Checklist for a 24-hour Excursion to Aspen
__ Drive from Vail to Aspen (should take 2 hours)
But, being a bit of a cautious driver and running into a white-out in Glenwood Canyon, it took 3 hours for me. None the less, I arrived safely.
__ Stay in the most conveniently located hotel in downtown Aspen
For a culinary-obsessed girl, the location of the Molly Gibson Lodge was fabulous – just a mere 2 blocks from restaurant row, walking distance after a champagne split! After checking-in with the most welcoming of guest relations, I entered a guest room that was crisp and clean … the ultimate invitation!
__ Book your visit during one of numerous Aspen events
One word … Soupsköl, the legendary soup cooking competition for Roaring Fork Valley restaurants. I prepped in my beautifully renovated lodge room and hopped over to the corner of Hunter St. and Cooper St. to sample 2 dozens soups! See the detailed Soupsköl blog for this adventure! And, luckily this was not the last item on the to-do list for today!
I feel honored that Gorsuch Ltd. carries Ski Town Soups! They requested a book signing event for the evening after Soupsköl. After indulging on soups, I hiked the grueling 1 block from Hunter/Cooper to the Gorsuch location at The Little Nell. This glorious book-signing was like a warm, welcoming, inviting party in my living room, albeit a superiorly-decorated and über-luxurious living room. Gorsuch offered steaming mulled wine, butter crackers and an assorted cheese platter. What a wonderful evening of chatting, socializing and mingling with a concentrated audience of soup-lovers in Aspen.
__ Indulge in a delectable dinner destination
Cache Cache Bistro greeted me with a fabulous atmosphere and joyous company at the U-shaped bar. Cache Cache is featured in Ski Town Soups with a delightful Local French Onion Soup. I treated myself to the most satisfying casarecce pasta (handmade, short lengths of pasta rolled into S shapes) with lamb bolognese, niçoise olives, and celery leaves. With a perfect ending of warm chocolate cake served with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauces. A grand finale to an evening of great enjoyment!
__ Allow for exploration time
The Molly Gibson Lodge is right on Main St. in the heart of downtown Aspen with noteworthy stores around the corner! On Saturday morning, I visited many unique and upscale shops, as well as a very cute and Aspen-centric boutique: The Aspen Emporium & Flying Circus, where I bought an unusual bracelet and the most amazing chocolate truffles. It was really good to explore downtown Aspen, seeing as I had not been there in 7 years.
__ Meet friends in their elements
I was able to meet Walt Harris and Chef Rob MacClanahan from Ute City, which features Red Pepper Parmesan Soup in Ski Town Soups. I was also able to meet Chef Rob Zack, currently the Executive Chef at the Hotel Jerome. (When Ski Town Soups was published, he was the Executive Chef at Eight-K in the Viceroy Snowmass. Chef Zack is showcased in Ski Town Soups with a Creamy Chicken Soup with fregola, shitakes, and sage). Hotel Jerome, featured in Ski Town Soups with a Venison Chili, is a step back in time, with the J-Bar following suit! I so enjoyed my Barbecued Chicken Salad with black beans, roasted corn, pepper-jack cheese, crunchy corn nuts and buttermilk ranch dressing for lunch. It was a diversion from my soup-craze and was quite refreshing!
__ Overschedule yourself to get the most out of your visit
Explore Booksellers (pictured below) on Main St. welcomed me for a book signing on Saturday afternoon! It was a pleasure to meet a vast array of couples and individuals from 3 different continents; a testament to Aspen and Explore Booksellers … what an international draw! Also, a splendid surprise that Aspen Times ran a promotional and informational article on Ski Town Soups on Friday, January 11. Visit the website for upcoming Ski Town Soups events and book signings. And, for the Aspenites that missed the book signings, there are author-signed copies at both Gorsuch or Explore Booksellers.