I managed to get the repeat invite for a ski weekend in Aspen with my glamorous friend's glamorous family at The Little Nell. Aspen is a unique mix of stoner ski bums and ultra-upscale living: "race you to the bottom" by day, "where the fuck is my caviar" by...mid-day. Some of the latter group can be intolerable, but also a breed of entertainers like no other. My tips for survival include A. Dress crazy - the slopes are a runway; B. Hit said slopes early to avoid inexperienced fuckbois; C. keep an #overheard quote log; D. Drink the minute the clock strikes 3pm.
Check Instagram for the sliver of real debauchery I decided to publicize, or read below for an unoffensive guide to eating, drinking, and getting high (legally, duh).
Just when you think, upon snagging a table at the "Tavern," that you've managed to temporarily escape the materialistic insanity around you, think again. Sure, it's easy to feel comforted by trays of burgers and fries and beers, but take a moment to observe what's on top of those frites (truffles + grana padano cheese) and who they're being delivered to (women -- and men -- in floor-length minks and diamonds the size of my areola). That said, Ajax's take on the classic American combo is known for being tasty. So is the kale and quinoa caesar, frisée aux lardons, curried lentil and sweet potato plate, and, um, the homemade Bloody Mary mix. I got mine extra spicy, extra lemon, and with (extra) Chopin.
Fun fact: I witnessed a woman with a bad nose job order a bowl of raw, undressed baby spinach for lunch here. It's like, bitch, just. don't. eat.
(Kids, if you want a REAL tavern feel, please head uphill to Bonnie's.)
YUUUUM y'all. I mean really, holy SHIT. Aspen Kitch recently re-opened to a royal fanfare of controversy - which I happen to think is the tastiest seasoning - but one bite of this nosh will shoot even the saltiest hater to the ground. Vegetarians can get down eating beignet-like polenta fries, kale salad with pickled cashews, or a whole-roasted cauliflower in Indian spices, but this place is truly a carnivorous wet dream. Lavender honey-lacquered bacon, hanging from a clothesline? CHECK. Suckling pig, served not in its whole form but as a wholly appetizing brick of pulled pork, topped with crispy skin and gluten-free raspberry beer-braised cabbage? CHECK. So-good-you'll-cry 30 day aged beef, cooked on a salt brick? CHEEEECK MATE. If you can, please do the glutards all a favor and finish off with warm cookies and Kahlua-spiced milk, or donuts that you fill YOURSELF with espresso martini or hot buttered rum. THAT'S luxxxury.
Perhaps most well-known for its...air, which constantly smells intoxicatingly of garlic butter night in and night out. I low-key believe they've managed to bottle the smell, synthesize it, and pump it out 24/7 to get unsuspecting mouths watering, a la the sidewalks outside Dylan's Candy Bar (where one gets seduced by waffle cones from two long-ass blocks away). Literally everything is delicious; half of my Gluten Bucket List is comprised of this menu. I was lucky enough to go twice; life's all Gucci when it ain't lived on your own dime.
Appetizer: Warm frisée salad doused in bacon/garlic/shallots/balsamic dressing/a perfectly runny organic egg from local Eagle Springs farm
Entrée: Colorado striped bass + golden rice & toasted almonds, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, Nicoise olives, capers, herbed tomato broth, and French virgin olive oil
Appetizer: Black mussels in onion+tomato+garlic, lobster broth, and Pernod (French anise liqueur, mmm)
Entrée: Wild Ecuadorian shrimp + jasmine rice, broccolini, bok choy, ginger-garlic-scallion oil (A mango-lime-miso dressing had to be put on the side because of soy sauce. I was told it was diviiiiiine, darlings.)
What makes my heart skip a full dozen beats, though, is perhaps the simplest item on the menu: Boulder roast chicken, served in a HULKING portion with french fries, best eaten with your hands. And if you know what's good for you, never, EVER miss the chocolate mousse parfait.
Picture your Jewish grandpa. Not Jewish and confused? Turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm; add a bit of a well-lived pot belly and a thicker Old Country Yiddish accent. Now, picture that man adorned in blue-lensed aviators, posed against a backdrop of snowy, serene mountains, and flanked by shaka-wielding snowboarders, all while holding a Carnegie Deli cheesecake box. Crazy? Sexy? Cool? All of the above. Welcome to the world of Shlomo Ben-Hamoo.
His latest venture (homie's been on the scene for 35 years, #OGAlert) at the base of Aspen Mountain boasts insane grilled cheeses, Reubens and Pastrami (imported from Carnegie Deli, #OGALERT), mounds of fresh white fish salad, and some of the greatest potato latkes I have ever put into my mouth. The quinoa tabbouleh may sound out of place but feels amazing on the tastebuds. No need for truffles EVERY day of the week, you know?
PLACES THE HOT DUDES AT KITH AND IN THE DISPENSARIES AND CARRYING BAGS AT MY HOTEL AKA NOT EMBARRASSING DRUNK OLD PEOPLE LIKE TO DRINK (THEY TOLD ME):
The Living Room in the Jerome Hotel
MY FAVE PLACES TO BUY WEED:
Native Roots (#1! great prices, knowledgeable staff)
Roots Rx (get the low-THC teabags & birthday cake white chocolate)
Green Dragon Cannabis (largest selection of edibles in Colorado, boo ya. Ask for Mark.)
DESPERATE FOR NOURISHMENT AFTER ALL THIS BODY TRASHING?
And In Conclusion:
"My horse is racing in Dubai next year." #overheard
Photo edits: Jenna Demchuk