Dining adventures at The Hythe Vail | VailDaily.com

Dining adventures at The Hythe Vail

New executive chef Axel Torres shares his favorite dishes and drinks

The Hythe Vail's executive chef, Axel Torres, grew up working in restaurants and encourages diners to learn the history of the food in the place they are visiting.
The Hythe Vail/Courtesy photo

Axel Torres wants you to take your taste buds on a dining adventure. The new executive chef at The Hythe Vail welcomes diners to enjoy New American cuisine with alpine inspiration.

“I want the guest to feel the same way I do when I’m traveling with my wife to a different country. I want them to feel excited, that the world is big, to try new food items, to connect to the culture of the dish and have a conversation with their friends or loved ones about it,” Torres said.

Torres believes that food is history.

“Knowing the food of a specific place or region tells you more about the people, culture and traditions,” Torres said.

That’s why The Hythe Vail features its signature raclette experience on the menu. Raclette is a traditional Swiss dish from the Valais region in the Alps. The name comes from the French verb, racler, which means to scrape.

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“We heat up the cheese and scrape it onto small cornichons, pickled onions, country bread and boiled potatoes. It’s the perfect dish after a long, cold day skiing on the mountain. And a fun fact: raclette is lactose-free, during the maturation period of the cheese, lactose is fully decomposed,” Torres said.

Warm up with The Hythe Vail’s signature dish, raclette as an appetizer or a meal.
The Hythe Vail/Courtesy photo

History is sprinkled throughout the hotel. The word “hythe” means “haven” and the history harkens back to the 10th Mountain Division and the training at Camp Hale south of Vail. It also highlights the founders of Vail, Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert. Eaton was an engineer in the U.S. Army and Seibert was in the 10th Mountain Division that fought pivotal battles in World War II. Margie’s Haus Restaurant is named for a woman and her husband who would take in the soldiers for a home-cooked meal every once in a while. Revel Lounge defines the revelry and passion the 10th soldiers had for the mountain lifestyle.

“Revel is where we celebrate our passions for Vail, the mountains, skiing, snowboarding and having fun together. This new menu is a party that everyone wants to come to with a bit more pop-culture and new flavors, but also with familiar favorites for everyone to enjoy after a day on the mountain,” Torres said

Gather your friends and order cast iron blistered shishito peppers, venison in a blanket or wild game meatballs.

“We wanted to share foods that we’re passionate about, like the grilled cheese steak sandwich. I love grilled cheese and tomato soup and love a steak sandwich, why not have both in one and make it a celebration?” Torres said.

Stop into The Hythe Vail for a creative cocktail for après ski.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

The drinks have a lot of thought and creativity poured into them, like the Huckleberry Smash with Woody Creek Distillers bourbon, huckleberries, mint, honey and lemon. Or the Figgy Smalls cocktail featuring fig-infused gin, strawberry syrup, lemon and balsamic pearls.

“We have a talented mixologist and he was the one behind the inspiration of each drink,” Torres said. “My favorite drink is the Last Chair which is a mix of Woody Creek Distillers vodka, coffee liqueur, Nocino, mole bitters, espresso cold brew and turbinado brew. Is the perfect pairing with the warm apple strudel that we have in the menu.”

As for entrees, Torres is a big promoter of the Western Slope rack of lamb.

“Colorado lamb is one of the best lamb dishes in the world in my opinion. And here, we marinate them in an Asian mix of ingredients served with southern-style grits, local mushrooms and a mint vinaigrette,” Torres said. “It’s an umami of flavor in one dish prepared with different cooking techniques but celebrates our region using a product raised here in Colorado.”

The Western Slope rack of lamb and the power bowl are popular items at The Hythe Vail.
The Hythe Vail/Courtesy photo

Torres got bit by the culinary bug while bussing tables and serving food when he was eight years old in a restaurant in Puerto Rico with his uncle.

“My mom used to pick up fresh herbs in the backyard to make sofrito – aromatics blended originally from Spain consisting of garlic, cilantro, Spanish capers, olive oil, bell pepper, aji dulce peppers, onions and cilantro,” Torres said.

He has since traveled the world working at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2009 after college and moved up through the company working in different properties such as The Ritz-Carlton, Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico; The Ritz-Carlton, Denver and The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Colorado; The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, Missouri; The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California and The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. More recently, he was with the Hyatt brand at the Grand Hyatt Vail where he was the executive sous chef of the property.

“I learned from Chef Wolfgang Puck and Chef Jose Andres, Michelin star celebrity chefs. I worked with both and learned classical American/foreign cuisine fusion with modern techniques and gastronomy,” Torres said. “We have so many international guests and guests who travel around the world, that our menu reflects inspiration from every single one of them and the seasonality of Vail.”

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