Mark FischerSix89 and Phat Thai
OK, fellow foodies, it’s time to think outside the box – and in this case, the box is Aspen. The reason? Six89 and Phat Thai.Located in the former cow town of Carbondale, these two restaurants – under the deft leadership of Mark Fischer – are well worth the drive downvalley. In fact, contends Fischer, there is not much reason to stay in Aspen for fine food and drink any longer.”That Aspen is the dining gem of the Western Slope is no longer a truism,” says Fischer, who picked up his roots at Aspen’s chi-chi Caribou Club to open Six89 in 1998. “I don’t know if it’s economics or lifestyle, but the downvalley restaurant scene is really happening.”And Fischer was – and remains – on the cutting edge of that scene, having opened Phat Thai to rave reviews in December.”Six89 happened because I was looking for a place to cook closer to where I lived,” he says. “It was predicated on a lifestyle, but it’s grown to be so much more. It’s taken on a life of its own. And Phat Thai came about because we always wanted to open a second restaurant.”So with Six89 and Phat Thai breathing new life to Carbondale, we had to find out whether Fischer ever ventures upvalley for food and drink.Gotta eat thereWhen it comes to enjoying a fine, intellectually stimulating meal, Fischer gives a resounding recommendation to Mogador. “With Barclay Dodge, I know it’s going to taste good. In my humble opinion, he’s the only guy doing anything ballsy in Aspen.”For a more casual meal, Fischer heads the opposite direction of Aspen to Narayan’s Nepal Restaurant. Located just outside Glenwood Springs, Narayan’s serves up authentic Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian cuisine. “It’s good, honest, ethnic food served by humble people devoid of pretense and chefiness. It’s atypical, which is a good thing.”Cheers!”You’ve gotta be crazy … there’s no time to drink. And if I do have time to go out, I’m gonna enjoy an eight-course meal and then it’s bedtime for this boy.”Here’s to you, my brotherObviously, Barclay Dodge tops Fischer’s list of fine chefs. But he also gives a nod to Adrian Carpenter of Basalt’s new Dogwood Grill and Thomas Colosi of Blue Maize. “For Adrian, it’s that nobody else is doing what can be termed Southern food, and it’s good to see someone doing something different. And Thomas is also doing some really cool stuff.” Of course Fischer admits he’s partial to these two: “They used to work for me, so I’m biased. But anytime I see a guy that used to work for me doing his own thing, I’m excited.”The dishFischer says he “tends to crave the simpler things” – and we’re not talking about meat and potatoes. “A killer piece of foie gras … miso-glazed black cod is always good eating.” You get the picture.Freaky foodBrace yourself, Fischer is “the kind of guy that will put anything in my mouth.” And in the case of an Asian marketplace in Denver, that was pig’s uterus. “It tasted just like frog’s legs,” he says. And about the gross-out factor: “Our culture has become so close-minded. If food is cooked well, it’s going to be good. If not, you live and learn.”
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