A road map to Colorado culinary highlights | AspenTimes.com

A road map to Colorado culinary highlights

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

Title: Colorado's Forks in the Road - An Adventurer's Guide to Unique RestaurantsAuthor: Reginald BarbourPublisher: Free Silver PublicationsPrice: $29.95

ASPEN Bookstore shelves are filled with thousands of cookbooks and an equally bewildering number of guidebooks about points of interest in any given locale.

But chef Reginald Barbour has combined the two genres into one enterprise. “Colorado’s Forks in the Road” lays out a road map to gastronomic adventure in the Rocky Mountains, as well as a section of recipes to be tried in the comfort of one’s own kitchen.In a color-coded compilation of photos and text, Barbour has cataloged 42 restaurants and inns in various backwaters around Colorado, and appended a healthy list of recipes from some of the establishments in the back pages.The establishments are divided according to region (Northern, Southern and Central), and in each region he has looked for architectural charm, warm atmosphere and culinary excellence. From Alice’s Restaurant at Gold Mountain Resort in Ward to the Woody Creek Tavern near Aspen, he has revealed a list of places that, in his mind, “showcase the strong and independent individuals who chose to ply their trade in remote, hard-to-find places in Colorado.”To compile the information for the book, Barbour, 57, traveled to all the different places and took all the photographs displayed across 159 pages. He admits readily that he did not sample the offerings on all the menus he came across, but “I did try the food at most of them.”

For those Aspenites interested in checking out his choices without traveling too far, it should be noted that beside the Tavern he included several local institutions – Butch’s Lobster Bar in Snowmass Village; the Pine Creek Cookhouse in the Castle Creek Valley; Poppie’s Bistro Cafe at the western edge of Aspen; The Redstone Inn in Redstone on the Crystal River; and The Nordic Inn in Twin Lakes, on the other side of Independence Pass from Aspen.With each entry he includes information on the menu, the setting and a bit of the history of the place, as well as contact information and what’s available in the way of nearby activities.Barbour, who has lived in Aspen for about three decades, has worked at only two restaurants in all that time – a decade at the now-defunct Pomegranate Inn and for the last 20 years at Boogie’s Diner.