Nibbles: The scoop on food happenings in Eagle County |

Nibbles: The scoop on food happenings in Eagle County

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado

No longer just a breakfast and lunch hotspot, The Westside Cafe in West Vail started serving dinner last week.

“We surveyed our local clientele and I think they have been calling out for a casual place to dine in Vail,” cafe co-owner Mike Dennis said.

Official dinner hours are from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

Menu items include entrees like the raspberry chipotle baby back ribs, blackened ahi and grilled teriyaki chicken breast.

Entrees range in price from the $12.95 fettucini alfredo to the $24.95 surf and turf, with most entrees hovering between $14.95 and $18.95.

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To fine-tune the menu, owners surveyed 500 regulars. Patrons asked for casual and healthy food, Dennis said.

Vail Chef Kelly Liken earned a nod from the James Beard Foundation in New York.

Known for dishing out what Time magazine calls “The Oscars of the food world,” the foundation invited Liken to cook for a charity dinner on June 24.

Liken prepared a “Colorado Farm to Table Dinner” including an organic roasted beet salad, pan-seared diver scallops, Colorado wildflower honey-glazed duck, rack of lamb, and Palisade cherry clafouti.

Honoring seven local farms, the menu featured fresh ingredients. To prepare for the dinner, Liken shopped farmer’s markets in Boulder, Vail and Edwards, and even picked her own beets, pea tendrils and sugar snap peas at the Munson Farms in Boulder. Liken packed the food into seven coolers, which she checked at the airport for the trip to New York.

“It made it so much more special than if we had just bought any old produce from any old purveyor that would deliver to New York,” Liken said. “It really gave a sense of authenticity to the dinner.”

Known for its constantly shifting menu, Larkspur has a new face behind the food.

Armando Navarro from the Napa Valley assumed the executive chef position June 1.

A Mexico native, Navarro trained at Jardiniere and Masa’s in San Francisco, and served as chef de cuisine at Redd in Yountville, Calif. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif.

“He’s very innovative, always using fresh, seasonal, local products whenever we can get them,” Larkspur Director of Marketing Sue Barham said.

Since he assumed the post, Navarro has created a new bar menu. The food includes spare ribs, ceviche, pizzas, Fritto Misto and spiced nuts.

Navarro replaces Mike Regrut, who held the job for three years. Regrut has assumed the title of director of food and beverage operations at the new Avondale restaurant in The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon. That restaurant also belongs to Larkspur owner Thomas Salamunovich. Avondale is expected to open in mid- to late- August, but has a temporary headquarters at Larkspur.

Bagali’s Italian Kitchen cleans up well. The West Vail eatery recently received a $45,000 makeover including fresh paint, new tables, a separate entrance to the dining room and wood floors.

“We basically gutted the inside and remodeled the whole thing,” owner Scott Bucy said.

Bagali’s conducted the remodel in May, three years after moving into the location. The space adjacent to the Holiday Inn Vail has been a restaurant since 2003, when it housed a steak and seafood eatery.

The new digs come as Bagali’s prepares to open another location in Broomfield at the end of August, Bucy said.

High Life writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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