Family Owned Since 1893
Don and I lucked into this place, over a year ago. It was located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 8,026 feet.
We were traveling from Crested Butte towards Gunnison and it was time for lunch. When I spotted this place, it made me think of Lincoln Logs or Tootsie Rolls. I insisted we give it a try.
The sign on the left read, "Almont Anglers". It was clear that that we could get more than food at our stop.
Evidently they sold tackle and fishing licenses and handled fishing and rafting trips.
I'm still a little confused about the resort history, but I think it began with about 15 cabins. I believe one of the cabins had been the town's first post office.
This entrance looked pretty sweet with the screen door and flower baskets.
Once inside the dining room, I found a photo of the same exterior. (minus the porch) These folks look a little worn out in this photo. I wonder who they are?
Knotty Pine and Critters
I love a lodge, so the interior appealed to me.
I don't just adore dead animals, but they fit the scene.
The stone fireplace was impressive, although I would have preferred an open fire.
The log beams and Old Hickory furniture made us feel right at home. We have the same vintage style chairs at our cabin. We had the dining room to ourselves.
Don and I were on the road, so that usually means light lunch. I had soup and salad as you can see.
This meal was over a year ago and I can't for the life of me recall what the soup was... or what Don ate. I just remember feeling cozy and comfy and satisfied. I also remember wondering where all the other diners were?
We finished our lunch quietly, while watching some birds out the window. It looked like a nice deck. I hope that during these covid months, the business has been able to make use. Now it's December 2020 and I hope all is well at Almont.
So, one more little memory to share as we isolate and wait for days when dining out is safe again! Wish I had some of that soup and salad and view, right now!
A Day in Vail
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Don and I joined our kids in Colorado. I'm thinking back to a wonderful lunch we had in Vail, with our son and daughter-in-law.
We spotted this corner restaurant, when we first hit the touristy town. We'd never been to Vail before, so we were going with the outward appearance. I was game to dine a place that looked like a cute little Swiss chalet, tucked into the mountains.
The interior was pretty sweet, too. The door was propped open to let in the fresh mountain air.
Soft lamps hung down from the pretty wooden ceiling.
There were shelves with copper knickknacks and framed paintings, that reminded me of "Heidi's" grandfather.
I made Scott and Chali pose with the menu and the painting on the wall.
Scott looks a little young to be the storybook grandfather, but his beard fit the part.
The Gramshammers from Austria
We learned a little about the owners, by reading the back of the menu.
Pepi was an international ski racer and a member of the Austrian "Super" Ski Team from 1955 to 1960. He's pictured with his wife Sheika, who was once a dancer and model. They came to Vail in 1962 and opened Pepi's, two years later.
Pepi is in the House
As we studied our menus, I happened to notice a fellow in a purple shirt and gray vest. He seemed to be getting quite a bit of attention as he headed out.
I asked our server and she said that was indeed Pepi. He was 87, I believe and had just finished his lunch.
Luckily, we were are all fans of German/Austrian food! We were starved.
Don and Chali ordered the mussels and were both happy.
Scott and I got Jagerschnitzel and Hungarian Veal Goulash... or was it Wiener Schnitzel!!? Why do I let a year go by before posting?
I do remember the Spatzle was smooth and buttery and red cabbage was tangy good. We were mighty content on that day in late May.
This is the room where Pepi had enjoyed his lunch. I believe we were told that the Gramshammers live in the hotel above.
The bar was empty when I passed through in search of the restroom.
I got sidetracked for quite a while, studying the walls of photos.
Pepi and Sheika evidently met a lot of famous celebrities over their years, hosting guests at their hotel and restaurant. Sophia Loren, Cary Grant, Dustin Hoffman and Leonard Bernstein...
I didn't get a photo of the Gramshammers with President Ford, but there's a photo with Arnold! The Fords spent a lot of time in Vail and Pepi and Sheika were frequent guests at the White House.
So we are staying close to home this Memorial Day weekend. No travels or dining out, due to the pandemic.
We're just thinking about some of the fun places we ate and visited a year ago.
Here we are heading back to our car after our feast. I believe those may be leftovers that Scott is carrying.
Sadly, I did a little internet search just now and learned that just a few months after our visit, Pepi died. He passed away on August 17 at the age of 87. We were so very lucky to catch a glimpse of Pepi. May he rest in peace.
Breakfast at the Lodge
I have such fond memories of this sweet, lodge-y place!
Mostly, I remember the relief of stepping inside with our 4 hungry children who only moments before had been crabby and woozy from altitude! Echo Lodge was as comforting as Grandma's house!
Now and Then
Echo Lake Lodge is no longer a lodge. The sign tells us, it's a restaurant and gift shop and yes, it has film! I can't remember the last time I bought film.
The lodge was built in 1926 to accommodate visitors to Denver Mountain Parks. Although I heard somewhere that it had been a brothel. Not sure about that.
During WWII, the lodge was used as a high altitude training camp for the military.
The lodge is at 10,600 feet. That's high enough to make me feel winded. So it's funny to remember that day, when Echo Lodge felt blissfully low. We all felt like Echo Lake Lodge was at sea level, after coming down from the top of Mount Evans, at 14,271 feet.
Don and I returned to Echo Lake Lodge early last June. I was happy to see the chocolate brown building!
I love shapes, so this wonderful structure appealed to me. This was the original shape of the lodge. A year later they added a wing.
We climbed the stairs and entered the building. Since we are huge fans of historic hotels and lodges, it was killing me to know we could no longer book a room in this wonderful place.
But we could shop! And we could chat. The woman behind the jewelry counter had been working there for 32 years. She said Barb was the current owner, since 1989. "But, she won't be coming in today. She's been ill..."
I spotted 2 openings, one with a sign for the dining room and the other for cocktails.
My new friend Denise, at the jewelry counter, warned me. "There's a 2 drink limit of cocktails!" Luckily I was only in need of a peek. It looked more like a soda fountain to me!
Some curly horned sheep met us at the front of the dining room.
I have fond memories of our visit to Mount Evans years ago and spotting a few real, curly horned sheep, climbing up in the rocks.
Pick of the Place
At 10:30 am, we had a pick of all the tables. Everyone else seemed to be buying tee shirts and postcards. There were lots of windows and many large tables, with old cafe chairs.
There was a sweet set of Old Hickory chairs next to a piano. They seemed to be inviting Don and me to play a duet with Don... but I'm not sure we could even pull off Chopsticks! It looked like an old stone fireplace, at the end of the room. A roaring fire would have been cozier than that funny, vintage heater.
Don and I picked a corner table in the front.
My French toast was perfectly-old-timey-tasty! Don's ham & egg scramble, with hash browns, was gone before I got a picture.
Don had a view of Echo Lake from his seat.
But, I had a view of the humming bird feeder, just outside our window. I saw 8 at once.
We said good-by to Denise at the counter. She had some good advice for us.
Take a Hike
Denise told us to walk up the road. "Why? Is the view good?" She laughed and said we should go to just enjoy the quiet, free of cars.
The road to Mount Evans was still closed, after their long winter. So we walked around the barricades and walked a quarter mile. Just enough to burn off a quarter piece of my French toast. Maybe when I get a job at the lodge, I'll hike up, the full 14 miles!
Old Cafe, Old Sign
I spotted this yellow sign, as soon as we hit downtown Gunnison. An old cafe with a vintage neon sign. How could we resist?
It was the beginning of June, the day we returned. The trees were full of blossoms on Main Street. When the wind blew, it snowed.
We parked around the corner and passed some colorful hanging baskets. The door was open again, but there was no note.
The diner was between rushes, when we arrived. We had our pick of about 8 booths, all cozied right up to the shiny-rough, pine wood.
We sat beneath one of the many nostalgia shelves.
But the entire day ended at 2:00, so we were glad we got there before noon. We placed our orders and got ready to chow.
I look a bit insane in this ready-to-eat pose. Maybe I had too much coffee. I don't usually have coffee with lunch, but Charlton asked if I wanted some and I couldn't say no. He was too sweet and he put my diner mug down on a doily!
Our waitress was a more typical, all business, server. She brought our orders pretty promptly.
My half-order special, was pretty huge for $8.99. Hot open face turkey sandwich, with mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce... and a container of cranberry sauce.
Don got the daily breakfast special, of Huevos Rancheros with hash browns. Both were nice and hot and flavorful. There was no doily for the china to rest on, but I kind of liked the retro texture of the naugahyde table cover. Or was that oil cloth?
Don did his pose for me. I made sure to include a little peek of the room behind him. The teenagers at the table in the far corner were having a good time.
Treasures on the Wall
I of course had to wander a bit, to check out all the stuff on the shelves.
When the teen table emptied in the back, I headed over to have a look at the best corner. I love kid related antiques.
Charlton was busing tables and I asked him about the child's western attire, displayed on the wall. "Oh, that was my brother's!" he said, pointing ( I believe) to the shirt and boots. He said the chaps belonged to his grandfather or great grandfather. He wasn't sure which. He said the elephant marionette was very old.
Charlton seemed extra excited when he heard we were from Texas. He had family in Amarillo and Bandera. I thanked him so much for sharing with me and asked if he'd want to be in one of my photos. "Oh, probably not," he smiled. "I'd be too shy." I said I understood and thanked him so much for keeping my coffee nice and hot, because he really had. I wish I had a photo of Charlton. I wonder if he was named for the actor?
What's With the W?
I never found out what the "W" was for, in W Cafe. I should have asked the nice man, dining by himself near the front window. Before heading off, I asked him about the sign on the wall, over his head. "I've been coming here since 1973, " he said. "That sign's been here forever."
I never found out the age of the cafe, although I did read that they had a full remodeling in the mid-fifties. That's old! Even older than me. We were a good fit!
Usually when we're on the road, we search for quirky small town cafes or curious roadside diners. But last June, we gave ourselves a lunch treat at the lovely Broadmoor Hotel.
A man named Doug, popped his head out and welcomed us. He encouraged us more, when he mentioned free valet parking. I asked him if we could pull over before heading to valet parking... to tidy up and change shoes. He thought that was funny.
Quite the Valet Area
There were 8 valets in full uniform when we pulled up. I climbed out and grinned at all the loveliness surrounding us. Just in the carport area (which of course would never be called that) I spotted brass cherubs and God-like faces, two mounted buffalo heads...
...and a lovely green, Broadmoor Rolls-Royce, sitting out by the fountain.
Lunch at La Taverne
There are something like 18 restaurants, in the sprawling resort complex. We were just interested in the original hotel from 1918. We entered the the glamorous, pink stucco building and found our way to La Taverne.
The legendary Tavern steakhouse (originally no "e" after Tavern) was added in 1930, to celebrate the end of prohibition. The decor included lots of wine bottles... in chandeliers and sconces. I failed to get a photo of the original Toulouse Lautrec posters, that decorated the walls. Not sure when they were added.
We passed the curving bar in the main room and then a dining counter, with a chef at work. All looked wonderful, but a little too quiet and empty. Where was everyone?
It seemed that most of the people were dining outside in the atrium, surrounded by lush growth, with a 16-foot chandelier hanging above.
I didn't spot any live flamingos wandering about, but there were some, back in the day.
Mid-Century Modern Lingers
We were seated at a table between the main dining room and Le Jardin. Evidently this area was added in 1939 and called Tavern Lanai. They likely served tiki cocktails, while Hawaiian music played. In 1953, there was a new theme and the space became the Mayan Room.
There was a lot of geometric fun with all the wall angles and squares of light wood. I wonder if these little faces and designs were part of the Mayan theme?
The service was excellent. In fact our server, Matthew was so quick to whip my napkin into my lap, I was jolted. When he wasn't looking I put it back and snapped my pic.
Oh my, the bread was heavenly! I was so happy with warm bread and soft Tavern butter.
The food was fabulous and not overly priced! Don had chicken salad, on retro Tavern china. The salad had a little zip and zing to the flavor, that made the cool melon and zucchini bread, taste extra nice.
Matthew was so pleased when I ordered the chicken pot pie. He said it would be the best I ever tasted... but to not tell my grandmother! It was delicious and it looked like a sweet little boat. The hole in the top let out a blast of yummy steam. The piping hot chicken, pearl onions and peas looked like they were trying to escape!
A trip to the restroom was extra fun. First of all, I loved the door with its title, "Retiring Rooms". On the way to the very elegant Ladies Room, I enjoyed glancing at about 1,000 dusty bottles of wine and liquor.
I heard that Spencer Penrose, who built The Broadmoor in 1918, was not too pleased about prohibition. He hoarded and collected and hid massive amounts of liquor in preparation. He also drank what he'd collected. I read that most of these empty bottles were enjoyed, during prohibition.
I love nothing better than going on a walk, after a huge feast or just a tasty lunch. We did just that, inside the beautiful 101 year old building.
While peering out of a few upper windows, we realized we were really missing the best walk of all. We headed out to enjoy the gorgeous weather and the grounds, that were designed by the same man who created Central Park!
We barely scratched the surface, of experiencing this historic hotel! I took in what I could as we wandered across the bridge for a rear view of the hotel. I pretended I was a hotel guest, not a lunch guest. I don't think I fooled anyone.
They're going to have to drop their hotel prices before we can stay a night and add Broadmoor to my 90-Notable Nights Blog!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.