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Aspen – FP Condominiums

Aspen - FP Condominiums Spacious, conveniently located one - four bedroom condominiums from $236/nt.* Lift & Lodging ...

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Stowe Mountain Lodge = Ski In - Ski Out Luxury Spacious deluxe rooms from $225/nt.* Lift & Lodging packages from $13...

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Last Minute Deal

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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Sugarbush & Mad River Ski Resorts

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The solitude of the legendary Single Chair at Mad River Glen, Vermont, doesn’t last long. “Holy s$@% dude!” my buddy turns to yell at me. The forecast called for ten inches, and we rallied early to have our way with the bounty. The weatherman grossly underestimated the storm and with sleepy eyes we saw around two feet blanking the perfectly spaced wooded runs of Mad River on a deep March base.

Mad River Glen is a throwback resort. Cooperatively owned, it’s the only ski area in the country that is on the National Register of Historic places, having restored their original Single Chair in 2007. Founded by Roland Palmedo, an original investor at Stowe and a renaissance man when it came to building trails and glades, the idea of MRG was that a “a ski area is not just a place of business, a mountain amusement park, as it were. Instead it is a winter community whose members, both skiers and area personnel, are dedicated to the enjoyment of the sport.” The notion still rings true when skiing the all natural (MRG has minimal snowmaking) timeless terrain. The trails are classic New England: gladed stashes are on the map, and the ones which aren’t, are even better. Located in the Waitsfield Valley of Vermont and next door to Sugarbush Ski Resort. The Valley, as it’s called by locals, boasts a more down-to-earth attitude in Northern Vermont compared to the likes of Stowe.

Heading south on Route 100 from Waterbury, you quickly discover the laid back and agricultural heritage of The Valley. Dairy farm silos and dirt roads immediately peel off the main highway as you pull into Waitsfield. Passing through town you can either head toward Mad River Glen or continue south to the town of Warren and Sugarbush.

Stashes
Mad River Glen: Riding the single chair, exit right to Chute or Paradise. These famous two trails spill off the ridge upon reaching the top of the single, and when they are properly filled-in they may have the best skiing in New England. They are littered with side stashes and small cliffs scattered throughout the descent. You can also choose Fall-line, the trail directly underneath the chair. From there, follow the likely sounds of The Grateful Dead, blasting at the mid-station, and be prepped to Hollywood style some zipper-line bumps if it’s not a powder day. Once those zones are tracked, either head to the double chair and find stashes off Partridge or grab a local and traverse beyond Paradise and into the Octopus Garden, which hold gnarly steep trees and ice drops. Bring your A-game as these aren’t mellow trees for the casual skier.

Sugarbush:
Just down the road is Sugarbush North, also known as Mount Ellen. Sugarbush consists of two base areas, and while more of a ski resort than Mad River Glen, Mount Ellen boasts some classic New England trails that bend and curve down the fall line. Mount Ellen also features some easy access tree skiing via the Long Trail, which crosses the summit ridge. From Mount Ellen, skiers can take the Slide Brook Chair connecting to the Lincoln Peak area or Sugarbush South. Sugarbush runs Slide Brook Basin tours into the 2,000 acre backcountry zone, or you can grab a local to show you around. Slide Brook Basin spills onto German Flats Road where a bus regularly carts skiers back to the resort. Once at Lincoln Peak, take a spin toward Paradise off the Heaven’s Gate chair. If the wooded trail is bumped out, traverse left for more tree stashes. But don’t finish the day without a few laps on the Castle Rock double, where tight east-coast trails, replete with ledge drop-offs and moguls, will humble any Western skier.

Après, Lodging, Meals

Staying in town is easy with several bed and breakfasts throughout Waitsfield and nearby Warren. The Lareau Farm Inn, Yellow Farmhouse, and White Horse Inn are all great and slopeside lodging also received a recent facelift at Sugarbush, called The Clay Brook Lodge.

If you’re skiing Mad River Glen, it would be a sin to leave without grabbing a beer at General Stark’s Pub. If you’re lucky, Sean Lawson’s—of Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Founder/Program Director of MRG’s Naturalist Programs—beer will be on-tap.

The Mad River Barn in Waitsfield is also a popular new watering hole and features an inn as well. For dinner, either hit The Mad Taco for heady local brews and Mexican fare or visit American Flatbread for quite possibly the best localvore farm-to-table pizza you’ll ever taste. Be sure to get there early to place your name on the list, then hang out by the campfire over a beer, chatting about the days’ shredding.

Originally posted in Powder.com on Oct. 15, 2015

Stowe Restaurants – Piecasso

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Piecasso logoStowe’s Piecasso pizzeria has become one of Stowe’s favorite restaurant with locals, seasonal renters and day trippers.  There is a great assortment of NY-style pizzas, authentic Sicilian pastas, fresh seafood, fine wines, fun martinis, and Vermont microbrews.

Our staff taste-tested a few of the pizza choices everyone gave thumbs up.  The service wasn’t up to par with what we would have expected but that might have been just one of those days.

Piecasso also offers take-out and pizza by the slice in case you want just want to get back to the hotel or if you want to get back out for more fun!

Piecasso is at 1899 Mountain Road.  Open every day from 11:00 a.m..  Closes at 9:00 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10:00 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays.

Stowe restaurants – The Bagel

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

On one of our tours around Stowe, we stopped in to  The Bagel in Stowe for a quick lunch.  It is located on the Mountain Road.  We simply don’t recommend it.

Everything seemed fine until we sat down to eat our food. There was a long blonde hair in my daughter’s bagel. We both have brown hair.

When I presented the problem to the owner, they made us feel like we that I had planted the hair to get a free meal.  Really?  Does that happen a lot?  If so, they need to try to attract a better class of customer!

I didn’t bother with asking for a refund or for a replacement bagel. If the owner and staff had such disregard for a legitimate concern (beside being a health code violation, I’m sure), there was no way that I was trusting them to prepare more food for me! I will never go back and look forward to someone better taking over the location.

Some people seem to like the Bagel (as per TripAdvisor) but the true measure of a restaurant is how well they value their customers and how they treat them when something goes wrong.  The Bagel failed miserably here so we can’t recommend it.

Stowe restaurants – Gracie’s

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Gracies

Another one of my Stowe favorites is Gracie’s restaurant.  Located just off the Mountain Road (at the corner of Edson Hill Road), Gracie’s offers a great selection of dinner options in a very comfortable, casual setting.  Dinner entrees include steaks, burgers, steaks, seafood. salads and more.

One of the unique aspects at Gracie’s is the doggie-themed menu.  Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise since the restaurant was named after their yellow Lab Airedale mix canine companion.   You can order a Wolfhound Waldorf Salad, a Blazing Beagle Burger or even finish off with one of their famous desserts, the Doggie Bag. a white chocolate bag filled with chocolate mint mousse served on a bed of hot fudge!

Dinner sandwiches, salads and burgers are priced from $11.95 and dinner entrees are from $16.95 (fall 2015 prices).

I’ve been there a number of times and enjoyed different each meal.  I’ve enjoyed the burger, fish & chips and the jumbalaya, to name a few.  The service is always friendly and the wait staff are very knowledgeable about the Gracie’s menu.  They can always recommend something delectable that will suite your tastes and satisfy your appetite.

You will find your host and owner Archie there on most nights to make sure that you have a great time and a delicious meal.  If you are a Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins fan, you might get a better table but Archies’s been known to be nice to even the rival Montreal Canadiens fans who also happen to love Gracie’s.  Archie doesn’t hold a grudge!

I guess that it might be a Boston thing but Gracie’s is the type of place “where everyone knows your name”.  Not only do you feel at home but, on our last visit (my third of the season), Archie did even remember my name!  I was being a good boy too and no one knew that I was going to write this review so it wasn’t that I was notable in any way.  How nice is that?

Reservations are recommended, especially on ski weekends, holidays and during foliage season (early October).  Open daily from 5:00 – closing (seasonally adjusted).  Gracie’s is easily accessible from Smugglers’ Notch as well but only during the late spring, summer and early fall while the Notch is open.

Stowe restaurants – The Blue Donkey (Burgers)

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

What a great place to go for a bite after a a full day on the Stowe slopes or on the hiking trail.  The Blue Donkey burgers hit the spot every time and should satisfy even the biggest appetite!Blue Donkey Burgers

You have a choice of nine burgers on the menu with all kinds of delicious toppings and, of course, you can start with a basic burger and make your own creation.  I’ve always gone for the Rodeo burger – beef patty, American & cheddar, bacon, sauteed onions, topped with ranch and BBQ sauce and an onion ring to top it off!  You can add regular or sweet potato fries and a good selection of sodas and beers.

There’s actually a good selection of BBQ, sandwiches, wraps and salads but I really can’t attest to how good they are.  If they are as good as the burgers, you’ll enjoy them as well.

I’ve never been disappointed (and I have high standards!) and I have never gone away hungry!

Hours vary depending on the season.  You can find the Blue Donkey on the Mountain Road (Route 108) across from the Stoweflake. Gracie’s is easily accessible from Smugglers’ Notch as well but only during the late spring, summer and early fall while the Notch is open.

 

Restaurant Reviews, Stowe – Gracie’s

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Gracies is a great family (and dog) friendly restaurant in Stowe on the Mountain Road offering a varied and full menu.

The menu has a canine theme including chicken paws (tenders), pound puppy nachos and their famous Doggie Bag dessert.  There’s a great selection of appetizers for hungry skiers and hikers to start on, entrees including chicken, seafood, steaks, and ribs.  There is also a great selection of dinner salads &  sandwiches and veggie choices.

Gracie’s signature specialty are there burger choices with a choice of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and 1 pound (yikes!) options.  There are a dozen choices with varied toppings and sides.

We sampled from their Just Doggone Good Burgers menu, adding the soup-of-the-day and salads. Everything was excellent and with service to match.

One small word of warning to sports fans. The staff is very loyal to their teams. I made the mistake of bringing up a certain notorious body check thrown by a certain Boston Bruin hockey player. Needless to say, a spirited discussion ensued but all was in good fun and made the evening even more memorable. Even the owner got his two cents in before high tailing it back into the kitchen!

That being said, Gracie’s was a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

Gracie’s is open with seasonal hours for dinner only.

Food quality 8
Service 7
Value for the dollar 8

Scores on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)
Gracie’s Restaurant, 18 Edson Hill Road, Stowe,
Tel.: 802.253.8741

Restaurant Reviews, Aspen – CP Burger

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

CP Burger came very highly recommended by my Aspen hotel’s manager, a self-proclaimed hamburger aficionado.  The man new more about burgers than anyone that I had ever met but I did leave me with a major craving.

CP Burger is right in the middle of town so it didn’t take long to get there (or from anywhere in Aspen) and it did not disappoint.  The burger was juicy and, combined with the toppings, made for a delicious experience.  I gave the truffle fries a try and, although I enjoyed the unique experience, I still prefer the more traditional versions.

CP Burger offers beef burgers with a variety of toppings, chicken, tuna & falafel “burgers”, hot dogs, salads and choices between regular, truffle and sweet potato fries.  There is also a choice of spiked and thick shakes, soft drinks and frozen yogurt.

During our visit the service was excellent.  The server was able to give us a good rundown of the menu choices and popular items.  She also explained why, when my order was coming up, they would call for Paul McCartney (instead of numbers, they use famous people’s name – it is Aspen, after all!)

There have been some comments on various sites that complain about the service, however, so be forewarned.  I guess that, like any restaurant, there are good servers and bad especially in tourist areas.

CP Burger is open everyday from 11am to 10pm

Food quality 9
Service 7
Value for the dollar 8

Scores on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)
CP Burger,433 East Durant Ave., Aspen,
Tel.: 970.925.3056

Restaurant Review – Steamboat, Winona’s

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Based on an informal poll of locals, Winona’s is arguably (and not a lot to argue about) the best breakfast restaurant in Steamboat.  It is the home of their world famous cinnamon roll and nearly as famous pancakes, french toast, Eggs Benedict, omelettes, home fries, …..!

Winona’s isn’t in the village at the base of the Steamboat ski area but can be found in the middle of town a couple of miles down the road in Steamboat Springs.  It is absolutely worth the short trip!  There are only about a dozen tables so, if you are planning to head over during a weekend or a busy ski week, your best bet would be to get there early (7:00 am opening during the season) because it fills up quickly and the line-up really never seems to get shorter!

They have a great take-out baked goods section so that might be an option for the late risers or those that just want goodies for the condo.

Winona’s also serve a delicious lunch with a good selection of sandwiches, soups and salads.

Service is only average because the wait staff is kept hopping, trying to keep up. Not a whole lot of time at Winona’s to socialize!

Food quality 8
Service 6
Value for the dollar 9

Scores on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)
Winona’s Restaurant, 617 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487, Tel.: 970.879.2483

Restaurant Review – Aspen, Finbarr’s Irish Pub

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Finbarr’s Irish Pub and Kitchen is owned by long-time Aspen local, Denis Finbarr O’Donovan. Finbarr’s brings Aspen a traditional Irish restaurant and gathering place. Serving gastro pub cuisine to fit every palette, Finbarr’s is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Menu highlights included pan seared lamb sirloin, brown sugar brined double thick pork chop, a classic old-fashioned reuben sandwich and the traditional Irish pub fare items like bangers and mash, shephard’s pie and fish & chips.  There is also a selection of local and traditional beers (30+ choices).

Main courses ranged from $12 – $28.

Come visit us and taste Chef Joe Flamer’s culinary delights and take in domestic and international sporting events one of the Pub’s eight oversized televisions.

Food quality 8
Service 7
Value for the dollar 7

Scores on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)
Finbarr’s Irish Pub & Kitchen, 415 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, CO, 81611, Tel.: 970.925.2719

Restaurant Review – Aspen, New York Pizza

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Since pizza is a mainstay for many skiers, we went searching for great pizza in Aspen and it didn’t take long.  Just blocks away from the Little Nell gondola and right in the heart of the “downtown” Aspen pedestrian mall. We found New York Pizza so we headed up the stairs to second floor restaurant.

If you are looking for fancy, this ain’t the place but if you are looking for great NY style pizza, this is it.  You simply drop in, order at the counter and seat yourself at basic wood tables.  They’ll call you when your meal is ready. The staff is friendly and the whole feel is “ski area” appropriate.

The food is delicious and the prices are very reasonable.  You can choose from dozens of toppings for your pizza slice or whole pies.  They also offer calzones, hot sandwiches and tasty salads.

If you are looking for a quick, tasty lunch, dinner or even for a snack (skiers do work up a big appetite!), New York Pizza is a great option

Food quality 7
Service 6
Value for the dollar 8

Scores on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)
New York Pizza
409 E. Hyman Ave, Aspen, (970) 920-3088