Crested Butte Restaurant Week

June 3-11, 2011

SoupconLast Steep Sign

It’s a great week for foodies in Crested Butte. The magic number is 8885, saluting the town’s altitude. Parties of four can savor multi-course meals for $88.85; smaller parties will pay $22.21 per person. Each restaurant presents special week-long deals – sometimes including wine or alcoholic beverages. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Establishments that do not serve dinner plan to feature multi-course lunches at $8.85 per person.

We see many of our CB favorites on the participant list – Donitas for killer margaritas and Mexican, pasta and desserts at Marchitelli’s Gourmet Noodle and good old reliable The Last Steep. Participating restaurants in Mt. Crested Butte include local favorite, Avalanche Bar & Grille, 9380 Prime and Woodstone Grille.

Lodging specials at B&Bs, lodges and hotels start at $88.85. The snowpack is receding, there are even some wildflowers popping up. It’s time to break out the hiking boots and mountain bikes to work up a healthy appetite for delicious dining during Crested Butte Restaurant Week.

From Mt. Crested Butte - B

Eric's Fox - B

  Yellow Flower - B

                                                                    Photos provided by Eric Yackel.   

 

Come Blow the Alphorn

Alphorn 1

The slopes of Mt. Crested Butte echo with the sonorous tones of a 14-foot- long alphorn. Not a Ricola cough drop commercial but one of the world’s foremost professional alphorn players – Arkady Shilkloper; plus, dozens of fascinated youngsters.

The Divine Family Concerts are a yearly feature of the Crested Butte Music Festival. Aimed at younger audiences, the 2010 informal concerts included Brass for Kids, Bluegrass for Kids, Legends for Kids, a children’s opera – Hansel and Gretel, and Blow the Alphorn.Alphorn 5

Russian born Arkady Shilkloper started playing the alto horn at age six and spent seven years as a cadet at the Moscow Military Music School. Today he lives in Germany and plays horn, fugelhorn and alphorn with orchestras and small groups around the world.

2010 is Shilkloper’s second summer as guest artist at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Between songs he shares history and facts about the lengthy alpine instrument. Alphorns date back at least 600 years. Traditionally the horn is carved from a single piece of wood with no lateral openings – no holes nor keys. The one Shilkloper plays for the mountain slope concert is made of carbon fiber and comprised of multiple telescoping pieces. He talks about the similarities to theAlphorn 3 indigenous Australian dijurido, renaming the alphorn an “alpurido.”

Shilkloper’s alphorn repertoire ranges from traditional Swiss songs to improvisational jazz. For the Divine Family Concert he included several of his own compositions including Alpine Trail and A Tribute to Crested Butte which he wrote after his visit five years ago.

Then it’s time for eager youngsters to step up to the mouthpiece. Eyes pop when they successfully hit a harmonious note – or two or more. Shilkloper patiently encourages the shyest and those who initially struggle in their efforts. A five-year-old face-painted “tiger” immediately succeeds with a short melodic tune and is pronounced by the maestro as a natural. When others have difficulties Shilkloper asks the “Natural” to teach them in, “kid language”. One amazing three-year-old needed no instruction. If a stockpile of alphAlphorn 2orns were available there would be an entire alphorn orchestra on the slopes of Crested Butte.

Arkady Shilkloper appears in a concert entitled Alpine Romance August 1, 2010 with the Crested Butte Festival Orchestra at the Center for the Arts.

The Crested Butte Music Festival completes its 13th season in 2010. Each year programs and concerts present a wide variety of music styles – classical, chamber, jazz, bluegrass, opera, western and more.

 

Family-Style Fried Chicken & All the Fixin’s

Grandma’s Sunday fried chicken dinner is a treasured memory from my youth. When visiting Crested Butte, Colorado we’ve established the tradition of Sunday night dinner at The Slogar for family-style platters of fried chicken and all the fixin’s.

Slogar Exterior - Large

The weathered building was built in 1882 when it was one of 18 taverns in the mining town of Crested Butte. The Slogar was the first one the miners came to each evening as they came down from the Big Mine on the Bench. Stepping into he 21st-century Slogar feels like stepping into a 19th-century movie set. The antique bar, back bar and red upholstered Victorian furniture set the stage.

As soon as we’re seated our cheerful waitress, Kelli, brings bowls of cottage cheese, tomato chutney and a relish tray with celery and carrot sticks, butter pickles and cinnamon pear slices. My favorite is the sweet/sour coleslaw made from an early 1800s Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. Is this like Grandma’s, or not?

Kelli soon returns with our drink order and a basket filled with homemade baking powder biscuits accompanied by crocks of honey butter and homemade strawberry preserves. After tasting the preserves you’ll want to purchase a couple of jars to take home. Wish I could make biscuits as good as Slogar’s to go with the strawberries!

Slogar Chicken Dinner Our waitress offers to refill any of the dishes; but, knowing what’s ahead we decline. After clearing the debris from the first round Kelli brings out a platter piled high with crispy skillet fried chicken – four pieces per person. The flavorful recipe dates back to 1915. Since I prefer dark meat I negotiate my breast for Eric’s thigh – chicken pieces, of course. We pass around the dishes of mashed potatoes, gravy and creamed whole kernel corn. Once around and the mashed potato bowl is empty. Kelli quickly brings a refill as well as more biscuits.

Our table falls silent as we dig in; after all, we’ve eaten lightly all day saving up for The Slogar. We note that the same thing happens at other tables. As soon as the main course is served conversation ceases, eating is paramount.

My only complaint is the thin gravy. Our family has always made a thick cream gravy with the chicken pan drippings; it’s hard to change expectations. Also, if they provided a bread plate one wouldn’t have to work so hard keeping the biscuit from getting soaked with thin gravy and corn cream.

As we sit back with satisfied sighs Kelli brings individual dishes of rich vanilla ice cream. We like to top the ice cream with any leftover preserves. Yum! Eric gets the doggie bag of four chicken pieces and biscuits for tomorrow’s lunch.

Slogar Sign When You Go: The Slogar Bar and Restaurant is open nightly 5-9pm. Steaks ($26.95) and a vegetarian entree are offered in addition to the fried chicken dinner. Specialty beers, wine list and full bar are available. The chicken dinner is $15.95/adult, $8.95/children 2-12, and includes ice cream, tea coffee and milk. The restaurant is located at 517 2nd St., at the corner of 2nd and Whiterock. Reservations strongly advised, 970-349-5765.

The Slogar changed ownership a couple of years ago. All the positives including traditional recipes remain. The reception, attitude and cleanliness are much improved.