DIN­ING

West of 105 Magazine - - Destinations -

Colorado is blessed with an abun­dance of fan­tas­tic pro­duce (Pal­isade peaches and Olathe corn to name but two), and the ver­i­ta­ble bounty of eat­ing es­tab­lish­ments of all shapes and sizes in Du­rango, from hum­ble street food to fine din­ing - and ev­ery­thing in be­tween - put it all to good use. In fact, a few years ago, Du­rango was said to have over­taken San Fran­cisco as hav­ing the most restau­rants per capita.

There are op­tions here for ev­ery­one, but it is the im­pres­sive num­ber of places that go above and beyond by of­fer­ing lo­cals and vis­i­tors ev­ery­thing from farm-to-table din­ing and in­ven­tive cock­tails that wouldn't be out of place in Napa or Man­hat­tan. In short, gas­tronomes will find them­selves spoiled for choice.

CARVER BREW­ING

For a great pre-hike break­fast, Carver Brew­ing is a good choice. Com­fort­ing sta­ples done well and served in gen­er­ous por­tions. Any­thing that comes with a hash of some kind is go­ing to sat­isfy even the greed­i­est in your party.

EL MORO SPIR­ITS AND TAV­ERN

A rein­car­na­tion of the orig­i­nal El Moro Sa­loon, it was here that on a frosty day in Jan­uary 1906 a con­fronta­tion be­tween Sher­iff Wil­liam Thomp­son and Mar­shall Jesse Stansel over the en­force­ment of gam­bling laws in front of the sa­loon ended with Sher­iff Thomp­son dead. To­day El Moro is a great place for a cock­tail or a glass of wine be­fore din­ner as well as be­ing a great place for din­ner it­self. The menu is not vast, but it is care­fully cu­rated and of­fers a range of dishes, some that nod to­wards the his­tory of Du­rango (the scotch egg and root veg­etable shep­herd's pie), oth­ers that are lo­cally made (the fer­mented lamb sum­mer sausage), and oth­ers that are sim­ply the best prod­ucts avail­able in­clud­ing cheeses and cured meats from Europe.

SEA­SONS OF DU­RANGO

Just down Main Av­enue is Sea­sons of Du­rango, an­other wel­com­ing res­tau­rant that serves ex­cel­lent food. The farmto-table menu uses as many lo­cal prod­ucts as pos­si­ble, many of which are then cooked on a grill or on a spit fu­eled by lo­cal oak. As the name sug­gests, the core of the Sea­sons menu changes ev­ery sea­son. Dishes to try in­clude spit-roasted free range half chicken with gar­lic mashed po­ta­toes and veg­etable suc­co­tash and the grilled pork loin chop with fin­ger­ling po­ta­toes.

ORE HOUSE

The Ore House is a sort of wolf in sheep's cloth­ing, so to speak, but in the best pos­si­ble way. From the street, the Ore House looks unas­sum­ing, quaint and very ap­pro­pri­ate for a town like Du­rango. Even in­side it is mod­est with a warm, fam­ily-friendly vibe, but when you open the menu you'll find there is some­thing of a happy in­con­gruity. That isn't to say the decor and vibe isn't wel­come, it very much is, it's just that the menu has been de­signed (and, as it turns out, is ex­e­cuted) by peo­ple who re­ally know their onions, so to speak. The steaks are why peo­ple come here, and for good rea­son, but the sides - the brus­sels sprouts, the crab mac and cheese with hatch green chili, and the as­para­gus with bear­naise - turn a meal into a feast. And don't for­get drinks. The Ore House has great cock­tails and a wine list that is, at the time of writ­ing, 16 pages long.

11TH STREET STA­TION

Ca­sual eats are the or­der of the day at 11th Street Sta­tion, a col­lec­tion of seven food trucks that come to­gether around Ernie's Bar, a con­verted ser­vice sta­tion that stood for more than four decades from the 1920s. Drinks and food range from craft beer, cof­fee, tacos, pizza, sushi and even In­done­sian cui­sine.

MICHEL’S COR­NER

Well-known to lo­cals, Michel's Cor­ner is run by French­man Michel Poumay. The creperie would be de­scribed these days as a food truck, and it is, but as it pre­dates the food truck move­ment, it would be fair to de­scribe it as a pi­o­neer of sorts. Crepes have a rep­u­ta­tion as a some­what bland ve­hi­cle for whipped cream and straw­ber­ries, but Michel's crepes are a rev­e­la­tion and his Men­non­ite-built mo­bile creperie is a bona fide din­ing hot spot. The pulled pork and pan-fried goat cheese crepe ex­pertly com­bines the sweet and tangy fla­vors of the main in­gre­di­ents while the caramel ap­ple and wal­nut crepe is per­fectly sweet. The cor­ner it­self is a lovely place to spend an hour or so thanks to the cas­cad­ing flow­ers that fill the square in sum­mer; from mid-Oc­to­ber Michel adds French onion soup to the menu which is surely go­ing to be mag­nifique.

CREAM BEAN BERRY

If ice cream is more your thing when it comes to desserts, look no fur­ther than Cream Bean Berry. The scent of house­made waf­fle cones fill the air at this ar­ti­san ice cream­ery. The salted caramel is su­perb.

Pho­tos (this page above): El Moro Spir­its and Tav­ern; (be­low): Steam­works Brew­ing Co / DATO.; (op­po­site page above left): The Book­case and Bar­ber; (op­po­sitepage above right and be­low): SKA Brew­ing / DATO

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