Mezzaluna |


BY KRISTIN ANDERRSONThe crab cakes are made exotic with a papaya mustard sauce.

Mezzaluna, Italian for half-moon, takes its theme seriously. Sit on the deck beneath Vail’s bright blue skies or inside under Mezzaluna’s azure ceiling painted with wispy white clouds and the pinks of sunset time. The walls boast moon-themed art. Impressionist, modern, abstract and other types of art hang in blond wood frames around this casual dining restaurant.

Situated within skipping distance from the Lionshead gondola, Mezzaluna is an apres-ski hot spot. Drink specials and pizzas for $7 abound from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and all night at the bar. The oven-fired pizzas range from traditional flavors, including pepperoni, mozzarella and basil, to the more exotic, like prosciutto with mushrooms, arugula, truffle oil, reggiano and mozzarella. If you like basil try the pesto pizza with roma tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, mozzarella and goat cheese.

After a hard day on the hill, warm up with a cup of the creamy tomato-basil soup. Follow it up with the flash-fried calamari, served with a sweet and spicy chili dipping sauce, or crab cakes. Served with a papaya mustard sauce and cucumber ribbons, these delectable crab cakes are fried to perfection and make a great apres-ski snack or introduction to the meal to come.

Sample one of Mezzaluna’s three salads – Caesar, simple or spinach – before moving on to an array or pastas and entrees. Old-fashioned recipes reign supreme with offerings like bucatini pasta with Bolognese sauce and chicken parmigiana. The frutti di mare puttanesca pasta features an array of seafood sauteed with capers, garlic, olives, fresh tomatoes and a touch of spicy marinara over linguine.

Banana bread gets a twist as chef Clifford Mullins transforms it into a spongy bread pudding. Don’t miss the ultra-rich, flourless chocolate cake with almond slivers. Mullins pairs it with homemade strawberry ice cream to lighten the dense chocolate load.

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