Let me paint you a picture... four adventurers set off to Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado... a winter wonderland! They find themselves winding and climbing and winding and climbing through these GLORIOUS, sparkling white mountains that only seem as if they're from a long, enchanted dream. The only thing that could've made the wintery dream complete was a cozy log cabin and some family inside. Lo and behold, that is what they found (except the "cozy" log cabin might as well have been the most FAABBUUULOUS, swanky, five-star bed and breakfast I've ever seen, donning it's very own movie theatre). Back to the story... The wonderful family members they found inside were Aunt Claudette and Uncle Dean, the kindest family there ever was. They had a magical week of skiing and cooking, snowmobiling and laughing and THEN, Uncle Dean and Aunt Claudette wanted to surprise the adventurers with a BEAUTIFUL evening out in the snow... This is where our photos begin. And p.s. the adventurers are us... I'm no longer referring to us as that.. it got
old too fast too difficult to keep thinking in storybook language. ;)
Uncle Dean's MOSCOW MULES to start the evening off right!
*purchase these copper mule mugs by clicking the picture of them at bottom of post*
"What on earth is that snowy strange photo below," you might ask... oh ya know, it's just us taking a GIANT SLEIGH RIDE. IN THE SNOW. FROM THE RITZ-CARLTON (where they tricked us into thinking we were having dinner) TO A SECRET, AWESOME LOG CABIN FOR DINNER!!! WHAT?!?!
As you can see, we were in shock and having SO much fun.
Check it out! Let me take you through...
Oh yeah... you arrive to have your own space to hang your jacket, kick your shoes off and have a pair of cozy, fleece Crocs slippers to enjoy your dinner in comfort... you should DEFinitely click that link and treat yourself to a pair of those babies. I can't even believe I'm saying it but, I think I want my own pair of Crocs.
As you can probably tell, these photos were taken with my iPhone so they're not really displaying this place in all it's glory.. but the photo below is maybe a THIRD of the wide open space of gorgeous log and stone dining room. Just under that amazing antler chandelier on the left... that's our table of six. :)
Yes, thank you, I DO like leather-bound menus.
This place is no joke. Check out the incredibly VIBRANT and strange menu...
Tim McCaw... you're my new best friend... and hero.
Uncle Dean ordered us two bottles of wine at the beginning of the meal... first we'll start with the lighter pinot noir, then move on to the cabernet. But, of course, our personal sommelier came to pour the pinot and suggested we go ahead and decant the cabernet as well, so that it's ready to drink in an hour.
We were simply enchanted at this point.
Thank you for displaying that wine, Uncle Dean... James and I will be seeking that out for Thursday's girls' night! :)
Oysters to start... Never in my life have I tasted a bite of ANYTHING that was more perfect than these. In all seriousness. Dad, if you're reading this, why on EARTH don't we order these more? Also do you love these? Why do I??!
For those of you who think ordering oysters is
A: over priced
B: lame, or
C: asking for a slimy disappointment,
let me kindly tell you that you're wrong. Somehow, the shape, the way they come chilled, the texture of the oyster floating in soy and cilantro and FRESH, zingy ginger... honestly, it's the perfect combination of "just right" and "contrast" to create the most perfect flavor experience. Also this just in from my health expert Uncle Lee:
Read the full article about cancer fighting lipids found in oysters here.
Enough said about those.
We also ordered a little starter of this and that... it was a special and not written down so I apologize.. but I can tell you we needed chopsticks for it, so chopsticks there were!
The unassuming one on the bottom happened to be my favorite... salmon with some sort of ground mustard seed corn cake. Unreal.
Also, let me take a second to say my piece about this... Some people think that when you go to a "fancy" restaurant, you're throwing your money away on an expensive appetizer that comes out looking like this... three small bites on the plate for $30.. insane. And sometimes, those people are correct, it's just not worth it. BUT SOMETIMES, you strike gold and you come across somebody's kitchen who RESPECTS the art of food and treasures it like his firstborn son. On these occasions, I urge you to open your mind, forget that you USUALLY have a massive portion on your plate from bill's joint down the street and let your taste buds determine what happens in your head and your stomach. My opinion is that, yes, fine dining is definitely expensive and the portions for things like starters or salads are definitely smaller... but the gastronomic experience of texture, smells, flavor, creativity, inventiveness that usually come out of a fine dining kitchen satisfy your hunger and stand their ground in a surprisingly affirmative way. When you've tasted one bite of something so surprising and delicious, you find yourself becoming rapidly more satisfied with far less food. So give fine dining a break, hey? In fact, give it a try!
I feel better now... onwards? :) My soup. Lobster bisque. Creme fraiche. WINNER.
House salad. Perfect in every way.
And now on to the main course. My zucchini pappardelle. As in, "pappardelle..." entirely made of zucchini, no real noodles involved. Perfectly al dente, sopping in toasted garlic tomato sauce and delicious.
Beef Tenderloin. And now to date, James' favorite steak he's ever eaten. Which is saying something for my world traveling husband. See honey, you DO love America... look at what Colorado has to offer you.
Another house salad.. those caramelized onions man... MADE IT.
Rack of Lamb. Sadly I didn't taste this. But I heard it was completely perfect.
The special Red Snapper. Again, to date, the best red snapper I've ever tasted. Although I'm tellin' you... 300 East, you've come SO close, my old friend.
And onto dessert...
Also somewhere in there we poured the cabernet, although I really didn't want to move on from the pinot, which was surprising for me, I usually am not a pinot noir fan. Mom, you've gotta buy a bottle of that and take it to The Wine Cellar, tell Alain to start carrying it!
Uncle Dean ordered the S'mores Pie. Sounds childlike and awful... but it was not. Well maybe childlike a little, I mean how could s'mores not be. But isn't that what's charming about them? :) Anyways, the ice cream portion of this slice of white magic is homemade marshmallow ice cream. YES PLEASE!
I believe this was Brent's Ginger Chocolate cake with cinnamon graham ice cream.. whatever it was, it was exactly like eating a chocolate Moravian cookie and I LOVED it. Another charming flavor reminiscent of childhood Christmas events at school.
And my personal favorite of the night... white chocolate toffee bread pudding. TOTALLY not something I would usually order and it blew my mind. Spongy then dense, SO caramely and delicious. Perfectly balanced with fresh fruit and I didn't leave any on the plate.
And that, my friends, is a night at Zach's Cabin in Beaver Creek. If you ever find yourself visiting Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, PLEASE plan for one of your events to be dining at this establishment. The experience was unlike anything I've ever encountered, the service was IMPECCABLE and the food... it'll break your heart in the "hurts so good" kinda way. Aunt Claudette, Uncle Dean... we truly couldn't be MORE grateful for the night of a lifetime. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.
Lots of love to you friends... and happy eating this week! Small side update: our Bavarian Beer Pretzels are officially mastered and the recipe has been updated here.. check it out.
*don't forget to buy those mule mugs just there if you want them!*