The chef talked us through each course, and it was really a pleasure to hear how much thought went into each dish. Another favorite was a raw vegetable salad of watermelon radish, carrot, Tokyo turnip, fennel, and asparagus, dressed with a clear honey mustard dressing. Chef Beichner explained that the dressing was made with mustard oil in lieu of mustard, to maintain the clarity, as well as honey and verjus (the juice of unripened grapes). It was light and nicely balanced.
I normally skip the bread basket, but succumbed to the warm rosemary bread, which I drizzled with the lemon and shallot infused olive oil. Worth it.
Here’s a course I want to try at home, with some adaptations. This was a “pasta” made of zucchini, topped with a San Marzano tomato sauce and some truffled pecorino, served with some little “meatballs” made of rock shrimp. I loved the “pasta” and will absolutely be trying this with the upcoming summer bounty. I enjoyed the flavor of the rock shrimp meatballs, but not the texture, which reminded me of shu mai. While I am a fan of shu mai, I thought the meatballs were a little too soft to complement the rest of the dish. The zucchini had a perfect texture, and the tomato sauce was full bodied and balanced.
The dessert course was really lovely, with a warm, nutmeg-dusted donut nestled next to a scoop of house-made vanilla bean gelato. Bruleed grapefruit and an underlayer of salted caramel sauce pulled it all together for a lightly sweet, nicely complex dessert.
Following the dessert course (and some really wonderful ice wine), we were served trays of mignardises (that just means tiny desserts…). There were some nicely-chewy raspberry chocolate tarts, gold-flecked caramel truffles, and, my personal favorite, assorted macarons.
These were the highlights, and we all enjoyed a variety of wine pairings and assorted cocktails throughout the event. Really, a beautiful meal. Kudos to the chef…
The Stanley is worth a visit just to check out the amazing views, including the mountain view from the porch. Mark Orttel and Chef Beichner are working to produce menus that will satisfy adventurous diners and elk-gazing tourists alike, and I was impressed with the inventive food. If you are fortunate enough to be in the Estes Park area, head up to The Stanley and grab some views, then settle in for a meal. We were assured that the only ghosts inhabiting the hotel are of the friendly sort.
Many thanks to the Stanley for the beautiful meal, and to Grace and Toni of the Boulder Food Bloggers for coordinating this event. While I was, indeed, plied with lovely food and wine, all opinions are my own, and all are genuine.
I am in the process of doing a blog transfer, as well as undergoing some life transitions, so I have not been posting as much as I would like–expect that all to change very soon, and I promise some new recipes!
Thanks for reading,