Rookie Season: A tear sheet for novice aspen diners

Welcome! If you’ve just moved here for the winter 2019-20 season, congratulations! If you’ve lived here for decades: also congratulations! As Aspen locals will attest, the colder months represent prime time to enjoy all that our former mining town-turned-ski sanctuary has to offer, food included.

Still, as a miserly taxi driver might note: Many affordable, mom-and-pop restaurants have gone the way of the Snowmastodon. Cheap, satisfying breakfast is rare; food delivery is legitimately pathetic, not to mention exorbitantly expensive; and nobody will praise our dining landscape for diversity. Not to fear, however; options for good meals — and deals — do exist, if you know where to look.

BELLY UP TO THE BAR MENU

The single most suggested tip about Aspen dining: Order from the almighty bar menu, a timeless local cornerstone. At L’Hostaria’s 23rd anniversary celebration last week, in fact, our table of six — seated at a first-come, high-top bar table, natch — agreed unanimously: nobody could remember the last time he or she actually sat in a dining room. Those who perch at the bar in Jimmy’s, Bosq, Campo de Fiori, Cache Cache, Ellina, Steakhouse No. 316, or The Monarch (among many others) are privy to a separate, often more gently priced menu in addition to the regular restaurant menu. A lively bar scene (sometimes set to live music) provides the coziest atmosphere, anyway, as well as a chance to rub elbows with the folks who’ve lived here longest.

FOLLOW THE SKI BUMS

And gather intel on the gondola….

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