Vail Restaurant Month connects community |

Vail Restaurant Month connects community

Sue Barham
Simply Seasonal
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

This year’s fall season in Vail saw a new infusion of excitement and activity with the inaugural Vail Restaurant Month, which took place Sept. 20 through Oct. 17. The brainchild of Ilene Rapkin and Greg Hittelman, partners in the New York marketing firm I Openers, the four week period showcased all that Vail has to offer in its fall glory.

There were harvest dinners, beer and wine tastings, activities for families, chef demos, outdoor adventures and more. All were geared toward showing the world that Vail is indeed a four season resort. I Openers led the way by engaging the restaurant community to design special events during the month that could be promoted to the Front Range and beyond. These events became an invitation, a new reason to visit Vail, and for the restaurants, a chance to prolong the inevitable discounting.

Ultimately, the program brought many extraneous benefits to Vail. The entire community became involved – retail shops, art galleries and lodges all found a way to connect to Restaurant Month by offering interesting packages. Families especially loved the Little Foodies events that were held – there were many themes that attracted kids to the kitchens.

Larkspur’s Pastry Chef, Mark Metzger, instructed a group of Vail and Denver girls last Saturday on the art of baking. They measured, weighed, rolled and baked doughnuts, cookies and truffles. For the Little Foodie in your home, Metzger shares some kid-friendly recipes here:

Apple crisp

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup flour

3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats

pinch of salt

1/2 stick softened butter (4 tbsp)

Vanilla ice cream

In a bowl combine the apples, granulated sugar, corn starch, and lemon juice, and mix to combine evenly. Pour into a lightly buttered baking dish.

In the same bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, salt, and butter. Stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and evenly blended. Spread the mixture over the apples and bake at 375-degrees for 40 minutes or until the apples start to bubble up around the edges. Let cool to warm before serving. Top with ice cream.

Serves 6.

Pumpkin pecan bread

If it’s not Thanksgiving at your house without the aroma of baking, try some pumpkin pecan bread. Adeline’s pie recipe is a secret, so Bill Fitzgerald, Avondale’s pastry chef, shares this holiday treat.

5 1/2 ounces butter

2 1/3 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree

2/3 cups Water

2 1/2 cups white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. cinnamon


1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Combine the two flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a bowl and toss to mix. In another bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat together. Mix in eggs one by one. Mix in pumpkin, then water. Add the dry ingredients and mix together. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Mix sugar, cinnamon and pecans in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the batter in pans. Bake 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

Yield 2 loaves.

Chocolate truffles

1/2 pound high quality bittersweet chocolate

1/2 pound high quality semisweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, optional

1 tablespoon prepared coffee

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar

Cocoa powder

Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the orange flavored liqueur, if using, coffee, and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

With two teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to roughly make it round. Roll in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, or both. These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature.

Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, ( at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American Classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale, ( opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and features a West Coast inspired, market driven menu.

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