Anthony Bourdain once said, "I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable."
Profoundly true, it has become increasingly obvious to me over the years that when people are sitting around the table and good food and drink are involved the stories flow like beers from a tap.
Sustenance such as comfort food has a knack for bringing people together. Travel the world and you are sure to find people gathering at the table no matter what culture or landscape you are in. This coalescence of people is no different in ski culture. Sharing stories with friends and acquaintances alike is what defines après ski. Food, beer and the illustrious mountain landscape are the driving forces behind this assembly of the masses.
Travel Returns and So Does Food With Friends
Hot off the hiatus caused by the pandemic, I was fortunate enough to travel again to ski resorts around the country. Gathering with friends new and old, we drank, shared stories and, of course, ate to our heart's content. The food was great! The company was better. But, as Bourdain said, they are inseparable.
With this in mind, here are 5 dishes that I tasted this winter that are sure to satiate your comfort food desires while sparking conversations and memories to last a lifetime.
5 Comfort Food Dishes That are Sure to Blow Your Mind
Shakshouka with Spicy Sausage - Five5eeds - Park City, Utah
Shakshouka is a traditional Moroccan dish that is recently starting to migrate its way onto plates here in America. The people at Five5eeds in Park City, Utah are doing their part to make this already awesome meal their own.
Stewed tomatoes, peppers and onions served in a cast-iron skillet and highlighted beautifully runny eggs baked right into the stew make for a dish that is pretty true to form. However, the addition of spicy sausage and the side of Texas toast accentuate the positives and elevate their Shakshouka to heights worthy of a mountain town.
Chicken Nuggs - Trail 87 - West Dover, Vermont
I love creativity and the Chicken Nuggs at the new Trail 87 in West Dover, Vermont are a beacon of imagination. These are far from your average chicken tenders. Chicken thighs coated in a buttermilk breading and deep-fried they give off the essence of Southern Fried Chicken. Perfectly crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside this alone would have your taste buds dancing. But, it is only the beginning.
The light and crisp breading make for the perfect sponge to soak in your choice of Gochujang Buffalo or Chimichurri sauces. Looking to get a little spicy after a day on the mountain, then the Korean-inspired Buffalo sauce will get you there. Want some South American tang instead? Then, go with the Chimichurri.
Personally, I'd order both and split them with the table. This way you simply cannot order wrong.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers - Collins Grill - Alta Ski Area - Alta, Utah
Jalapeno poppers are great!
Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers are better.
It just so happens that Collins Grill at Alta Ski Area is famous for them, something I found out when I visited there this past January. When you bight into one, you will instantly understand why. The jalapeno has been stuffed with plenty of cheese and roasted to where it's nice and soft. In contrast, the bacon on the outside is crisped to perfection and adds that salty punch you are looking for. Soft, cripsy, cheesy, spicy...this bite is faultless. So good, in fact, they even garnish their Bloody Mary's with them.
Shrimp and Lobster Mac n Cheese - The Last Chair Bar and Grill - West Dover, Vermont
I love a good Mac n Cheese. It's the type of comfort food that goes right to your soul. There are many variations on this traditionally southern soul food dish but one thing that always stands out is that the best ones are filled with cheesy love.
The Shrimp and Lobster Mac n Cheese from the Last Chair is a portrait of decadence. So much so that ordering one and finishing it yourself may put you in a food coma that even Rip Van Winkle would be jealous of.
Cold water Lobster and gulf shrimp highlight the pasta like stars brighten the sky. A hint of garlic adds a nice touch complementing the portion of pasta that is engulfed in four different kinds of cheese. Together it all blends to form the perfect balance of seafood and cheese that will transport you to foodie heaven.
Bourbon Pecan Pie - Alpine Pie Bar - Park City, Utah
A list of the 5 best comfort food recipes from this ski season would not be complete without dessert. The Bourbon Pecan Pie from the Alpine Pie Bar in Park City, Utah is as good as it gets (sorry Mom). The Pie Bar is the brainchild of the award-winning Alpine Distillery. With their Gin just being named the #1 Gin in the world and Whiskey that has its own share of national recognition, The Pie Bar is the most underrated après ski bar in Park City.
Stopping by is a must not only for the cocktails but also for the locally baked pies they pair with them. My favorite is, of course, the Bourbon Pecan.
The crust is nothing short of perfection. Buttery, light and flaky it has the flavor and texture you want when serving as the perfect vessel for the ooey-gooey pecan bourbon mixture that fills the pie. Not too sweet but just sweet enough the filling is a portrait of decadence that along with the crust will have your taste buds dancing in their ski boots.
Ski Food and Ski Clothes Go Hand in Hand
If you are going to enjoy good comfort food a the end of your day on the mountains, then you need to have comfortable après ski clothes. What is more comfortable than a ski hoodie? Our line of ski hoodies are the perfect après ski clothing. Designed with fun graphics they look and fit great giving you just enough room to eat any and all of the comfort food classics mentioned above.
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