Lift to Lunch: The Marketplace at Eagle’s Nest
The Marketplace is made up of several stations, including a deli, grill, Italian, Mexican, Asian, potato and salad bar. If it sounds like a lot of options, it is. Eagle’s Nest and Adventure Ridge are the projects of Eric Pottorff, who manages both.
“The beauty of working here on the mountain is everyone gets to do things to make their restaurant stand out,” said Pottorff.
Their claim to fame is multiple options.
“Basically everything we do in here, you get to build,” said Pottorff. “It’s more flexible that way.”
The deli sandwiches, built to order, are their biggest sellers. Fish tacos make the list, too. Made in small batches, they’re always fresh.
I particularly enjoyed the chicken taco. Made with flavorful chicken with a hint of cumin and chile, there’s nothing dry about them. I requested it topped with a couple of pickled jalapenos, some cheddar cheese and a bit of lettuce, and was pleased with the spicy result.
Chop Stix, the Asian station, serves up vegetables and meats with a variety of sauces, including a peanut sauce with zip. Tending to the details, there’s a basket of chopsticks on the counter. In the cooler to the side is sushi. California rolls and ahi tuna top the list; Executive Chef Patrick Bradford rolls them each morning. Both he and Pottorff have a particular love of all foods Asian.
But it’s the desserts that will give you pause. I’m not sure, in good conscience, I should recommend the peanut butter pie, as it might well become an obsession. Topped with a light chocolate ganache with the consistency of whipped butter, the creamy peanut butter confection tastes deceptively light.
Bradford is known for his baked goods, and they extend beyond pies and cookies. He has no qualms serving up his corn bread.
“You have to try it,” he exclaimed, without a shred of false modesty.
Turns out he was right. Located near the baked potato bar, the corn bread is sweet with a kick of jalapeno. Bits of roasted corn are interspersed throughout it, giving a chewy contrast to the otherwise fluffy bread.
“Lunch for Less” is also available at the Marketplace. For $7, diners can have pasta with one of three sauces, a Caesar salad tossed to order and a drink. (This deal, also available at MidVail, is easily the best deal on the mountain.)
Like many Vail venues, the Marketplace has a diverse international staff. David McMahon, an employee at the restaurant, is from Australia. He hasn’t skied at home since 1995, as Vail has spoiled him. He’s currently making his way around the world for the fourth time.
“I like it here amongst the people I work with,” he said. “I hope to be back next season.”
As for Pottorff, he intends to be back, too. When asked why he liked it up at Eagle’s Nest, all he could do was wave at the jagged view of mountain peaks out the windows.
“I’ll never leave Vail,” he explained. “It’s too great a place.”
The Marketplace is open daily from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The coffee shop also serves chef Bradford’s baked goods from 9 a.m. until close. Eagle’s Nest is located at the top of the Gondola, through the glass doors.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.