im sitting on the plane wearing an aspen sweatshirt...en route to Miami. because as hard as i tried to migrate west for the new year with my very deliberate YOLO attitude, being rational succeeded, and for the short amount of time i am able to get away, it made more sense to see family, get tan, and party in the city where the heat is on. besides, distance makes the heart grow fonder, no? Aspen, ill see you soon.
so, while i enjoy my EXO cricket peanut butter + jelly bar and listen to Tom Odell on a crowded flight south, i'm reminiscing about the three amazing trips i took to my happy place this summer. below you will find a comprehensive list of my favorite Aspen "to-dos" for all those ringing in 2017 in the little town "where the beer flows like wine." enjoy every second + if you pay close attention, you will feel all of the magic Aspen has to offer.
food + drink:
hangover breakfast at poppycocks is always an A+ move. there is something miraculous about how they cook their eggs. maybe its just butter. but damn the butter is good. you can't go wrong with a grilled cheese either. or a stack of wacky pancakes.
matsuhisa is the town gem. with a visiting population thats densely comprised of new yorkers, texans, and floridians, this OG nobu joint is a win win. with that said, i stick to the matsu specialties rather than the sushi. sushi in the mountains? ehhh...do yourself a favor and order a side of crispy spinach with yuzu and bonito on top. the waiter will be confused, but trust me on this one.
monarch steakhouse is the new steak joint from the owners of steakhouse 316. and i'd argue that its way better. order the Caesar salad for two, and a steak of your choosing. skip the raw bar.
head to aspen kitchen for the incredible view and stay for the cauliflower entree. this bad boy is the size of a human head + is served on a bed of crispy quinoa and a yogurt cucumber spread. Never considered going to a restaurant for a cauliflower head? well, reconsider.
there is magic at ajax tavern no matter what time of day. sure, order the truffle fries if you're a sucker. but first start with the complimentary warm bread + white bean spread. from there, have a burger, the kale + quinoa salad, shrimp cocktail, or really anything else. make friends with the table sitting next to you, drink a bottle of rose, inhale the mountain air, and just be grateful that you're in the big rock candy mountains.
grey lady takes the cake for the best raw bar in town. beer first. raw bar next.
paradise bakery. duh. no matter the season, paradise bakery will always have a line outside. even if you're playing the healthy card, at least just walk in + hang out for the smell of warm cookies + cool ice cream.
jimmy's has killer margaritas.
pinons is a namesake.
cache cache is a scene. if you must, then go. but id recommend just having a quick cocktail. similar for campo di fiori but the food is actually pretty good. and the people are always pretty.
i prefer the outdoor area of casa tua for a spicy cucumber margarita then the actual dining room. but the red roses inside are sexy and the vibe is fun. food, eh.
the burger at the Jerome Hotel is badass.
take an adventure to woody creek tavern. in the summer, bike there. in the winter, take a car. but don't drive. the margaritas are lethal, the fish tacos are eh, but the black bean soup is coat your stomach thick, which will allow for more margaritas. and if you'e lucky, you'll meet a local at the bar that has been drinking there since 10am. those types tell the best stories.
hops is the beer spot in the middle of town. their selection is endless and love for beer obvious. the staff knows what their talking about and loves to talk. try a flight and choose your own adventure with four 5 oz. pours.
check out annettes bakeshop next door for a meatball sub. its not my jam but my friend Camilla swears by it. they bake their bread daily and you can tell when you walk in that every confection is a labor of love.
for healthy/easy fare, check out peaches cafe + spring cafe. but if you really want something special, head to explorer bookstore's vegan cafe. browse the bookshelves beforehand. there is something about explorer that just feels magical.
caffeinate no where but INK coffee. their prices are higher than new york city, but they make a killer dry almond cappuccino and always serve with a smile.
first the obvious -- hike in the summer, ski/board in the winter and run thru the mountains when the weather allows.
i've declared my love for King Yoga time and time again. the trip to the aspen business center by the airport is worth it. the space is magic + Aaron King is a magician. see for yourself.
my friend Brittany owns 02. i can't wait to see the new space when she finishes construction on the McDonalds in the center of town. for now, head to the original location and take a yoga class, shop her incredible retail selection, or get a spa treatment.
shakti shala is beautiful + you can't but help feeling super zen after leaving a slow flow class. they also offer sporadic HIIT classes and some boxing for more intensity.
jobody pilates is an Aspen secret. also located by the airport and offering mostly high end private sessions and small group lessons on pilates reformers.
if you're a diehard crossfit fan, Aspen Crossfit will fill your crossfit void whilst in town.
head to the spa at St. Regis for an incredible massage. there is an oxygen room complete with snacks + champagne to enjoy pre or post treatment. take advantage of it.
silverpeak is the most luxe marajuana museum you will ever experience. bring your credit card and have a ball. they carry everything from edibles, to varietals, to pre-rolled joints, baked goodies and more. don't hold back. you're in ASPEN.
as a recovering candy addict, i have a soft spot for carl's pharmacy. they have a secret shop in the back with my favorite gumballs and lots of other treats. beyond the candy, carls' actually just has everything: supplies, toilettrees, toys, liquor, makeup, snacks and more. if you can't find something in carl's to buy, you aren't looking hard enough, or you have no soul.
questions? comments? thoughts? let me know.
i could talk about Aspen all day.