Mountain Mayhem: Tom Turns 50
Two Thousand Nineteen has seen some memorable occasions — including a benchmark birthday for one Tom Engelman of Aspen who celebrated his big five-oh several months ago with girlfriend Lizzie MacLean by his side.
A familiar face in town for the past 23 years, Tom’s the owner of À La Car restaurant delivery service, which he founded in 1996, and used to savvily advertise with a jingle on the radio I can still hear humming in my head (“no matter where you are, à la Car comes running”).
Prior to moving to Aspen, he studied at the University of Colorado in Boulder, moved to Vail after graduating and managed to tour around the country to see his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, no fewer than 250 times. Over all this time, he developed close ties with friends from everywhere and is known for remembering birthdays with a text or a call.
For his birthday, Lizzie planned an epic weekend in Aspen from June 9-11, which an astonishing 325 friends and family members showed up for to shower him with affection.
“It was like a wedding without the ceremony,” Tom described, down to the gift bags and the tequila grapefruit signature cocktail of the weekend.
In addition to Aspen friends, guests traveled from Maui, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and New York City, as well as ski towns Telluride, Vail, Crested Butte, Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Sun Valley. The out-of-towners stayed at Hotel Jerome, Hotel Aspen, the Molly Gibson Lodge and the entire Little Red Ski House.
Friday night’s festivities took place at Belly Up with dinner and a show featuring members from Grateful Dead tribute bands Dark Star Orchestra and My Brother’s Keeper. Saturday night carried on with another incredible buffet and the band jamming at Scarlett’s.
“It’s not like a party — it’s like a movie,” quipped guest Tim Mooney of the elaborate, friend-filled affair.
“We invited people whom I’ve known for a long time and had an impact on my life – both past and present,” Tom added of the out-of-this-world occasion.
And to top it all off, even Snoop Dogg sent well wishes over a happy birthday video recorded by their mutual friend Minott Wessinger at a Golden State Warriors game. Talk about turning 50 in style.
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April has been decreed, for the first time, as “Sonoma County Wine Month” by the vintners and it is a righteous idea, one that should have legs long into the future.