Fireside Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch features fire tables and cuisine with touch of WYLD | VailDaily.com

Fireside Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch features fire tables and cuisine with touch of WYLD

Katie Coakley
EAT Magazine

Perhaps the most primal aspect of the wild is fire. And though perching alongside the three-story stone, wood-burning fireplace in the Great Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, is a great way to enjoy this urge during the winter, the summer season demands that you take it outside.

New this summer, the Fireside Bar allows guests to gaze into dancing flames while soaking up the sun thanks to outdoor seating, fire pits and a truly mesmerizing fire table. The menu is curated with a hint of WYLD. The partnership with local purveyors is illustrated in the Knapp Ranch Mixed Greens salad — the Edwards-based farm is providing as many fresh veggies that they can grow to Chef de Cuisine Manuel Gutierrez and Chef Jasper Schneider and his crew. The Palisade tomato gazpacho is another example of the commitment to local ingredients, providing the taste of the sun-kissed Western Slope in a bowl.

And though the focus is certainly on fresh and seasonal, Chef Schneider allows his global inspiration to run rampant. The chop chicken salad is treated to an Asian expression with carrots, cabbage, mandarin oranges, sesame and crispy rice noodles along with a peanut butter dressing. The tuna ceviche is transported to Thailand with the addition of coconut milk to the traditional South American acidity — the flavor is light but indulgent, causing a brief crispy jicama battle to claim the last morsel. Heading back to Mexico (one of Chef Schneider’s earliest culinary influences), the shrimp aguachile is another riff on ceviche: The shrimp is submerged in a concoction of chili peppers, lime juice, salt, cilantro, slices of cucumber and red onion.

“We’re focusing on lighter, more refreshing dishes,” Chef Schneider says. “A lot of veggies and fish. You know, me and fish, in the mountains. Go figure.”

The classic lunch fare is elevated, too: A double patty burger with cheddar is given a kick with jalapeño aioli; the classic Reuben is constructed with turkey and homemade thousand island dressing for a hiking-friendly flavor. And for those who savor breakfast all day? Avocado toast on brioche with radishes, puffed quinoa and pickled Fresno chilis.

But really — after a long day on the mountain, perhaps liquid refreshment is more apropos. The Fireside Bar lives up to its name with a multitude of libations including beer, wine, cocktails, draft cocktails (like regular cocktails but delivered more quickly), Belvederes (just ask your waiter), frozen indulgences (Bellinis, piña coladas, daiquiris, margaritas and the new kid on the block, Frosé) and the pièce de résistance: Moët & Chandon Champagne with the option to add a frozen ice pop — c’est magnifique! 

above From left, Key Lime Cooler with vanilla vodka and a graham cracker rim; Frosé with sparkling rosé and St. Germain; and a Mountainside Sangria with Grand Marnier, strawberries and a rose float.