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>> Pine Creek Cookhouse
PINE CREEK COOKHOUSE
Tel: +1 970-925-7939
Cross-country skis or a sleigh ride are required modes of transportation during the winter to get to this charming lodge, located about twenty minutes outside of Aspen. In the summer, intrepid bicyclists and not-so-intrepid drivers frequent this long-time mountain lodge destination. Reservations are a must, or you'll drive or bike the fifteen windy miles for nothing. At lunch, there are two seatings, at noon and at 1:30. The menu features a large salad bar, several hearty sandwiches (try the "cookhouse decker," which has smoked turkey, bacon-mayonnaise, Jarlsberg cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and sprouts on six-grain bread), composed salads, including a grilled portobello mushroom on a bed of spinach and arugula with shaved asiago, white Italian beans, roasted pine nuts and a warm raspberry vinaigrette, and a few hot entrees. Dinner offers a mixture of mountain and sea level food, from the oven-roasted Colorado rack of lamb with a Dijon herb crust to oven-roasted turbot with a roasted sesame cucumber sweet pepper salad and an Oriental black bean vinaigrette. Starters are elaborate, like the grilled quail and venison sausage with a lingonberry-blueberry sage reduction or the oven-roasted Dungeness crab cakes served with a Creole remoulade. Save room for desserts like "Krisi's brownies," drenched in chocolate sauce or one of the dessert specials. For a real Rocky Mountain experience, the Pine Creek is the place to go. At night, it is cozy, and during the day, the views of the nearby mountain peaks are breathtaking. In the winter, they offer cross-country ski and sleigh packages, which naturally culminate in a meal.
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