It is now the third day of fall and the fifth day of winter. Thursday while en route to buy hay at the Schneider Ranch south of Westcliffe I was distracted by my camera’s viewfinder and came home with this photo. There was only a small window of opportunity, and by the time the hay was loaded and I was headed for the barn, the snow had melted off the lower reaches of the mountains, and the storm clouds were again building.
Changing subjects, I have had the good luck to have enjoyed some very memorable meals over the years. Some at high-end restaurants. Some prepared by family and friends. Some even prepared by myself, a fairly competent home cook/hash-slinger.
However there are three meals that stand out in my mind more so than others. A Beef Wellington prepared in a wood-fired oven at Bear Basin Ranch. A leg of lamb with vegetables cooked on an open fire at hunting camp in the Sangres. An then there was an Orange Roughy Provencial I ate last night. What these three dishes have in common is that they all were cooked by Paris-trained Chef Stephane over the many years I have known him. The fish dish I ate as the guest of Elodia Bojorquez and Jeff Gillingham at the Westcliffe Feed Store restaurant. There were also appetizers of artichoke dip and escargot, a pot roast that many people at the table ordered and of which I had a taste, and desserts. It was all really damn good.
The intellectual discussion with the chef and the rest of our party at the bar afterward was also mighty fine, and I suppose I went home feeling as if I had just been to someone’s home for dinner.
Stephane is a true artist, and the ambience at the Feed Store is a fitting atmosphere for his fine food. If you are within driving or even flying distance, I suggest you check out his restaurant, and tell him I sent you. The restaurant is closed for a private Art for the Sangres party this evening, but regular hours will resume Saturday. And if you find yourself seated at the bar, see if you can find the mule in the intricate carving of horses that graces the back wall. It’s perhaps visible only over a sparkling glass of French Champagne.