SERVICE WITH A SMILE
They say YOU CAN’T HIDE YOUR SMILIN’ EYES, meaning fake smiles are easy to spot. However, during these extraordinary times, we’re blessed to find genuine joy in great abundance at our locally-owned eateries. After months of coronavirus closures and unfortunate layoffs, our community’s food scene reopened with safe service, streamlined menus, and take-out ingenuity, giving everyone from waitstaff to pent-up parents a reason to show up. Here’s a sampling of dishes featuring locally sourced produce and meats, so you can partake of pop-up “parklets” near “restaurant row” on the Colorado River or check out the new pavement mural spanning one block of Main Street in Carbondale. You are what you eat now has deeper meaning, because food equals community, as we help heal the Valley’s economy one delicious bite at a time.
LOCALLY SOURCED SUPPERTIME: ASPEN
1. SO Cafe at Aspen Art Museum
637 E. Hymen, Aspen
The museum’s free entrance makes it easier to splurge on a gourmet lunch or early dinner at the rooftop restaurant operated by Andrea and James Gordon. Their small menu changes weekly. Here’s a sampling. Western Slope peaches over in-house whipped ricotta. Cherry tomatoes like bursts of sunshine with basil oil & rosemary flatbread. The kids’ menu offers a standard grilled cheese – upgraded for grown ups with roasted poblanos and tomatoes on chewy ciabatta, paired with a sunflower seed slaw. photo: Michael Moran
LOCALLY SOURCED SUPPERTIME: BASALT
2. Free Range
305 Gold Rivers Court, Basalt
Steve and Robin Humble source pasture-raised Gray Acres Poultry — processed by one of the first small-scale, state-licensed processing facilities in Colorado, Diamond G Poultry. Seared Chicken served with San Juan Valley White Mountain-grown quinoa tabouli, with roasted carrots, a garlic yogurt, Middle Eastern za’atar, pickled onion, and a fiery, harissa honey. Or try FR coq au vin, a crispy confit chicken leg with bacon, mushrooms, and a red wine au jus over garlic whipped potatoes.
SAY HELLO TO FREE RANGE
165 Midland Avenue, Basalt
Restauranteurs/ranchers Laura Maine and Chef Javier Gonzales-Bringes source Iberico Black Spanish pigs and free-range chickens and fresh eggs from their Missouri Heights ranch. The result: huevos con jamon Iberico, a tapas plate showcasing their own free-range organic eggs over Iberico ham and potatoes. For vegans – setas: wild mushrooms sauteed in sherry wine with roasted tomatoes.
SAY HELLO TO TEMPRANILLO
LOCALLY SOURCED SUPPERTIME: CARBONDALE
335 Main St., Carbondale
As seen on page 7, Allegria’s street corn is a party on a platter. Imagine grilled, first-harvest sweet Olathe corn, feta, pancetta and chilled tomatoes. Add seared halibut or lobster with a tussle of local greens and mozzarella, splashed with roasted garlic buttermilk dressing, then topped with a sprinkle of candied pecans. Each mouthful = a unique foray into unforgettable flavor from chef/owner Andreas Fischbacher.
SAY HELLO TO ALLEGRIA
5. Landmark Cafe
689 Main St., Carbondale
Aaron Rogers and Flip Wise are creating a locavore hub with Farmstand Fridays and Brunch + Beats on Saturdays, where they pair farm fare with a live DJ from noon to 3:00 PM. With a Café Bar, Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper Club, there seems to always be someone in the kitchen or garden in back. Groove on a lavender polenta with poached eggs and seared veggies. Add dry-rubbed pork belly bacon. For a lighter vibe, hummus + flatbread sing with house-pickled crunchy carrots and juicy radishes.
SAY HELLO TO LANDMARK CAFE
LOCALLY SOURCED SUPPERTIME: GLENWOOD SPRINGS
6. The Pullman
330 7th Street, Glenwood Springs
Chef/owner Mark Fischer’s menu engages all of your senses. Case in point – the heirloom tomato salad made with every color of the rainbow. Close your eyes and experience succulent chunks of juicy tomatoes contrasted with warm, crisply fried avocado, layered with basil aioli … mmm. Or close your lips and smile over butter-soft braised pork shoulder with Palisades peach molé, corn grits, peach salad, and smoked almonds. Save room for the butterscotch budino’s sweet + salty bliss.
Photo: Charles Engelbert