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The first annual Rocky Mountain Burger Battle will serve the best beefy creations in the valley

The inaugural Rocky Mountain Burger Battle, set for Thursday, June 20, will feature the valley’s best burgers. The event is a kickoff event for the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend – because after all, the second-best pairing to pizza and beer is burgers and beers.

“We’re hoping that this first year gets a lot of exposure and we can show what the event’s about,” said Ryan Slater. “We’d love to see it grow and have everybody be into it so much that we can make it a standalone weekend event.”

Slater, who coordinated the event with Team Player Productions, has been organizing the Denver Burger Battle for 10 years, and thought it would be a great idea to expand the festival into the Rockies after last year’s Vail Craft Beer Classic. He envisioned it as a sister festival to Denver’s burger battle, and has been planning it since.

The Burger Battle will serve as a Thursday night kickoff event to the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend.
Steve Peterson | Special to the Daily

He asked around in Vail which restaurants would be the best competitors, and after reaching out to those establishments and gaining traction for the event, he started receiving applications from other places as well. He encouraged contenders to make creations that festival-goers could also order in the restaurant, but the menu will feature new concoctions and current favorites.

Vail Brewing Co. and Bonfire Brewing Co. will be serving a new collab beer – a hazy pale ale – as well as pouring their own suds. VBC is also hosting an after-party, and burger battle wristbands get wearers $1-off beers.

“We’re happy that the first year – trying to convince people is a little tough – but we’re happy with the lineup. We got a good array of what eagle county has to offer,” Slater said.

Slater said a couple hundred people have already purchased tickets to try the valley’s best burgers. Tickets are still available for online purchase, and can also be bought at the door day-of. For entry into the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m., patrons pay $45 plus fees. There are also several packages available, but those close online on Thursday.

The Double Double package grants admission to the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle and the Denver Burger Battle on Aug. 1 for $125. The VIP Double Deluxe package grants the same as the Double Double, but with VIP entry in Denver. There’s also a Vail Craft Beer Classic package. For $170, the Beer & Burger Weekender Package holders get entry into the burger battle, and two Craft Beer Classic events: Sip at the Summit and VIP Toast of Vail.

Some competitors are serving their version of a classic burger, and others are going with less traditional flavors.
Special to the Daily

Burgermeister

Here’s a list of the competitors, and what they’ll be serving, per the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle website:

Backcountry Wings | Minturn
The Backcountry Burger

The Backcountry Burger consists of hand-pressed locally sourced certified Black Angus Colorado beef topped with bacon-onion jam, distinctive Tillamook white cheddar cheese and Back Country’s own sauce. With a finishing touch of sliced pickles and served on a buttery brioche bun, this burger is an experience not to be missed.

White Bison | Vail
White Bison Burger

Hailing from the heart Vail Village, the hearty bison burger from White Bison is topped with delicious caramelized onion, cheddar, and house pickles. All of this comes together with smoked tomato aioli on an English muffin. 

Illegal Burger | Multiple locations, flagship in Denver
Off the Record

The Off the Record burger is served with a legitimate all-natural Never Ever Beef patty, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato topped with Daikon sprouts and our creamy delicious avocado jalapeño aioli all served on a butter toasted brioche bun.

Craftsman | Edwards
Schmidt Mac

The Schmidt Mac is made up of grass-fed Colorado beef from Colorado Meat Co., garnished with Nueske’s bacon, American cheese and shrettuce – short for shredded lettuce. It’s topped off with special sauce, thyme onions, and spicy dill pickles, all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

Hotel Talisa restaurant | Vail
Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger

The Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger prides itself on being 100% local grass fed beef raised Eagle, Colorado. Topped with shallot marmalade, onions, pickle chips, sharp cheddar, and lemon aioli, this juicy burger is sure to make your mouth water.

Bully Ranch, Sonnenalp Hotel | Vail
South of the Border Burger

The Bully Ranch South of the Border Burger takes beefy goodness to the next level with seven times the beef, smoked gouda cheese and tasty smoked bacon. Topped with traditional lettuce, onions and tomatoes, it gets a modern twist with addedhomemade guacamole, pickled onions and a little kick of pickled jalapeño.

Bol | Vail
Eaton Ranch Bol Burger

The Eaton Ranch Bol Burger is created with an Eaton Ranch – located in Edwards – beef patty and Haystack Mountain – located in Fort Collins – goat Monterey Jack cheese. It’s topped with poached egg, crispy shoestring potatoes, arugula and served on a house-made English muffin. Tender belly bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, L.T.O. and mayo on a brioche bun.

S’mores ice cream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find classic Italian at Vista

Editor’s note: This story originally ran as a paid feature in EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

 

In a resort area where there is always something new and shiny, an establishment that remains a locals’ favorite is truly special. Vista at Arrowhead, which has been charming guests since 2007, offers genuine warmth at every turn, from the gracious staff to the heart-warming cuisine, all enhanced with a soundtrack provided by the valley’s favorite piano man, Micky Poage.

Settle in for dinner and you’ll face the most difficult choice of the evening: what to order. Start with a handcrafted cocktail to prime your palate and jumpstart your stomach — the Litigator, Vista’s take on a Manhattan, is always a good choice. Then, gather your dining companions for a “divide and conquer” approach to ordering. By everyone choosing something different, there’s more opportunity to sample the menu.

Vista’s menu is seasonally inspired with a Colorado focus. Plates are beautifully composed, with individual elements working together in perfect harmony. A deceptively simple dish like mussels is intensified by the addition of ‘nduja, onions and confit tomatoes. The resulting dish will have you unapologetically cleaning out the last bit of garlicky white wine broth with the accompanying grilled cheese bread. Or try the fried cheese ravioli, served with marinara and artisan Italian sausage.

 

Digging In

But the real brilliance of Vista shines with the entrées. Here, diners have a choice: choose a chef-composed entrée, thoughtfully composed and considered, or create your own. The winter “Chef’s Composed” menu includes soul-warming fare like homemade chicken pot pie, pan-seared jumbo scallops and a dry-aged, bone-in pork chop. For those looking for a life-changing experience, try the Colorado braised buffalo osso bucco with sauteed spinach, roasted winter vegetables, stilton blue and pan jus — just don’t be surprised if your eyes involuntarily roll back in your head in ecstasy.

But guests who prefer to call the shots will love the customer composed entrée. Pick a protein — the winter menu includes Colorado beef, lamb and buffalo, as well as fish and seafood — before pairing it with a homemade sauce like fresh horseradish cream, lemon picatta or soy ginger butter. Accessorize with sides and the resulting plate is a completely customized culinary adventure.

Vista has been employing this mix-and-match style for several years, allowing guests to employ their creativity (and address any dietary restrictions) while streamlining the magic in the kitchen. The brainchild of co-owner Daryl DeYoung and Executive Chef David Collins, the menu epitomizes DeYoung’s approach to the guest experience.

“We still wanted to have dishes that we’ve put together, but this gives guests the opportunity to choose exactly what they want,” DeYoung explains.

And while the chef-composed entrées are set for the season, DeYoung is looking forward to shaking up the options for customization.

“We like to offer different sauces and sides,” DeYoung says. “We like to look for ingredients to have as specialty items, to add to what we have on the menu.”

Even the dessert menu allows for choice: For those who want “just a bite,” the dessert sampler is a necessity. With mini versions of classics like cheesecake and warm apple crisp, the sampler is a sweet solution for anyone with dessert FOMO (fear of missing out).

Though life is all about choices, there are few as fun — or tasty — as those awaiting you at Vista.

Village Bagel brings high quality breakfast and lunch to Edwards

Editor’s note: This story originally ran as a paid feature in EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

In 1946, the NY Times tried to explain what a bagel was. The writer described it as “a roll with a hole in the center.” Over the years, many have tried to replicate the chewy, crusty perfection of New York’s specialty — and Village Bagel has done just that! Right here in Edwards, Colorado, the only dedicated bagel shop in town, you’ll find a team of passionate people who all believe in making simple food the old fashioned way — without the use of fillers, preservatives or dough conditioners, but simply with high-quality ingredients, traditional techniques, and a lot of time (3 days to make each bagel, to be exact).

It all began in the home kitchen of owners Connie Leaf and Anthony Mazza. A few months in, they outgrew their home oven and started baking out of the kitchen of Mirabelle Restaurant in the early mornings, selling bagels to one coffee shop after the next. As word got out, people would show up for a warm bag of bagels right out of the back door of the renowned French restaurant   —  and shortly after, “Back Door Bagels” was born.

The duo bought a 25-gallon kettle in which to boil the bagels (a must for a traditional bagel) and opened up their own shop. To this day each bagel is made from scratch and hand-rolled. And unlike other bagels which are seeded on only one side, Village Bagel hand-presses seeds on both sides of the “roll” during preparation. The garlic bagel is Leaf’s favorite among such flavors as blueberry, chocolate chip, whole wheat, sesame and lots more.

The store’s tagline is “Bagels and Schmeer, Pizza and Beer,” as they also offer Sicilian-style pizza, with dough made over three days, the flavor building the old fashioned way, through time. As well, there are also Mimosas, homemade Bloody Marys and draft beer to go with it all. Village Bagel is truly a gem, lovingly bringing a taste of the East Coast to our valley.

Vail Health buys two Edwards commercial buildings

EDWARDS — Vail Health spent more than $14 million to buy a pair of commercial buildings where it plans to make some of its vision a reality.

The local hospital bought both buildings that comprise the Northstar Center in Edwards — $8.85 million for one and $5.5 million for the other. In those buildings are several local businesses, including The Pet Spot, Inyodo Martial Arts, Subway, AT&T, Edwards Liquors, Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. and others.

The plan is to let those businesses’ leases run their course, along with any extensions to which they’re entitled, said Craig Cohn, Vail Health’s director of real estate development.

Since some of those businesses renewed the five-year options in their leases in the last couple of months, meaning it could be nine or 10 years before Vail Health makes any significant changes in the buildings.

“The leases of existing tenants will be honored in full. Our hope over time is to meet the complex health care needs of the people in our community through the investment in this site,” Cohn said.

The first change will see Inyodo Martial Arts move to a new location, said owner “Bobcat” Smith. Smith said he’ll announce the new location soon.

Vail Health was also a renter

Before buying the building, Vail Health was one of the Northstar Center’s tenants, renting the parking lot and storage space.

“For the past few years, we have been a substantial tenant of the Edwards Northstar Center to meet employee parking and storage needs,” Cohn said. “When the property was listed for sale, it was an opportunity to ensure ongoing access.”

Some of the Northstar Center is already vacant, especially after Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. was evicted. That may mean that the hospital can begin offering services before those tenant leases expire, Cohn said.

“A large portion of the north building is vacant, which may allow near-term opportunities for enhanced medical services in the middle of the valley,” Cohn said.

Subway looking to move, too

Carrington Pinner bought the Edwards Subway in January 2017 and extended the lease, but when this lease is done, so is the location’s Subway. Pinner said he hopes to buy space elsewhere.

“We are not up for a renewal after the five-year period,” Pinner said.

The Edwards store generates a half million a year in sales taxes for Eagle County, Pinner said.

The two buildings generate a total of $133,494.08 annual in property taxes, according to the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder office.

Vail Health did the deal through its Eagle Valley Real Estate Holdings.

The hospital is also expanding east and acquired a vacant site in Dillon for a surgery center and urgent care in Summit County.

The Rose offers fine dining and more

Editor’s note: This story is reprinted from EAT Magazine featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and hotel lobbies for free.

The Rose in Edwards is a rare find. This cozy bistro, nestled in the heart of The Riverwalk, is a bona fide hidden gem, a unique and intimate place where the food is as delightful as the atmosphere.

Dimly lit and relaxed, when you walk inside The Rose and take your seat among the leather lounge chairs, wooden tables and couches, playful details begin to emerge. From the yarn-striped antelope and mountain goat heads hanging on one wall, to the thick wall-mounted garden and the medley of chandeliers glowing overhead, there’s a lot of character in this place.

But there’s also something classic and familiar about it, something that exudes craftsmanship and culinary regard. It’s a thought that is confirmed throughout its menu. In lockstep with the seasons, chef-owner Bryan Redniss’ food is constantly changing, rotating as the locally available ingredients rotate, embodying the seasonal flavors of the area.

Dishes such as the fried chicken demonstrate a mastery over old favorites: light, crispy, tender and cooked with a sage honey butter, it’s the best fried chicken you’ll find anywhere in the valley. For a comfort food favorite, the Meat and Potatoes is hard to beat — tenderloin steak, juicy and delectable, served with a helping of purple potato mash, and leek.

But then, items such as its foie gras nigiri (or “foie-giri”), exemplify Redniss’ creativity and culinary boldness. Sushi-inspired, it’s a slice of melt-in-your-mouth foie gras served atop a tender rice brick, fastened with a small belt of seaweed. It’s one of the richest bites on the menu, and a dish that’s worth stepping outside of your comfort zone for.

However, there are some menu items that don’t change at The Rose, too. Favorites such as its avocado fries with sesame aioli are just too good to lose.

“Those avocado fries have been No. 1 on the menu since day one,” Redniss said.

The comfortable atmosphere and friendly vibe that pervade The Rose make it the perfect place for friends to enjoy a drink, or for a romantic evening out with that special someone.

Artisan cocktails saturate the drink menu, and creations such as The Muse will blow you — and your date — away. Made with local 39 North Spirits vodka, lemon, pink peppercorn, apricot and sage, The Muse speaks with a voice all its own. Or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the Donde Quixote is a nobleman’s blend of tequila, Cocchi Americano, Amaro Nonino and dry curacao. Just a couple of those and you’ll be out slaying windmills in no time.

Of course, when it comes time for dessert, you’ve got to try Jessica Redniss’ cream cheese-stuffed finger cakes. Because, it’s easy to get caught up in the menus and forget that this place is also an awesome little bakery, with homemade macaroons, cakes and other baked goods that are all to die for.

There’s a romance to The Rose that is both sentimental and sincere. It is a place where you can count on the food being fantastic and fresh, where the drinks are always exciting and good spirits are always in high supply.

Find the Italian jackpot at Marko’s Pizza

Established in 1994, Marko’s has been serving great local pizza and pasta for nigh on 25 years. It’s a name that is recognized up and down this valley—a name that is synonymous with awesome Italian cuisine and lively local character.

Old skis and snowboards adorn the walls, accented with vintage Budweiser posters, black-and-white photographs and local paintings—ski-country decor collected over the decades—articles of the community and the culture.

Garlic Knots at Marko’s in Edwards.

One of Marko’s trademark specialties is the first item you’ll encounter on the menu: their house garlic knots. Made from Marko’s signature dough, baptized in garlic and twisted for a little extra flavor flair, they are a mouthwatering treat.

And the Old School Pasta choices are a mix and match paradise for noodle enthusiasts with various sauce options. If you’re trying to keep things easy, though, check out the baked pasta dishes—that’s where you’ll find old favorites like the chicken Parmesan, lasagna and ravioli.

But, the star of the Marko’s Pizza menu is, naturally, the pizza.

Spicy chicken alfredo.

Hand-tossed and garnished with fresh toppings, they arrive beautifully oven-blistered and bubbling with cheesy glory. Try any number of the house specialty pizzas, like the supreme, the Popeye pie or delicious Greek pizza—a spectacle of olives, artichokes and spinach piled high and generously peppered with olive oil, feta and mozzarella cheeses.