When I first Yelped the list of restaurant options in Crested Butte (CB), I figured there must be some issue. With such a remarkable list of two $$ and four **** dining options, it had to be a thin review base, right? Not so! I wonder if this is the best Yelp dining value of any ski town in the US?
Following our drive to CB on our first night, we considered the list, visited the locations and after a strenuous debate between Teocalli Tamale and The Secret Stash Pizzeria, we agreed on the pizza, while setting a plan to visit Teocalli for lunch. We also took a pass on The Dogwood for the evening, because we had already quaffed a beer at the hotel. Ultimately, this set us up for an excellent sampling of Downtown CB's finest.
Secret Stash has an amazing array of craft pizza. According to the t-shirts, "Our Pizza Kills!" and indeed, it does. With names like "You're Driving me Caprese" and "Booty Call" each recipe seemed to be calling us from the menu. Ultimately, on recommendation of our waiter Zack, we chose "Notorious F.I.G." consisting of Mozzarella, bleu & asiago cheeses, thinly sliced prosciutto, dried black mission figs & a drizzle of truffle oil. Oh my fellow Flâneurs, indeed we were slain by this pie, as well as by the vast array of Colorado's finest craft beers.
On day two, finally able to meet the technical definition of après–ski, we felt that we were entitled to a visit to The Dogwood for a pre-dinner apéritif. We were greeted by one of the two owners of the tiny bar, whose wife and co-owner sat at the bar with her mother. He explained that they create their craft cocktail from hand-made ingredients, which include some surprising elements. My fellow Flâneur went for the vodka-based Winter Squash, which combines roasted squash and sage to a magnificent finish! I stayed a bit more mainstream, opting for a whisky-based Frank the Owl. To call this drink, what it sorta is, an Old Fashioned tweaked with a bit of basil, is plainly selling this place short. The bitters are hand concocted and the basil a stroke of genius! After sharing The Blue Cheese Fondue (not to be missed) and splitting "just one more" Winter Squash, we wobbled off to dinner.
Thankfully, we did not have far to wobble, since Sherpa Cafe was about 35 steps away, and we found a seat before we toppled over. Seeing a menu replete with dishes we had never tried before, we immediately placed ourselves in the hands of our waitress, who quickly recommended a revitalizing chai, made from home grown herbs and spices. Oh my Flâneurs, such a chai you have never tasted! The warmth, the milkiness and the spicy aroma! We sat for a good five minutes just hugging our mugs and discussing what to order. Then, after agreeing on one appetizer and one entree, we proceeded to order two of each along with a big Taj beer. Ultimately, this was a bit of brilliant advance lunch planning. Those Nepalese noodles and the Momo Platter of dumplings were just as good the next day for lunch after a bit of of time in the microwave back at our suite.
Day Three involved skiiing until 3 pm followed by a review of real estate properties, both in town and on the mountain (more detail on houses here), with a local realtor, who recommended our dinner that evening. As he put it, "While you might not think to have sushi in the mountains this far from any ocean, you just gotta try Lil's Sushi Bar and Grill." While we took him up on his recommendation, we decided to visit The Last Steep Bar & Grill for a happy hour margarita. Susie our bartender endorsed the recommendation (in spite of the fabulous fare being served in her own place) and recommended Lil's Crispy Dynamo Shrimp, a very unique dish not to be missed prior to the fantastic array of delectable sushi!
By Day Four, as we neared our fill of skiing, we also had to head out for the four hour drive to Denver. A 3/4 day allowed us time to collect a couple of tamales and a plate of fish tacos at Teocalli Tamale. Don't let the fast food service fool you, this place serves perhaps the finest tamale in the Rockies. Perfect fuel for the drive.