While Chef Bill Greenwood (Executive Chef at Beano’s Cabin) may shy away from the press and media attention that his cuisine warrants, he is not an iota, an ounce or a smidgen tentative in the kitchen …
Traci Greenwood, Chef Greenwood’s wife and my wonderful friend, and I delighted in a cozy snowcat ride from the base of Beaver Creek to Beano’s Cabin, located mid mountain. In the timber-framed, mountain lodge that houses the great gourmet talents of Bill Greenwood, we were seated at a beautiful window-side table for 2. We settled-in for a 2 ½ hour experience of palette-pleasing indulgence!
We commenced the evening with a plate of fresh Honolulu Fish Company oysters, served with vibrant lemon wedges. The oysters glistened with a bit of tequila, small delicate cucumber dices and tiny Mezcal gelatin cubes (a Mexican agave liquor, also known as Tequila’s rougher cousin). A taste of the tide flourished on my tongue!
Along with a crisp white wine, we also enjoyed a disc of Ahi Tuna Tartar with coriander seed and cucumber vinaigrette. The vinaigrette had a bright tang of citrus, an herb-freshness from the flat-leaf parsley, and the tuna was incredibly tender. The taste and visual expression, as it was decorated with edible flowers, in this second dish was so attractive!
At this moment, Sean Clifford, our Waiter and Sommelier presented the second pairing – a Pinot Noir from Evening Land Vineyards. I was so touched by Sean’s recollection that Evening Land was inspired by the lure of Homer's ideal garden and is the final chapter of Homer's Odyssey. Writing about the concept of “allure”, I was certainly drawn to the next plate that we were about to savor: a deliciously seared sea scallop dressed with black sesame seeds and micro chives on a scrumptious cushion of house-made pesto. As Traci warned me about Chef Bill’s scallops, I anticipated a monumental moment of culinary embrace. On the most beautiful pesto pillow with the taste of herbs and olive oil mingling, Chef Bill assuredly did justice to a step into springtime with these sumptuous scallops!
We continued our taste tour with a tempting whisky-glazed Tender Belly Berkshire Bone in Belly with mustard seed vinaigrette and a grilled apple slice. During a dinner of this caliber, I aim to search for the most perfect bite … the green apple gave a tartness to the sweet, whisky-glazed pork belly. To perfectly finish an already beautifully-balanced bite, Sean paired this course with a sweet and spicy Zinfandel.
As if we hadn’t tried enough different tastes and flavors, Traci and I shared our final 2 courses. She started with the Whiskey Glazed Berkshire Porterhouse that was served on the creamiest smoked grits with Gruyere cheese and grains of paradise (a Western African peppery seed), alongside maple-glazed acorn squash and topped with preserved apples. It was the grueling task of making sure you had all the components and featured morsels on each bite! This, and the second main course, was served alongside a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Meanwhile, I started with a delectable rack of Colorado lamb - a perfect fat content provided an unprecedented tenderness. The frenched chops were paired with flageolet beans, sweet and delightful date confit, and a taste of the Mediterranean with an olive lemon gremolata. A self-proclaimed lamb aficionado (as I grew-up on the dish with mint jelly sauce), I am able to whole-heartedly write that this is one of the best lamb dishes I’ve savored!
To an unparalleled night of caloric-intake, Traci and I added 2 desserts: a warm molten chocolate cake with a liquid center and dark ganache glaze, served with vanilla bean ice cream over salted cookie crumbles and a sample of house-made sorbets (apple-cinnamon and maple-bacon). For the final pairing, I enjoyed a sweeter ruby port, while Traci sipped a tawny port full of caramel and butterscotch flavors.
This decadent level of excessive indulgence conjured-up an almost Gatsbian scene, in my mind. I cannot allow myself to indulge in this fashion, but once in a blue moon. Yet, YOLO (you only live once), so permission granted!