As the ski season officially gets under way – providing, of course, that cold weather eventually comes –northeastern skiers have a variety of ski areas from which to choose. However, a ski vacation means more than a good downhill experience. Skiers are a hungry crowd and crave great food.
These dining establishments, ideally located near some fabulous ski resorts, go beyond having a creative menu by offering a variety of exemplary wines and a unique ambience to truly exemplify gourmet dining.
Situated in New Hampshire’s ski country near Cannon, Loon Mountains and the Bretton Woods Ski Area, the Sugar Hill Inn offers guests gourmet dining in an elegant and romantic atmosphere among candlelight. After visiting their favorite mountain, skiers often return to the inn for tea and hot cider from the tavern. The European-inspired dining room features a four-course menu, which is always made from scratch using local ingredients whenever possible. Offering a balance of flavors, the menu is perfectly proportioned to make sure guests can enjoy the variety of the courses. The Inn actually limits the number of reservations and menu items so that everything can be cooked to order and personally served.
Appetizers include Sautéed Veal Sweetbreads, Sage-Infused Potato Gnocchi with red wine sauce or Ragout of Wild Mushrooms, Cheese Fondue and Sunny Side Up Quail Egg. Innovative entrées include Duck Three Ways, a Sautéed Breast, Confit of Leg and Foie Gras Ravioli, Gingered Cauliflower, French-Cut Green Beans and Orange Gastrique. Another sumptuous choice is the Rack of Australian Lamb with an Almond Croquette Potato, Broccolini, Carrot Pernod Purée and Maple Rosemary Demi Glace.
Perhaps it’s the sunflowers in blue vases wine, cheese and bread, or maybe the butcher block paper on the tables that make Bistro Brie & Bordeaux a very special place. The Bistro is near Windham Mountain in the Catskills Mountains of upstate New York, is housed in a building that dates back to 1875 and was once the original home to the Windham Journal newspaper. Using old photos as their guide, the owners restored the gable roof, put up cedar clapboard siding and used as many of the original dark wood beams inside the restaurant as possible. It was a labor of love which ensured every detail was perfect. With fine art adorning the walls, French jazz music in the background, and its French Country ambiance, the Bistro clearly sets out to appeal to all the senses.
One tantalizing appetizer is Baked Brie Tart with Cherries served with Organic Mixed Greens, or you can go with the Maryland Crab Cake with Avocado Salsa and Organic Mixed Greens. Entrées are wonderfully presented and include Risotto with Asparagus, Pearl Onions, Arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano or Duck Breast with Cassis Port Wine Sauce, Poached Pear and Green Beans. The Grilled Filet Mignon, Green Pepper Cognac Sauce and Mashed Potatoes is also a favorite among skiers.
Stratton Mountain, Vermont is home to Brasserie L’Oustau, a restaurant that brings a new American interpretation of the classic French foods that are typically served at brasseries throughout Provence. With a warm and inviting interior, the restaurant’s lofty ceilings, expansive windows and spacious seating surround a central, open kitchen which is reminiscent of the original brasseries found within French countryside breweries.
Appetizers include Escargot Bourguignon, perfectly seasoned with parsley and garlic in a puff pastry. A wide variety of entrées include Pan Seared Cod with Fingerling Potatoes, Tomato, and English Peas topped by Brown Lemon Sauce, or House Cured Duck Confit with Watercress, Haricot Vert and a Salad of Frisee. The vegetarians in the group will delight in such entrées as Eggplant Caviar, Fromage Blanc, Roasted Tomato Sauce with Basil Puree.
While these superb restaurants roll out the red carpet for skiers, they also cater to the non-skier who simply wants to enjoy fine dining in an elegant atmosphere.
Contributed by Roger Sands