High Country Haute Cuisine Colorado's culinary adventures

  • 4 Unique Ways To Dine
  • The 10th, Vail
  • Tennessee Pass Cook House
  • Moonlight Dinner Series
  • 4 Eagle Ranch

Venture off the well-worn, but delicious, culinary path in Vail and Summit counties, and you’ll find a smattering of dining experiences that will likely become the most memorable of your life.

From a sleigh ride to a Western BBQ on a 19th century homestead to an elegant meal on Vail mountain, here are a few of our favorites.

The 10th

Tucked away at the bottom of the Look-Ma run on Vail Mountain, the 10th serves up the kind of fine dining you might find in a cosmopolitan city center but it's set in an elegant mountain bistro at 10,000 feet.

To access the 10th, hop on Gondola One in Vail Village. Stunning views of the Gore Range on the ride up are just the beginning to a wonderful night.

With dishes that range from chicken coq au vin to elk Bolognese, the food is as sublime as the panorama.

“Our menu is a playful symphony of flavors and dishes, steeped in the culture and heritage of the Alpine regions of Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany and Austria, combined with Rocky Mountain cuisine, innovation, and bold new flavors,” executive chef Vishwatej Nath says.

Paired with an excellent wine list and five-star hospitality, the 10th delivers an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

Tennessee Pass Cook House

A meal at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse will etch its place in your memory for years to come.

“It’s this hidden gem in the mountains,” says owner Roxanne Hall.

“The food is gourmet, and it’s definitely elegant dining but in this really unique situation.” By unique, Hall means a luxurious 38-person backcountry yurt stashed in the mountains outside Leadville.

Photo by: Tim Gormely

First, you’ll meet at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. There you’ll don headlamps and snowshoes or cross-country skis, then begin the one-mile, 30-minute trek to the Cook House, which sits at about 11,000 feet and overlooks the Sawatch Mountains.

Inside, candles flicker on antique tables and a woodstove cranks heat. Dinner is a four-course affair, topped off with a slice of homemade pie.

This is Colorado at its finest, made even better by the brisk trip home under a sky shimmering with stars.

4 Eagle Ranch

For a real taste of the Old West, head to 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott, about 20 minutes west of Vail.

Homesteaded in 1885, 4 Eagle offers horse-drawn sleigh ride dinners set against the backdrop of an 1,100-acre ranch dotted with historic log cabins, wagons, and a carriage house.

Photo by: @creationinspired

“It’s a unique experience,” says DeWayne Davis, 4 Eagle’s manager.

“It’s jeans and cowboy boots, a Western BBQ on a ranch, and very much a contrast to the Vail Valley. It’s a good place to get a taste of true Colorado.”

The experience starts with a bowl of award-winning chili, a cup of cider, and a sleigh ride.

Back at the Nelson cabin, dinner is served next to a roaring fire while a cowboy strums the guitar.

Dig into a buffet of ranch staples such as steak, baked potatoes, and peach cobbler.

Afterward, gather around the bonfire to roast marshmallows and soak in the authentic Old West vibe. 4 Eagle will even pick you up at your hotel for a truly relaxing experience.

Moonlight Dinner Series, Arapahoe Basin

Each month under a full moon, Arapahoe Basin’s Moonlight Dinner series takes guests on a culinary adventure.

The journey starts with a hike, skin, or chairlift ride up to the Black Mountain Lodge, A-Basin’s midmountain restaurant, where you’ll be transported to a destination far from Summit County.

From India to Italy, each of the dinners is inspired by a far-flung locale.

“I want to capture our guests when they walk in the door with the smell of food from that area,” head chef Chris Rybak says.

The food is wonderful, but it’s the atmosphere that makes this a bucket-list event.

It’s a place where both local and destination guests come to have a special experience.

Chef Rybak is right: There’s something about being on a ski mountain that’s closed, under a full moon with a sea of mountains spread out around you that brings people together, and it will feel like the best dinner party you’ve ever been to.

When the festivities wind down, you’ll bob down the mountain with a full belly, new friends and, most likely, a reservation for the next full moon.

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