Estes Park and Vail in July
We'll be in Estes Park for 5 nights and Vail for a week this summer. There don't seem to be many Estes Park recommendations up, so I welcome ideas fro palces to eat there -- all kinds, from highest to lowest.
We'll have a kitchen in Vail, and I see that they have a farmer's market on Sundays. Can anyone point me to some vegetable stands or such in the area where I can get local produce (or locally farmed trout) during the week? And I welcome updates or seasonal tips re: the numerous Vail restaurant recommendations already posted. It looks like many places have coupon deals -- I found the same thing in PArk City in the summer. Would I find them in the local paper or somewhere else?
We enjoyed our summer trip to CO immensely. A couple of quick food notes -- the Sunday farmer's market in Vail is a great place to eat lunch and to get some specialty foods - cheeses and the like. There weren't many actual farmers represented, and none had "real" tomatoes, but it was an opportunity to get a taste of some of the top restaurants in town. The lamb sliders offered by Sweet Basil at the farmer's market were good enough to send me to the restaurant itself, adn Sweet Basil definitely lived up to its reputation, both in terms of food and service. The best budget deal in town is the early sunday dinner at Tavern on the Square in Lionshead -- a huge hunk of prime rib for $12.95. The best thing in Estes Park was a really good IPA at the local brewery, but then I found that Colorado is a great place for beer. I also found that Colorado is a very dangerous place to eat barbecue - at least in EP and Vail. Way over-sauced and poorly cooked meat.
The scenery and hikling, of course, were spectacular. And the summer concert series in Vail was great.
193 E Gore Creek Dr Ste 201, Vail, CO 81657
I just tried to checkout what posters were saying about Vail and Eagle Valley restaurants on a pay for rating site that's NYC centric. It was a painful experience.
Thanks to locals and visitors alike, I think we come a lot closer to guiding folks to a better dining experience in the Valley. Also, checkout the France Board for how well the process can work.
Another great source for fresh produce and eggs is the Copper Bar Ranch in Edwards. I spoke with the owner last week and they should be open Wednesday through Friday during the day. Coming from Vail take I70 west and exit at Edwards. Make a right turn on Hwy 6 and then a left turn on Squaw Creek Rd. Proceed for about a mile and make a right turn on W. Squaw Creek Rd. Keep going until you cross the cow guard and you will see the ranch on the left hand side.
There are 3 notable (doesn't include the Town of Eagle) markets in the Upper Eagle River and Vail Valley, Edwards Corner and Minturn on Saturday morning and Vail on Sunday morning. For produce, I hit Edwards before 10 am. Both Vail and Minturn are a little heavy on "trash and trinkets" to be a real framers market. And Cut is right there close to the Edwards market. They will get you any meat or fish you want with some notice. Every thing I've gotten there is very good and they are nice folks (used to be the bartender at Dish). And they are doing a grilled burger and Bitburger beer for $5 one day a week.
If you want to checkout the scene at Minturn or Vail do it, but if you want to get your grub and go, its Edwards.
Estes Park is spectacularly located on the east side of Rocky Mountain Natl Park, but its overall food scene is not inspiring. THAT would be the place to have a kitchen! Oodles of places in Vail, where you do have a kitchen.
Rocky Mountain Restaurants
1000 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
You can find fresh veggies at the Minturn Market every Saturday during the summer. There is also a pretty good market in Edwards and I think it is also on Saturday, but I'm not sure. There is (was) a vegetable stand on Highway 6 just west of the I-70 on-ramp in Eagle-Vail that is open during the week. Check the local paper -- Vail Daily -- for other places and for advertisements of specials at restaurants.
I don't have a clue where you can get locally farmed trout. There is a guy at the Minturn Market who has some smoked salmon and trout that is excellent. There is a guy at the Edwards Market who has some good frozen king crab legs. The only place I can think of that might have fresh trout would be Cut, which is next door to Eat! Drink! in Edwards. They have some high-end meat and some seafood. Don't know about trout.