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Vail Valley plans - did I choose well?

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My husband and I are going to be staying at the Sheraton Mountain Vista for a week starting 9/15. Neither of us has ever been to Colorado before, other than the Denver airport. We're driving from L.A. so we'll have our car, complete with GPS.

I wanted to make some dinner reservations even though we're not sure exactly what we'll be doing every day. I figure I can always cancel or change.

So far I have booked (on O.T.) Sweet Basil for the Tuesday and Juniper for the Wednesday. I requested reservations through the Dish website for Monday and Thursday. Looking at that menu and reading all the raves here for Dish, I figured it couldn't hurt to try it twice. Did I do ok? Any glaring omissions? Any suggestions in Avon for the Friday night? We are leaving really early on 9/22 since we need to make it all the way to Vegas by late that afternoon.

Also, being from L.A., nice jeans are acceptable at most places - does the same hold true in the Vail area, especially for the places that I've chosen? Or do I need something dressier?

Many thanks.

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  1. Colorado is a pretty casual state, so nice jeans are OK in most situations, especially in the mountains. In the unlikely event that you're Dished-out after one dinner, you can always switch your plans for Thurs.

    14 Replies
    1. re: ClaireWalter

      That's what we were thinking (re: Dish). We also want to visit our nephew who recently moved to a suburb of Denver, so things could change.

      Should we sub Kelly Liken for Sweet Basil?

      1. re: Debbie W

        I would definitely not sub Kelly Linken for Sweet Basil. Kelly Linken, in my opinion, is vastly overrated and horribly expensive -- even by Vail standards. Larkspur is wonderful (as good as or better than Sweet Basil), and if you want a quick bite in Edwards, the burgers and truffled fries at Larkburger are fabulous. Dish is certainly worth going to (sit at the chef's counter), and Eat! Drink!, the restaurant below Dish, is a terrific spot for sandwiches and artisan cheeses. If you have time for one breakfast -- and don't mind a short drive -- head west to Eagle-Vail and go to Route 6 Cafe. It's located in an old gas station and the breakfasts are simply superb. Juniper is lovely -- probably my favorite restaurant in the Valley, and I also love La Tour, a romantic French food temple.

        1. re: gastronaughty

          Gastro, thank you for the word on the Route 6 Cafe. I've often wondered as it is about 2 minutes from my family's place in Eagle-Vail.

          Also, if you are looking for some good italian Ti Amo is a good option in Eagle-Vail for Friday night but do make reservations.

          1. re: gastronaughty

            Gastro, you nailed it on KL. Who is telling out of towner's that its a good place to go. In the past I've blamed it on lazy concierge here in the valley, but the last couple of posts would indicated that some site other than CH is "pimping" it.

            The week Debbie is here it may not be necessary to make resv except for Friday and Saturday nights.

            1. re: BlueOx

              I saw the name in a very recent post here (probably the one you're referring to, BlueOx), and then it's in my Frommer's guide (which I normally wouldn't use for food recs) so I checked out the KL website last night and it did look intriguing. I've been following Vail Valley posts here for a few months so I already had a list, but it didn't include Kelly Liken. Anyway, we'll keep the Sweet Basil reservation, thanks everyone.

              1. re: Debbie W

                Debbie,
                If you are driving in from LA, Avon is 9 hours from Las Vegas. When you get close to Colorado I70 exit 167 look to your right and you'll see the Sheraton. If you discover any places to stop, between Vegas and here, please post it.

                You are going to be here at the best time of year, the brush has started to turn orange and the aspens probably will turn the next 2 weeks. Avon is in the middle of rebuilding, so the food might be limited. You have a kitchen in the Sheraton, so get your "fixin's" at City Market. If you want better quality meat, checkout "Food of Vail" which is close to "Beaver Liquors". Foods of Vail is a catering company that's been here 25 years. The selection is limited and the cost is higher than a chain market.

                My top 6 in the Valley (which I now call the Eagle River Valley) is Juniper, Larkspur, Sweet Basil (for lunch), Bottega (Vail), Dish and probably Golden Eagle or Grouse Mountain Grill (Beaver Creek). If you are looking for charm try Maribelle at the entrance to the Beav.

                If you want some casual, down and dirty places, just say so.

                Please let us know what you find, like and don't like.

                1. re: BlueOx

                  I agree with almost everything said in this thread. Just got back from a few days in Beaver Creek and had good lunches at Gore Creek Brewery in Edwards (Chopped Salad with Chicken) and at Grouse on the Green in Cordillera (Spring Rolls and Reuben). Had another wonderful dinner at the newly decorated Golden Eagle Inn in Beaver Creek. Their pancetta and parmesan crusted trout is a winner, as was my wife's salmon. Before I arrived my wife and some friends had eaten a couple of times at Grouse Mountain Grill and raved about the food. They also made the absolutely moronic mistake of riding horses to Beano's Cabin and paying $99 per person plus beverages, tax and gratuity for very average or worse food. One of our friends from Texas thought the whole thing was a joke. (But, it only cost about $1300 for five of them, with a very large bar bill.)

                  Best dinner we had was a beef tenderloin we picked up at Costco and grilled on the deck at home.

                  Just my two cents on Vail restos -- my choices would be Sweet Basil for lunch and Larkspur for dinner. Kelly Liken is way, way overrated in my opinion.

                  1. re: ddavis

                    Why are you guys recommending Sweet Basil for lunch rather than for dinner?

                    How about any recs in Breckenridge or Dillon for lunch? Also Glenwood Springs?

                    We are planning to do L.A. to Salina, Utah on 9/14 (lunch in Vegas and dinner at Mom's Cafe, I guess) and then on to Avon on the 15th. I didn't make any res. for the night of the 15th, not being sure when we'll arrive because we want to stop at Arches. I might call someplace while we're driving, once we get a better idea of timing for that evening.

                    I know that we'll have some sort of kitchen setup. We have the small side of the lockoff, and I don't exactly recall the setup between the small side and big side of the lockoff units although I have seen it at my dad's "home" facility in Palm Desert (Mission Hills). Usually I balk at cooking while on vacation, although I cook at home. Maybe if we catch some trout? Although we usually do catch and release. Maybe we'll pick up stuff for breakfasts, or coffee. It's always good to know about the local groceries. IIRC the bbq is on the large side of the lockoff, so I don't think we'll have a grill. That's assuming that Avon is set up the same way as Mission Hills, probably a good assumption actually.

                    I know we have a long-ass day on the way back, Avon to Vegas. I made 9:00 reservations at FIX so we have left enough time to arrive late afternoon or even early evening, and clean up before dinner. My brother, who does long distance endurance motorcycle riding, says the stretch between Salina and Moab is absolutely desolate - we're actually bringing a small cooler so we should try to remember to pack some food for the Avon to Vegas day.

                    1. re: Debbie W

                      If you're considering going to Glenwood Springs, you might as well drive an additional 50 minutes or so and go to Aspen. Cool town and great restaurants.

                      1. re: dinner belle

                        Yeah we're thinking of Aspen also. Where's good for lunch in Aspen?

                        1. re: Debbie W

                          The J Bar at the Hotel Jerome is good. So is Bentley's (at the Wheeler Opera House), Little Annie's or Boogie's. Most of the high end places aren't open for lunch -- Ajax Tavern might be. There's a great little Mexican place in Basalt (between Glenwood and Aspen) called Taqueria el Nopal. And also Woody Creek Tavern (a favorite of Hunter S. Thompson) in Woody Creek, just before you get to Aspen.

                      2. re: Debbie W

                        Lunch at Sweet Basil is just a personal favorite of mine. I have eaten lunch there dozens of times and dinner only a few times. I can't tell you specifically why I like it better for lunch -- just do.

                        1. re: ddavis

                          Oh, ok, thanks. I appreciate all your advice.

                          1. re: ddavis

                            Dick, let me try, lunch specials ($10) are usually very creative. The pace is just right and the wait staff is laid back, Dinner becomes a more frantic and at night SW attracts a heavy dose of folks who think they are "special".

          2. Your choices sound pretty good to me, but if you end up with a free night, I wouldn't miss La Tour. Sweet Basil is excellent all around, but I agree with others that lunch is a favorite treat. Have a great trip. Don't forget to have enjoy a stein at Oktoberfest in Vail this weekend.