Aspen Farewell Ends With Inspirato and Eight K

It was the final day of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. My friend Lisa and I headed down to the Grand Market for one last run of tasting, and then were off to a most unusual brunch.

Inspirato invited us to one of their Aspen condos for a Sommelier Brunch. Many don’t realize how hard these wine experts work all weekend and it was a chance for them to unwind a bit. Capture Wine Ben Shapiro brought some of his wines (including the delicious Sauvignon Blanc) and grilled cheese egg sandwiches permeated the air.

It was a beautiful day and the views of Aspen from the duplex we great. We enjoyed the wine, food and company for a few hours before taking off with the last swag bag of the trip.

Inspirato definitely out did themselves with beautiful tote bags, NIKE Jackets and hats, as well as a water bottle, though the entire week had been filled with gifts from sponsors like I had never seen before. Among the treats we went home with were Godiva Chocolates, Riedel Wine Glasses, Wusthof Kitchen Shears, an AT&T Adapter, a Kitchenaid Blender, shirts, bar utensils and assorted bottles of wine, spirits.

We took an afternoon break before riding up to Snowmass for dinner at Eight K. The restaurant is just magnificent, with a fireplace and glass bar, and breathtaking views from the mountain at 8,000 feet.

One of the reasons I had chosen this place for our only Aspen dinner out was the cocktail menu and I wasn’t disappointed. From a Pineapple Caipirnha to a Blue Moon (Leopold Brothers Gin, Crème Yvette, lemon juice, simple syrup and Charle de Fere Floater), it all sounded great. I settled on a Ginger Peach Mojito (Cruzan Rum, peach puree, house made mint syrup, house made ginger syrup and lime) and was not disappointed.

At the end of the cocktail menu was something that caught my eye. It was in a box by itself under the heading “Viceroy Margarita.” I’m always intrigued by original drinks, so I read the ingredients… Casa Dragones Tequila, Cuvee du Cent Cinquentenaire-Grand Marnier and Peach Street Distillers Eau de Peach. As I began to think about that delicious combination of expensive liquor, I realized that thought was not lost on 8K. The margarita was $75!

I’m sure many are wondering if a margarita can possibly be worth that much money. All I can say is it was the smoothest, most unusual and tasty margarita I ever had. The food proved to be just as interesting, starting with a creative bread basket that we nibbled on with our cocktails.

The chef brought us Gran’s Deviled Egg with country ham, truffle, tarragon and prosciutto to taste before the Crispy Stuffed Squash Blossom arrived. They were both great and we chatted a bit about the fresh ingredients he uses and unusual touch, like the Lamb Ribs (excellent) which are smoked by the pool using fruitwood and then served with Tszatziki sauce.

I really enjoyed the Potato Gnocchi with mushroom consommé, spring onion, truffled crème fraiche and black, while Lisa liked her first taste of Elk. Dessert was just phenomenal as it combined two of my loves – sweets and cocktails. Eight K actually put together a dessert and cocktail menu that cannot be beat. Our favorite was the Peanut Butter Chocolate, a chocolate and peanut butter semifreddo with salted peanut butter caramel, fluffernutter, pretzel peanut crunch and malted vanilla ice cream, served with The Jelly, blackberry whiskey, Chambord and Drunken Blackberry.

The other combination Lisa and I really enjoyed was the Honey Lavender Cheesecake, made from Avalanche Chevre with roasted vanilla peaches, hazelnut brittle and sweet cream, accompanied by Lemonsicle, a house-made Meyer lemoncello with cream.

It was nice to end our final night in Aspen celebrating the food of this beautiful Colorado city. In the morning we would be off to discover another place I had never been – Lumiere Telluride


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