From the Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival I repaired to Vail just in time to catch Dwele at the Soul Music Fest., i.e., just in time to fall in love with Dwele—not only his supersmooth, bass-groovy, Stevie Wonder-dipping-into-hip hop sound but also his supersmooth, bass-groovy way with the ladies, as he demonstrated his favorite pickup lines:
Dwele (squatting down as fan strokes jacketed arm): Do you know what material that is?
Dwele: Boyfriend material.
This year I was a guest, but I had so much fun at the Gerald R. Ford Ampitheater (who knew the infamously awkward Ford was so secretly funky?) that I definitely intend to attend all on my lonesome next year, so as to get as low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low as a 40-year-old Jewess from Oklahoma can possibly get.
Afterward, I got high at Terra Bistro. Like Denver's own Potager & The Kitchen in Boulder, the handsome longtime destination—showing my kind of style, all clean lines in brown & beige with stone floors—was apparently flying the local/seasonal banner before it was cool. Of course, in the wrong hands, the freshest, juiciest, most pristine ingredients in the world can turn to mush; good thing chef Kevin Nelson's hands aren't wrong.
As always, whenever I'm an occasional guest rather than an anonymous paying customer, I follow a few rules: 1) I state as much upfront. 2) I only write about my experience if it genuinely pleased me—if it didn't, I don't. Biting the hand that fed me would be a shitty thing to do. 3) I fully expect you, dear reader, to take my opinion with a grain of salt (unprocessed & hand-harvested, in this case); how can you or for that matter I say for sure I haven't been compromised in some way in these instances, or that I received anything close to the same treatment as everybody else? For all I know they sprinkled magic dust over my food.
If so, they probably started with the bread spread, because I couldn't keep my greasy paws out of it, an appropriately earthy, dal-like mound of split peas, lentils & garlic in spiced oil.
But actually, all that said, my favorite dishes weren't the ones I ordered. For instance, while these moist, flaky, perfectly cooked salmon cakes in Boston lettuce cups were fun to wrap up & eat with said paws,
I'd have liked them even better if they'd come with more pickled red onion & less honey-mustard dressing, which almost overpowered the fish. The broth in the Dungeness crab & cucumber "gazpacho" a companion ordered, meanwhile,
was little more than lime juice, scallions, & S&P—I can't imagine they made it without vegetable or shellfish stock, but I can't swear to it either—& all the better for that, if you have the taste for pure sour citrus I do.
As for the brown butter–sweet potato ravioli, I'm sure it was fine, but it was the garnish I dug,
All of which began to make clear to me that the Kitchen's forte is detail, like the funky, crunchy-fried Picholine olive crumbs on my porcini-dusted striped bass intriguingly combined with hearts of palm, frisée & judicious daubs of 2 well-matched, creamy sauces: a tarragon aioli & an orange supréme.
Or the sauteed, almost crispy kale accompanying the Amish beef filet with blue cheese & Yukon gold mashed, which soaked up just enough of the the smoked tomato demiglace to taste meaty in itself.
Don't forget avocado's technically a fruit—but we do forget, because it's got that vegetal mustiness that makes it so savory. Which is precisely why, along with its creaminess, it works so well in desserts, refreshing the sweetness.
Color me impressed—but again, you don't have to take my word for it. This place hasn't needed me to keep it afloat for 17 years.