Gourmet on Gore is one of my favorite food events in Vail, artwork above created by Carrie Fell! One can really be on their own schedule and eat as much or as little (not likely) as one would want. On Friday, August 30, under an overcast sky, I arrived at Perch in the Vail Village for the beginning of the Gourmet on Gore Tasting Tour, where the proceeds of the evening benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties. At Perch, La Tour was offering a gorgeous braised lamb with bright heirloom tomatoes and micro greens served with a side of crispy lamb bacon. Having enjoyed their sumptuous braised lamb in the lamb ravioli on the La Tour menu, I was overwhelmingly pleased to start-off the evening with this delicious, rich and comforting nibble.
My next stop was at Ice Breakers in the Solaris Plaza where HP Provisions offered a plethora of bite-sized dishes (shown above). The baby BLT bite was fun to taste-test, but the curried, deviled egg was delicious with a powerful Mediterranean feel. While sipping a Blood Orange DRY Soda, I traveled to CineBistro for a couple more gourmet bites. It was really fun to sample the tremendous cocktails served: Korbel Organic Champagne, a French Margarita with Chambord, and a Honey Jack Tennessee Cocktail with ginger beer. The latter had the bite and kick that one might expect from a “gingery” cocktail and the French Margarita was definitely one for the books! Along with the libations, I sampled a lobster ravioli and popcorn shrimp, which was quite fitting for the upscale movie theatre setting. But, the passed appetizers were perfection in small sizes, courtesy of Chef Brad Trumpower. The hummus with harissa and herb oil was wonderful, but the goat cheese with figs and herb oil was utterly amazing – smooth, silky goat cheese with the sweet flavor balance of the figs!
On the way to Flame at the Four Seasons, I diverted to Masters Gallery that was serving La Bottega pizza and San Pellegrino. It was superb to meet-up with Aubrey and Jeff Cornelius of Sprocket Communications and float through the food event with them and their “entourage”.
At Flame, which houses one of the most stellar chefs in the Valley (Chef Jason Harrison), I tried the Ahi Tuna Tartare Tacos with Avocado Cream. The tartare was created by blending Asian spices and soy flavors and I could just taste the layers of developed flavors, a challenge when creating such a simple dish. The bites were creamy, spicy, and crunchy – all in perfect balance. A side cocktail was the cherry on top: a Autumn Tequila Punch with Chambord, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup made from corn and peppers.
Nearing my level of fullness, I ventured to Sweet Basil where I experienced a sophisticated spin on a traditional (yikes!) chicken nugget. It was a Truffled Chicken Nugget served atop garlic aioli and drizzled with pickled mustard seed sauce. What a scrumptiously complex bite! This was paired with a delicious cocktail made from Herradura Silver Tequila, Chambord, and Lemonade. Then, I headed for my last 2 stops: at the Carrie Fell Gallery, with beautifully adorned walls of vibrant art, Taste 5 Catering and Richard Bailey created a light, refreshing Hamachi and Ahi Tuna bite with a soy wasabi crema. I finished my cocktail intake with one of the most amazing creations of Ginger beer, sparkling water, and fresh ginger and pepper relish. Taste 5 Catering was a definite winner of the evening - a tantalizing combination of the perfect savory bite paired with the most refreshing, semi-spicy cocktail.
Finally, at Yeti’s Grind, I enjoyed a warm, sweet Caramel Vanilla Latte. For a regimented, non-coffee drinker, this concoction was amazingly good and comforting with a slightly bitter undertone, which was totally okay with the amazingly sweet and tart red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from Batter Cupcakes. A spectacular end to this food frenzy!
As the author of the Ski Town Soups cookbook, I am always on the look out for a stellar soup, quite possibly there will be one to sample in the next couple days at Gourmet on Gore's Open-Air Tasting. Stay tuned!