morel prosciutto asparagus pizza thai sticky rice and mango pheasant and morel vols au vent strawberry butter


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crested butte: montanya distillers tasting room

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked past Montanya Distillers Tasting Room on Elk Avenue and dismissed eating there because I thought all they had was rum. It’s true that they have rum, really good rum and lots of it! But they also serve great food, the kind of bites you crave a few days later after a hike, bike, or ski. We went in for the first time last summer and keep returning for the noshes as much as the sips.


in the heart of downtown crested butte



Inside there are several tables, booths, and a bar on the first floor. Upstairs you will find some tables, a cubby hole play area, and the distillery, where you can request a tour. During summer months, Montanya expands to two dog-friendly outdoor patios. Open daily, the tasting room offers free tastings of their three craft distilled rums: Montanya Platino, Montanya Oro, and Montanya Exclusiva. There is also the extensive cocktail menu which you shouldn’t and probably can’t pass up. This is coming from me, someone who prefers to eat rather than drink her calories.

the distillery



The cocktails come in all manner of creative flavors and combinations that incorporate Montanya’s rums (obviously) and rum infusions like Thai spices, cucumber, vanilla, or jalapeño. Their martinis include the likes of White Room (Montanya Oro Rum, vanilla infused Montanya Platino Rum, orgeat, fresh cream, and crushed almond) and Smoke Show (Montanya Oro Rum, cold brew coffee, chai spices, smoked clove, cardamom). Maybe you want a cocktail on the rocks? Try Fiery Passion (habanero and pineapple infused Montanya Platino Rum, passionfruit, fresh lime, mint, agave, seltzer) or Strawberry Jive (Montanya Platino Rum, fresh strawberry, agave, fresh orange and lemon, local basil, mint). But it’s not all fancy, fruity, totally awesome concoctions – they’ve got you covered with the classic Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Daiquiri, and Mojito to name a few. On those especially snowy après ski days, consider warming up with hot cocktails such as Hottanya (Montanya Oro Rum, local Third Bowl ice cream, butter, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream) or Wassail (Montanya Oro Rum, mulled cider, cranberry, spices, citrus bitters, orange twist).

And don’t fret if you’re a teetotaler! You will not be relegated to water or iced tea. Montanya’s mocktails are every bit as enticing and delicious as their cocktails… without the booze, of course. The Green Hornet combines fresh lime, cilantro, jalapeño, agave, and seltzer. I recently ordered the Bluebird – a delightfully refreshing combination of fresh blueberries, ginger, honey, lemon, and seltzer. Montanya’s drinks are all so fun and exciting, and there is something for everyone.


left: dark and snowy (montanya oro rum, fresh lime, housemade ginger beer, fresh mint, seltzer) and right: beach bum mocktail (pineapple, cream of coconut, orange, pomegranate)

maharaja (montanya oro rum, north indian spices, fresh pressed ginger, fresh lime, cardamom)

boat shoes (cinnamon infused montanya oro rum, agave, passionfruit, pineapple, mint, coconut, cardamom)

left: creamsicle mocktail (orange juice, sweetened cream, whipped cream) and right: kokomo (montanya platino rum, fresh lemon, fresh lime, cream of coconut, housemade ginger beer, fresh mint)

hanoi sunrise mocktail (blood orange, fresh lime, simple syrup, thai bitters, seltzer)



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crested butte: supper at sunflower

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Sometimes it takes a little nudge to discover something wonderful that is right under your nose. In the heart of downtown Crested Butte, The Sunflower has always been a great place for us to grab a spinach and feta croissant or a good sandwich to go. For some reason, I assumed it was breakfast-lunch only because their menu lists breakfast and lunch. I was half correct. The Sunflower is a communal kitchen – a cafe/deli in the daytime and a restaurant at night. Two separate businesses that share one space. I only learned about Supper at Sunflower this spring when Rob, the best painter in town and fellow mushroom foraging enthusiast, mentioned it to me.


sunflower is located on elk avenue



Indoor seating in this cozy, rustic establishment maxes out at 32, but in summer the pleasant patio easily doubles the restaurant capacity. Reservations are highly recommended and there are generally two seatings each night: early [6:00 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm] and late [8:00 pm, 8:15 pm, 8:30 pm]. Every time we have dined at Supper at Sunflower, the place has been packed with regulars and newcomers alike. Their staff is warm and friendly, and every server was quite knowledgeable about the menu and the extensive wine list (and what pairs well with what). Sunflower also offers a huge number of wines by the glass as well as a dozen beers by the bottle. Be sure to ask about their porrons.

a cozy interior

patio dining with my folks on a fine colorado summer evening



Small bites and small plates dominate the menu at Supper at Sunflower, although there are large plates in the traditional sense of a meal. I feel that the quantity on the small plates offers the best value. Supper at Sunflower encourages sharing and sampling – a fun way to enjoy and explore more of their Spanish-influenced farm to table cuisine. Start with a selection from their Nibbles, an assortment of cheeses, cured meats, olives, and nuts. There is usually a tempting seasonal soup and a couple of salads, all incorporating fresh, local ingredients.

some nibbles: olives, manchego, finocchiona



Admittedly, we get so excited about the appetizers that it wasn’t until the third visit (on my birthday) that I ordered the heirloom tomato salad with ricotta cheese, watermelon, and pickled cucumbers. That salad embodied what I enjoy most about the food at Supper at Sunflower. A thoughtful and exciting balance of textures and flavors exists in most of their dishes. Best of all, I love their use of homemade pickled and preserved toppings to accentuate and enhance the plates. They add zing and zip to an already exceptional combination of flavors. Of the many (so many) small plates we’ve tried, my favorite was the rabbit escabeche. The tangy stewed rabbit and vegetables arrived along with an amorphous piece of charred dough – some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted!

albacore tuna poke

rabbit escabeche with grilled bread

house burrata

pork sausage with fava beans



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crested butte: soupçon

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

We’ve been part-timers in Crested Butte for three years now, and still we marvel at what the town has to offer in the way of great places to eat. As with any mountain town, we’ve seen some of the good ones sadly close down, which is why we feel strongly about supporting great restaurants when we find them. We didn’t hear about Soupçon until we began chatting with neighbors who were effusive about the food and wine and service.

Although the address is listed on Elk Avenue, the entrance to Soupçon is tucked away on a tiny unassuming alley removed from the bustle of Crested Butte’s main street. The building is a quaint miner’s cabin converted to a restaurant with a capacity of about 35. Soupçon offers two seatings a night at 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm. It is one of those restaurants that most people reserve for a special occasion, but it also has its fair share of regulars. Because of Soupçon’s limited space and popularity, you would do well to make a reservation in advance.


the charming exterior



Soupçon translates into “a little bit”, but what you get is a good bit of fine French cuisine from this self-described French American bistro. The small wait staff is as professional as you can get in a small ski town – certainly the most formal of any places we’ve dined at in Crested Butte and on par with some of the finer establishments of Boulder and Denver. Chef Jason works with his team in the back of the house (a tiny kitchen space), masterfully creating and presenting what is sure to be one memorable meal after another. The menu changes frequently according to the quality and availability of the best and freshest ingredients. Soupçon can also accommodate those with gluten-free or vegetarian requirements.

inviting and cozy inside

the menu



The beverage selection at Soupçon includes their signature cocktails (innovative interpretations of traditional cocktails), spirits, beers, and an extensive and impressive wine list (by the glass, half bottle, or bottle). After you sit down and order drinks, Chef Jason begins your culinary journey with an amuse bouche – simple and luxurious enough to inform patrons of the evening’s delights to come.

amuse bouche: center cut filet mignon tartare

st. germain french 75

some bread to get you started



You would do well not to pass over the appetizers, as they can be every bit as delectable as the entrées. Starters range from simple fare like soup or salad to indulgent foie gras, pork belly, or escargot. But you don’t simply get escargot, for example. The tender escargot are served in a white wine pan reduction with garlic, shallots, and chives in a puff pastry vol au vent. Our crab and avocado tower came adorned with caviar, edible flowers, grapefruit gastrique, and a spiced carrot coulis. Every extra touch serves to elevate the flavor, texture, and visual appeal of each plate.

escargot in puff pastry vol au vent

chilled crab and avocado tower

pan-seared scallops



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