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Jun 12, 2009 11:39 AM

What's new or still good along I-70?

Hi all. I have not done the drive from SLC to Denver in over 3 years. I'll be heading that way next month and need to know where to go for chow!

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  1. Stop in Edwards near Vail and go to Dish for dinner to have the tasting menu. I am not sure if they are still doing the $25 "mud season" tasting menu or not, but it's still a steal at the regular $45. They are on Open Table. Sit at the chef's counter if you can. It is close to I-70 in the Riverwalk area. Downstairs is their sister space Eat! Drink! if you are there for lunch. You could also get the crepes, Novo coffee, and/or mimosas at the cafe in the back of the Bookworm in the same area. The Machiavelli with mushrooms and truffle oil is my favorite. I also love Avondale in the new Westin in Avon/Beaver Creek. The original Larkburger in Edwards is more consistent than the newer one which opened in Boulder recently.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rlm

      rlm and I have oddly similar tastes, that's my favorite crepe too and she's hit all my favorites.

    2. Couple of new options in Grand Junction:

      La Louisiane(A bit overpriced for small portions of rustic food but what little I've had from there has been decent.)

      Smashburger(Grand opening is Monday. Never had it but am looking foward giving it a try.)

      13 Replies
      1. re: Chimayo Joe

        For Grand Junction/Fruita, Pablo's Pizza is solid:

        Also in Junction/Fruita (you can get it in Denver too), if you want to give in to your sweet tooth, drop by for some fresh toffee at Enstrom's. It's not like any other toffee I've had--it's so crumbly and melts in your mouth and doesn't hurt your teeth. I haven't had it in a while, but I listened to a podcast recently (Splendid Table?) where the Roadfood team went nuts for it. They also have ice cream.

        If you have a traveling companion who can be a designated driver or have some time to kill before getting back on the road, you could stop at the Colorado Wine Room in Fruita right off of the interstate. We chatted with the owner there shortly after they opened and his family owns Ravenswood. I'm not a huge CO wine fan, but they have many different reasonably-priced flights and a nice wino-related gift shop. They also let you bring your own food and sit on their patio to enjoy it with a glass of vino.

        1. re: rlm

          Thanks everyone for all the tips and links. After seeing the picture of the Larkburger fries I am definitely going to be stopping there. Lots of places new to me, so I am looking forward even more to my roadtrip.

          1. re: GroovinGourmet

            Those are the Truffle Parmesan Fries. They have regular fries, but you definitely want the special ones. The Boulder location has undercooked ours four times in a row, but they have always been perfect in Edwards.

            1. re: rlm

              Yeah baby. Checked out the menu. It's on for the Edwards location and a truffle burger with truffle parmesan fries.

              1. re: GroovinGourmet

                Good choice!

                rlm, I'm sorry to hear about the problems at the Boulder location. I'm moving up north soon and will be working in Boulder so I was looking forward to being nearer the option for a splurge.

                For Smashburger that was mentioned earlier, definitely try their veggie frites!

                1. re: RobynS

                  It's looking like a burger-y excursion as Smashburger is on the list too.

                  1. re: GroovinGourmet

                    Groovin', you should do both burgers and give us the "Pepsi Challenge" results!

                    I have been to Smashburger in Lafayette and thought it was good, although I much prefer Larkburger in Edwards. I have not tried the veggie frites though so that has me intrigued.

                    RobynS, regarding the Boulder Larkburger location, I am not sure they are equipped to handle the crowds they’ve been getting, as the kitchen can’t seem to keep up so far and still put out the same quality of product as we’ve always had in Edwards. We waited 30 minutes once in Boulder for two burgers and two fries on a weeknight (yes, I timed it) and the fries still came out undercooked. We were there a few days ago and didn’t have to wait 30 minutes, but the fries were still not up to par. Forget about sending anything back—they are just too busy for that, unless you’d like to eat your burger sans fries and then pick up a fresh order of fries later only to probably find they are not up to snuff either. On one trip, an undercooked turkey burger. On another, the Amy Burger (portobella mushroom) was incredibly soggy and the bottom bun had disintegrated by the time my order arrived. I ate a couple of bites then pitched the rest and went to Full Belly. The beef burger was much improved in the past week so I am hopeful that the kitchen will get more into a groove.

                    I noticed on my first trips that they were holding the burgers up and quickly squeezing the truffle aioli along the side on the lettuce, so after the first couple of bites you no longer had a truffle burger taste. We revisited the Edwards location in between so I could reconfirm my belief that the truffle aioli is evenly distributed on the burger there (it is).

                    I think they could invest in some better sound-deadening work, although those types of materials may not fit with the green philosophy. The space is a much longer shape than the Edwards location and there’s more wood paneling, so it’s much noisier when full.

                    At any rate, we have had vastly different experiences at the two Larkburgers. I would recommend the Edwards location without hesitation. I will give the Boulder location some more time to gel before I attempt to go back or will try to hit them at what I hope is an “off” time. Anytime you have a new place with new people trying to learn to work together (whatever the industry), there are bound to be a few kinks that need to be worked out.

                    1. re: rlm

                      Wow... that's covering a lot of miles. I hope you had other business than burgers. lol

                      I find your comments about the 2 locations very interesting. I think opening a 2nd outpost so far from home is a risky move regardless of the economic climate. It takes a special businessperson to pull it off. A similar situation transpired here in SLC with local Vietnamese stalwart Café Trang. They opened a second location which I frequented often for a quite some time. Now they've opened up more locations and the experience has declined as a result IMNSHO.

                      And the Pepsi challenge is ON, even though I'm a Coca-Cola guy. I'll be covering a lot of ground but will get to Larkburger in Edwards for sure on day 1. I plan on getting all the way to Ft. Collins on my drive in so I can do the New Belgium brewery tour.

                      That being said, I'll take recs along I-25 as well. Only place for sure along there will be Saturday breakfast at Charco Broiler in Ft C.

                      1. re: GroovinGourmet

                        Maybe Hounds heading for Boulder's Larkburger (haven't been there yet myself) should order the fries crisp and well-cooked to begin with, hopefully alerting the server and/or kitchen in advance.

                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                          Claire, they were partially raw. I should not have to ask them to cook my fries.

                          1. re: rlm

                            RLM - You're right that guests shouldn't HAVE to make such a request, but if I found myself there after having been warmed by other Hounds (or anyone else) and I wanted fries, I certainly would ask. Just in case. Sometimes we end up going to a place because we are with others who want to try it, and I'm all for making the best of things.

                    2. re: GroovinGourmet

                      I've had Smashburger a couple of times since they've opened, once dine-in and once take-out. Seems to be a clean, efficient, and busy place so far. It was much better eaten there because things were fairly soggy by the time I got around to eating the take-out. Pretty good burgers, fries(both varieties), and haystack onions(their version of onion rings.)

          2. re: Chimayo Joe

            I stopped by La Louisiane yesterday and they were shut down due to "equipment failure." Was looking forward to a late lunch, and had the usual disappointing meal at the nearby Rockslide Brew Pub instead.