The Winter in Aspen & Snowmass Guide to Takeout Food
Our food columnist Amanda Rae shares favorite to-go dishes for an at-home or in-room dining experience that hits all the cravings
For Winter in Aspen & Snowmass
Since nobody can predict what dining out in Aspen will look like this winter, restaurants and chefs are stepping up their takeout game. This choose-your-own adventure plan plan is craving-specific—how I might respond to a friend or reader, based on personal experience and insider intel. Most restaurants will pack up favorite menu items to enjoy at home, just call ahead to find out.
AM I IN THE MOOD FOR PIZZA?
Most likely! Pizza is my top choice for takeout — it’s the rare food that typically tastes better on our own terms (i.e. not sitting at a stuffy table). New options have emerged in the past year or so to round out offerings from Aspen’s old guard (New York Pizza, Mezzaluna Aspen, Limelight Lounge, Acquolina and Brunelleschi’s).
On Nov. 20, Propaganda Pie launched a winterlong pop-up from Pepperjack’s Café at The Gant, meaning that fans of robust, Detroit-style deep-dish don’t have to haul out to the flagship in Redstone (45 miles away) to get a taste. Find nine specialty pies — all in “small square” size for the highest proportion of cheese-crisped crust to pillowy interior, baked in blue-steel pans; each serves 1 to 2 people—plus hand-breaded chicken wings and three salads. Value combo meals (to serve 4, 6 or 10) may be paired with a six-pack of beer or pitcher of cocktails. Unique to the property: The Great Gantsby, a custom extravagance topped with red sauce, shredded chicken, bacon, banana peppers, ranch, and whole-milk mozzarella. (3-9 p.m. daily, pickup at 900 Ute Ave., rear of The Gant, propagandapie.com/menu-aspen)
Sourdough pies made by Aspen Tap’s East Coast chef were a saving grace all summer. They include creative, seasonal combinations such as the Aspenite (house sausage, Hatch green chile ricotta, red sauce) and Sopriza (roasted mushrooms, pork soppressata, garlic cream, rosemary, arugula). Pepperoni pizza fans will be pleased with the generous ratio of meat to crust, which is crispy, chewy, and slightly tangy thanks to a lovingly tended sourdough starter. aspentaproom.com
Unveiled this summer by way of the Hillstone Restaurant Group’s Honor Bar in Santa Barbara, California, White House Tavern’s “Parigi-style” pizza is a focaccia-like creation without red sauce that is best crisped in a hot pan at home. (The name is an ancient Latin term for Paris.) Choose from five seasonal flavors on a white base, such as house-made chicken sausage with fennel; Hawaiian; or three vegetarian-friendly options, including roasted mushroom with corn and Fontina or Mediterranean vegetable. Add in White House’s bestselling kale salad with roasted peanut vinaigrette, plus wine and beer, to enhance the night-in experience. aspenwhitehouse.com
WHERE CAN I FIND A MORE TRADITIONAL MEAL WITH VARIED FLAVORS?
Meat & Cheese Restaurant opted out of dine-in service this winter in favor of to-go food only, which nudged executive chef Bryan Garneau to reconsider every dish for ease of plating and transport. His thoughtfully prepared, farm-to-table food includes hearty salads, soups, roasted chicken and bo ssam boards, and intriguing vegetable sides (crispy eggplant and sautéed Swiss chard with harissa cashew butter; a three-hour-roasted sweet potato with apple cider gastrique, herb salad, and pepitas), plus dinner entrées that hold up (mushroom risotto, poached Asian halibut). Family-style meal kits to serve a crowd are available for pickup from at Meat & Cheese’s additional production kitchen in the Aspen Airport Business Center. And back in town, a new taco stand out front hawks street food including “pocket margaritas,” no pre-order necessary. Little wonder that the eatery was voted Best Takeout by readers in the Aspen Times “Best Of” contest this fall. meatcheese.avalancheaspen.com
THE GAME’S ON. WHERE CAN I GRAB WINGS, NACHOS, AND SNACKS?
Home Team BBQ, another Best Of winner, leads the pack with Southern-style finger fare: pulled chicken or pork nachos and sliders (both served as “kits” so those chips and buns don’t get soggy), fried ribs and chicken wings, or the “ultimate tailgate board” featuring all of the smoky flavors, signature sides, and a gallon-sized Gamechanger frozen cocktail. Don’t miss the chopped brisket tacos à la carte, either. hometeambbq.com
WHAT ABOUT A BIG, SLURPABLE BOWL OF HOT BROTH AND NOODLES?
Bamboo Bear is your best bet for authentic Vietnamese beef or vegetable pho, based on a longtime family recipe that simmers savory and sweet spices to perfection. Chef Vinnie Bagford slings other down-home dishes for jolly appetites: crispy chicken, bánh-mì, noodle bowls and salads, and mixed rice combo plates in big portions at fair prices. bamboobearrestaurant.com
WHERE TO GO FOR AN AFTERNOON ENERGY BURST?
Skip the caffeine and choose from a rainbow of fresh-pressed juices, nut milks, and energy-boosting elixirs such as charcoal lemonade at Jus Aspen — all great pick-me-ups for in-between-meals moments. jusaspen.com
IS AN ELEVATED DATE-NIGHT DINNER POSSIBLE?
Absolutely! Though chef C. Barclay Dodge excels at plating stunning dishes sourced from sustainable, local ingredients at Bosq, his iconic bestseller — roasted Peking duck with traditional accoutrements — happens to travel well in a box. Unable to order it 24 hours in advance? Dodge is on the gourmet fried chicken bandwagon, offering a bucket of crispy bird with sauces for about $20. bosqaspen.com
EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY WANTS SOMETHING DIFFERENT — HELP!
Longtime caterer Mawa McQueen knows how to feed a family, and her meals from Mawa’s Kitchen in the AABC may be customized for parties of 2 to 20. New this winter: weeknight specials served family style (lasagna, chicken pot pie, chicken marsala), which include soup or salad, for about $20 per portion. Or choose from a diverse menu of meats, vegetables, salads, appetizers, and sides à la carte, as well as baked goods and desserts, many impressively gluten-free. mawaskitchen.com
WHERE CAN I GET A QUICK SUGAR FIX?
A downvalley darling, Sweet Coloradough recently took over the historic Popcorn Wagon, where it hawks specialty glazed doughnuts and CBD-infused confections such as crispy, deep-fried brownies and crème-bruléed croissants. (Coffee, hot chocolate, and breakfast burritos anytime, also.) Daily 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fri-Sat evenings; sweetcoloradough.com
Amanda Rae writes the Food Matters column for the Aspen Times Weekly and is the editor of “The Aspen Cookbook,” out now as a fundraiser for local restaurants. AspenCookbook.com.