Filed In: Itinerary
To quote an all time favorite movie of mine only seemed appropriate to start off my recap of my recent trip to Aspen…
Lloyd: Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.
Harry: I don’t know Lloyd, the French are assholes.
-Dumb & Dumber
The Key to Snowboarding/Skiing Is to Curl Your Hair
Okay, maybe this title isn’t a 100% accurate but it sure made me more photo ready during my Aspen trip. I am not blessed with the luxury of not having to wash my hair multiple days in a row; my hair is to thin so I wash it daily. The air is dry enough in Colorado to where I was able to get two days out of one blow-dry even while skiing/snowboarding. If I did my hair in the evening (straight or curled), I would wake up the next morning run my curling wand through it and be ready for a day on the slopes. When I returned from skiing/snowboarding my curls were still in tact for a night on the town…Talk about getting some of my day back.
Enough about my hair and on to all the fabulous things Aspen has to offer…
The last time I came out to Aspen we flew into Denver and then rented a car and drove to Aspen. Boy am I glad we didn’t do that this trip because there was a mudslide that shut down the main highway into Aspen causing a 200 mile detour. We dodged a bullet avoiding the mudslide but even if it wasn’t for a blocked highway I would still recommend flying directly into Aspen. The airport is so centralized that by flying direct we were able to ski day one.
There are four main mountains in the Aspen area. My favorite is Snowmass. Snowmass is the biggest skiing mountain, usually offering the best conditions, bars, and restaurants. The other three mountains are Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Highlands. Buttermilk is where the X Games are held. Other then the terrain park, Buttermilk is a pretty beginner mountain that seems to get more packed. Aspen Mountain is located in the heart of Aspen. It is not that big of a mountain, for more advanced skiers/snowboarders, and all the runs funnel into one end location. Finally, there is Aspen Highlands, which I have not skied but from my understanding it is the hardest and visited by more locals.
Typically, I snowboard but this trip I decided to leave my snowboard at home and try my hand at skiing. It actually went really well! I can’t take all the credit, my husband and I have family that live and work in the Aspen area. They are ridiculously talented in the snow sport department. I am talking about Heli-skiing, Telemarking, etc…You name it, they do it. Lucky for me, I got a private skiing lesson. I did okay, I didn’t fall the first day but mostly stayed on green runs. Day two, we went down some blues and I fell a hand full of times. Day three of skiing, I decided to revert back to snowboarding so I could keep up and go down some steeper runs. Skiing definitely seems like the easier sport and is less harsh on your body but there is something about snowboarding that gets me super excited.
Like I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have family that live in the Aspen area, El Jabel to be exact. Words would not do their home/property justice but this (pictured below) is what we woke up to each morning, heaven!!
I am not sure if it is because we have family members that are “locals” or if Aspen/Snowmass only has good restaurants that we did not have a bad meal. For time sake, I am going to list the places we ate at and what we ordered.
Big Hoss, at Snowmass Village Mall- Mimosas- duh! I had the Breakfast croissant with bacon, avocado, and one egg over easy. The second morning, I had the yogurt parfait. My husband had the breakfast burrito, smothered both days. I can vouch for all three, amazing!
Two Rivers Cafe, Basalt- Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes, enough said! And mimosas 🙂
Hotel Jerome, Aspen- I had a cappuccino and the steel cut oatmeal. The cappuccino was amazing, it was perfectly frothed and garnished with cinnamon. The oatmeal was also delicious, it was perfectly cooked and topped with dried fruit and vanilla. My husband, Chris had a juice and pancakes. The pancakes were so fluffy and topped with citrus butter, yum!
Gwen’s (the restaurant), on Snowmass Mountain- Chris and I split a special, vegetable curry rice bowl and a half bottle of Cakebread. Side note about Gwens- they have a basket of Crocs so you can take off your boots and give your feet a break. Probably the only time Crocs are acceptable.
Elk Camp, on Snowmass Mountain at the top of the gondola- A typical mountain restaurant, lots of food, drinks, and breathtaking views. I had a grilled cheese panini and Chris had pizza. Both good but no Gwen’s. And no meal would be complete without drinks, I had Mumm Champaign.
Ajax Tavern, at the foot of Aspen Mountain- The view does not get better than this places. I had an amazing Rosé, Château de Berne and the beet salad. Chris had king crab legs, all phenomenal.
Bella Mia, a family owned Italian restaurant in El Jabel- The sage fried mozzarella is a must! For my entrée, I had the chicken, broccoli, and prosciutto fettuccine. My husband had the spaghetti and meat balls. Both were absolutely delicious, this coming from a non-pasta fan. For dessert, the Oreo sundae is a must!
Heather’s, in Basalt- I loved this place. Heather’s is know for their tapas and pot pies. I had the vegetable potpie and Chris had the chicken potpie. They were probably the best potpies, I’ve ever had.
Element 47, Aspen (in The Little Nell hotel)- After much research we went to Element 47 for my husbands birthday. We decided on the tasting menu (pictured) because we could not decide…The more the merrier. My favorite courses were the bread course (ha, but seriously), transmontanus caviar, and the veal ribeye.
Après Ski (aka the reason I ski):
New Belgium Ranger Station, Snowmass Village- Pretzel rolls! Pretzel rolls! Pretzel rolls! You get to choose 3 dipping sauces. I chose the Colorado Local Mady’s Beer Mustard, the Fat Tire Fondue Cheese Sauce, and the Honey Cinnamon Sugar Glaze.
Venga Venga, Snowmass Village- Margs and guacamole made table side.
Base Camp, foot of Snowmass Mountain- Truffle parmesan tots paired with prosecco!
Marble Distillery, Carbondale- So much more than Aprés. This distillery/lounge doubles as an Inn and offers the most amazing drinks. I had a version of a Moscow Mule and now I don’t know how I will ever be able to drink a regular Moscow Mule…It was so good that I had to buy a Marble tank. Also, a must try is their Gingercello. Not headed to Aspen anytime soon? Sopris Liquor & Wine ships Marble products to most states.
The last night of our trip we stayed at the St. Regis. It was nice to take a day off skiing to explore and do some shopping in downtown Aspen. We started off the day shopping, there are so many great boutiques. I found these Joie booties at Tlins Shoes. After some shopping and lunch at Ajax Tavern, we headed to the Remède Spa at the St. Regis. In the spa area they offer an oxygen bar, which was amazing and probably much needed. I also had a 90 minute massage, it was probably the best massage I have ever had. A paraffin foot wax and keratin hair treatment is included in the 90 minute massage which I absolutely loved.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. Have you been to Aspen? What are your favorite things Aspen has to offer?
- Arrive into LaGuardia. Depending on price and schedule I would rather fly into LaGuardia over JFK.
- Check into Trump SoHo.
- Walk to lunch at Le Pain Quotidien.
- Hit some shops including my fav, Reformation.
- Go see a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart…My husband bid on VIP tickets at a charity auction which prompted this trip to NYC. It was such a great experience. There are so many shows that tape in NYC and they are usually free. Do your research and definitely add it to your next trip.
- Drinks at Ink 48 Rooftop Bar and Dinner at Print. The rooftop bar at Ink 48 is amazing. The view is second to none. The downside is that there is a never ending line to get in. If you have reservations at Print you do not have to wait in line- phew!
- Walk to breakfast at Sarabeth’s. Amazing!!
- We took an Uber to the Gansevoort Street entrance to get onto the High Line, we needed to walk off breakfast. The High Line is great, it is an elevated walking path.
- While on the High Line we stopped off and walked around Chelsea Market.
- Eataly for quick glass of wine before lunch.
- Lunch at ABC Kitchen. A trip to NYC is not complete without a meal and some shopping at ABC. We had the gazpacho, calamari, and split a whole wheat pizza.
- We walked back to the hotel from lunch while stopping here and there to do some shopping. Stopped at Anine Bing. What a cute store, candy bowl and all.
- Wine and macaroons at Ladurée.
- Dinner at Bâtard. This was our favorite dinner in NYC. We had the lobster salad and the quail ballotine to start. Both were delicious. The lobster was my favorite. The lobster portions were huge! For our entrees we had tuna and the veal tenderloin. The veal was one of the most amazing dishes I have ever had. For dessert we had the strawberries and champagne. It was nice and light to finish off our stuffed bellies.
- Room service for breakfast.
- Head back to Atlanta.
This Trip was more a taste de Chicago. So if you like food, this review is for you.
My husband and I were originally supposed to go to Chicago for a wedding but the destination got changed. Since we were really excited about going, we decided to still go and made it our anniversary trip. We were in Chicago a total of three nights. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Michigan Avenue/Magnificent Mile for all three nights.
We arrived in Chicago around 1 pm. We flew into O’Hare and took the quick twenty minute cab ride to our hotel. From there we walked a half mile to GT Fish & Oyster. This was a great way to start our trip. The food was tasty and they surprised us with an anniversary dessert. My husband and I split oysters, tuna poke, and a warm lobster roll. All were amazing! We had the rhubarb tart for dessert (pictured), also amazing!
After lunch we uber-ed it to the Bean, took our picture, and walked around the park…Check, check, check!
After Millennium Park we headed back to the hotel to regroup and get ready for the evening.
First stop- Three Dots and a Dash. I had Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri and my husband had the “Cacchen” Some Rays. Both were tasty and so fun. I think one is enough. After Three Dots and a Dash we went to dinner at RPM Steak. For dinner I had the A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak, it literally melts in your mouth! My husband had “The Duke” and ate every bit of it. We had a side of the spinach and a side of the truffled risotto, truffles were shaved table side. For dessert we had the cotton candy. This all made for a perfect anniversary dinner!
My husband and I were a little over served the night before so we opted for a room service breakfast. We both got a yogurt parfait and a cappuccino. It was a perfect breakfast to prepare us for Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza. We walked to the river north location and got there right at opening. We ordered The Malnati Chicago Classic and a house salad. The pizza was delish but I still think I prefer my normal pepperoni and pineapple pizza.
After lunch we uber-ed to catch our 60 minute architectural cruise. This boat tour was amazing! Our guide was so knowledgeable and we couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise. Note- the boat does not serve alcohol but there is a liquor store around the corner. We ran there got a mini bottle of La Crema and we were good to go.
After the tour we walked to Trump Tower to take in the views. This stop is a must when in Chicago. The view is breathtaking. We didn’t eat here but the food looked great!
So this day our taste de Chicago turned into a drink de Chicago. On our way back to our hotel we stopped at Pops for Champagne. It was a great way to keep the party going but seemed like more of an evening stop.
After a quick power nap and a little refresh we headed to Girl and the Goat for dinner. Girl and the Goat is more of a split-sy kind of place. I love this because you end up having a little of everything. We had the roasted cauliflower, hamachi crudo, pan roasted halibut, goat empanadas, and chocolate truffle cake for dessert. The roasted cauliflower was by far my favorite. I’m already trying to figure out how to duplicate it.
Day three was National Doughnut Day, which I could not miss. We went to Glazed and Infused and of course their line was out the door. Good news for us it is attached to Davanti Enoteca and they happily serve the Glazed and Infused doughnuts. We had a great breakfast here. Doughnuts as an appetizer followed by bacon and oatmeal. The bacon was amazing, it had a hint of truffle oil.
We then headed to the Willis Tower to go to the Skydeck but the visibility was zero so we decided to hit the shops instead. Magnificent Mile basically has every store you can think of. I didn’t find any new or noteworthy stores other then the normal fabulous Barneys, Burberry, etc.
For lunch we walked around Eataly and had lunch at Baffo. Baffo was fabulous. Not a cheap lunch but well worth it. My husband and I both had a glass of the ArPePe, Rosso di Valtelina, Chiavennesca, Lombardia 2012 after which I had the stracciatella and my husband had the linguine. I loved my meal! It was light but still filling and had so much flavor. The fig bread and olive oil was also very delicious.
First stop of the evening, the J. Parker. The J. Parker is an amazing rooftop bar in Lincoln Park. The view and the cocktails are amazing. We didn’t eat here but the food looked and smelled delish! My next Chicago trip, I think I may stay at the Hotel Lincoln and frequent this rooftop daily.
Off to Dinner! We went to Chicago q which claims to be “not your average bbq joint”. This couldn’t be more true. It is a classy, lively restaurant. Pickled pickles and bbq chips act as the bread course which quickly disappeared. To start we had the House Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies which also went very fast. Everyone I was with got the American Kobe Sliced Brisket and raved about it. I got the Smoked Corn and Black Bean Salad. We all shared the Pitmaster Mac ‘n Cheese and cornbread. Everything was amazing, so amazing that we didn’t have room for dessert…Words I rarely utter.
When we woke up we were still kind of full so we went to the Starbucks in our hotel and had a light breakfast.
I finally got a Chicago style hot dog on our last day for lunch- yum! Then it was back to Atlanta.
This weeks posts will feature some of my outfits from Chicago…Hope you enjoy!