Global grub set for World Cup weekend | AspenTimes.com

Global grub set for World Cup weekend

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A taste of some diverse, worldly cuisine is coming to Aspen Friday as part of the World Cup weekend.

Sixteen local restaurants are participating in the second annual “Dine Around the World” program in honor of the World Cup ski races. Each restaurant hosts one or two of the national teams in town for the races.

From Norwegian potato leek soup to Croatian veal scaloppina and Canadian nanimo bars for dessert, the local selections available Friday through Sunday are a cultural tour for taste buds. For the public, the three-course pre fixe dinners at each restaurant range between $18 and $22 a person and could be the antidote to the post-Thanksgiving turkey doldrums.

“Restaurants are a very big segment of our community, and we wanted them to play a role in World Cup,” said Jane Poss, chairwoman of the World Cup organizing committee.

Poss said the Dine Around the World program debuted last year, but didn’t have as large a turnout as expected. A lack of snow cut the number of races Aspen hosted, and some of the teams were relocated to a course on Copper Mountain.

“This year we’ve done a lot of advance advertising, and we’re getting the Dine Around the World banners out in front of participating restaurants,” Poss said. “A lot of the restaurants were happy to try this again, and had a chance to look through their menus and refine them or try a different country. We’re suggesting that people start making their reservations now.”

Recommended Stories For You

Ute City Bar and Grill owner Maurice Couturier said he has some friends who are Slovenian, so he asked them what they’d like to eat when the restaurant began to work on its menu for the event.

Typically the Ute serves “American French high-Alpine cuisine,” he said, but mushroom soup, leg of lamb or marinated catfish and a flancati dessert will be an option there this weekend.

Flancati is a lot like the traditional Mexican flan, a custard-caramel dessert, he said.

“All the specials that the restaurants are doing are for the racers but also for all the locals and visitors,” said Bob Glowacke, owner of the Steak Pit, which is offering Norwegian cuisine this year. “And if people come in for dinner, they might run into their favorite team and their favorite racers.”

Racer Hilde Gerg from Lenggries, Germany, might show up at Jack’s Restaurant at the Sardy House, for example, where the weekend’s menu includes sausage and bread soup, herb crusted pork loin, and cheese crepe with berry compote.

“I bounced it off the chef, Alan Kokish, and he said he’d like to prepare the German food,” said Sardy House general manager Bob Bayless. “His family had just been there and brought him back a bunch of cookbooks, so he said he’d use the recipes.”

The Mother Lode, which usually offers Italian fare, is hosting Spain and has created a menu with eight to nine tapas, of which diners can chose three to four, said manager Anna Binkley.

“We host special events here all the time, and this is just another event like that,” she said. “Hopefully the snow will be better this year and locals will find out about all of the different food we’ll have.”

Other local pairings include more standard offerings: French food at Rustique, Austrian food at the Wienerstube, Japanese offerings at Takah Sushi, American food at Jimmy’s and Italian food at L’Hostaria. The wide variety of apple-based desserts alone at restaurants this weekend include American apple pie, Finnish apple pie, Austrian apple strudel and Russian apple walnut latkes.

Other restaurants participating in the Dine Around the World program include British offerings at Mezzaluna, Swiss food at Cache Cache, Croatian cuisine at Campo de Fiori, Canadian food at the Chart House, Russian food at Gusto, food from Slovenia and the Czech Republic at Lucci’s and Swedish and Finnish food at Elevation.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]