Wednesday, February 18, 2009

i ♥ crested butte

I don't know about you but I don't like sharing all my secrets. Especially those that include my favorite snowboarding spots. There is something about being on the mountain with a sea of people that just doesn't cut it for me. Or even worse, going to my favorite run only to find others beat me to it. I've known about Crested Butte for a while and have been riding there annually for at least five years. If memory serves me, I first heard about the town when I was in high school. It was one of those lazy days and I was scanning the television for lack of better things to do and came across a documentary featuring Crested Butte. Who knows, it could have been E and they could have been showing the wild and crazy apres ski scene that goes on at the end of the season. But for now, let's think of it as an informational documentary. Only because it could be an underlying reason as to why I moved to Colorado. And I don't want you to think of me as a lush. One that note, I think it's time to divulge. At least a little. 

Crested Butte is one of Colorado's best kept secrets. It's steep, the snow is always good and there are no lift lines. Whatever it is you are thinking, don't. It isn't an Aspen or a Deer Valley. You won't find fancy cars with tinted windows or Prada. You won't be seen by anyone and you likely won't see anyone, unless you count Heidi and Spencer. Not you either? It's just not what this mountain is all about. It does however boast the most lift serviced extreme terrain on this continent. Such intense terrain calls for a very laid back lifestyle. It's a place to get away from it all and that's what I love most.

I make the 4 hour drive about once a year. When I do get there I have a short itinerary. They all involve snowboarding, eating and drinking and sometimes all of the above. Remember, shopping is not what this town is about unless you are into souvenirs and trinkets. And in this economy, that's the last place I'm going to spend my money. 

First up is the Secret Stash. It's a pizza joint but not just any pizza joint. It offers some of the most creative pizzas I've ever tasted. It's tucked away at the end of Elk Avenue in a cozy two story rustic Victorian. The interiors are eclectic to say the least. The inspiration is pulled from the owner's travels throughout Asia. You'll see photos from Vietnam and sculptures of Ganesh. Tibetan prayer flags are draped across the ceiling and cozy seats on the floor with lots pillow. As for the food, I recommend the Notorious F.I.G and the Havasu Pie. The F.I.G is a proscuttio, fig, and a blend of mozzarella, asiago and blue cheese pizza drizzled with truffle oil. Yes, truffle oil. The Havasu Pie is red sauce based and covered with black beans, corn, roasted potatoes, red peppers, jalapenos, cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. Plan to wait for a table during peak season as well as wait for you pie. There's no sense of urgency here. 

camp 4 coffee - off elk avenue

For breakfast before getting on the mountain I don't miss Camp 4 Coffee. They now have a few locations; one in town, one at the base of the mountain and another at the top of painter boy lift. They just recently started taking credit card and offer drip coffee but I always go for an Americano and Biscuit with sausage, egg and cheese. Being a Southerner, I'll take any opportunity I can get to eat a biscuit.

And last but not least is Django's, a small plates wine bar at the base of Mount Crested Butte. It's new to town as of this summer and named after Django Reinhardt, a prominent European jazz musician. The owners, Chris and Kate Ladoulis, came to Crested Butte via NYC. She's the executive chef and French trained. He runs the front of the house. The restaurant interiors were designed by yours truly with my current design gig and feature a modern, simple take on the dining experience with the focus on the food, wine and the people. 

The menu changes seasonally. Sometimes more often if Kate is getting bored and wants to mix things up a bit. Look for items like crispy duck confit with pear mustardo, rosemary salt and greens for $10 and baby wild arugula with dried white turkish fig, parmigiano reggiano and white balsamic dressing for $7. The wine bar offers a well rounded wine list and quartinos, 1/3 a bottle option, instead of wine by the glass. Because one glass is really never enough.

photos: crested butte, tom stillo. the secret stash, django's, tom stillo. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, makes me want to go back (un-pregnant, of course)! But the diggs couldn't ever compare to last time ;0)