Hiking makes me hungry
I have a confession to make: I love the outdoors. I may not get into the mountains nearly as often as I’d like and the Midwest leaves much to be desired in the way of hiking, but underneath the flat-ironed hair and the semi-North Shore exterior, I am a wilderness girl at heart. And being in Vail, Colorado this past weekend was just the reminder I needed.
Visiting friends in Vail was like traveling to another world where the air is thinner, the people are friendlier and the most important statistic is not how much money you make, but how many days you hit the slopes last year. (Editor’s Note: This last point was a strange ski culture phenomenon that I found to be hysterical. The number of days a person skiied during the season is like a merit badge worn with great pride. I quickly learned that 30 days is far too few, 75 is acceptable and 115 is, like, almost impossible.)
Aside from catching up with great friends, hiking and kayaking down the Colorado River, we did some good eating too. Like any good hiker, I carried ample snacks like trail mix and granola bars to keep us energized during the day. And at night we feasted. I actually had quite the sampling of vegetarian “burgers” throughout the trip, from a veggie burger mounded with creamy avocado to a black bean burger with guacamole to a portobello mushroom “burger.” Excellent choices on all accounts.
But when my friends suggested sushi for dinner, I was a bit wary. Fresh fish and seafood in the middle of the mountains? Apparently! As you can see from the picture below, we really went all out. This gorgeous platter of eight different rolls was spectacular to look at, but even more wonderful to eat. The fish was fresh and tasty. I had a shrimp tempura and crab roll with salmon and avocado on the outside, and a yellowtail and scallion roll that just melted in my mouth.
But perhaps the best meal of the trip was at Terra Bistro, a restaurant in the Vail Mountain Lodge. Known for their “Thousand Year Breakfast,” they don’t serve anything that wasn’t around a thousand years ago. I honestly could have had one of everything on the menu: chilled apple cinnamon quinoa, whole grain pancakes with fresh fruit, breakfast bagel with hummus and veggies. But I just couldn’t pass up what they called the “Baaa Naan,” a large piece of naan (Indian flatbread) topped with garlic, scrambled cage free eggs, goat cheese and kale. It was every bit as tasty, hearty and aromatic as I’d hoped. (I gobbled it up too quickly to take a picture!)
Having returned to a lower altitude and settled back into the work week, I have a renewed appreciation for all things outdoors. There’s really nothing like good food, good travels and great friends to bring you back down to earth and, if you’re lucky, back into the mountains.