Nibbles: Culinary happenings in the Vail Valley |

Nibbles: Culinary happenings in the Vail Valley

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyKelly Liken bags some of her kettle chips at the Vail Farmer's Market. Liken is launching her own brand of snacks - chips, dips, soups and cocktail mixes - this fall.

You know its fall in Colorado’s Vail Valley when you start hearing about the Eagle Valley Humane Society’s annual Harvest Party, now in its 10th year. Tickets for the event, which will take place at Lion Square Lodge in Vail, can be purchased for a minimum donation of $45 at Wags & Whiskers in Eagle and Edwards and at West Vail Liquor Mart. All proceeds benefit the Eagle Valley Humane Society.The Harvest Party is at 6 p.m. Oct. 10. As always, the event will include gourmet food, wine, a silent auction, a raffle and a wine ring toss. Dave Laub & Friends will perform live music. Call 970-328-PETS for more information. This event sells out nearly every year, so don’t hesitate to get your tickets.

The snowflakes a flyin’ this week won’t put a damper on The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch’s summer send-off soiree, set for Thursday through Saturday. Spago is offering $11 appetizers, entrees and desserts, $3 cocktails and 50 percent off all wine. Valet parking is also complimentary and a DJ will be spinning dance tunes in the great room. Call 970-343-1106 for reservations. If you have a few too many cocktails, you can spend the night at the Ritz without breaking the bank – on Thursday and Friday rooms are being offered at $99/night. Call 866-266-8444 to make a reservation. Additionally, the Bachelor Gulch spa is offering $1/minute spa treatments Thursday through Saturday. Call 970-343-1106.Go ahead, get pampered.

Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek has a new executive chef. Dave Gutowski, who has worked for the restaurant for about a year and a half as a sous chef, took over the lead position around two weeks ago, said Tom McNally, restaurant manager. Joe Ritchie, the previous executive chef, moved back to Seattle, McNally said. The menu remains the same and this week the restaurant is offering a three-course special, which includes the entire menu, for $39. For more information, call 970-949-0600.

La Tour is hosting a special Oktoberfest beer dinner on Saturday. The four-course menu, developed by chef/owner Paul Ferzaca and chef de cuisine Chase Wilbanks, is paired with four beers chosen by Paul DiMario, the beverage director. “In Germany, Oktoberfest just kicked off, and we wanted to do something in the spirit of that,” DiMario said. The menu is full of comfort food, perfect for the fall weather that’s settled in. The first course is crispy potato-wrapped cod with malt vinegar and bitter greens paired with Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager. The second course, spiced barbecue pork belly with pumpernickel crisp and caraway red cabbage, is paired with Odell Brewing Company’s India Pale Ale. It’s the third course that grabbed us, though – mole-brased Colorado lamb shank paired with Olathe corn polenta and rosemary pinenut and apricot gremolata with a tall Belgium beauty – Trappistes Rochefort No. 10. And for dessert? Warm chocolate fondant with creme chantilly and raspberries paired with Brouwerji Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic, also from Belgium. The dinner is $49 and if you want the beers too (how could you not?), it’s another $18. “It should be a really fun dinner,” DiMario said. Call La Tour at 970-476-4403 for reservations or more information.

Kelly Liken, the chef/owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken, is launching her own gourmet specialty snack line. Her namesake line will include some of her favorite snacks, as well as her award-winning handcrafted cocktails. Every product in the line is created from Liken’s personal repertoire of recipes and she packages them herself.”I have always experimented and made my own foods at home – from pickles to spiced nuts,” Liken said. “Many of my dishes or bar bites have started out in my home kitchen before taking them to my customers at the restaurant or bistro.” The snacks will be available via special order from Among the items in the line are Liken’s favorite soups, (16 oz., $15) in flavors like spiced buttermilk squash, vanilla-scented golden beet, truffled-roasted cauliflower, apple fennel or brandied wild mushroom puree. Liken’s kettle chips (which include flavors like dill pickle, buttermilk and herb and cheddar and habanero) come in a 4-ounce bag and retail for $5 each. Liken uses herbs grown in her backyard garden in her gourmet dips (8 ounces for $6). Flavors include Colorado spinach, creamy three onion dip, garlicky black bean dip and roasted red pepper humus. Cocktail mixes ($10 each, makes four cocktails) include step by step instructions for the drinks and come in flavors like chai-ti-ni, roasted red pepper bloody mary, pumpkin pie cocktail and riding out the (snow) storm. Call 970-479-0175 or visit for more information.

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