The statement I’m about to make may well contradict the entire premise of Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic, which swept into town last weekend with an incredible buffet of some of the most inventive and daring dishes. and drinks on any menu anywhere and rolled out of town with a hangover on Sunday.
My favorite dish of all the Classics wasn’t some unexpected burst of fruit flavor, or the most colorful watercress I’ve ever eaten, or some ambitious take on something completely out of the ordinary. It was a big plate of pasta and marinara, fries and sliders, mini pizzas and chopped vegetables that were on offer at the Limelight during Wednesday night’s kick-off party. I felt like I was eating at a children’s table, and I liked it.
The familiar, simple food ended up being a recurring theme throughout my Bonanza Classic experience this year.
On Thursday, before the classics had really begun, I was so depressed about the upcoming weekend of an already long week that I resorted to a trusty old lunch: a slice of cheesy pizza and some fries from Taste of Philly at Snowmass Village. . It was a winning combination for Fanny Hill’s first summer gig.
On Friday, after starting the morning with a wine tasting and Spanish ham, it wasn’t molecular gastronomy that lured me to lunch, but the CP Burger comfort snack, where I filmed our WineInk columnist Kelly Hayes chatting about it with wine expert Mark. Old man. Although I ordered a coleslaw before they arrived, I couldn’t resist a falafel burger when I heard Oldman enjoying his burger, fries, and smoothie.
For snacks at a joint birthday party of some dear friends that evening, there were potato chips, carrots and ranch dressing. Nothing fancy or ambitious here, just the comfort of a crunch from the essentials of an after-school snack.
Saturday, slightly hungover and looking forward to a day of food and wine that ran from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm, the last thing I needed was a hundred different wines and dozens of food samples at the Grand Tasting Pavilion.
I went anyway and felt bombarded with dishes that I would have enjoyed at a tasting dinner for two hours, but it turned out to be too, too much to eat in the hour I had free between two interviews. I don’t think we were designed to consume 20 of the industry’s most exquisite, unique culinary delights for hours or even days, let alone 60 minutes mid-work. .
So, I gravitated back to the usual: fancy grilled cheeses, pizza slices, chips, salsa, and fruit sherbet. I returned twice to local chef Mava McQueen’s table for jollof rice, which was as comforting as it was delicious. Kerrygold drew me in with cheese cubes and bread, and a vacation home rental company that handed out prepackaged biscuits earned my appreciation when I enjoyed a light snack later that day back at the office.
I also appreciated some of the friendly faces in the sea of people, the ebbs and flows in the tent: hello Rose at Mawa’s, Louise at Stark’s Alpine Grill, Maggie dutifully serving one of the compost bins. , and Hannah, who walked beside me in stunned silence as we wandered through the crowd, wide-eyed.
Deep in the throes of sensory overload, it helped identify a few things that weren’t brand new and mind blowing.
Later that evening, long after the tasting tent, two workshops, two interviews, two after hours parties that turned into three because we first stumbled upon the wrong one, I only wanted noodles with butter and some pepper for dinner. Somewhere south of one in the morning, this was exactly what I needed.
And then there was Sunday. Could it really be Sunday? Some, of course, ate breakfast extravagantly, or made the most of their last weekend wine tasting workshop, or wondered what they could take from the tasting tent.
You could find me in line at Paradise looking for a cinnamon roll, like the ones I used to have as a kid when I went to the coffee shop with my dad. I may have been royally roasted, but by the time I got to the June celebration at Aspen Meadows Resort that day, I was almost (almost) settled enough to enjoy some really gourmet spicy tacos and other snacks.