Crested Butte, CO trip report
I've spent 30-odd days in Crested Butte over the last three years and thought it was time to praise some of my favorite restaurants in the tiny, charming ski town. There are a surprising number of food options but a few are WAY better than the others.
Secret Stash - Some of the best pizza I've ever had. It's not wood-fired like Pizzeria Bianco's or Classic Italian (two awesome pizza spots in Phoenix area) but it's delicious just the same. Creative combos, great atmosphere - it's a must on any trip to CB. Unless you go in the off season, expect a wait for a table and a long wait for your pie. www.thesecretstash.com
The Lobar - This underground lounge-y sushi spot sticks out like a sore thumb in this otherwise super low-key town. But, I haven't found anything that comes close to being as good sushi-wise in Arizona. It's owned by the same woman who started Secret Stash, she seems to have very high standards for ingedients and it shows at both spots. The menu at www.thelobar.com is outdated, but a few of the items remain the same. The ahi melts in your mouth and I overheard a man telling the sushi chefs that his uni was the best he'd ever had outside of Japan. They said they'd been getting some really high quality uni in lately, something about blue 5 star grade or something.
Ginger Cafe - Yummy Indian and Thai dishes with interesting foreign beer selection and a killer mango/ginger mojito. Large portions. The chicken biryani with cranberries and cashews is a hearty way to cap a day on the slopes or singletrack.
Sunshine Deli - A young Arizona couple actually moved to CB to open this breakfast and lunch spot. The sandwiches, all with Boar's Head, are tasty.
21 Elk Ave, Crested Butte, CO
313 3rd St, Crested Butte, CO
DH and I visited Crested Butte in February. Overall we enjoyed the dining. Django's in the mountain village offers 21 different small plates. We each chose three plates and left full. I'd recommend the Royal Trumpet Mushrooms, Duck Breast and the Crispy Brussels Sprouts. (We sat at a table, which was comfortable.) I like the fact that they sell wine in what they call "quartinos" which is 1/3 bottle. For me one was not too much but just enough. We also enjoyed the Woodstone Grill in The Grand Lodge. (We were told they have a new chef of just 2 weeks, so others may not have had the same experience.) They have very tasty flat bread appetizers. We had the kobe beef meatloaf and rack of lamb. Very tasty and beautifully presented. The Ginger Cafe in town is small, and obviously popular. It was the most crowded restaurant we were in all week. An interesting combination of Thai and Indian cuisine. I'd recommend a Mango Mojito and the Thai Lavosh appetizer of pesto and curried shrimp. The Lamb Korma was excellent. We really enjoyed Pitas in Paradise. It's very casual. They have a marvelous and HUGE 7 layer meze appetizer, sorta like middle eastern nachos. Hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, bananna peppers, kalmata olives and feta cheese served with pita chips. The two of us only ate half of it so we could eat the rest of our meal! We enjoyed a gyro, spanakopita and kabobs. The food was very fresh. We had Italian at Bacchanale one night. DH has lasagna, which he enjoyed. I had spaghetti bolognese. It was OK, but I wouldn't choose to return there.
Make sure you stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in town. Also, Camp4Coffee in the mountain village has great coffee. I brought a pound of Blue Mesa Blend home with me and am already checking out how I can order more online.
What? No ode to Soupcon, a precious back-alley restaurant in a charming log cabin with really good food? No mention of Bacchanale, with its good northern Italian fare and wines to match? No praise for the all-you-can-east pan-fried chicken and outstanding cole slaw at the Slogar? Not a word about Camp 4 Coffee, one of the coolest cafes in ski country? Nada about the Princess Wine Bar? No hats off to Le Bousquet, which has been dishing up classic French fare in a laid-back mountain town since 1976? I'm surpised.
So glad to see someone else has actually been to Crested Butte!
We haven't been to Soupcon (it does look precious, but very pricey. how good is it?) or Le Bousquet. Bacchanale is good - I'm a sucker for the meatballs - it's definitely better than the other Italian place in town. I love the license-plate shack that Camp 4 Coffee calls home but we're not big coffee drinkers so we haven't really stopped in much.
ClaireWalter - Have you been to the only Chinese restaurant in CB? That's another spot we have yet to try, but I'm curious if it's any good especially since I found out they deliver.
Soupcon IS pricey, but IMO, it's a matter of you get what you pay for. Consider the logistics of bringing product in to CB in winter. Everything has to be flown into Gunnison or trucked in from Denver (4 1/2 - 5 hrs in a passenger car when winter road conditions are favorable). I haven't been to Le Bousquet in quite sime time. I remember liking it, but most of all, I love the fact that they've been at it for more than three decades in the face of numerous challenges. Yes, I have been to the Chinese restaurant, and all I can say is, it depends what your definition of "any good" is. I frankly thought it was pretty bad, and I can't imagine that the food would be any better while it was in the process of being delivered.
**** UPDATE TO ORIGINAL REPORT ****
Just returned from a week in Crested Butte, Colorado, and wanted to report back on some new places that have only been open a few weeks/months.
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin - Wow, what a cool place this is. Wish I knew of a place like this in AZ. It's run by a young couple from Portland who have an amazing talent for pairing random flavors to make you oooh and ahhhh. We're wine people so cocktails have to be pretty amazing to woo us and boy did these ever - I think we ended up trying 7 different ones. One of our faves was vodka + habanero + pineapple. They have a small menu of nibbles that's also very interesting - we had fried mac and cheese balls drizzled with truffle oil and placed on top of slices of green apple. Totally delicious and unexpected. The interior and exterior of the renovated old building are very attractive, the couple who run the place have style skills to spare. Very friendly, too.
East Side Bistro - This took over the old Harry's fine dining spot. We never made it to Harry's but the early tapas menu (5-6 p.m.) at East Side caught our attention. We ended up hitting this place twice. One major draw is that they are the only place we know of in CB that keeps their wine at the proper temp (reds around 60). They offer a slider of the day (2 with fried for $7) - we tried lamb one day and pork another. Both were on wheat buns and both were good but we liked the lamb better. They also offer oysters, an empanada type plate that they call duck quasidillas and about six other things. Most of the tables offer the best views of the ski mountain we've found from a restaurant as well, a major bonus. Regular menu looks great and like a high-end bistro with entrees ranging from high $20s to low $30s.
Django's - This place is in the new Lodge at Mountaineer Square at the base of the ski resort. It's a wine and tapas bar but they keep their reds at room temperature (boo-hoo). Bar seats had extremely low backs and were not comfy. Food was good but having tried the tapas and East Side and Dogwood, we'd go back to either of those before hitting Django's. It's a nice addition to Mount Crested Butte though, the ski resort area didn't have anything too exciting foodwise that I know of.
Last but not least, I forgot to mention the addition of an Indian street food stand on Elk Ave. I think it's called Momo's and you can get a heaping plate of dhal beef and lentils with rice for $7. They also have delicious beef buns. It's really, really good and I would hit a place like this on a weekly basis if I had one in my neighborhood in AZ.
If you happen across this post and have never been to Crested Butte, I highly recommend it. It has stunning scenery, amazing restaurants and very nice people.