slice and a Colorado draft beer for $2.19 each.

Bol: Take 20.19% off the entire check – try the sweet pea ravioli for a full meal, or pick and choose from the extensive list of snacks and shareables, many of which are plant-based.

Buffalo’s @ Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch: The food options – cauliflower masala with a cashew raita and the cast-iron nachos – are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free. But each entrée comes with a Colorado draft beer, so try asking for subs or donate your beer to a friend.

Boneyard: Chow down on some enchiladas with black beans, lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo with a guajillo red sauce. There is also a special on the classic Boot Burrito. Both are served with meat, chicken and pulled pork respectively, but diners could ask to omit those ingredients.

Fall Line: This restaurant is also offering $20.19 entrees, or grab 2 cocktails for $20.19. The noodle bowl is vegetarian, but that’s it for the entrees.

Gessner: Sip on $20.19 select bottles of wine, and pair that with two-for-one entrées when you order an appetizer. Stick around for fall spa specials if you’re stopping in after a busy day of hiking, climbing or other activity.

Golden Eagle Inn: Plant-based eaters of all varieties can get the vegan zucchini sautée, normally $30, for $20.19. It’s also gluten-free, too.

Grill on the Gore: Take 20.19% off the entire bill, but the discount is only valid from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and diners must mention restaurant week to receive the discount.          The menu is fairly traditional, and most of the vegetarian options are salads and appetizers.

La Bottega: Take $20.19 off select pastas and entrees. Vegetarians should try the the spinach and ricotta cannelloni, the fettuccine puttanesca with Kalamata olives in red sauce or the truffle gnocchi.

La Nonna: All pastas are $20.19, and half of them are vegetarian. Try the spaghetti crudaiola with fresh tomato, arugula, garlic and extra virgin olive oil for a lighter meal, or go all-in with the malfatti de ricotta: spinach ricotta dumplings, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and straciatella cheese.

Leonora: Choose three items off the small plates menu for $20.19. All menu items are labeled with dietary preferences. The summer farro risotto and watermelon and heirloom tomato salad will satisfy everyone, including vegetarians. Keep in mind that the deal did not apply on Friday, but will continue until Oct. 6.

Matsuhisa: Pair a miso soup with a three-compartment bento box for $20.19. Get creative with some sushi and sashimi.

The Met Kitchen: Get two signature cocktails for $20.19 and 20.19% off the total bill. There are plenty of options, including the vegan plate of the day.

Mountain Standard: Pair green hatch chile pimento cheese and any two draft beers for $20.19.

Pivot 62: Select any pizza with a glass of house red or white wine or a draft beer for $20.19. Veggie pizzas include a mushroom pizza topped with a generous pile of arugula.        

Root & Flower: Toast to your small bowl of olives with a glass of Italian bubbly: the bar is offering a bottle of prosecco and olives for $20.19.

Splendido: Wine lovers can snag bottles of Naonis or Prosecco for $20.19.

Sweet Basil: Pair a small plate and a drink for $20.19. The only vegetarian option is fried cheese sticks with a Pinkus beer.

Swiss Chalet: The restaurant at the Sonnenalp Hotel is offering assorted entrées for $20.19.

Tavern on the Square: The restaurant is offering a four-course chef’s tasting menu that changes nightly, so there’s a chance that items could fit dietary needs. Call ahead to confirm.

Terra Bistro: Try a buy-one, get-one-for-$20.19 deal on house entrees, many of which are plant-based and vegetarian.

Two Arrows: Start the morning right with two avocado toasts and two 12 oz. drip coffees for $20.19.

Toscanini Ristorante: All entrees are $20.19. Go nuts on some meat-free ravioli, capellini and bucatini – all fun shapes of pasta.

Up the Creek: Entrees are $20.19. For vegetarians, the option is caprese gnocchi.

The Rose in Edwards features food just as bewitching as the decor

You don’t so much walk into The Rose as much as you’re transported. From the exposed brick and eclectic art to the mounted elk heads sporting custom-knit Coogi-inspired sweaters, the space hums with vitality and creativity.

This has everything to do with husband and wife owners Bryan and Jessica Redniss’s roots in the arts and vision for a collaborative space where talented bartenders and cooks are free to create. The result is food and drinks that are just as bewitching as the decor.

Originally conceived as a cocktail bar, The Rose serves up what many avid fans herald as the best cocktails in the Vail Valley. Head bartender Mark Summers and Bryan met back in the late ‘90s as snowboard instructors at Vail and Beaver Creek, and their friendship and respect for one another can be felt in the interplay between the drinks and food. “Mark’s been with me since day one,” says Bryan, “he’s been the whole driving force behind my creativity with food.”

One standout on the cocktail menu this summer is the Spearmint Limo, which utilizes an aloe liqueur with a hint of mint. “It’s really cool because you think it’s going to be sweet but it’s not,” says Summers. “It’s got that spearmint there but it’s not a sweet spearmint. I smelled that liqueur and knew I wanted to use it.” The result is a bright yet smooth drink that incorporates Raicilla, citrus and lime, a perfect ending to a warm summer day.

The bar itself is eclectic and welcoming, with shelving made from heavy beams of wood sourced from a farmhouse that was torn down in 1910. Bryan did the work of building out The Rose’s space himself, and his dedication to using sustainably sourced materials with style and a sense of humor carries over into his and Jessica’s approach with food.

This summer’s menu is all about mixing up beloved Rose standards like avocado fries and the ramen bowl with creative new dishes that pair the familiar with layers of sophisticated flavor — along with tongue-in-cheek names that dare you not to crack a smile. The Animal Style Tater Tot features a potato cake at its center with crisp outside and tender inside topped by salmon roe, Knapp Ranch micro greens and a dill crème fraîche that takes 72 hours to create. The edge of the plate is encircled by chive oil and dots of black garlic molasses that are a far cry from your usual tater tot condiments. The Basic Wedge is anything but, with iceberg lettuce providing a crispy, light canvas for vegan ranch dressing, king oyster bacon, lime zest, candied pumpkin seeds. Another delicious new favorite is the Duck in the Box, and not just for the opportunity to reference the subversive SNL sketch.

The flavor journey continues into the desserts, which extend well beyond the wide selection of macrons that The Rose is known for. Original pastry chef Olivier Campe is making a celebrated return, so look out for his creations alongside Jessica’s deceptively indulgent-tasting raw and vegan treats. The Rose is a full sensory experience that invites you to take part in the fun, a totally unique space in the Vail Valley that will keep you coming back for more.

At The Bookworm in Edwards, crepes pair well with good reads

You might wonder what a bookstore can possibly bring to a menu. Great food and care, for starters. And The Bookworm delivers that in spades — and has since 2007, when they first introduced crepes, which are still the core of the bookstore’s varied menu. The idea of a cafe within a bookstore is aimed specifically to integrate food for the mind and the body — a union of food and books that invites people to come and hang out. The books themselves are very much a part of the room.

In fact, all of the café’s food items are named after books or authors; one of the most well-known, the Julia Child crepe, includes Nutella, powdered sugar and strawberries or bananas. The Bel Canto salad, too, is a favorite. Who can resist prosciutto, figs, pears, blue cheese and organic mixed greens topped with balsamic vinaigrette?

Vegetarian and vegan options abound like gluten-free vegan crepes, made with an almond flour base that makes for a crispy crepe with just a bit of sweetness. And there’s the Giving Tree — avocado toast made with local micro greens — and the Rainbow Fish — wild smoked salmon on toasted pumpernickel bread. “We’re always focused on community,” says Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm’s owner. “Community with authors and food vendors. Knowing where every ingredient comes from so we can feel good about everything prepared in our cafe.” Best of all, The Bookworm, with its sunny patio, is adjacent to the bike path, making it very easy for you to eat and run — or eat and ride.

The pasta course at Zino Ristorante is the main event

Something special emerges when talent and passion meet in the kitchen. At Zino Ristorante in Edwards, it’s the gift of homemade pasta and hand-tossed pizza. This feel-good community hub is known for a casual elegance that delivers pleasure in rich Italian flavor, curated by General Manager Giuseppe Bosco and Executive Chef Nick Haley, both partners in the delicious venture.

After descending down Zino’s beautiful stairs into the warm and inviting dining room, start your evening with the Antipasti Misti, a lovely medley of meat, cheese and accoutrements that pairs like a dream with Italian rosé.

Any of the hand-tossed, brick oven-baked pizzas at Zino are worth a try, especially since the dough is prepared in house, then rotated and stretched with clenched fists, then topped and slid into the wood-fire oven. Haley’s pizza dough recipe is a more traditional Neapolitan method, and he’s nailed the flavors and textures. In the true Neapolitan way, no rolling pin is used to shape the crusts, using 100-percent Italian wheat flour.  

“A lot of other Italian flours you can buy are just milled in Italy, but they are getting the wheat from other places,” Haley explains. “What we are using here is not as bleached, so you can actually see a lot of the texture and there is a lot more color to it when you’re making your dough.” 

New this summer is the Melanzane Pizze, made with roasted eggplant, fontina cheese, basil panko, parmigiano and marinara.

Like the peak of a show’s crescendo, the pasta course at Zino is the main event. The Pappardelle staple with veal meatballs has always been a crowd favorite, and the Tagliolini that Haley introduced this summer will certainly raise some approving eyebrows. This thin ribbon pasta dish is adorned with Manila clams, red pepperoncini, shiso butter, garlic and cherry tomatoes.

Don’t forget about the secondi piatti — the main course — of your meal. Dishes highlighting roasted chicken, pork, veal or scallops each interact with a unique setting, like the Pork Chop Milanese with whole grain mustard, pear chutney and summer cabbage salad, or Diver Scallops over sweet corn risotto, pancetta and lobster butter. For dessert, go for one more taste of Italy with the authentic and delightful Tiramisu. And maybe an espresso, too. 

Village Bagel bakes from scratch at altitude

Though some folks think baking at altitude is impossible, Connie Leaf and Anthony Mazza at Village Bagel have proven them wrong. The owners of the Edwards-based bagel shop delightful bagels with a crisp exterior and a soft, chewy center — the telltale sign of boiled bagels or, as some would say, simply bagels “done right.”

Each bagel is made from scratch and hand-rolled with no preservatives or additives.  And unlike other bagels which are seeded on only one side, Village Bagel hand-presses seeds on both sides of the “roll” during preparation. A garlic bagel is Leaf’s favorite, though all the options have a following: blueberry, pumpernickel, sesame and more. They even have bagels for vegans. The store’s tagline is “shmearing happiness one hand-rolled bagel at a time,” but they also make Sicilian-style pizza, with dough made over a three-day process. And if you can’t make to the shop, you can pick up their “take ‘n bake pizza” at Village Market.

Want catering? From kid-friendly platters to caviar and smoked fish with all the accoutrements, Village Bagel does it all. And, if you want to skip the line at the shop, go to villagebagel.com.

Vista at Arrowhead pairs delicious dining with sprawling mountain views

With wraparound patio seating and wide windows in the dining area that frame sprawling mountain views, Vista at Arrowhead lives up to its name. Here’s a place where mountain lovers can bask in the glory of summer sunsets, where golf lovers can unwind after a day on the course. Located within the Country Club of the Rockies in Arrowhead, Vista’s location and cuisine make a perfect pairing.

Live music every night of the week keeps the vibe at Vista social and fun, so settle in early on with a refreshing cocktail like the Blood Orange Cellotini, a zesty summer favorite that includes housemade blood orangecello, or choose from among five different takes on the classic Moscow Mule, each served up in a cool tin cup. Sit back and sip from a drink menu that also includes specialty cocktails, beer and wine while listening to the lighthearted tunes of legendary piano man Micky Poage on Monday through Friday evenings — or a rotating lineup of guest musicians who set the scene on Saturday and Sunday nights. 

While taking in the music and the beauty of the evening’s shifting light, order a few small plates. The sesame tuna poke is a standout first course that owes its mingling of sweet and spicy flavors to peaches and Sriracha in the mix. Among salads, the beet and burrata salad is a luscious combination of flavor-bursting beets sliced paper-thin and splayed out on a plate that also includes peppery arugula, pickled red onion, grapefruit and a generous portion of creamy burrata, all drizzled with a honey-lemon vinaigrette and dotted with pistachios. 

Flexibility is a highlight of Vista’s menu, which is organized in sections to make it easy for diners to create a plate of favorites or select from chef-composed options. Choose your own meat, sauce, sides or vegetarian option — or pick from entrées that include the pan-seared Alaskan halibut served with grilled asparagus, sweet pea ravioli and a blood orange sauce that brings sweet, citrusy flavors into each bite. Yes: the beloved grilled Rocky Mountain ruby red trout piccata remains on the menu — and for good reason.

“One of the most exciting things about the summer for me is the chance to feature more fresh, local ingredients,” says Executive Chef David Collins, who co-owns Vista with Daryl DeYoung. “We feature Colorado products and spirits all year long, but summertime is the time to get creative with local produce and anything that’s in season,” Collins adds. Purple shadows stretch out across the golf course by dessert time, but that’s no reason to go just yet. You’ll want to stick around for a taste of the crustless mascarpone cheesecake that’s topped with blueberry compote, or the beyond-the-norm coconut crème brûlée. Both of these desserts capture a just-right level of sweetness to leave you with a sense of final delight

Red Maple Catering serves exquisite food wherever you’d like

In the kitchen of Red Maple Catering in Gypsum, the team was prepping for an evening event: dishes were packed; incredible smells wafted through the air and the atmosphere was charged with purpose. The conversations between Jason Harrison and Fletcher Harrison, co-owners, were quick and concise — the operation runs incredibly smoothly to create eye-popping and mouthwatering cuisine and cocktails for oh-so-happy clientele.

Red Maple Catering creates experiences for all sizes of groups for all occasions, but Fletcher said that most of their business is focused on private chef events and large, opulent weddings. They’ve perfected the art of creating “weddings in a field,” partnering with both Eaton and Knapp Ranches to create luxury events for “I do”s.

Though they make it look easy, the professionals at Red Maple Catering truly bring restaurant-level quality to all of their events, drawing on years of experience from establishments like Sweet Basil in Vail to the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Red Maple Catering is happy to create unforgettable dining experiences in almost any locale. In addition to wide-open spaces, they’ll bring five-star dining to private residences and even private jets.

“We’ve done five-course dinners on airplanes,” Fletcher explains.

If the idea of feasting on a golden beet salad with fava beans, first snow chevre, Cara Cara orange, crispy quinoa and a smashed blackberry dressing, followed by a Colorado lamb duo with a pretzel-crusted rack and loin carpaccio paired with Olathe corn pudding, heirloom carrots and fennel, makes the thought of flying back to real life a bit more palatable, Red Maple Catering can make it happen.

Menus are customized for each client with impeccable detail, paying homage to local produce and products.

“Our clients are coming to a place where, within 150 miles, we have some of the best game, beef, pork and poultry in the country, as well as artisan cheesemakers and amazing heirloom organic produce growers,” Jason says.

Red Maple Catering even has its own small garden next to their kitchen. Much of the final touches for dishes — pea tendrils for a salad, mint for a cocktail — comes from these beds, picked fresh on the way to the next event.

And when it comes to the libations for these meals, Red Maple has its clients covered. Fletcher has been a sommelier for 15 years and revels in creating custom-crafted cocktails. For clients who have their own wine cellars, it’s not unusual for the chefs at Red Maple Catering to create a menu specifically designed to pair well with the client’s wine — Fletcher described a recent dinner where they paired 30 different wines with 15 courses.

It’s this creativity and the opportunity to design the perfect dining experience for clients that truly sets Red Maple apart. But it’s what they enjoy, too. “I think that’s part of what we love about this business,” Fletcher says. “It’s not the same old, same old. We don’t have to do the same menu every night — we get to change everything every day. We like to be kept on our toes.” 

Lauren’s Kitchen offers a unique approach to feeding Edwards’ health-conscious

Lauren’s Kitchen offers a totally unique approach to feeding the Vail Valley’s hungry and health-conscious clientele, and that’s just the way Chef Lauren McElroy likes it.

“I enjoy coming to work,” says McElroy, who starts each morning at the Edwards Riverwalk restaurant by putting together the day’s offerings from scratch. The meals are designed for grab-n-go but customers can also choose to dine in the welcoming bistro setting.

Lauren’s Kitchen only uses fresh seasonal ingredients, which means the menu of entrées, sides, salads, and soups changes daily. Comfort food with a healthy twist, McElroy’s love of Italian, Mexican and Southwestern flavor profiles culminate in dishes like chicken parmesan, a vegan Buddha Bowl, her signature pecan crusted chicken and green chili mac n cheese. There are also daily gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free options.

“My approach is that if I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t serve it,” says McElroy, who found her passion for cooking in her grandmothers’ kitchens as a kid in Texas. Armed with a culinary degree, she launched her local catering business, New American Foods, in 2013 and still offers customizable menus and food for special gatherings to her Lauren’s Kitchen clientele. Lauren’s Kitchen only opened in November 2018, but it’s already amassed a dedicated following. “Once people get the grab-n-go concept, they keep coming back for more,” the vivacious chef says with a grin, before jumping up to guide a customer through the day’s menu.