Vail Valley Nibbles: Showtime for soup, bacon and vintage grains |

Vail Valley Nibbles: Showtime for soup, bacon and vintage grains

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail Valley Nibbles: Chicken tortilla soup is the Wednesday soup special at the Bookworm of Edwards.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – The cafe at the Bookworm of Edwards recently added soup to the menu. Each weekday a vegan tomato basil soup is available, along with a daily soup special. Monday is chicken orzo soup; Tuesday is butternut squash curry (vegan); Wednesday is chicken tortilla; Thursday is Thai coconut chicken; Friday is New England clam chowder. A 12-ounce cup of soup with an Avon Bakery organic roll is $6.50 and soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is $8.50.

“Our customers have always asked us if we could make soup, and it just so happened that this year everything came together – space, staff, time, and the right recipes – to make it happen,” said Kristi Allio, co-owner and executive chef of The Bookworm.

Allio said fine-tuning the recipes was her favorite part.

“We are making everything from scratch so flavor is very important,” she said. “The Bookworm staff has been taste testing for over a month to make sure we get it right.”

– Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Paul Ferzacca didn’t invent bacon mania, but he’s sure capitalizing on it. The chef-owner of La Tour is hosting the valley’s second bacon dinner Saturday. Four courses of porky goodness for $49 is fine dining at its porcine pinnacle. Bacon has gone through a big revival in the past decade, due in part to the low-carb trend and in part to its sweet and savory decadence.

As with La Tour’s last bacon dinner, each course will highlight a different bacon, smoked or cured in a different style, from various parts of the country. The courses run the gamut from the traditional (bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp, marscapone grits and barbecue sauce) to the sensual (chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon with a piquillo pepper sauce) to the outlandish (chocolate bacon bars, chocolate curry bacon truffles and chocolate-dipped bacon). Shoot, there’s even a breakfast course: pork belly and bacon with french toast, sweet potato hash and sunny-side-up quail eggs.

The inaugural bacon dinner sold out, so reservations are recommended. Contact the restaurant for more information at 970-476-4403 or

– Wren Wertin, Special Sections Editor

When you plan your holiday meals this season put the mashed potatoes away and try a healthy whole grain salad, soup or rice medley to accompany your turkey. Ancient varieties of grains such as teff, spelt, quinoa, millet, kamut, faro, buckwheat, barley and rice varietals like black forbidden rice – also known as “heritage” grains – are making a comeback at the American table.

Jenna Johansen, chef/owner of Dish! restaurant in Edwards uses kamut, quinoa and purple Thai rice to accompany her culinary creations.

“I like the texture of these grains and the mouth feel. Heritage grains lend an interesting twist and really complement our lighter dishes like fish and poultry,” Johansen said.

Heritage grains, which originated in China, South America and the Middle East thousands of years ago, are not as processed and are closer to their natural state with a great source of nutrients such as high amounts of minerals (selenium, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous), vitamins (especially vitamins B and E), omega oils, protein and fiber. The health benefits of these grains in reducing heart disease and the on-set of diabetes have been well documented.

Indian Harvest is one company that is known as a pioneer in the cultivation of heritage grains. Located in northern Minnesota, Indian Harvest began cultivating ancient grain and legume varieties in 1978. Starting only with ancient heirloom seeds that hold their flavor and nutritional profile, Indian Harvest uses the highest quality seeds, which is likely why the blends have recently become popular with chefs like Johansen.

Indian Harvest heritage grains and legumes can be purchased locally at Eat! In Edwards and are served in Dish Restaurant, located above Eat! Drink!

– Kelly Brinkerhoff, Daily Correspondent

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