Ed SchmidtKrabloonik and Maroon Creek Lodge
As the head chef for two of the Aspen area’s more rustic restaurants – Krabloonik, the Snowmass Village sled-dog operation, and Maroon Creek Lodge, located at the T-Lazy-7 ranch up Maroon Creek Road – Ed Schmidt is afforded a rare opportunity.”I come from a fine dining background, so to get into a more relaxed format that also allows for a lot of creativity is a lot of fun,” says Schmidt. “At the Lodge, for example, we have a beautiful commercial smoker. Our signature dish is bison ribs, but we also do chicken and baby back ribs – and it’s all done with love and with attention to detail.”Though he’s a relative newcomer to the Aspen restaurant scene – Schmidt moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in November to take the helm at Krabloonik – he appears to be fitting right in.”The best part is, with Krabloonik and the Maroon Creek Lodge, you’re doing great food in places that are uniquely Colorado,” he says.And this made us wonder what Schmidt thinks makes wining and dining in Aspen uniquely Aspen.Gotta eat thereFirst and foremost, Schmidt is a people person, even when it comes to fine dining. “Paul Wade and his staff at The Little Nell do a great job. I have tons of respect for Paul – he’s a really good technical chef, but more than that he has a lot of character. He’s a straightforward, stand-up guy.When it comes to enjoying a more low-key meal, Schmidt follows the same philosophy. “I love Blue Maize. They’re good folks over there, and it comes through in the whole experience. It’s casual, but not slouchy, the margaritas are great, and the shrimp-stuffed jalapeños are crazy good.”Cheers!”I love that Genre has Chimay on tap … it’s just such a great brew.” Here’s to you, my brotherAlthough he’s been in town less than a year, Schmidt has long admired many local chefs. For “approachable fine dining,” he gives the nod to the creative minds behind Piñons. Overall, though, Schmidt concurs with most of the chefs we talked to in giving Barclay Dodge top honors. “Mogador pays a lot of attention to the detail that goes on every plate, which is really nice to see from a chef’s perspective.”The dishA native East Coaster, Schmidt says: “The pizza at Merlin’s, because it’s hard to find a good thin crust out West.”Freaky foodsTalk about sweet and salty. Schmidt recently discovered this new hors d’oeuvre (and admits it’s not something he would ever have dreamed up): crispy cooked bacon served on top of hard cracked caramel. “The whole business was good … the sweet, mellow caramel flavor and the salty meat of the bacon … wow!”
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