The culinary scene in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is flourishing with comfort food, cozy cafes and elevated cuisine. On my recent trip to Steamboat, I was dreaming about two places before I got there – Aurum and Creekside Cafe. They’re not only my two favorite places in Steamboat, but two of my favs in the state.
Aurum has a wonderful deck on the bank of the Yampa River. It’s perfect on a summer or fall evening. On this trip, it was raining so I dined inside. Annabel was my server and an absolute delight. The creative hand-crafted cocktails at Aurum are fabulous. Perusing the drink menu and I decided on the As You Wish cocktail with Empress 1908 Gin, Golden Moon Crème de Violette, St. Germain, lemon and grapefruit juice, and lavender syrup. It’s a refreshingly light drink and paired perfectly with the salad and fish I had for dinner.
I thought I had figured out exactly what I was having as first course until Annabel told me about the soup special. I debated for a minutes then opted for the salad to get some greens. Seeing my quandary, Annabel brought me both which made me smile ear to ear. I started first with the soup to enjoy it while hot. The jalapeño corn soup was topped with a mango and pomegranate salsa. The sweetness of the salsa balanced the heat of the jalapeños in this creamy creation. I could have licked the bowl it was so good. “Bee Grateful” Salad was exactly the “greens” I needed. The silky greens were topped with pickled fennel, apple, and feta then dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. The feta is smoked in-house and added a smoky layer the to flavorful salad.
For my main dish, I went for the pan seared Alamosa trout with a buttermilk-cucumber sauce, ancient grains, tabbouleh and greens. This dish was huge. I could have probably done with a salad because of the greens and plethora of veggies in dish but it was nice to dine on a variety of fresh produce, including with the trout. I ate all the fish but couldn’t finished the grains, tabbouleh and greens, because I was trying to save a little room for dessert.
When Annabel went through the dessert menu, I quickly decided on the chocolate terrine. The French flourless dessert was topped with pistachios and lemon zest to give it a bit of zing. It was plated with a cream swirl and topped strawberries and mint. The terrine was almost too pretty to eat! I ended up taking half of it to go and enjoyed it the next day too.
Speaking of the next day, in between hiking, driving and battling fall rain showers, I went to lunch at Creekside Cafe. It’s my favorite breakfast or brunch spot in Steamboat. I’ve eaten there multiple times, but never tried one of their lunch items until this trip. I love their Benedicts but opted for the Veg-Head burger. The house-made black bean patty is topped with jack cheese, avocado and baby greens on a toasted brioche bun and served with fries. It’s normally served with chipolte mayo, but I’m not a mayonnaise fan. While I couldn’t eat all the fries, the veggie burger was fantastic. I was glad I’m got out of my usual order and tried something new!
A couple of my other favorites in Steamboat are Freshies for huevos rancheros, The Paramount for chilaquiles, Yampa Sandwich Company for a grab-n-go sandwich to enjoy during a hiking adventure, Drunken Onion for a quick latte, Tuffle Pig for apres, and Mazzola’s for Italian comfort food.
Jennifer Broome has spent a lot of time in Steamboat Springs in all season. Check out Hike to Mad Creek Barn and Snowshoeing Rabbit Ears Pass for two fun adventures in Steamboat. For more on Creekside Cafe and Freshies, read Where to Eat Breakfast in Steamboat Springs.