Where to satisfy late night hunger pangs in Eagle County
here are so many activities to experience in Vail — outdoor activities, concerts and, of course, the nightlife. But going out in Vail requires a plan of attack: There must be an ample food-to-alcohol ratio or the evening might end in a very messy manner, with questionable concoctions of leftovers thrown together in the microwave at extremely late hours, all designed to cure the midnight munchies.
However, there’s no need to resort to a block of Velveeta and whatever might be lurking in the crisper to create a late night snack — there are several options in the Vail Valley that can calm the savage (stomach) beast.
There is a scientific reason as to why overindulgence in certain substances makes a person absolutely ravenous.
Take alcohol, for example. Though alcohol contains calories, it doesn’t fill you up in the same way that food does, so instead of consuming fewer food calories to make up for the liquid ones, alcohol makes us want to eat more. Because alcohol suppresses leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full, you’ll often feel hungry after drinking. The fact that alcohol loosens inhibitions doesn’t inhibit us from craving comforting food like pizza or burritos, either.
Other substances (such as those recently legalized by Amendment 64) may also contribute to unadulterated snacking. A new study that was recently published in “Nature Neuroscience” indicated that THC might increase one’s sensitivity to the smell of food and, because the senses are linked, enhance the taste of food as well. This is in addition to earlier studies that THC acts on receptors that release dopamine, leading to a feeling of pleasure resulting from eating while high. Other studies have shown that THC also interacts with the same sort of receptors that release the hormone ghrelin, which leads to feelings of hunger. All of these reactions result in munchies because, essentially, your brain thinks you’re starving and eating makes you happy.
Though most of the Vail Valley’s options for dining are hopping during the peak hours of 7 to 9 p.m., the choices dwindle quickly after 11 p.m. Unless you have the foresight to stock the freezer with frozen egg rolls and buy out the stash of nacho cheese Dorito’s at the gas station, finding food to satisfy a late night craving is difficult. Luckily, there are several opportunities for dine-in, take-out and delivery.
For dining in (or simply dining between destinations), Vendetta’s in Vail Village is one of the best options for a slice, whether you have 15 minutes or longer to linger. Open until 2 a.m., you can belly up to the new bar area and order up a slice of Snow Pig until the wee hours of the morning.
An alternative for those out in Avon is Loaded Joe’s. Though this coffee house and bar is known for its music, theme nights and spectacular get-you-through-the-morning coffee, it also serves up tasty treats during the late night hours. Don’t be afraid of the Man Candy — this delectable tender belly bacon will satisfy those sweet and spicy cravings in no time.
Benderz Burgers, located next to Northside Kitchen in Avon, is serving up late-night burgers until 2 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday nights.
If an on-the-go possibility is needed, Eagle’s Colorado Cheesesteak Company is delivering freshly made burritos to three locations in the Vail Valley. Though Yeti’s Grind closes at a reasonable hour, the West Vail Shell and the Eagle-Vail Shop and Hop are open later and can supply the much-needed sustenance. These aren’t frozen specimens, either.
“I accommodate for whatever their [the vendors’] business is,” said Chris Schino, owner of Colorado Cheesesteak Company. “I try to deliver as fresh a burrito as I can, and usually end up delivering every few days.”
Of course, there are those times when leaving the house is inconceivable and delivery is the only way to go. When those cravings strike, call Local Joe’s pizza. With locations in both Vail and Edwards, Local Joe’s has the valley covered with its pizza and other Italian cuisine delivery services until 2 a.m. If ordering from the Vail location, ordering online is a fantastic option, making phone-ordering mistranslations a thing of the past.
Because no one wants a pizza with extra “sneeze.”
AT THE END OF THE EVENING
Regardless of the hows or whys, sometimes the urge hits for a little late night munching. While the options around Vail aren’t extensive, they do maintain Vail’s high standards of culinary quality, which is well above the criteria of most towns.
However, until someone opens a Waffle House in Eagle-Vail, breakfast at 4 a.m. is something best attempted in the privacy of your own home. Keep plenty of eggs on hand and make sure your fire extinguisher has been inspected for the safest experience possible.
Paul Cuthbertson, a lifelong local of Eagle and Summit counties, died while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to meet some friends for a celebration of his 21st birthday on Friday night.