After a day of hitting the slopes, I’m not content with one après-ski beer and a hot tub. No, my body craves a good meal. I’ve made it a habit to find the finest places in town to dine. They run the gamut from casual pizza joints to innovative continental cuisine.
At the base of Stowe, Stowe Mountain Lodge went overboard to use as much indigenous wares as possible. There’s real Vermont birch twisting around the columns and the marble on stairs leading to the bar comes from Lake Champlain. The resort also prides itself on using local produce. At Solstice Restaurant, expect Vermont-based artisanal cheeses, microbrewed ales, and locally farmed vegetables and meats.
For skiers heading to Okemo, a favorite in Ludlow is DJ’s. You have to love a place that still features a salad bar in this day and age, included in the price of an entrée. Grab a booth and get ready to dig into the chicken marsala, salmon, and ravioli dishes. Best yet, they have my favorite Vermont ale on tap, Switchback.
Outback’s wood-fired pizza is the best in Killington. Try the Vermonter BLT, with Vermont cheddar, mozzarella, bacon bits, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and basil. Meat lovers will like the Beast of the East, topped with meatballs, pepperoni, and sausage.
For a town with a year-round population hovering around 1300, there is a surprising number of good dinner options at Loon. Start at the mother-and-son run Gypsy Café on Main Street. The eclectic menu features Indian-style chicken samosas, Middle Eastern lamb loin dipped in the best hummus this side of Tel Aviv, Mexican fajitas, and a spicy Thai red curry duck. Wash it down with one of their strong margaritas and you’ll understand why the place feels so festive.
Started in 1998, the Flatbread Company now owns ten pizzerias from Maui to Whistler. Yet, it’s their locale in North Conway, near Cranmore Ski Area, that has the Granite State all a-buzz. Maybe it’s the Zen-like ambiance with all those Tibetan designs and the massive wood-fired clay oven plopped down in the center of the room. But I happen to think it’s the Coevolution, topped with roasted red peppers, red onions, olives, goat cheese, garlic, and mozzarella. Much of the produce is from local organic farms and you can taste the difference.
In Bethel, Maine, you can usually find me at Sud’s Pub after a day of skiing Sunday River, downing one of the 29 beers on tap. Located inside the Sudbury Inn, start with the hot Sudbury wings or a cup of tasty clam chowder. Then choose between the burgers, pizzas, or entrees like grilled sirloin tips or blackened salmon.
Finally, if you’re heading to Quebec to ski Le Massif, you’d be wise to stop for dinner at Hotel La Ferme’s restaurant, Les Labours, in Baie-Saint-Paul. The hotel made a mandate that food be farmed within a 50-kilometer radius of Baie-Saint-Paul, if possible. So that salmon and emu meat was raised locally, the cheeses and bread are a Charlevoix specialty, and the red beer was brewed just down the road.
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