A Little Place Called Assssspen…

Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!

From: Kappy

To: RR

Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:35am

Subject: A Little Place Called Assssspen…

Hey Rach – Sorry, I had to pull out the ol’ Dumb and Dumber line (yes, I’m a huge fan!). Anyway… I used to do regular summer trips to Aspen to work the Food & Wine Classic, but I hadn’t been back in a few years until recently. While I love going back for that stellar event, I never get tired of visiting my favorite local spots and, of course, checking out some new ones.

I kicked this trip off by picking up lunch from Johnny McGuire’s, a little local sandwich spot. I split a Philly Cheesesteak-style sandwich with grilled steak, onions, peppers and provolone and a “Trucker,” made with grilled turkey, bacon, barbecue sauce and cheddar. I know a Philly is a classic, but for the most part, their sandwiches are fun, original creations. We added their homemade potato chips in ranch flavor and BBQ.

For dinner that night a group of us headed to Su Casa for Mexican food. We had margaritas and chips and salsa, and I tried the Green Chile Pork Enchiladas. While it was a pretty straightforward meal, I’m a sucker for anything green chile, and I know you’re a suiza fan, too – this place will definitely satisfy your suiza craving.

I made at least a few morning trips to Paradise Bakery for a treat. And yes, when you walk in, they do say, “Welcome to Paradise.” They make fabulous muffins here (they’re square-shape) and really delicious filled croissants, such as ham and cheese. There’s not room to sit, but there are plenty of benches outside.

Another great morning (or lunch) spot is Main Street Bakery. I shared a table with a random group of people I didn’t know. While I had my order in mind, this group couldn’t stop talking about the SoCal Omelet, filled with bacon, pepper Jack cheese, avocado and salsa. It came with hash browns and was pretty tasty. I’m not a big omelet guy so when I do have one, it needs to be good, like, really good. They have amazing pastries here, too.

Another lunch spot along the lines of Johnny McGuire’s is The Big Wrap. As you might expect, they have…wraps. While I was craving their Caesar-Style Wrap with Chicken, you should also be sure to try their salad – it’s kind of Mexican-style with some rice on the bottom and then the salad and toppings placed over the top.

Now, it’s not light on the wallet, but I dropped into Matsuhisa for a light dinner with a couple friends. This is one of Nobu’s places. We sat at the bar and picked at the Creamy Spicy Crab, of course the Yellowtail Jalapeño (which is actually made with Serrano peppers) and some of the New Style Sashimi – “New Style” is thin slices of raw fish that has flavored hot oil drizzled over the top so it barely cooks the fish. If you want perfectly prepared, fresh sushi, Matsuhisa is the place to splurge.

I’m going to wrap up with one of my all-time favorites in Aspen: Ink Coffee. It’s your quintessential locals’ coffee shop, but beyond their regular coffee that keeps people coming back, they also mix flavored hot drinks as well as ice-blended drinks. I highly recommend the Black & White, a latte with black and white chocolate powder, or the White Chai, which is chai tea with white chocolate powder. Both can be done hot, but if it is hot outside, try them blended – they’re fantastic!

And that’s what’s on my plate!

~ Kappy

Johnny McGuire’s Deli

730 East Cooper Avenue

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 920-9255

Su Casa

315 East Hyman Avenue

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 920-1488

Paradise Bakery

320 South Galena Street

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 925-7585

Main Street Bakery and Café

201 East Main Street

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 925-6446

The Big Wrap

520 East Durant Avenue

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 544-1700


303 East Main Street

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 544-6628

Ink Coffee

520 East Durant Avenue

Aspen, CO 81611

(970) 544-0588

Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!

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