El Sabor is a Vail gem hidden in plain sight
There’s a gem hidden in plain sight — a place, once found, you will want to return to again and again for the laid-back vibe, stunning views and, of course, amazing food. El Sabor is just that place: a Latin American restaurant that promises heritage-inspired dishes from Mexico, South America, Central America and Spain. The food and drinks are all house made and it shows with zings of freshness and bold brightness. Think fresh-squeezed mixers for every cocktail; hand-made happy hour tacos and even an authentic Cuban sandwich.
Where is this slice of heaven? Right near the skier bridge in Lionshead in the Lion Square Lodge. It features a deck with views overlooking the Gore, Mountain and Gore Creek. Obviously, we all love a mountain view, but the food is the reason you will keep coming back. And for those sad sacks who don’t like Mexican? No worries, the owners have created a menu so friends can fiesta together.
The creative kitchen staff knows how to make a mean burger and tasty chicken sandwich but the real magic comes when they channel their energy into Latin American flavors. The tacos are raised to an art form with a variety to choose from: the Sabor with pickled onion, roja aioli, cilantro, cotija cheese and cabbage; Mahi Mahi, served with guacamole, asadero cheese, slaw and lime crema; Al Pastor with slaw, cotija cheese, pineapple and onion or the Barbacoa, which is perfectly seasoned shredded beef, cabbage, salsa verde, pickled onion, cilantro and cotija cheese. Miguel’s chicken enchiladas and rellenos are also hot-ticket items.
For those who want to play it safe check out the fried chicken sandwich. It lets folks be conservative while living on the edge — just a little bit. It comes with a sweet-and-sticky agave glaze, habanero slaw and roja aioli — a classic chicken sandwich amped up enough to be worthy of this fantastic deck. See, we can all just get along.
After an active day on the mountain or hiking the trails, continue the wanderlust for Happy Hour: tacos, margaritas and beer specials. It’s the best way to be in the middle of everything but still off the beaten path. Watch the world (and bikers, walkers, hikers, climbers and kids) go by as you sample the summer tiki cocktail or live like a local and reach for the lip-smacking jalapeño cilantro marg with Tanteo jalapeño tequila, cilantro for an unexpected bit of brightness, orange liquor and Hellfire bitters. Absolutely delicious. Remember, all the mixers are hand made and freshly squeezed. You can tell they are made with some love and deliver a punch.So, set a goal for yourself. Leave your comfort zone. Go exploring and find this hidden deck for a true summer experience. Then tell your friends — just because you don’t want them to be left out.
Fall means food and wine festivals and also a chance to see the colors just starting to turn over Vail Pass during a bike ride for charity.