Last week, on a business trip to the Minneapolis area, I had the good fortune to ski at Afton Alps, a resort in the area. How big? 300 acres, 50 runs, 18 chairlifts. It really is remarkable - you should check it out yourself if you ski. With restaurants at the base and a grill at the top, as well as space to bring picnic fare, there are plenty of options to choose from. I opted to head up to the Crest Mountain Grill, for ski ski out simplicity.
Typical ski lodge ambiance, the Grill was recently redone by new owners Vail Resorts, and they had the good sense to leave the original fireplace. A minimal menu, a few beers on tap, and a full bar keep the choices simple but good. A wrap around deck allows for alfresco eating when the weather is good, while views from the windows inside allow you to keep track of the action on the slopes. Order and pay at the bar and the food is brought out when it's ready.
I ordered The Crest Hamburger: Half pound patty, with apple wood smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce. Jumbo Beer Battered Onion Rings were my choice of sides, a good litmus test, in my mind, to the quality of the cooking (it's hard to make onion rings well). To accompany this fine meal, I opted for a local craft beer, from Surly Brewing Company. Their Furious American IPA is all about the caramel and hops, perfect foil for the sweetness of the barbecue sauce. The burger was outstanding, perfectly cooked, with maybe a bit too much sauce, but tasty nonetheless. The onion rings were hot, crispy, really well prepared, but unfortunately didn't have much flavor. Not sure if they forgot to salt them or what the deal was, but it was a shame.
The Crest Mountain Grill really hit the spot after a few hours on the slopes and I would suggest it's not a bad place to hang out at any time. Well prepared food, local beer options, and a view - can't ask for much more in a restaurant.
Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel