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Vail’s Opening Day, Veterans Day, Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week, Nordic ski gear swap and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 11/11/22

Vail Mountain opens

Get ready to enjoy the first day of skiing and snowboarding in Eagle County on Friday as Vail Mountain opens for the 2022-2023 season. The first day of the season is always exciting with plenty of costume-clad enthusiasts on the snow. There will also be people camped out at the base to claim first chair bragging rights and it’s a reason to go to work a little bit later just to make a few turns.

On Wednesday, Vail Resorts sent out a press release stating that Vail Mountain would open with at least 75 acres of terrain. Vail Mountain plans to open Gondola One (No. 1) out of Vail Village and the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) in Lionshead. The gondolas and lifts will operate from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Mountain Top Express (No. 4) will give skiers and riders access to Swingsville and Ramshorn runs in the Mid Vail area. The Little Eagle Lift (No. 15) will access beginner terrain at Eagle’s Nest. All skiers and snowboarders must download at the end of the day, there is no top-to-bottom skiing or riding at this time.

If you get hungry, on-mountain dining will be available at the following locations:

  • Express Lift Après Bar in Vail Village Mountain Plaza 
  • Mid Vail at the top of Gondola One (No. 1)
  • Buffalo’s at the top of Mountaintop Express (No. 4)   
  • Eagle’s Nest Market Place at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19)

This year, Vail Mountain celebrates its 60th anniversary and will kick off the season with a ceremony celebrating key partners in sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, youth access and adaptive sports. Come early for the Opening Day ceremony starting at 8:15 a.m. with representatives from Vail’s key sustainability and environmental partner, The United States Forest Service, as well as the National Brotherhood of Skiers, SOS Outreach, Small Champions and Vail Veterans.

Vail Mountain opens for the season on Nov. 11.
Vail Resorts/Courtesy photo

In 1962, Vail Mountain opened on Dec. 15. It was the realization of a dream of Pete Seibert, a 10th Mountain Division veteran who came back after WW II to find a place to start a ski resort. With the help of Earl Eaton, he found that place, and they had grand visions for building a ski area here. With its ties to the Army’s winter warfare unit, the 10th Mountain Division, it’s fitting that Vail’s Opening Day falls on Veterans Day. Stop by the Express Lift Après Café at the base of Gondola One (No. 1) for free tastings of 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company products and toast the season ahead and those who served our country.

There are many things to celebrate this season, including two new chairlifts set to open later this season, a new six-passenger lift, Game Creek Express (No. 7) in Game Creek Bowl that replaced the four-person lift and a brand new lift in Sun Down Bowl, called the Sun Down Express (No. 17). There will also be ice bars on the slopes and snow bungalows, giving you a place to retreat to during the ski day at the top of Eagle’s Nest.

So, get the boards ready, take inventory and make sure you have all your gear and get out there and enjoy Vail Mountain’s Opening Day this Friday. For more information, go to Vail.com and if you still need your Epic Pass, visit EpicPass.com. Prices go up on Nov. 20.

Veterans Day

A crowd gathers at Flag Pole Plaza at Freedom Park in Edwards to honor veterans. There will be a ceremony at 4 p.m. on Friday for Veterans Day.
Vail Daily Archives

This Friday is also Veterans Day, which is recognized on Nov. 11 each year. To jog your memory from high school history class, Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I when at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the fighting ended with the signing of an armistice.

This holiday is often confused with Memorial Day, held on the last Monday of May each year. According to Military.com, Memorial Day honors military personnel who died in service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Veterans Day honors everyone who has served in the military, whether or not they served in wartime or died in battle.

To honor veterans locally, head to the Flag Pole Plaza in Freedom Park in Edwards, next to Battle Mountain High School and Colorado Mountain College.

The 17th annual Eagle County Veterans Day ceremony honoring veterans of the United States Armed Forces and those currently serving on active duty is presented by the Freedom Park Memorial Committee, VFW Post 10721 and Eagle County. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Army Captain Peter Thompson, a Vietnam veteran. The National Anthem will be sung by Michelle Cohn Levy, the cantor at B’nai Vail. The event starts at 4 p.m.

Thanks to the talented students at Eagle Valley High School, you can learn more about our local veterans by watching the videos they have put together. Dr. Joy Hamilton and her award-winning media team at Eagle Valley High School have been interviewing veterans so teachers can bring vets from the local VFW Post into the classroom virtually. These videos will all be sent to the Library of Congress to be saved for posterity. They are also now available to the public, so check out your friends and neighbors and learn about their time while they served our country. The videos from this year and past years can be found on YouTube.

Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week

From date nights to family dining, take advantage of the savings during Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week, which runs from Nov. 11 to 23.
Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week

Hit the slopes and then grab lunch, après ski or dinner at a discount at restaurants that are participating in Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week. The annual event, which began in 2013, usually happens in the fall but this year it coincides with the early part of the season. And although it says it lasts a week, this year it is extending beyond one week and is actually going on from Nov. 11 to Nov. 23, so you have plenty of time to check out the deals at your favorite restaurant or try someplace new.

The pricing usually follows a theme of the current year, so this year prices will be $20.22 for dinner deals, or even $2.22 for a fresh drip coffee and cookie at Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company in Beaver Creek or $2.22 for a draft beer or house wine at Blue Moose Pizza between 3 and 5 p.m. at the Lionshead and Beaver Creek locations. Some restaurants are paying homage to Vail’s 60th anniversary and doing deals for $60. For example, Sweet Basil is doing a $60 lunch special for two people that includes one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert. Here are a few other deals that may grab your attention.

  • Moe’s Original BBQ – Double Wide Family Pack (Pork): One pound pulled pork, two sides, corn bread or buns
  • Stoke & Rye – Small plate and glass of wine for $20.22. Your choice of select fine wines and for the small plates you can choose from bacon-wrapped scallops, beef tartar, mushroom ravioli or smoked oysters.
  • Gessner at Grand Hyatt Vail – Choice of first and main course or main course and desserts. First course choices include onion soup or roasted vegetable salad and main course choices are chicken fried chicken or Colorado trout. For the dessert lovers, they will serve a limoncello ice cream flute or white chocolate croissant bread pudding.

Taco deals, sushi deals, burger deals, steak deals…is anyone hungry yet? Don’t buy groceries for the next 13 days because breakfast, lunch and dinner await you at Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week. Find a full list of participating restaurants and offerings at DiningAtAltitude.com.

Vail Nordic Swap

The Vail Nordic Swap takes place this Saturday and benefits the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic Ski Team.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/Courtesy photo

If you’re looking to get into some Nordic sports this winter, take advantage of the savings you’ll find at the annual Vail Nordic Swap on Saturday at the Vail Nordic Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event is a benefit for the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic Team, with 10% of the sales commissions going to the team.

There will be a selection of skate skis, touring and classic skis, telemark skis, alpine touring skis, snowshoes and related gear and clothing in good condition. There will also be deals on new gear.

If you have gear you’d like to sell, you can drop it off at the swap on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 to 9:30 a.m. before the swap at the Vail Nordic Center starts at 10 a.m. Unsold gear pick up is from 3 until 4:30 p.m. only on Saturday at the Vail Nordic Center. No alpine or snowboard gear allowed.

Admission is $5 per person and free after 12 noon. Children under 12 years of age are free. For more information, go to SkiClubVail.org.  

Eagle Art Walk

Emmy Stained Glass will be one of the artists exhibiting at ARTwalk on November 11.
EagleARTS/Courtesy photo

Get ahead of the holiday shopping rush and support local artisans and businesses at the same time by heading to the EagleARTS monthly Second Friday ARTwalk this Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Stroll along Broadway visiting local shops, galleries and restaurants. Local artists will be exhibiting handmade works of art inside participating businesses, including ARTSPaCE workshop+gallery, Antlers & Rosé, Everyday Outfitters, Food Smith/Mountain Flour, Nurture Skin & Body, Mountain Lifestyle Properties, QuietKat, ROAM restaurant and Yoga Off Broadway.

EagleARTS has really turned the ARTwalk into the place to be on Friday nights. In addition to the artists and businesses, they will have food trucks, live entertainment from Joe Hanley and Jen Mack, plus a performance by the Battle Mountain High School Drumline making for a festive night out.

EagleARTS wants to show off some of its community art projects, so be sure to check out the community mural at 2nd Street and Broadway and take a seat on EagleARTS’ latest public art project which are two benches painted by local artists located at 120 Broadway and 225 Broadway.

The Vail Valley Art Guild is a part of the evening as well. This month’s exhibit is called Small Gems and features the artwork of Elaine Kuntz. Stop by their gallery at 108 West 2nd Street in Eagle.

For more information, visit the EagleART’s website at EagleArts.org or search for the EagleARTS Holiday 2nd Friday ARTwalks event on Facebook.

Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week runs through Nov. 23

Vail-Beaver Creek Restaurant Week is the perfect time to take advantage of the valley’s exceptional food and drink, without paying premium prices, as participating restaurants offer specials on everything from soft shell crab or oysters to filet mignon.

Originally launched to increase business during the slow shoulder seasons in May and September, Restaurant Week has moved later and later into the fall, because September — and even the first couple weeks of October — are now a part of the high season, said Alison Wadey, executive director of Vail Chamber and Business Association. And, as Denise Cheng, marketing specialist for the Vail Chamber pointed out, restaurants had “a great shoulder season in October.”

This year, the name is a bit of a misnomer; Restaurant Week started Nov. 11 and stretches into Nov. 23. The dates capture the opening day of Vail Mountain and the first day of the season at Beaver Creek.

After discussing the best dates with restaurant owners, Restaurant Week moved to align with Vail Mountain’s opening.

“It’s not typically the busy season yet, and we thought it was a good time to encourage people to come out and provide them with something to do if snow conditions aren’t ideal yet,” Wadey said.

But not everyone agreed on the exact date. Drew Riley, owner of Russell’s and Los Amigos preferred the week after Thanksgiving, so his staff doesn’t have to hit the ground running. He admits the date of Restaurant Week is “never going to appease 100 percent of people,” and he sees it as an evolving learning process. Wadey said the chamber and business owners “might work with a slightly different date” next year, particularly since many of Beaver Creek’s restaurants haven’t opened ahead of its winter season, and some maintenance work is going on in the village.

Still, Beaver Creek’s Blue Moose Pizza and Vail Coffee and Tea are participating, as is Stoke & Rye in Avon. The village also is supporting Eagle County Gives during Restaurant Week by accommodating table tents with information on how to donate to, or get involved with, nonprofits.

Blue Moose Pizza, with locations in Beaver Creek and Lionshead Village in Vail, will be offering pizza specials during Restaurant Week.
Special to the Daily

“Restaurant Week is a great event,” said Krista DeHerrera, director of events at Beaver Creek Resort Company. “It’s an opportunity to encourage locals to eat and drink and enjoy what our restaurants have to offer. Vail Coffee and Tea has a super amazing staff that’s very friendly and very welcoming, and Blue Moose Pizza is just top-notch and very fun and lively — kids love that restaurant. Both are staples in Beaver Creek.”

Every restaurant chose its own specials to highlight. For example, Russel’s wanted to showcase its new chef and upgraded menu items, so it’s offering a three-course meal so guests “can try as much food as possible,” Riley said, for $40.44.

“We still have all the classics; we just enhanced the menu to make it more contemporary, but we want to stress that most of what makes Russel’s Russel’s is still three — all the staples and classics,” Riley said, adding that the new menu features items like a Wagyu 4-ounce portion steak with scalloped potatoes and different vegetables and sides “to create more offerings.”

Meanwhile, Gessner is offering a main course with either an appetizer or dessert for $20.22, and diners can add the third course for a mere $8. Choose from onion soup or roasted vegetable salad for the first course; chicken fried chicken with potatoes and green beans or Boulder Colorado trout with Marcona almond, piquillo peppers, spinach and potato cake for the second course; and a limoncello ice cream flute with raspberry coulis and fresh berries or white chocolate croissant bread pudding with rum raisins, salted caramel and cheesecake ice-cream.

The smoked oysters are a great way to start off the meal at Stoke & Rye.
Sean Naylor/Vail Daily

Other establishments offer everything from a serving of family-sized pulled pork with sides to tacos, burgers, pad Thai chicken and bacon-wrapped scallops.

“We wanted to include every restaurant with no restrictions,” Cheng said. “Locals appreciate the fact that they can try restaurants we don’t typically go to and experience what our guests experience.”

Restaurant Week Specials

Beaver Creek:

Vail Coffee and Tea: Fresh drip coffee and a cookie for $2.22. vailcoffee.com

Blue Moose Pizza (Vail and Beaver Creek): 18” pizza for $20.22; any 12” house pizza with two draft beers or glasses of house wine $20.22; or draft beers and house wines for $22.22 (this latter offer is only good from 3-5 p.m.). BlueMoosePizza.com

(Avon): Stoke & Rye: Small plate and glass of wine for $20.22. Choose from three specific wines and pan-seared bacon-wrapped scallop; beef tartar with cured quail egg yok; mushroom ravioli; or smoked oysters. StokeAndRye.com

Vail:

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill: $20.22 specials. Hyatt.com

Big Bear Bistro: Specials for $20.22. BigBearBistro.com

Moe’s Original BBQ: Double-wide family pack with 1 pound of pulled pork, two side pints and choice of bread. MoesOriginalBBQ.com

Russell’s: Three-course meal for $40.44 and select bottles of wine for $20.22. RussellsVail.com

Los Amigos: Select tacos for $2.20, select entrees for $20.22 and select half liters of margaritas and pitchers of beer for $20.22. LosAmigosVail.com

El Segundo: Any two tacos and a house margarita for $20.22. ElSegundoVail.com

Deca + Bol: DECA Burger for $20.22. DecaBolVail.com

Garfinkel’s: $20.22 specials. GarfsVail.com

Montauk Seafood Grill: A half-dozen freshly shucked oysters and glass of Champagne for $20.22. MontaukVail.com

Leonora at the Sebastian: Any breakfast and a bloody Mary for $20.22. TheSebastianVail.com

Frost at the Sebastian: 7X Colorado Wagyu Burger and a draft beer for $20.22. TheSebastianVail.com

Elway’s Steakhouse: Smash burger and a beer for $20.22. Elways.com/vail-home

Mountain Standard: One sandwich and one beer at lunch for $20.22, or two beers and the pimento cheese appetizer for $20.22 all day. MtnStandard.com

Sweet Basil: Lunch for two (choice of one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert) for $60, lunch only, or choice of any dessert with select dessert wine pairing for $20.22, all day. SweetBasilVail.com

The Hythe Vail – Revel Lounge: Signature bison poutine and Revel old fashioned for $20.22. TheHytheVail.com/Revel

Bully Ranch Sonnenalp: Chef Jesse’s Burger: double patty burger with white cheddar, bacon onion jam, crispy onions and a peppercorn aioli served with a draft beer. Sonnenalp.com/dining/bully-ranch

Treff Café: Two hugo sprintz cocktails for $20.22. Sonnenalp.com/dining/treff-café

Sushi Thai at Lionshead: Salt and pepper soft shell crab for $22, pad Thai chicken for $18 or Thai ginger chicken for $19. BeyondSushiThai.com

The Tavern on the Square: Half off all food between noon and 8:30 p.m. daily. VailResorts.com

Gessner: Choice of first and main course or main course and desserts for $20.22 (add $8 for third course). GrandHyatt.com

Yoshimi Pop-up @ Grand Hyatt: $20.22 daily sushi roll and draft Sapporo beer. GrandHyattVail.com

The George: $20.22 filet mignon, sirloin steak or plum duck. TheGeorgeVail.com

Meet Your Chef: Daniel Joly of Mirabelle

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing area chefs in a new series called “Meet Your Chef” so you can learn a bit more about those creating art in the kitchen. If you’re a local chef and would like to be a part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson (tswenson@vaildaily.com) and Sean Naylor (snaylor@vaildaily.com).

Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?

A: My name is Daniel Joly and I am the executive chef and owner of Mirabelle at Beaver Creek.

Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?

A: We moved to the Vail Valley in 1990. We left Charleston, South Carolina after Hurricane Hugo, thinking we would be here for a winter season. That quickly changed when we realized this area was the best place to raise our family.

Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a chef?

A: I’ve been a rebel since I was young and didn’t like school. I was intrigued by the kitchen in a restaurant. I didn’t like the idea of a 9 to 5 job. Working in a kitchen seemed fun and challenging.

Joly selects fresh herbs from the greenhouse behind Mirabelle restaurant.
Mirabelle/Courtesy photo

Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?

A: I was inspired by a master chef and culinary celebrity in Belgium, where I started my journey. Now, I’m one of them. I hope to be an inspiration to the next generation of up-and-coming chefs.

A: What’s your favorite spice?

Q: I’m not a spice-oriented person, but I lean more towards fresh herbs at Mirabelle. We have our own greenhouse where we grow many varieties of fresh herbs, including lemon thyme, purple basil, lemongrass, mint, rosemary and ginger root 

Q: Favorite protein?

A: One of my favorite proteins is Colorado lamb. It’s lean but still full of flavor. Duck is another favorite of mine.

Mirabelle has received praise from numerous publications and institutions such as Wine Spectator, Zagat, Bon Appetit and the James Beard House.
Mirabelle/Courtesy photo

Q: Favorite fruits and veggies?

A: For fruits, I really like wild strawberries, acai and guava. My favorite veggies are Brussels sprouts, Belgian endive and white asparagus. It just depends on the season.

Q: Name your carb: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc.?

A: My main carb of choice is potatoes, there are so many ways to eat them and they are such a good vessel for flavor absorption. I also like some ancient grains like farro or quinoa.

Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?

A: I appreciate a good meat bowl, a grilled chicken and some simple ingredients or in a good homemade soup is very satisfying after a good day of skiing. Or a nice glass of wine and cheese with friend after a day on the river. Hmm, this is making me hungry!

Mirabelle restaurant is celebrating 40 years and Joly has been there for 23 of those years.
Dominique Taylor/Courtesy photo

Q: Is there anything else about you we should share?

A: I think at Mirabelle the last 30 plus years that I’ve been there, we have always kept a sense of responsibility with our staff to improve our guest experience. We are so lucky to operate in an old farmhouse that is unique to the valley’s restaurant scene. We always make sure we provide fresh food,  great, friendly service and an exceptional and fairly priced wine selection.

I believe that in our industry it is a daily task to make sure you are always growing and striving to be better. I will be judged on my last dinner, we’re only as good as the last meal we made and we cannot rest and think we have made it to the top. Tomorrow we have to do it all again!

We have been fortunate to have our staff’s support and a dedicated, talented chef that shares our vision. We are a family-owned business and we want to be a part of the community. We always feel lucky and proud of the support we have received throughout the years.

Meet Your Chef: Angel Munoz at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing area chefs in a new series called “Meet Your Chef” so you can learn a bit more about those creating art in the kitchen. If you’re a local chef and would like to be a part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson (tswenson@vaildaily.com) and Sean Naylor (snaylor@vaildaily.com).

Angel Munoz started at the Westin Riverfront in 2012 and worked his way up the ranks and became the executive chef in 2018.
Westin Riverfront/Courtesy photo

Q: What is your name, where do you cook and what is your official title?

A: My name is Angel Munoz and I am the executive chef at The Westin Riverfront, which is home to Stoke & Rye, a new modern American grill, the Lookout lobby bar and the Riverfront Market. I am also in charge of all food served in the resort’s more than 7,500 square feet of mountain event space, which includes the 4,000 square foot Riverside Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views of Beaver Creek and a 2,000-square-foot outdoor banquet terrace.

Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?

A: I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. I started my cooking career in San Diego and moved to the Vail Valley more than 12 years ago. I came here to earn a degree in the Sustainable Cuisine program at Colorado Mountain College. I was hired as a line cook at The Westin Riverfront in 2012 and steadily worked my way up. I was named executive chef in 2018.

Munoz is the executive chef at The Westin Riverfront, which is home to Stoke & Rye, the Lookout lobby bar and the Riverfront Market.
Stoke & Rye/Courtesy photo

Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a chef?

A: Cooking has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. I like to eat A LOT. But I am also passionate about working every day with amazing and talented people and being a part of something that is unique and special.

Q: Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?

A: I can’t mention only one person specifically, when you are in this career you admire different styles of work and chefs at different levels. I admire those who can cook amazing meals and those who can do this and have a great personal life, too. But I would say, lately I look up to Ryan Hawk as a leader and mentor and Francis Mallmann on the topic of outdoor cooking.

Q: What’s your favorite spice?

A: I will say achiote and black pepper. Achiote for the variety of cooking styles that can be implemented – you can use this in marinades, in achiote tortillas and in braising proteins such as pork, chicken and fish. Black pepper because the history of it and what it represents as one of the most important spices around the world.

The pan-seared scallops at Stoke & Rye are served with pork belly, trout roe, green pea purée and lemon beurre blanc.
Stoke & Rye/Courtesy photo

Q: Favorite protein?

A: I love seafood – pan-seared scallops, Baja-style fish tacos, fresh tuna poke and our mountain trout crudo are all favorites. On the new Stoke & Rye menu, we are serving a giant 52 oz. Tomahawk steak that is flamed tableside in moonshine whiskey and served with charred lemon, roasted garlic and a black pepper sauce. It is pretty spectacular!

The showstopper at the new Stoke & Rye restaurant at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon is the 52-ounce Tomahawk steak which is prepared tableside.
Stoke and Rye/Courtesy photo

Q: Favorite fruits and veggies?

A: As a good Mexican, I would say chile, tomate and cebolla. Lately, I have really been embracing different mushrooms and heirloom carrots.

Q: Name your carb: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc.?

A: Corn – it is fantastic to cook with, from dry kernels to a delicious fresh made tortilla.

Q: What’s your favorite comfort food?

A: Popcorn!!!

Q: Is there anything else about you we should share?

A: I love hiking and cooking outside, so summer is definitely my favorite season here in the Vail Valley. This is an incredible place to be a Chef, we have the very special opportunity to cook for our friends and neighbors as well as people from all around the world. Plus we get to live and work in this amazing multi-cultural community!

New Stoke & Rye restaurant opens at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon

Stoke & Rye boasts over 160 whiskeys on the menu.
Stoke & Rye/Courtesy photo

Get stoked to try the creative menu at Stoke & Rye, a new American modern grill concept by internationally acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon.

Stoke and Rye blends the flavors of the Rockies with alpine inspired cuisine with dishes like the grilled peach salad or the wild mushroom ravioli with rainbow swiss chard, watercress, garlic confit and trumpet jus. Or, enjoy a classic like raclette that pays a nod to skiing’s alpine heritage.

Techniques like slow roasting in wood embers, braising and smoking are prevalent at Stoke & Rye. From smoked oysters with pine to the 52-ounce Tomahawk from the grill, the dishes offer familiar cuisine with an elevated twist.

The smoked oysters are a great way to start off the meal at Stoke & Rye.
Sean Naylor/Vail Daily

That twist can be found in the presentation. The American modern grill concept is a new one for The Westin Riverfront. Richard Sandoval and his team created all the recipes and came to Avon to teach the team how to make the recipes, how to plate them and oversee the quality of the food to ensure the guest experience.

Angel Muñoz, Jr., executive chef at Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, likes the challenge of a new restaurant concept. Muñoz, Jr. had been with Maya, another Richard Sandoval concept for a number of years before the switch to Stoke & Rye.

“It’s a fresh start and the opportunity to grow and I think more about the execution and how to make it a dining experience you are going to remember for years,” Muñoz, Jr. said.  

Speaking of presentations, cue the 52-ounce Tomahawk, this table-side presentation is memorable and Instagram-worthy. The server rolls out this big steak, pours moonshine whiskey over it and lights it aflame as the dinner guests gasp in amazement. The Cacio de Pepe pasta dish is also done tableside. You may start to drool as they spoon in the bacon, pecorino and black pepper.

The 52-ounce Tomahawk steak, with it’s tableside presentation is a show stopper. Have your cameras ready but don’t get to close.
Stoke & Rye/Courtesy photo

Although steaks are a big part of the menu, give the cast iron chicken a try. It’s served with creamy grits, glazed cippolini, broccolini, heirloom carrot and chili-basil vinaigrette.

Make sure to save room for dessert. Stoke & Rye has an extensive dessert list from a classic maple pecan pie served with salted caramel ice cream to a flourless carrot cake with vanilla cheesecake, carrot compote, pineapple and almond. The bread pudding is good for sharing complete with bourbon sauce, berries and vanilla ice cream.

Save room for dessert at Stoke & Rye where the sweets take center stage.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

Speaking of bourbon, there are over 160 whiskeys on the menu and nearly a dozen different types of Old Fashioned cocktails.

“We designed 11 signature Old Fashioned drinks which are all very different from one another whether it’s plum or chamomile bitters or hellfire bitters with habanero or vanilla simple syrup mixes that we make, there are a lot of different varieties just for being an Old Fashioned. We even have one rum Old Fashioned that we smoke as well,” said Nicholas LoFaro, a bartender at Stoke & Rye.

In addition to the Old Fashioned drinks, there are bright-colored cocktails on the menu like the Fantasy and Escobar’s Island.

“The inspiration for the Fantasy was Mariah Carey,” LoFaro said. “It’s a summery, easy-to-drink patio slammer.”

For the Escobar’s Island drink, LoFaro imagined what Pablo Escobar would drink.

“It’s fun because it has crème de violette, which gives it that green or blueish color. You have crème de violette, but he was a violent person, so just a play on words with the ingredients,” LoFaro said.

The wine list spans from France, Italy, Austria and Germany to California, Oregon, New Zealand and Argentina.

Stoke & Rye serves breakfast and dinner daily and for more information or to get reservations, go to RiverfrontDining.com.

Locals rally to help save Vail Valley eateries

Save Our Restaurants encourages people to order from a local restaurant at least once a week and share the experience and spread the word on social media.

At times, the year 2020 has brought out the worst in people, but it has also brought out the best in people. Save Our Restaurants is one example of locals doing what they can, where they live, right now to make things better.

Edwards residents Melinda Gladitsch and Beverly Freedman have been thinking about ways to help out local restaurants during the pandemic for quite some time and knew there were several individual efforts taking place in municipalities but no countywide efforts.

“We finally decided to make it happen by approaching key organizations across the county for buy-in, setting up social presences on Facebook and Instagram and launching the campaign,” Gladitsch said. Save Our Restaurants just launched this week.

The goal of Save Our Restaurants is simple: Order out at least once per week and share your experience on social media to spread the word.

Even with the vaccine coming to Colorado and Eagle County and hope on the horizon, there is still a long road ahead. State and county safety mandates are still in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Eagle County restaurants are currently operating at 25% of capacity, or at 50 people or less, whichever is fewer.

“Our restaurants are facing strict dine-in restrictions and a large part of our population may not feel comfortable dining in anyway. But everyone can do their part to help our restaurants survive by ordering out frequently,” Gladitsch said.

Save Our Restaurants reached out to several local organizations including the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Chamber & Business Association and Beaver Creek Merchant Association to help get the word out and they promptly backed this grassroots effort.

“I feel like we are a community of action-oriented people. When we see a need and feel passionate about it, we try to take action. Beverly Freedman is an excellent example of that. She pushes for what she believes in,” Gladitsch said about her friend and cofounder of Save Our Restaurants.

Eagle County restaurants do not need to do anything to participate in the program because this effort will be driven by local and visiting diners.

“We look forward to seeing this effort grow and make a difference,” Gladitsch said.

To join the cause simply order out, share your experience on social media and tag the restaurant as well at @saveourrestaurantsvailvalley on Facebook and @save_our_restaurants on Instagram. Bon appétit!

Warren Miller movie premiere, restaurant deals, art programs and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/13/20

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day is Nov. 15 and Eagle County wants to help you understand the best ways to recycle every day of the year. According to the lovevail.org website, the current national recycling rate is 35% while the state of Colorado’s rate is 16%. The town of Vail recycling rate is 27%, just shy of the Eagle County rate of 28%.

Are you confused about what can and can’t be recycled? If the answer is yes, download the free Eagle County Waste Wizard app. The Recycling Guide will give you and your family the answers to all your recycling questions at your fingertips.

Walking Mountains Science Center has been counting down to America Recycles Day by offering tips and tricks to help you recycle right and manage your waste more sustainably. New tips are posted daily to its Sustainability Facebook page and Instagram stories (search for @walkingmtns). You can also send in your questions to @walkingmtns or tag #recycleright and the Walking Mountains Zero Waste team will answer your questions.  

If you want to ditch the single-use plastics, head over to Fill & Refill, a store in Edwards that is dedicated to reducing single-use plastic by selling many household items like shampoo and laundry detergent that are unpackaged. Simply bring in your own containers or purchase reusable containers at Fill & Refill and break the cycle of contributing to more plastic waste. More info can be found at fillandrefill.com.

On Friday, the town of Vail had planned to host a recycling event for paper shredding and electronic waste. Due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Eagle County, the town of Vail is postponing the event and it will be rescheduled when the COVID-19 case numbers have been lowered.

As an alternative, Eagle County residents can take electronics waste to the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility in Wolcott. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. There is a small charge for electronics and Eagle County residents can deposit up to 20 items of household hazardous waste, such as paint, free of charge per visit.

Second Friday ARTwalk on Broadway

This weekend marks the second anniversary of the Second Friday ARTwalk, a monthly event held in downtown Eagle. The milestone won’t be marked by any grand celebrations due to COVID-19 restrictions, but you are still invited to stop by and support local artists and shops on Broadway and beyond on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. by ordering takeout, getting gift cards and doing a quick shopping trip in the shops and galleries.

Founder and event organizer Tara Novak, owner of ARTSPaCE workshop and gallery, has been working hard throughout the pandemic to support local artists and small businesses that are a part of the Eagle community. Novak is currently working on uploading items by local artists for holiday gift ideas on artspaceworkshop.com to provide a resource for those looking to shop local this holiday season.  

The Vail Valley Art Guild will be holding a member exhibit on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors will be allowed to choose two free holiday greetings cards designed by artist Beth Levine. The Vail Valley Art Guild’s Gallery is located at 108 Second Street in Eagle.  

Even though the Broadway Promenade in downtown Eagle won’t be bustling with exhibitor tents and food trucks like it has in the past, browse the art galleries and stop by the restaurants for a quick bite or takeout or buy a gift card and support those places as well:

  • Bonfire Brewery’s 10th Anniversary Celebration – new chalk art reveal by Natalia Gray, live music with The Evolution from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Katch of the Day Wine Bar – Frida Kahlo, Picasso, other assorted vintage art and wine specials
  • Owashi Sushi Kitchen – fine art exhibit and dining specials
  • Chics Couture – fall sale, local artisan jewelry
  • Everyday Outfitters – fall sale, home holiday decor and art prints

71st annual Warren Miller Movie Premier

Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, it’s still stoke season and the 71st annual Warren Miller movie, “Future Retro,” is the official flick that kicks it off.

You read that correctly, 71 years of Warren Miller films. These films about winter skiing and snowboarding attract die-hard enthusiasts, aspiring wanna-be pro athletes and even those who may never step foot on the slopes this winter. The footage, music and commentary are that entertaining and iconic. And although you can’t watch this year’s movie on the big screen like in the past, you’ll still see the beautiful scenery, amazing athleticism and hear some of Warren’s famous quotes.

“Future Retro” features a cast of nearly two dozen of today’s most talented skiers and snowboarders that will take you to the slopes of Utah, Vermont, Montana and Alaska. International destinations include Switzerland, Iceland and Antarctica. For those of you missing the Birds of Prey World Cup Races at Beaver Creek this year, there is a segment from last year’s women’s World Cup race in Killington, VT.

Due to the pandemic, “Future Retro” is being premiered in locations across the U.S. over a three-week period via a streaming platform. Last Saturday, the East Coast got to view “Future Retro,” This Saturday, the Rocky Mountain Region can view it at 6 p.m. MST and next Saturday the West Coast will be able to see the film.

A ticket for the movie premiere costs $30 and that will accommodate one to four people on a single device. This ticket gives you and your three guests access to door prizes like ski gear, coupon codes and other swag. Have more than four who want access to the goods? Simply purchase more tickets to accommodate your viewers. You will have access to the event for up to 48 hours in case you can’t watch it Saturday or want to watch it again.

Olympian and long-time Warren Miller films narrator Jonny Moseley reprises his role in this year’s film and will kick it off with a virtual red carpet experience. Get your living room ready for the 71st annual Warren Miller movie with popcorn, “free” drinks from your own fridge and a comfortable couch. To purchase tickets or watch the movie trailer go to warrenmiller.com.

Cupcakes and Clay

Instead of Cupcakes and Canvas, Alpine Arts Center is hosting its Cupcakes and Clay event this Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Enjoy delicious cupcakes while creating a lasting piece of functional art. This week, the class will be creating platters for serving or as a decorative piece to display.

During the class, you will be provided with all the art materials to make the platter and the instruction and assistance you’ll need throughout your artistic journey. Start with a ball of clay and shape it into the desired platter you envision. This is the family-friendly version of Cocktails and Canvas, but those over 21 are allowed to purchase beer, wine or champagne from the Alpine Art Center for $6 each.

Go to alpineartscenter.org to make a reservation for the class. Tickets are $35 and include the cupcakes and all the art supplies. You can do the class virtually for $25, which doesn’t include the art materials, but you can buy art class kits online as well.

You may have seen information about the Social Arts Programs that the Alpine Arts Center is doing for the town of Vail this season. These are discounted classes for $20 due to support from the town of Vail, Alpine Bank, Holy Cross Energy and Vail Daily. This Friday’s trail map painting class is already sold out but inquire about a virtual class. More information can be found at alpineartscenter.org.

Off season deals

There are a few restaurants doing deals this time of year. Take advantage of the savings and treat yourself to a nice meal before the ski season starts and support local restaurants:

Northside Coffee & Kitchen:

  • All entrées $20
  • Specialty entrées:
  • Filet mignon, rib eye or prime rib $24
  • Lobster shrimp risotto $27
  • Thenorthsidekitchen.com

Hooked:

  • 20% off all appetizers and sushi
  • 20% off all whole fish and wine over $100
  • Available Sunday – Thursday
  • Must mention ad to receive the discount, dine-in only
  • Hookedbc.com

Route 6 Cafe and Bar:

  • Three courses for $21
  • First course: soup, chili, house or Caesar salad
  • Second course: choice of any entrée
  • Third course: chocolate brownie or apple tort a la mode
  • Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
  • Routesixcafe.com

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.”

Drive-in movies, Vail Dance Festival and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 8/7/20

Beaver Creek Weekend Happs

Head on up to Beaver Creek for some live music, a silent disco and an a la carte menu at Zusamenn this weekend. The Beav’ has music every day of the week from 2 to 8 p.m. but on Fridays check out F.A.C. (Friday Afternoon Club) from 3 to 5 p.m. on the plaza. Families can not only enjoy live music but also bites from local restaurants, refreshing beverages, shopping, games and more.

Follow F.A.C. is a family-friendly silent disco from 5 to 8 p.m. Complimentary pairs of headphones are handed out so you can dance to the rhythm of your own beat or pair up with someone who is also dancing to that frequency. If you miss the dancing on Friday or didn’t get enough, the silent disco is offered on Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m., too.

On Saturday, check out Zusamenn, which is a celebration of food and community. Loosely translated from its German roots, zusamenn means something collective or a gathering. The gatherings will be more socially-distanced this summer, but the live music will be performed by crowd favorites Spinphony on the rink stage between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Spinphony is an all-female electric string quartet out of Denver. They blend Bach with AC/DC for a unique, high energy sound.

The event is free to attend and you can purchase food and drinks along the way. This festival of flavors was created by Beaver Creek’s renowned chefs and restaurants. Visit village restaurants to select from delectable small plates and signature beverages and cocktails. For more information, please view beavercreek.com.

Drive-in Movies

Drive-in movies are a perfect way to see a flick during a pandemic. The Blue Starlite Drive-In returns to Minturn this summer with classic movies and safety measures in place to watch a movie on the big screen this weekend.

The 1985 adventure comedy “Goonies” will be showing on Friday night. Get tickets in advance online and read all of the COVID-19 safety protocols. You can even order concessions in advance and those items will be provided to you when you arrive as to limit the time people are out of their cars.

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” is showing on Saturday night. This 1989 film is the last in the three-part series that starred Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Sean Connery plays Indian Jones’ father.

Both movies start at 8:50 p.m. and the gates open at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance online and learn more at bluestarlitedrivein.com.

Vail Dance Festival: Digital Edition

The 32nd annual Vail Dance Festival kicked off last week and although the dancers weren’t able to gather physically on the stage in Vail, their on-screen presence has touched the Vail Valley and beyond. The Vail Dance Festival: Digital Edition showcased world premieres that happened in Vail in recent years and really offered a “best of” look at what makes the Vail Dance Festival so special. The performances have been shown on Vail Dance Festival’s Facebook and YouTube accounts and all shows will be available until August 15.  

Opening night seemed to have the most comments on social media and the numbers show that there are around 63,000 views across Facebook and YouTube. Facebook provides a breakdown of where people are watching the videos and although most viewers are from the US, data showed that viewers were tuning in all over Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America.

Closing night is Friday at 6 p.m. online. Damian Woetzel, the artistic director of the Vail Dance Festival, hosts this digital show remotely. Woetzel will walk you through what performances you will see and highlight some of the artists involved. “Carolina Shout” will be shown first. This 2019 world premiere features dancers Michelle Dorrance and Lil Buck along with music by jazz pianist Jason Moran.

The second part of the show will feature the 2017 premiere of “we seem to be more than one.” This performance was a collaboration between tap-dancing sensation, Michelle Dorrnance and various artists at the festival and brings in dance moves from tap, ballet, contemporary, jookin’, flamenco, and modern traditions.

Celebrate this summer tradition in Vail by watching the Vail Dance Festival and to learn more about how you can support the festival and the artists during these trying times, visit vaildance.org.

Nottingham Park activities

Please note that Nottingham Lake will be closed for the USA Swimming Open Water Championships but the Harry A. Nottingham Park will still be open and offers plenty of things to do without adding water.

Nottingham Lake will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This will include the beach and grass area on the north side of the lake. There will be no fishing, boating, SUPing or swimming allowed during this time, but there are still lots of amenities in the park to enjoy.

Tennis, anyone? The Harry A. Nottingham Park not only has three tennis courts, but it also has four pickleball courts, two basketball courts and two athletic fields for rent. The playground equipment will be open as well. The bike path around the lake and the park is perfect for the littlest bikers since there isn’t much of an incline to wear them out. It’s also great if you’ve fired up those rollerblades and want to cruise on a path that is smooth and flat.

Nottingham Park also has grills and picnic tables in case you want to have a cookout. Or, order meals from one of the many nearby restaurants and enjoy dining with a view. If you want to also enjoy an adult beverage, the Avon Town Council allows open containers and public consumption of alcohol at Nottingham Park and on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between 11:30 a.m. and until 30 minutes after dusk. For more information, go to avon.org.

Open for Business: Lookout Lobby Bar at The Westin

Name of business: The Lookout Lobby Bar at The Westin

Physical address: 126 Riverfront Lane

Phone number: 970-790-6600

Website: www.westinriverfront.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

The Lookout is now open from noon to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Guests can enjoy live local music Fridays through Mondays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Lookout is also hosting a special Sunday cocktail class each Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

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

Westin guests will be treated to a refreshed lobby experience this summer, including expanded dining and cocktail menus from The Lookout Lobby Bar. The new menu includes a variety of bites, snacks, salads and boards, including the cheese and charcuterie board and a seafood board featuring smoked trout pate, salmon rillette and tuna confit. Enjoy a cup of Red Bird Farms chicken soup or a delicious Sweet Corn or Wild Mushroom Flatbread. Sandwich choices include a bison burger, crispy Red Bird Farms chicken or a wild mushroom French dip. Large plates include grilled salmon with kale, sweet corn, roasted fingerling potatoes in aged balsamic or a grilled flatiron steak with wild mushrooms, farro spring vegetables and a bourbon demi-glace. The Lookout also serves an extensive list of wines by the glass, seasonal cocktails and Colorado craft beers.

How can the community support you?

Visit The Westin Riverfront for a delicious cocktail, snack or meal!

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

Our website: www.westinriverfront.com

What’s the response been?

Our employees are excited to be back at work and creating delicious meals and cocktails to share with our community.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? 

The Lookout has implemented extensive new safety precautions, including enhanced cleaning protocols and set social distancing guidelines. The Westin Riverfront staff is required to wear gloves and masks.