By Eileen Ogintz
CRESTED BUTTE, CO (Day 2) — Farm to table… Asian, buffalo steaks or French?
For a town of 1500 people, Crested Butte, CO has enough restaurant choices to please any palate, promises David Wooding, co owner of the popular new Mexican restaurant Bonez that features table-side fresh guacamole, pork belly tamales and and street tacos with recipes from the streets of Sayulita (sweet potato, black bean or roasted pork and pickled onions. The artisanal drinks were great too—margaritas made with fresh ingredients.
“There are a lot of knowledgeable chefs here… we really shine,” Wooding said. There is a food and wine festival in spring. “We’re all here because we want to be,” he said.
Certainly mountain town food has come a long way from burgers and ribs, though you can certainly find that here—as well as great hummus, greek salad and lamb at Pitas in Paradise. That’s where we stopped for lunch after a morning of snowshoeing with Beth Buehler, a local who is raising her kids (now in high school) in Crested Butte.
We’re only six miles from Crested Butte but we’re in the wilderness with stellar mountain views snowshoeing on a Brush Creek Trail. Lots of people come here with their dogs (including Beth’s black Labrador Retriever Sasha, who leads the way for us, occasionally stopping to investigate some animal track or scent left in the deep snow). In summer this area is famous for mountain biking.
“There’s as much to do off the slopes as there is on the slopes,” Beth says, like snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, back country and snowcat skiing, or even just puttering around the many shops in town. At a second-hand store, my sister-in-law found a set of nice (but cheap) martini glasses to use back at the condo.
There’s even a rum distillery, Montanya, that serves up interesting and exotic cocktails. Co-owner and Head Distiller Brice Hoskin moved the distillery from the even smaller mountain town of Silverton three years ago because he loved the family friendly vibe of Crested Butte. “Even though this is a small town, I still don’t know everybody,” he laughed.
“I love people discovering Crested Butte and how awesome it is to be here,” said champion skier Wendy Fisher who is also raising her family here.
My daughter Melanie, who lives and works here, recommended we check out Coal Creek Grill, famous for its Buffalo Tomahawk Steak, on our last night in Crested Butte. Owner Dave Coleman is another transplant, having moved his family here from Alaska. Several of Mel’s friends and roommates have or are working at Coal Creek. Besides the buffalo steak, the Colorado Lamb Meatloaf and Organic Elk Burger were big hits.