Foodstuff: An ode to the Aspen bar menu


(Thera Freeman)
(Thera Freeman)
(Thera Freeman)
(Thera Freeman)
(Thera Freeman)
(Thera Freeman)

The illusory bar menu appears to be a dying art form above the roundabout, and the collective lament for its diminishing availability among our local and corporate restaurants has been shouted at the chefs – and other food gods. – for as long as many can remember. Now let’s stop to celebrate some of the remaining bar menus and the delicious bites they offer to local, semi-local and visitor alike.

Steakhouse 316 has one of the most consistent presences, not only in the restaurant row, but within the city limits. With ten or so seats, one might feel lucky to squeeze into a few chairs on an impromptu date night (or, when your spouse is out of town, squeeze into the only open seat because you have decided to go out for dinner on a cold Friday night). The current 10-item bar-only menu (no substitution, no take out) has some great deals, combining food for all levels of appetite you bring to the bar. You also have the option of ordering from the dining room menu, creating a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ meal.

It’s especially delicious when you want the umami combination of a creamy, bitter Caesar salad (bar menu) and some of the only onion rings left in town (dining room menu), and the Savion Blanc by the current glass is really the one thing that will brighten your spirits. The combination is deliciously reminiscent of the Caesar salad from the bar of Rustique, now long gone (add fried calamari) accompanied by a glass of frozen Sancerre – the material from which dreams of the bar menu are made.



Speaking of bar menu dream… during shoulder seasons, Jing’s bar menu is hard to beat.

Drink specials are a treat on your budget off season, as are dumplings, appetizers, sushi rolls, and all the other tasty appetizers on the menu. Jing’s bar staff always had some of the nicest humans working in this valley. And order a little feast of chewy and smoky har gow (shrimp dumplings), warm and silky fried wontons (think Rangoon crab, only better), and the pristine brine and melon of the Shigoku oysters pair perfectly with the wine. Moment of White, and the friends you can finally dine with now that peak season has passed, is always something to look forward to during vacation love at first sight in Aspen.



Now don’t get me wrong, I love peak season in Aspen when the town has its winter party dress, draped in snow and glistening ice, shining like the mountain gem that it is. But there tends to be a time when the craving for the off-season starts to infect local workers just as quickly (as this never-ending pandemic recently did). The desire for quiet streets, faster commutes and days off is reminiscent of the simpler times of the (increasingly shorter) shoulder season when another favorite bar menu emerges again like spring buds on poplars, to Mezzaluna.

There are some great pizza options in our little mountain town (if you haven’t ventured out to Propaganda Pie at the Gant, do), but there’s something deeply satisfying about coming together after work. at the Mezzaluna bar to share a pepperoni pizza and the simple green salad. The game between creamy goat cheese and a bite of pepperoni? Delicious. Pair it with Colorado’s favorite: a $ 4 Coors Light, and dream of leisurely summer hikes and lukewarm, slightly shaken mountain beers. Technically, it’s really a happy hour menu, but when you’re looking to emphasize the positive, sometimes you have to bend the rules a bit.

Which brings us to the après-ski menus. While we still can’t go after at Red O (ugh) there are still some things to do. The snow was wonderful so you skied for lunch on the mountain. But now your legs are grilled and you’re ready for a snack and a drink to keep you going until your dinner reservation. Meat & Cheese will revive you and energize you enough to keep going after the sun goes down. Here you’ll find one of the best lists of Pet Nat by the bottle (Sparkling-Natural, Natural Sparkling) that a natural wine lover could want.

Pet Nat, a wine produced according to the ancestral method, is bottled before the end of the primary fermentation, so there is no secondary addition of yeast or sugar. This more unpredictable sparkling wine is the older and less refined cousin of Champagne. You will find less alcohol and less sugar in these often cloudy and surprising wines. Separate a bottle from the list and share the tacos quesabirria. Melting brisket in your mouth, some crispy cilantro, a rich consumption, all paired with a sip of slightly awesome sparkling wine will fill you up and cheer you up enough to make that dining room reservation tonight, propel you on. your nightcap, and whatever evil the evening may contain.

Go out and explore the delicacies that Aspen’s dining scene has to offer, dine in the bars and on the terraces for happy hour and après-ski celebrating the art of food. Food is, of course, the richest art form.


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