World’s 10 Best Ski Towns for Foodies

Share Button

Fodor's

 

From Fodor’s:

“At far too many ski areas across North America, the slopeside food options are dismal, consisting of little more than hamburgers, pizza, and wings eaten off plastic trays. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, some of the world’s best ski areas are known as much for their food as for their slopes and snowfall. For apres-ski cocktails overlooking the French Alps in Courchevel to a multicourse meal at the top of Telluride, here’s where we go to ski and savor.”

.

  1. Courchevel, France
  2. Stowe, Vermont
  3. Whistler, British Columbia
  4. Vail, Colorado
  5. Zermatt, Switzerland
  6. Niseko, Japan
  7. Telluride, Colorado
  8. Cortina, Italy
  9. Park City, Utah
  10. Taos, New Mexico

.

Plus this:

“The low-key resort of Taos has a surprisingly good mix of restaurants, which are deeply rooted in Southwest and Mexican cuisine but it’s easy to find French, Italian, and Asian food too. “

 

Read the whole thing here.

 

 

Share Button

Technorati Tags: ,

Taos Forecast: Steep Upgrades

Share Button
Rainbow Trout

Whole Rainbow Trout with Red Grape Balsamic Sauce, Glazed Carrots, and Baked Potato

.

From New Mexico magazine’s Nick Heil.

Here’s what he says about The Blonde Bear Tavern:

We made a few more runs before I knocked off that afternoon and headed to The Blonde Bear Tavern, in the lobby of the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa, for an après beer. What the Ski Valley has in abundant untapped terrain it has long lacked in base-area amenities—at least compared to other A-list resorts in the region. But that’s changing, too, and the Edelweiss offered a glimpse of the future. The Blonde Bear Tavern has a more upscale and cosmopolitan vibe than the other watering holes in the base-area village, with a polished stone bar, leather stools, and a discriminating wine list.

“We want people to come and enjoy a meal in a warm atmosphere that has some sophistication, but that is still casual,” said Jon Mudder, The Blonde Bear’s executive chef and a New York City transplant. “The Ski Valley is always going to have a laid-back attitude, and we don’t want to lose that.”

Read the whole thing here.

.

 

Share Button

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Are You Ready? Part 2

Share Button

Ski season is right around the corner and here’s one more short film to get you in the mood.  If you have high-speed Internet, adjust the YouTube settings to allow for HD viewing.

 

After each ski season, I assemble pictures and videos and we show them at our end-of-year staff party. This is the last chapter of four in the film we presented in April.

It’s titled “. . . Of Which We are a Small Part”, because, well, we are — when viewed  from atop Wheeler or Kachina Peaks.  In addition to my own filming, I shamelessly borrowed other pictures and video, some of which I found on the Internet.

As with Part 1, I think it’s a great way to gear up for the 2013 – 2014 season.  We received another 14 inches of show on Tuesday, with more to come.

Bring it on!

.

Film Credits:

  • Jay Goebel
  • GoPro
  • Mark Gordon
  • Moby Dickens Bookshop
  • Britt Runyon
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
  • thiago1029
  • Peter Walker
  • Nate Wixom

.

.

Related:

.

Share Button

Are You Ready? Part 1

Share Button

The first day of skiing is less than a month away and this short video will surely get you enthused about the upcoming season.  If you have high-speed Internet, adjust the YouTube settings to allow for HD viewing.

After each season, I assemble pictures and videos and we show them at our end-of-year staff party. This is the second chapter of four in the film we presented last April.

It’s titled “Our Magical Workplace”, because, well, we are lucky enough to work in such a beautiful place.  In addition to my own filming, I shamelessly borrowed other pictures and video, some of which I found on the Internet.

I watched this chapter the other day and think it’s a great way to gear up for the 2013 – 2014 season.  It’s already snowed five times up here, and we’re expecting up to 10 inches on Tuesday.

Bring it on!

.

Film Credits:

  • Jay Goebel
  • GoPro
  • Mark Gordon
  • Britt Runyon
  • Sky News 13
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
  • thiago1029
  • Peter Walker
  • Nate Wixom

.

 

.

Related:

.

Share Button

13 Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick And Fat

Share Button

 

Nutrition Label

Says Kris Gunnars.

Some of my favorites:

1. Eggs Are Bad For Your Health

3. Saturated Fat is Unhealthy

6. Coffee is Bad for You

7. Meat is Bad For You

11. Everyone Should be Cutting Back on Sodium

.

Read the whole thing here.

By the way, Kris Gunnars has a terrific blog, Authority Nutrition.  Check it out.

.

Share Button

Technorati Tags: ,

On the Menu: Four Daughters Land and Cattle

Share Button

 

DSCN0852

 

I’m reviving this series – On the Menu – to highlight additions and special features of our menus at The Blonde Bear Tavern and Café Naranja. We’ve been busy this summer with our continuous search for superior ingredients – organic and local when possible – that will ensure every one of our guest’s dining experience is the best it can be.

To kick it off, I am especially enthused to announce The Blonde Bear Tavern’s exclusive relationship with Four Daughters Land and Cattle.  I visited the central New Mexico cattle ranch a couple of weeks ago after tasting its beef this summer with our consulting butcher, Tom Bertelle.

The Tasting
Those of us participating in the tasting were speechless.  Eyes collectively closed as tasters’ palates first came into contact with the silky tenderloin and its surprising full flavor, usually reserved for fattier cuts.  The New York strip revealed layers of complex succulence, but was unexpectedly tender, almost filet-like. The ground beef, which we prepared on the griddle, had beautiful texture, full flavor, and was profoundly satisfying. The bone-in rib eye? Extraordinary.

We just all sat around looking at each other, smiling and reaching for more of this wonderful New Mexico meat. There didn’t seem to be enough adjectives at the tip of our tongues. One taster finally exclaimed, “Jon, you must put this beef on the menu!” Everyone unreservedly agreed.  And so did I.

As a Nebraska native, I’ve consumed my fair share of beef – and the meat from Four Daughters Land and Cattle blew me away. I love meat and we serve a lot of it at The Blonde Bear Tavern: braised, roasted, burgers, steaks, and in soups and stews. What’s more satisfying after a day on the steep slopes of Taos Ski Valley?

DSCN0857

Looking Northwest from the Ranch House

The Ranch, The Tour
Located some 20 miles west of Belen, New Mexico, Four Daughters is 330 square miles. It is an amalgamation of six contiguous ranches that proprietor Mike Mechenbier and his wife Kathy have purchased over the past few decades. Named after their four daughters – Jessica, Abby, Katie, and Emily – the ranch makes Mechenbier one of the nation’s top 100 private landowners according to Land Report magazine.

I spent most of the day touring the ranch with Mike and his sidekick Hoss, a Jack Russell terrier that never leaves his side.  The three of us drove through the property and met some of the ranch hands, cowboys, and, of course, the cattle.

RanchThe first thing I noticed was the ranch’s vastness.  And the land is full of wildlife: antelopes, elk, and several species of foxes and birds. Also roaming the latest property the Mechenbiers purchased are herds of wild mustangs, which Mike told me were descendants of Iberian horses of the Spanish Conquistadors, according to DNA tests.

Electricity on the ranch is provided only by solar panels. There is no cellular service. Water is scarce; most is captured rain. The most common form of transportation is horseback.

This may be ranching as it was a century ago, but it produces beef that many more modern operations can only dream of.

Happy CowsDSCN0843
There is extensive research investigating the connection between stress levels in cattle and the quality of their meat. This is due in large part to the release of cortisol (known more formally as hydrocortisone) as a cow experiences stress. The more cortisol in a cow’s muscles – especially chronically – the lower the meat’s overall quality.

Four Daughters grazes up to 7,000 cattle at any one time on the land, but unlike many large ranches, the operation does not rely upon four-wheelers, motorcycles, or even helicopters to round up cattle. It’s all done by cowboys on horseback. One can only imagine the stress felt by animals when they’re badgered by obnoxiously loud motors.

The ranch also grows its own grain to finish the cattle before slaughter (by the way, the P.C. word now is “harvest”, which I find creepy), which is fed to them on the ranch’s own small feedlot. This is important from a beef quality standpoint for two reasons:

• Cattle transported over long distances to large regional feedlots experience high stress and even sickness
• The ranch has complete control of the cow’s diet – from birth to slaughter – ensuring optimum nutrition throughout its life

.
The high desert grasses of Four Daughters are different from those in other parts of the country where there is more rain, as in, say, East Texas. These “washy” grasses – as Mike calls them – are lusher and denser than those in New Mexico, but counter intuitively have less nourishment than our own state’s grasses, which are richer in nutrients.  In fact, the ranch is full of blue grama (bouteloua gracilis, New Mexico’s official state grass), which during the autumn months contain more protein than corn.

A typical ranch with thick lush grasses will graze one cow per three or four acres.  At Four Daughters, it’s one cow per 50 acres. The cattle can stretch out, as it were, making them calm, content, well-nourished – and happy!

Happy cows on the ranch translate into extraordinary beef on the plate.

Good for New Mexico’s Environment
The environmental impact of meat production is of concern to many in this country, and part of the decision to serve Four Daughters beef at The Blonde Bear Tavern is the ranch’s low environmental impact on our state.

With one cow per 50 acres, there’s no danger of overgrazing at this ranch, which can lead to soil erosion. The grazing land is unirrigated, and thus is able to support the grassland ecosystem in perpetuity with a sustainable level of water use and adequate groundwater recharge.

DSCN0838Compared to many of its peers, the ranch uses little energy for operations. The entire ranch is powered by solar energy. The use of cowboys rather than combustion-powered vehicles to round up cattle keeps fossil fuel use low.

Unless well managed, manure and other substances from livestock operations can cause severe environmental water contamination. This is particularly true for very large feedlots – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)  –  of which there are over 12,000 in the United States.  Four Daughters has a small feedlot and makes use of animal waste by depositing it on the farmland where grains are grown for its horses and finishing cattle, thus minimizing or even eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers.

Mike and Hoss

Mike and Hoss
Photo courtesy Albuquerque Journal

Good for the Community
Thirteen years ago, Mike and Kathy started an orphanage in Tomé, New Mexico. He told me the concept of El Ranchito de los Niños came to him “after one too many beers.” He and Kathy simply wanted to give children from difficult situations food, shelter, and education while also giving the comfort of an environment full of animals.

“So many of these kids come and they’re so damaged, they can’t even bond to a person, but they can bond to an animal, and take care of an animal and become responsible,” Mechanbier told the Albuquerque Journal. “I have kids hanging off me from one end to the other. It’s pretty gratifying (to see) that they can finally heal and start trusting again.”

 

Good for You!DSCN0846
Responsible agriculture is important to us at The Blonde Bear Tavern. So is supporting local farmers and ranchers while minimizing the financial and environmental impact of transportation. Food that is raised in a natural way is more nutritious – but most importantly tastes better.

Starting in November, we will proudly serve Four Daughters Land and Cattle beef:

  • The Tavern Burger, An American Classic
  • French Country Beef Stew over fresh Buttered Noodles, Boeuf Bourguignon – Burgundy, France
  • New York Strip with Italian Salsa Verde, La Tagliata – Tuscany, Italy
  • Filet of Beef with Béarnaise Sauce, Filet Mignon – Franche-Comté, France
  • “Cowboy Cut” Bone-In Rib Eye Steak with simple Red Wine Sauce, Côte de Bœuf avec Sauce au Vin Rouge, Midi-Pyrénées, France

 

This beef is going to knock your socks off.  I invite you to try it when ski season begins November 28th.

Eat New Mexico beef. Be enchanted.

.

 

Share Button

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

First Snow of the Season

Share Button

Okay, a dusting really.  What a difference a day makes.  A front moved through yesterday and brought with it a cold air mass and moisture.  I don’t even think it broke 50° today.

I snapped these pictures this morning of the snow that had fallen overnight.  Note the aspens are beginning to turn.

Sure seems like we had a lot of rain this summer.  An indicator of heavy snowfall this winter?

I’m optimistic.

 

DSCN0833

DSCN0832

Share Button
1 2 3 4 65