Its time to picnic on Vail Mountain |

Its time to picnic on Vail Mountain

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoThis year's Mountain Top Picnic on Vail Mountain in Vail, Colorado is Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

VAIL, Colorado Forget smashed PB&J sandwiches oozing grape goo. And no, there likely wont be warm cheddar with crumbled crackers on Vail Mountain, either. The chefs who participate in the Taste of Vails annual Mountain Top Picnic, slated for Friday afternoon on top of Vail Mountain, take their picnic fare seriously. Take Steven Topple, executive chef at Beanos Cabin. Hes making macaroni and cheese, standard picnic food for some except his will be rife with pink hunks of lobster.Im thinking of using more of a ricotta cheese with lemon juice as well, said Topple, whos still tweaking the recipe. When deciding what to make for the picnic each year, Topple said he keeps a few things top of mind.First of all, you have to think of something fun and picnicky, he said. And its not that you want to outdo the other chefs exactly, but you want something that will stand out in peoples minds.

Picnics mean one thing for Vail Game Creek Club executive chef David Clawson: deviled eggs. And for anyone wondering about Clawsons technique, he was more than happy to share his Southern-influenced plan.Anything deviled to me always has lemon juice, mustard, Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce) and Tobasco. Those are some definite deviling ingredients, but well probably put some more things in there, as well.Alongside the dolled-up eggs, Clawson plans to serve chicken meatloaf sandwiches. The chicken meatloaf recipe is something that club members here really like and we always have cold meatloaf sandwiches the day after we make it, Clawson said. Its a really healthy recipe we have here.

Blus executive chef, Steven Juice Morrison, has been fine-tuning his recipe, which will also be offered as part of a special tasting menu at Blus this week. We are going to do a homemade wild boar sausage and chicken sausage and fava bean ragout topped with pancetta and chantarelles, Juice said. And while Juice has spent the last few weeks leisurely refining his recipe, leisure isnt part of his vocabulary this week. Were doing three events for Taste of Vail Lamb Cookoff, the Apres Tasting and the picnic. I might have to work all night the next few nights to get it all done, he said. Indeed, its a busy week for all of the chefs participating in Taste of Vail events on top of their normal schedules. Planning the food, making it and then schlepping it to each event is assuredly a time-consuming endeavor. Clawson, at Game Creek Club, located on Vail Mountain, has one of the easier commutes. But we have to lug all of our food to the lamb tasting and to the Marriott, so this is the easier one for us, probably, Clawson said about the Mountain Top Picnic.Its likely Steven Topple is a little jealous, considering the trek waiting for him and the 40 pounds of lobster macaroni hell be making Friday morning in Beaver Creek.I snowmobile to (Beanos Cabin), make the food, take the snowcat down the mountain and then drive to Vail, Topple said. Then we gondola the food up and then snowcat it again over to the picnic. Its a lot of work. Thats why not many Beaver Creek chefs do it, but I think its an important thing to do to showcase your restaurant.High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

What: Taste of Vails Mountain Top Picnic When: 12:30 to 3 p.m., FridayWhere: Eagles Nest, Vail. Access via the Eagle Bahn GondolaCost: $145More information: Visit or call 970-926-5665

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