…And the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.  I’m talking about a little place called….Assspennn”.


So for Christmas last year our gift from my father was a September trip to Aspen to see the leaves change.  We just got back today and it was positively fabulous.  Todd had never been to the area and I had only been once but never this time of year.  The trees were absolutely On.  Fire.  The aspen almost look like they’re glowing and their colors range from a warm gold to a really deep orange all the way into a fiery red.  Here is the man we have to thank for the experience surrounded by the aforementioned nature-y stuff:


This trip was exactly what we needed.  Super laid back and the focus was on relaxation, family, conversation, great food and great wine.  Success!

Some food-related highlights:

First night we stopped in at the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome just to have a beverage and look around.  The bar was more comfortable than I would have expected given the fancy-pants reputation of this hotel but it was a great way to kick off my trip with my two favorite guys! 

We wandered around the property a little bit to get a feel of the hotel and it was about what I expected.  Very nice but really showcasing it’s historical aspects.  I don’t know if I’d be all that interested to stay there but I’m definitely looking forward to going back for cocktails and/or dinner.   

After J-Bar we wandered around town a bit and discovered we were STARVING before we’d really checked out all of our options.  We wound up at Jimmy’s for a drink and an appetizer and ended up staying for a truly outstanding dinner.  After starting with mussels the boys both had (different) steaks and I went a little lighter with their scallops.  Awesome!  Mine came with fire roasted tomato, chorizo mashed potatoes and an odd-but-delicious “watercress salad”.  Not salad so much as a really tasty garnish but the over-all experience left me happy and full but not grossly stuffed.  So Happy!  

The next afternoon we had decided to tour the town before checking out the Maroon Bells so we knew what kind of food to be looking forward to (priorities, people)!  I think we ended up seeing every single menu in town and decided on a promising-looking italian place for dinner.  Speaking of Maroon Bells….

Yikes!  The Deadly Bells?!?!  Luckily we’re no dare-devils so we opted for a short stroll around the lake and then it was, you guessed it, Beer Time!!!  🙂  We tried out Bentley’s for a cocktail but it was cooler looking from the outside and Todd actually sent back a really lousy Manhattan.  But next we hit the jackpot at Pacifica, a raw bar that’s right smack dab downtown.  We decided to have another cocktail and an appetizer but go ahead and double that because we have no self-control :).  So we split a rather unusual scallop ceviche and a GIGANTIC shrimp cocktail and (two rounds of drinks later) then we were ready for dinner!  I’m already full!!!

Remember that italian place I mentioned?  Dinner at Campo de Fiori was a-ma-zing.  We had (yet another!!!) appetizer while we looked at the menu.  Everything looked great but most notably was the caesar salad that qualifies as the Best Caesar Salad I’ve Ever Had and is, in and of itself, worth the drive to Aspen.  The dressing had an almost smoked flavor to it that I’ve never had before.  Very unique.  Very.  Very.  Good.  We got the sea bass (me), the Rigatoni alla Montanara (my dad) and Battuta di Vitello, a pounded out and seasoned lamp chop (Todd).  Did I mention that caesar salad?  🙂

We also got two desserts to share (and by “share” I mean my dad maybe had one bite of each and Skinner and I demolished the rest).  Oink.  Oink.

Aside from the food (quite the one-track mind, eh?).  As I mentioned we spent an afternoon at the Bells and quite a bit of time just wandering the streets of the town.  We also stopped (twice) at the top of Independence Pass (on the outward trip it was literally snowing on us.  Coming back, not a cloud!)  and also at a really cool ghost town just off the pass (Independence Ghost Town???).  It was a very short-lived mining town during the gold rush but actually interesting to see and worth a half-hour stop if you’re ever over that way.

So in short, Aspen was awesome.  The food was amazing (and plentiful!), the company was impeccable and the scenery was picture-perfect. 

I am one lucky girl!!!