Feed your French cravings après ski
When you can't go to the Alps, the Colorado Rockies are a good alternative. Welcome to Vail, Colorado. This chic village attracts visitors from all over the world. Basking in European charm, you can't help but crave authentic French cuisine. Like fresh fallen snow, Vail has got you covered!
Start your day with a champagne brunch at Vintage. This French Brasserie offers French classics with some modern American twists. The decor is straight out of Paris, but the hip staff can give you all of the latest ski and hiking tips. Try the avocado toast: toasted baguette, fresh avocado, chopped bacon, cherry tomatoes, honey-mustard cream cheese, and a sublime balsamic reduction . Divine. The black mission figs wrapped in bacon with Roquefort, Marcona almonds and sherry-vanilla honey were a hit at our table as well! Vintage is open for dinner as well, offering a great selection of French classics, and a blend of French wines, and Colorado beers and cocktails.
12 Vail Road #100 Vail, CO 81657 Phone: (970) 479-0175
Whether you have spent your day hiking, skiing or simply wandering and shopping (no judgement!) you may want to head home, take your boots off and sip a little something before heading out to dinner. Stop by Vail Fine Wines to make your selection. Kevin Lawrence prides himself on stocking his shelves with hard-to-find wines and spirits. An impressive collection in a small space. There were even a few varieties of Chartreuse! You can also buy the wine crates - a classy souvenir of your French-Vail adventure.
Vail Fine Wines
196 Gore Creek Drive
Vail, Colorado 81657
Where is dinner? The Left Bank, of course! I admit, I had not done my homework and we wandered in not quite sure how authentic this would be. 100% authentic! Chef and Owner Jean-Michel Chelain is from Grenoble, and has created an exquisite menu accompanied with a first-class wine selection.
The Left Bank
183 Gore Creek Drive
Vail, CO 81657
Although he was trained in traditional French cuisine, he uses the finest local ingredients to create inspired dishes, such as Truite Grenobloise - fresh boneless trout sautéed in olive oil, served with capers, caper berries, lemon, grape tomatoes. (My husband proclaimed this the best trout he has ever had).
I was delighted to start with the foie gras, marinated in Sauternes. The Vol au Vent de Homard was unlike anything I have seen before - puff pastry stuffed with spinach, asparagus, shrimp and huge chunks of lobster, topped with a saffron cream sauce. Dessert was no longer a possibility, so we came back the next evening to try more dishes! This time I saved room for the peach cobbler with homemade ice cream. The sommelier had the perfect Sauternes to pair with peach cobbler!
The wait staff is both professional and personable. We practically invited Brian on our next vacation with us! As each dish is made from scratch, they have a thorough understanding of how to make it the most pleasurable dining experience for you. Of course I wanted to meet the Chef and Owner, Jean-Michel Chelain, and as it was the "off-season" (complete with 1/2-price food!) he came out to say bonsoir. We talked for a while, and he was kind enough to pose for a photo.
As we were finishing our dinner, and admiring the modest price for such an exquisite meal, Jean-Michel came back out to continue our conversation. As he was raised in Grenoble, I told him I had just been to his hometown for the first time this summer. We talked about how he grew up cooking, and he shared that his best friend also owned a restaurant in Grenoble. Surely I had never heard of it, right? But it is indeed a small world, and we had made a point to find Chez le Per'Gras in August! (It is a destination - you take the cable car up the hill, follow a small path that curves around some caves ... but it's worth the hunt!) . Laurent Gras is the 5th generation to run his family's gourmet restaurant with a panoramic view of the city. We had enjoyed a delicious meal on the terrasse, while admiring our birds-eye view. (Yes, I was the one taking a hundred photos!) .
Restaurant Chez le Per'Gras
90 chemin de la Bastille
38700 La Tronche
Tel: +33 04 76 42 09 47
Et puis voilà, 2 gourmet options by 2 friends, depending on which mountain range temps you!
We didn't get to spend enough time in Vail, but there are other French options to come back for!