Good Eats and Road-Tripping – Vail Has Lots of Treats

A crisp and sunny Summit County afternoon showcases a beautiful view of the ski runs of Vail

My life as a professional skier and owner of Discrete Headwear takes me all over the world, usually to exotic locations in South America, heli-skiing in Canada and Alaska, or cruising around Europe. When I had the chance to road trip from my home in Salt Lake City to Vail, Colorado, I was just as excited as I am when I get the opportunity to go to crazy spots in the world.

The highlight of the trip was having the pleasure of sitting down in Kelly Liken’s fabulous restaurant. The menu had plenty of options to create your own meal to suit your palate, or let them guide you down flavor lane. We opted for the three-course prix fixe, which included half-pours of wine to accompany each course. Dining, they say, “is about the synergy of food and wine together, creating an entire experience.” Cheers to that. The wine list was exclusively derived from American and French regions. Personally, this speaks to me in volumes, because I have an intimate knowledge of the cellar and the ability to choose each bottle carefully. White and red varietals, Burgundy, Rhone, Cabs, American Blends, Bordeaux, dessert wine, and fortified wine. Impressive.

Kelly Liken in all its glory

Can you say Jonah crab, fluke crudo for first course, scallops for the second course, and potato-crusted trout fillets and seared monkfish for the main course? Kelly Liken can. Not to mention the specialty cocktails and top-notch service. Favorite cocktail of the night went to the Tangerine and Rye Sazerac, which consisted of Bulleit rye whiskey, drop of Leopold Brothers’ absinthe, Stirrings orange liquor, tangerine juice, dash of bitters, served on the rocks. Amen brother. And, as odd as it sounds, their butter was the best I’ve ever tasted.

Yummmm, scallops

Best butter in the world

My favorite staff was GM Oliver Tito and Ben behind the bar. Oliver had a downright cozy personality and a thick South African accent and even joined us at bar after dinner to enjoy a whiskey. Meanwhile, Ben kept it chatty and handsome, with the drinks flowing from behind the bar. Afterward, my date said “Ben was hot!” Kudos Ben, remind me not to bring her back there! haha.

Ben is a handsome fella, and so is that whiskey

An added bonus to this Vail excursion was the impeccable accommodations at the Sebastian Hotel. I was greeted by a friendly valet who was familiar with me and my skiing, which made me blush. The concierge greeted us with a glass of champagne and a tour of the hotel en route to the room. Huge tip of the cap to the Sebastian.

Sebastian is a classy joint

Relax in the lobby of Sebastian

My car looks good

To cap off the experience of the road trip to Vail were the sights on I-70. Insane. These photos speak for themselves.

I-70 in action

Cool rocks; they'd look a lot better under ten feet of snow

Red rocks with snow look cool

Vail itself is quite the picturesque community, with a beautiful mountain, great skiing, and plenty of apres-ski options. it’s an all-around sick spot. Pat on the pockets to Vail! See you next time!