I arrived at Hayden Airport near Steamboat Springs, Colorado on Thursday 1/26/12 dressed in my Haute Couture attire (Vintage Fur and Prada bag to be specific), only to find a nice young man named Tom, from the Vista Verde Ranch waiting my arrival. After a 45-minute ride to our destination, the blankets of snow and open fields of horses pleasantly surprised me. I was greeted once again to a southern inspired staff at the ranch. I was given a detailed tour of the ranch and then off to lunch. First impressions of lunch (it made me think of the bayou). Anytime you offer a southern gentlemen catfish in the form of a po-boy sandwich accompanied w/ a refreshing salad, sweet tea and dessert, you have me hooked.
I was gifted to three days of food, entertainment, sleigh rides, horse feeding and massages. I stayed in the biggest cabin on the ranch entitled Wapiti. (Named after one of the nearby mountains). The cabin was furnished with the most up to date amenities and a plethora of added treats. To add sugar to my tea (No pun intended) they had wine, vanilla cokes, assortments of beer, Gatorade and more wine all awaiting my arrival. Needless to say, I would not dehydrate. I neglected to mention having a hot tub on the front porch, which was often ornamented by the ranch cat (nappy). How could a fashion-ado and food critic go wrong?
Since reviewing culinary arts at Vista Verde was the primary focus of my stay, let me paint a vivid picture of my day-to-day experience. Breakfast started promptly at 8:00am w/ a detailed menu listing of options to choose from. Before one of the friendly and cowgirl chic wait staff took my order, I started with a continental plate of fresh fruit, an assortment of hot teas, coffee, yogurt, fresh bagels, etc. If that wasn’t enough, I was then given three selections to choose from the menu.
Lunch started each day at 12 noon. Lunch was typically served buffet style, but sometimes plated and served. Portion control was not my goal! There were options of salads, and hot soups to compliment each meal! After each meal I was treated to tasty desserts often garnished with nuts, berries and or some kind of savory sauce.
Dinner was served in two types of formats. First, in a buffet style and the second being a formal plated dinner with friendly servers. No matter the format, the food options were superlative. Words cant express the options granted on a daily basis. I have to take a moment to give reverence to the executive Chef of Vista Verde Ranch Chef Matt, Chef Lewis and Chef Scott Wolf. All three gentlemen afforded me the opportunity to get a detailed glance into the world of culinary, married with the daily accountabilities of the ranch. With experiences ranging from England, France and California it’s easy to see how the menu selections are so rich in character, style and taste. Thanks chefs Matt, Lewis and Scott for a job well done and the opportunity to taste, smell and sample some of the finest of cuisines west of my Atlanta, Georgia dwelling.
Well, all good things have expiration. To sum up my stay at the ranch, I would say it was filled with peace, serenity and a newfound appreciation for the concept of a luxury Dude ranch. Would I go back to Vista Verde? The choir shouts YES! Thanks to the entire staff and management team for luxury ranch experience that set the standard without loosing the personal appeal! Until… I say farewell in the name of all things fashionable and food.
Yours in Fashion and Food,
Courtney A. Hammonds – The Image Archietect