2016 was a big year for tropical travel. I went to Puerto Rico, Tulum and Aruba in the first six months of the year, leaving me with a flawless tan that has since abandoned me. I’m still struggling with the loss. The older I get, the more I realize how important a beach is for me when I travel, as nothing seems to be more relaxing when trying to escape my typical daily grind.
Tulum was beautiful and unique and definitely an experience. I stayed at Be Tulum, which I would definitely recommend! I also ate at one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in a long time. The food was so unbelievably fresh and unique — I pray for the day when they open one in LA (hint hint). It’s called Hartwood and they have this roasted beet dish that is off the charts delicious. Need to figure out how to recreate immediately. (Editor's Note: Check out the Hartwood Cookbook for recreation purposes.)
As for future travel plans, I need to figure out how to get to Amanoi in Vietnam. My friend was just there for the holiday and it looks like heaven on earth, literally.
OK, not anywhere near a beach, but I grew up going to Colorado and for many years it was my families second home, literally. We had a house in a town called Basalt, which is about 20 minutes down valley from Aspen. I miss going there as often as I used to, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. Here ‘s a list of some of my favorite places to eat there, because who doesn’t love eating!
685 E. Durant Avenue
+1 970 920 6334
Even if you don’t ski, this is the place to be! Make sure to ask for a table outside, if the weather permits (it’s worth the wait). Don’t even look at the menu, just order the burger and truffle fries. You’ll thank me later.
205 South Mill Street
This was my dad’s all time favorite. We never missed a meal here. The mussels (before I developed an allergy, ugh) were amazing. I absolutely love the Frisée Salad and the Rotisserie Chicken served with a huge mound of fries is a chicken dish worth ordering. And for dessert, the daily fruit crisp. Oh so yummy every single time!
Campo de Fiori
205 South Mill Street
+1 970 920 7717
You can’t go wrong here because it’s just good, easy Italian food with a warm environment and friendly staff. My go-to order has always been the Autunale Salad and Penne Bolognese.
320 S. Galena Street
When are you feeling bad for yourself and need a little pick me up, or you're just on vacation and feel like being a fat ass, stop here. Best hot chocolate EVER. Best muffins. Great cookies and ice cream.
Pine Creek Cookhouse
12500 Castle Creek Road
+1 970 925 1044
Nothing better than a hike followed by lunch at Pine Creek Cookhouse.
Woody Creek Tavern
2858 Upper River Road, Woody Creek
+1 970 923 4585
I suggest renting a bike for the day and peddling your way down to this staple hole in the wall. It’s the thing to do and, honestly, you’d look weird pulling up in a car. Order the fish tacos because they are good. Period. End of story.