On the sleigh: Pining for Pine Creek
ASPEN – I hate to admit this but in all the years I’ve lived here, I had never been to the Pine Creek Cookhouse, a dining and outdoor tradition near Aspen that’s been around for nearly four decades.
In the summer, I’ve driven past the rustic log cabin situated at the base of the Elk Mountains just past Ashcroft a million times, but I never took the time to experience what it had to offer.
That all changed last Friday when I left the office and took a horse-drawn sleigh ride up with a friend and a group of tourists. After taking in the beauty of my surroundings and experiencing the culinary greatness of the cookhouse’s kitchen, I kicked myself for never having done it before.
Once we entered the rustic cabin, we nabbed a table right by the fire and near the bar. Baileys and coffee was exactly what the doctor ordered that cold afternoon.
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But it got a whole lot better when the food arrived.
We ordered the macaroni and cheese, with duck confit and smoked gouda for the table. It should be noted there isn’t a mac and cheese I’ve tasted that I haven’t liked but the cookhouse’s version was ridiculously good. So was the three-cheese lasagna, the rosemary ham panini, as well as the wild game momos (Nepalese dumplings).
The sleigh was pulled by two beautiful creatures, brothers Henry and Newt, the latter of which last week was in a photo caption in which I said he was 17,000 pounds. I meant to say he was 1,700 pounds. My bad.
While you also can cross-country ski, snowshoe or walk to the cookhouse, the sleigh ride for me is the quintessential experience.
Now that I’ve had a taste of the cookhouse, it has me pining for more. I think I’ll go back to taste test the dinner menu and try cross-country skiing under the full moon.
The cookhouse is having a three-night full moon celebration, Saturday, Feb. 27, through Monday, March 1. A locals’ appreciation special offers a four-course meal for $65 if you bring your own equipment.
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