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Jan 12, 2012 07:33 PM

LA Hound in Vail and Denver for a few days, curious for your thoughts.

My wife and I will be swinging through the are and staying at the Four Seasons in both Vail and Denver -- three nights and two nights respectively. We will have a car for most of the time, and are looking forward to some really good meals.

I'm also up for any sweets worth trying, as well as great coffee (espresso in particular). I've been poking about and reading up on both locations, and here is what I've come up with for both spots ...

In Vail, we will be on the slopes during the day, so I imagine we will be eating bigger breakfasts and dinners, with maybe a snack around lunch. For the dinners, thus far I have us booked one night at Kelly Liken, one night at Flame, and the last night at Larkspur. Seems to be a fairly large agreement that the first and third are pretty good to potentially great. Am I right?

Any suggestions for breakfasts?

In Denver, we are having dinner at Frasca the first night (already have a reservation), maybe Pizzeria Locale for lunch, and then I really want to hit Euclid Hall for dinner, followed by dBar for dessert.



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  1. Excellent choices (except I'm not famililar with Flame so can't comment on that). I am sure you realize Frasca is not actually in Denver but roughly 20-30 min. NW in Boulder. Another idea for dessert in Denver besides dBar is the fairly new Crave Dessert Bar in the bottom of the Spire next to Row 14. Boxcar in Boulder has good coffee. The Frasca Caffe next to Frasca & Pizzeria Locale sells/serves Boxcar and they also have a spot next to Cured across the way on Pearl. I must admit to enjoying the mochas from Aspen-based Ink Coffee (Riverfront location in Denver is what I hit the most since the one near me in the 'burbs burned down a few years ago). You should go to The Truffle cheese shop on 6th Avenue in Denver and buy some local hand-made Helliemae's Salt Caramels.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rlm

      Thanks. I chose Flame as it is in our hotel and I saw a good report on here -- I figured after our first day on the slopes in quite awhile, "staying in" would be nice.

      And definitely thanks for the rec on Crave, looks great! Any specific recs you can give me?

      1. re: a213b

        I haven't been to Flame, but I've heard (from people who have) that it is REALLY good!

    2. I've heard mixed reviews of Kelly Liken - please report back and let us know! Larkspur is amazing. Don't really know much about Flame.

      Frasca and Locale are great choices (both are in Boulder, not Denver, FYI), as is Euclid Hall. Keep in mind that Euclid Hall isn't a "fancy" place like the others you've named for dinner - the food and beer are great, but it's more of an upscale beer hall than a fine-dining place. That said, the duck poutine is out of this world.

      For coffee, while you're in Boulder if you're on the west side of the Pearl Street Mall you should check out Ozo. They're total coffee nerds, to the extent that they make their drip coffee to order and offer three options for preparing it (pourover, Chemex, and french press) - never seen that anywhere else. Boxcar (in Cured) is also very good, and Cured is a really cool little local gourmet shop (on the eastern end of Pearl Street).

      2 Replies
      1. re: monopod

        Yes, I've read mixed reviews about Kelly Liken here as well, but it's just a stone's throw away from where we are staying so I thought I'd give it a shot. Glad to read you really enjoy Larkspur; it looks tasty!

        I do realize Frasca is in Boulder, but as I said I will have a car so that's not really an issue. To be honest, Euclid Hall looks FAR FAR more interesting to me than any of the other places I booked - if there's somewhere "gastropub"-y in Vail/BC, please let me know. I'm already drooling over the menu there.

        Thanks for the rec on Ozo ... sounds similar to a few places in LA, and I am always interested in trying a spot that takes its coffee so seriously.

        1. re: a213b

          LOVE Larkspur! Also - Matsuhisu is amazing, La Bottega (more casual) is really good too. I've never been to Kelly Liken.

      2. Loved to hear how you like the FS in Vail..
        I really enjoy Grosse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek..

        1. Sweets in Vail: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

          6 Replies
          1. re: jbsiegel

            Seriously? An international chain with literally hundreds of locations, including at least three in Los Angeles, and (IMHO) pretty mediocre chocolate? There's gotta be better sweets shops in Vail!

            1. re: monopod

              I know...I know... But, something about that RMCF really gets me! It used to be WAY better years ago in Aspen when they actually made the chocolate there. I like the "hugeness" of everything they have there. It's definitely NOT "fine chocolate"!

              To be honest, that's where I always head for chocolate in Vail! In Vail Village, it's pretty much that, some kind of bulk candy place (Fuzziwigs?) and Marble Slab Creamery. In Lionshead, there's a Haagen-Dazs (ugh) and also Rimini Gelato. I've never tried the gelato place, so I don't know about that one.

              The donut dessert at Larkspur shouldn't be missed!

              1. re: jbsiegel

                All mentions above are great. But it you are in Vail - YOU HAVE TO go to Bully ranch for a mudslide for apres or dessert (it's a drink) (and it's in the Sonnenalp - but it sounds like you are not in Vail - I think Kelly LIken is in Avon? (10-15 min on the highway).

                Sweets in Vail - go to the Arabelle and go to the center. of that area - ice skating rink. There is this coffee and gelato shop that makes me feel like I am not in the USA (and I'm not a coffee drinker or sweets eater - but this place makes me want both). I took my brother from NJ there on Monday. (He is in eastern Europe a lot for work and he liked it). For lunch, Garfinkels isn't anything fancy, but it's good solid food. (right next to the Arabelle).

                Also - ask someone at the hotels what they think.

                And - if you go to Beaver Creek - be sure to stay late enough on the mtn to get the hot
                fresh baked chocolate chip cookies near the escalators.

                Denver - I know it sounds weird - but Sushi Den or Izakaya Den near Wash Park, or Domo for really authentic country Japanese. Or screw it and go to Anthony's Pizza (for NY style pizza) on 16th and California or Proto's Pizza (and gelato) on Wazee street near REI (stop into REI as well -it's a store (well, more than a store).

                1. re: blythe

                  Boulder is a 30-45 minute drive. The Kitchen and The Sink are NOT to be missed either. If you go to Boulder for a leisurely evening, park, and walk around the Pearl Street Mall. :) (It's a pedestrian mall, not a MALL.)

                  My friends had their wedding and reception at the Larkspur - two big happy thumbs up. From someone who generally eats like a vegan, have the pork bell app.

                  Have fun and drink a lot of water the whole time you are here.

                  1. re: blythe

                    I've never been to Bully Ranch, but it's DEFINITELY on my to do list! Meals are also supposed to be good - casual.

                    My kids love Los Amigos for Mexican (again...NOTHING fancy, but fun!). They also love the French Deli for lunch (ski instructors take them).

                    1. re: blythe

                      If you're seeking pizza, Westword just did their top-ten list for pizza places, and I think you'd do well at any of them:

                      Proto's used to be considered some of the best pizza in these parts, but I think they've gone a bit downhill and, more importantly, the bar has been significantly raised by a lot of new places (esp. Pizzeria Locale, Pizzeria Basta and Marco's, IMHO). The last couple of folks I know who went there didn't have great things to say. I haven't personally been to Proto's for years, though, so grain of salt and all.

              2. For breakfast, two good choices in Denver are Lucile's and Snooze.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LurkerDan

                  Both of them are also in Boulder, for what it's worth.