Proper eats for post-four­teener stop

Ditch the trail mix and grab a burger

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Allyson Reedy In Buena Vista Allyson Reedy, The Den­ver Post In Fair­play In Leadville

If a turkey sand­wich and a hand­ful of trail mix sat­is­fies you af­ter ex­pend­ing loads of ef­fort and calo­ries sum­mit­ting a four­teener, great. You’re prob­a­bly one of those peo­ple who will­ingly eats veg­eta­bles and votes in midterm elec­tions.

But if you, like me, are down­right in­sulted by the sug­ges­tion of lean meat and raisins af­ter ex­ert­ing so much en­ergy, then save that sand­wich and gra­nola for, well, never, and get your­self off that moun­tain as quickly as pos­si­ble to en­joy some real food.

Here are the best post­sum­mit vic­tory meal spots for the closer-to-home peaks.

While the crowds wait for ho-hum burg­ers at K’s, you are at the Buena Vik­ing burger truck al­ready bit­ing into 7 ounces of thick, juicy patty per­fec­tion. Go spicy with the Boone burger (jalapeños and cream cheese) or sweet with the First Snow burger (honey and cheese from Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy). Ched­dar tots round out the meal be­cause, af­ter hik­ing thou­sands of feet, there is no such thing as be­ing overly in­dul­gent. Buena Vik­ing: House Rock Kitchen is the rare restau­rant that makes healthy food that tastes like un­healthy food. Case in point: the gi­gan­tic In­dian bowl with hous­esmoked pulled pork. The com­po­nents are healthy — brown rice, veg­gie curry, roasted pump­kin seed slaw, fruit chut­ney, greens — but it packs a guilty plea­sure­wor­thy fla­vor punch.

The Buena Vik­ing burger truck in Buena Vista grills up the best. (Allyson Reedy, The Know)

Noth­ing sat­is­fies the hunger aroused by hik­ing for eight straight hours quite like piles and piles of smoked meat. In-the-know climbers come to Ma­son’s High Coun­try BBQ for the tangy pulled pork, Ger­man rope sausage and St. Louis­style ribs, but don’t leave with­out try­ing the stewed greens and peach cob­bler.

Pizza is also an ex­cel­lent post-14er food. Why? Be­cause pizza is a good postany­thing food. It’s also a good pre- and dur­ing-any­thing food. If you can fig­ure out a way to serve Leadville’s High Moun­tain Pies on the trails, please let me know. For now, I’ll have to set­tle for the crispy­crusted, cheesy pies as an après moun­tain snack.

My per­fect fries re­side in­side a drive-thru in Leadville. (There are also burg­ers, chicken sand­wiches and Mex­i­can plates, but I’m just talk­ing fries here.) The pota­toes might be deep fried in fairy dust, I’m not sure. I just know that no other fries have a crisp like Gringo’s fries, and, if a magical outer su­per-crisp wasn’t enough, they then have a squishy in­side, which gives you the per­fect crunchy/fleshy bite that some peo­ple search their en­tire lives for and never find. It’s at Gringo’s, fry seek­ers. Gringo’s: 102

Af­ter hik­ing one of the four­teen­ers near Buena Vista, you’re go­ing to want more than trail mix, so head to the Buena Vik­ing burger truck.

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