A long weekend full of whiskey, warm food and winter wonderland conditions.
This past weekend, my dad and I traveled to Park City, Utah to spend the weekend with one of my best friends and her boyfriend to celebrate her 30th birthday. She and her boyfriend are both avid skiers, so the mission for the weekend was to ski as much as possible, and sneak in some eating and drinking before passing out at night after a long day on the slopes. Mission: accomplished. Between Thursday night and Sunday morning, we skied more than any of us had ever skied in two full days on the slopes, and we ate like…well, we ate like we’d just skied more than we ever had in two full days on the slopes.
Skiing is one of those activities that goes amazingly well with eating and drinking. Unlike, say, hanging on a beach, where the joy of eating something tasty is almost entirely cancelled out by the horror of putting on a bikini for the first time, skiing presents the perfect opportunity to eat a ton of comfort food basically guilt-free. First of all, everyone on a mountain for a ski weekend looks like a giant marshmallow anyhow, so there’s no need to be concerned with looking ‘chubby’ after a lunch of fried chicken fingers and beer. Secondly, there’s a lot less guilt associated with eating a massive bowl of chili after you’ve been skiing for 4 hours (which is a WORKOUT) than there is with eating a big lunch when all you’ve done is sit on a lounge chair and work on your tan all day. Lastly, you basically have to eat something warm and comforting when you’re on top of a mountain in minus four degrees or you’ll die. Yes, die. If you don’t eat a hamburger and fries at 10,000 feet after a day of skiing, you will cease to exist. It’s science. I still have a lot of things I’d like to do with my life, so I’m going to continue my post-ski beer and chili tradition, in the interest of longevity.
Thankfully, Park City got the memo about the whole life-sustaining beer and chili thing; the town has tons of phenomenal places to get your hands on some seriously good comfort food. High West Distillery is no exception. High West is super centrally located on Park Avenue, which is the main drag in Park City, and the atmosphere inside is absolutely perfect, and just what you’d expect from a hip, ski-town distillery and restaurant/bar. Edison light bulbs inside mason jars illuminate an entire wall in the main dining area and, let’s be honest, if you don’t have Edison light bulbs in mason jars somewhere in your restaurant, are you even
allowed to sell whiskey to millennials? Aside from the spot-on decor, the food is delicious and the drinks are incredible. Between the four of us, we ate lamb stew, pot pie, beef short rib, Brussels sprouts, two plates of mac ‘n cheese, a cheese board and an order of wings, and we washed all of it down with a few rounds of High West’s own whiskeys (and this was after a pit stop at Tupelo’s for deviled eggs and cocktails). The meal was the perfect post-ski feast, which was great practice for the next day, when we actually skied. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the four of us managed to put down the entire left side of the menu without so much as having burned a single calorie that afternoon.
The day after what shall be now be known as the ‘High West Massacre,’ we hit the slopes…hard. According to our handy-dandy ski-tracker app, we skied more on Friday afternoon alone than we did all of Saturday, and it’s not like Saturday was a slow day. We explored pretty much everything the Park City side of the mountain has to offer (minus some double-black diamond bowl situations that looked like they’d put me in a hospital bed) and when we finally got off the mountain at half past 4, it felt like we’d run a marathon. To say we were exhausted would be an understatement of epic proportions, but we somehow summoned the energy to make it to dinner, which was once again a total home-run.
Versante Hearth and Bar is a stellar Italian restaurant inside the Peaks Hotel just a short drive from the base of Park City Mountain. The four of us were a touch weary about eating at a “hotel restaurant,” but this place was absolutely stellar. The fried calamari was perfectly breaded and light, and the pizzas were phenomenal. I personally polished off a pizza topped with Italian sausage, artichoke hearts, fennel and dill. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a recipe for a knock-off version finds it way to Katie Rose Goes in the very near future. Dinner was capped off with the absolute best Tiramisu I have ever had, along with a very decent Oregon Pinot Noir, and the best part about dinner was that I was in bed and asleep about 15 minutes after I finished the last drop of wine and forkful of espresso-soaked ladyfingers.
The next night, which was our last together in Park City, was spent in a decidedly less fancy fashion: we ordered Chinese food and sat around the living room of our Air BnB chatting and eating General Tsao’s chicken and egg rolls until it was time for my friends to catch their red-eye back to Boston. It was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend full of friends, food and feet of fresh powder, and even though I’ll be wearing the (very forgiving) poncho I bought on Park Ave for weeks to come, I wouldn’t change a thing about my long weekend in Utah.
…except that they cap draught beers at 4% alcohol…I’d change that. But other than that, not a damn thing.