Yesterday I shared my first day of eats in Aspen, and today I’m sharing day two…
After proper hydration, a good night sleep and acclimation, I was ready for more grub, beginning with a free breakfast at the hotel I was staying at. Nothing like rollin’ out of bed and being greeted by masses of food and good company.
After spending top dollar on day one in Aspen (totally worth it), the “continental” breakfast buffet at Limelight Hotel was looking dang good. The staff wasn’t kidding when they said that it was a really great spread. There were no crusty bagels and pre-packed condiments to cover up the fact that they’d been sitting out for more than a day.
No, this was house-made granola that came warm out of the oven every morning. You could taste the honey, see the roasted cashews, and it was simply delicious. There was also a spread of fresh fruit that included diced honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple, along with whole oranges and apples that you could take away for the day. There were fresh and fluffy bagels, bread, a waffle-making station and all the fixings that you could want.
And if you just wanted plain ol’ cereal or to have a doughnut, well, they had that, too.
For those who were protein-hungry, you also had the option of hard-boiled eggs, lox to go on your bagel (fancy!) and deli meats so that you could also make sandwiches for lunch.
All for free—and a great place for me to set up my office away from home. Don’t forget the water!
Later that day, I needed more coffee. Owned by an Aussie woman named Victoria (as you might guess), Victoria’s Espresso is known for great coffees, teas, homemade vanilla syrup for your coffee and gourmet nibbles. This is more of your simple, modern layout with concrete floors and communal tables.
Service here is rarely with a smile but, again, the trade-off is for the amazing food and coffee that they offer. Alternative milk? You can ask for anything, and they’ll have it magically. I ordered my latte with their special vanilla and rice milk.
Moving on to lunch at The Meatball Shack. (How great of a name is that, by the way?) Unfortunately, there were no veggie balls, and shrimp balls were only for the summer.
However, I split an order of the warm quinoa bowl with fresh veggies, a veggie plate that had every single grilled veggie you could think of and more (bok choy, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant!) and balsamic that was exquisite yet simple.
My friends dove into chicken balls with Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing, which they raved about. The menu is very kitschy and clever with titles like “Our Balls” and “Ball Busters.” (Oh, the ball jokes!) Dear Meatball Shack: Get some veggie ball busters on that menu!
During the trip to Aspen, my friend and I made a couple trips to Finnbar’s Irish Pub, a cozy Irish pub. It was a great dry, warm spot to watch the X Games with an active crowd around us. The pub was really cozy and chill even with all the people, so we parked ourselves on the couches by a fire as if we were hanging out in our own living room. We indulged in an order of jumbo soft pretzels with Guinness cheese while we sipped on Pearl Vodka plum with soda, a frozen espresso martini, and a hot toddy to warm us up from the cold. Life is hard, no?
Last stop for dinner was at Zocalito, which has South American cuisine that makes you go mmm. Talk about savory, delicious and unique food! You can get Japanese, you can get Irish, and you can get Italian, but it is way more rare to get South American the way Zocalito makes it happen. The chile shrimp and corn cheese dip is piping hot and delicious. I have never had anything like it! It’s almost like a queso fundido but the smoked shrimp in it is amazing. And of course, what’s a South American dinner without a delicious raspberry mojito? Not a meal, in my opinion.
I also had to order a side of the scalloped potatoes, which normally came along with meat dishes. It was buttery but not mushy and amazing for such a simple dish. The key is to split it to avoid overindulging!
After that, I happily walked around town to work off the food so I could make room to do it all again!
If you’re ever in Aspen, I definitely recommend eating as much as you can and walking as much as possible…or get out on your skis or snowboard. You’re working twice as hard trudging in the snow or avoiding ice in altitude, so reward yourself and enjoy. And if all else fails, just go to Ink! Coffee, and it’ll be worth your trip out there. Seriously.
What’s your favorite comfort food combo to help you stay warm in the cold? Your favorite Aspen spot to nosh or sip? — Crystal