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High Country Baking: Gingerbread with caramelized apples

Gingerbread with caramelized apples
Photo by Vera Dawson / High Country Baking

Gingerbread is a holiday classic, and I make some almost every Christmas. This year, I opted for a cake-like gingerbread and served it with a complement of caramelized apple slices. It warmed up the evening like a fire in the fireplace.

The flavor of molasses dominates many gingerbreads. While this recipe includes it, maple syrup is also used as a sweetener, making the molasses less pronounced and allowing the spices to share the spotlight in the overall taste. While the gingerbread is very satisfying on its own, the apples, cooked until tender in a butter-brown sugar mixture, are a perfect accompaniment, adding moisture and a pleasing change in taste and texture.

Neither component of this dessert demands a lot from the cook. Once the ingredients are assembled, the gingerbread is in the oven in about 15 minutes, and the apples take only 5-10 minutes longer. Both can be made ahead of serving. In fact, the spices in the gingerbread develop their full flavor a day after baking.

Gingerbread with caramelized apples

Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Make in a 9-by-9-inch square pan with 2-inch sides.


  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, spoon and level
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (one stick)
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B or Grade A amber
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Caramelized apples

  • 4 medium-large Golden Delicious apples
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line the pan with nonstick aluminum foil or regular aluminum foil, extending the foil past two opposing pan sides to use as handles when removing the gingerbread. If using regular foil, grease the pan, foil and all, with a baking spray or with butter. Put the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk vigorously to mix and aerate. Set this aside.

Cut the butter into at least 8 pieces and put them in a medium saucepan along with the molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar. Over medium heat, melt the butter and stir to combine all the ingredients. Don’t bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, pour over the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and, lastly, the boiling water.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake just starts to pull away from the pan sides. Start checking at 35 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool. Use the foil handles to lift the cake out of the pan. The gingerbread can be covered airtight and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Make the caramelized apples. (This can be done up to three hours before serving, reheat before doing so.). Peel and core the apples, cut them into 1/4- to 3/8-inch slices and set them aside. Cut the butter into pieces and melt them in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter is about half melted, sprinkle the sugar over top and stir until the butter is fully melted, the sugar dissolves and the two are well combined. Add the apple slices and cook over moderate heat until they give off their juices. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the apples are just tender and lightly colored, and the liquid becomes syrupy. If the apples are done before the liquid is syrupy, remove them and continue to cook the liquid. If the liquid is syrupy before the apples are done, pour most of it off and let the apples cook longer. Don’t let the liquid get so thick that it isn’t pourable or the apples slices get mushy. Remove from the heat.

When you’re ready to present the dessert, cut the room-temperature gingerbread into 6-9 pieces, depending on the serving size you want, and plate them. Arrange the warm apple slices around each piece and pour some of the warm butter-sugar syrup over the top.

Editor’s note: The gingerbread recipe is inspired by one published in “The Fearless Baker.”

Vera Dawson

Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays at SummitDaily.com. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at veradawson1@gmail.com.


Summit County nonprofits offer free meals for Thanksgiving

FRISCO — Aimee Straw remembers when the weekly meals offered by the Rotary Club of Summit County meant more to her than just a chance to get out of the house.

She and her husband moved to Summit County to start new jobs in 2012, and early on, they “had a little trouble putting food on the table.” She said those dinners ultimately helped them to get their feet under them and get established.

Now, amid the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, Straw said the idea of canceling Rotary’s annual free Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t really in the cards.

“We could’ve easily said, ’You know, there’s some challenges. Let’s not do it.’ But that’s not at the heart of Rotary,” she said.

The Rotary Club and Father Dyer United Methodist Church will be providing free dinners to community members this Thanksgiving. However, unlike in years past, all of the offerings will be served in to-go packaging.

Rev. Calob Rundell, the pastor at Father Dyer, said even though the dinner will be served on the go, they’re still expecting 200-300 people to stop by this year, which would be similar to 2019 when more than 200 people ate dinner at the church.

“It’s always great food and usually great company, but this year, it’s great food,” said Jennifer McAtamney, the executive director at Building Hope Summit County, which has helped organize equipment, volunteers and marketing for the dinner at Father Dyer.

Most of the dinner at Father Dyer will be prepared by Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, though community members and congregants at Father Dyer will be providing pies. McAtamney said the goal is to provide a whole pie to everyone who grabs dinner at Father Dyer, and Rundell is optimistic there will be plenty.

“We’re planning on having lots and lots of pie,” he said. “We do know that for a fact.”

Summit Rotary is also getting plenty of help from community partners. Mike and Tenley Spry, the owners of Sunshine Cafe, have provided turkey for the dinner, the Keystone Conference Center is providing kitchen space and Vail Epic Promise has contributed to help put on the dinner.

The Rotary dinner will be prepackaged in four-person portions, with the hope that people will be able to enjoy a social dinner with their households, even if they aren’t able to enjoy the community gathering. Still, Straw encourages anyone who wants some food to come and get some.

“Even if you’re just feeding one person, come on over and get some leftovers,” she said.

If you go

Father Dyer United Methodist Church, 310 Wellington Road, Breckenridge

• Hours: 4-7 p.m.

• Menu: Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, homestyle stuffing, cranberry orange compote and pie

• Cost: free

The Rotary Club of Summit County, Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne

Hours: Noon to 3 p.m.

Menu: Traditional Thanksgiving dinner (serves four)

Cost: free


Frisco revamps shop local campaign, Wassail Days

Frisco is revamping the Love Frisco, Shop Frisco campaign for the winter.
Photo by Todd Powell

FRISCO — Officials are revamping the Love Frisco, Shop Frisco campaign this winter to help support local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign has relaunched under the title Love Frisco, Winter Frisco, allowing community members to purchase gift cards usable at participating stores and restaurants in town as well as receive a bonus card as an extra incentive to shop locally this holiday season.

“What has always been part of the fabric of Frisco are our diverse locally owned businesses,” Mayor Hunter Mortensen said in a news release. “The thread that holds this fabric together has always been our support of the unique, eclectic and independent businesses in our community. But now it has taken on even greater meaning because the commitment to buying your holiday gifts in a small, family owned business and ordering takeout twice a week at your favorite restaurant means that you are making the well-being of those businesses and the people who work there a priority.”

Frisco launched the shop local campaign in June, injecting $125,000 of funding into the program to offer the gift incentives. Of the original seed money, almost $54,000 remains, which the town will use to kick-start Love Frisco, Winter Frisco.

The campaign will work similarly to this summer, wherein community members can purchase a gift card and receive a 33% matching bonus up to $125. The bonus gift cards are available at LoveFriscoCo.com through Jan. 15 and will expire March 31. Purchased gift cards don’t expire.

“This virus is impacting so many aspects of our lives negatively that council really felt like giving back to the community, its businesses and employees was a way to have a profoundly positive impact,” said Vanessa Agee, Frisco’s director of communications. “… Supporting this is a way of expressing that this is incredibly important to us, but it’s also a concrete way of putting our money where our mouth is. There’s nothing wrong with some free money that encourages people to abandon online shopping and make a heroic commitment to buying your gifts locally.”

Love Frisco, Winter Frisco also will be running alongside this year’s Wassail Days, which will be taking place from Saturday, Nov. 28, through Dec. 6. The celebration will look considerably different this year due to COVID-19 as the town moves away from more traditional elements like wassail tastings at local businesses, the Soup Cup Classic, caroling on Main Street and free sleigh rides.

Instead, the town has come up with a number of other ideas to get community members hopping to different shops around town. The event kicks off with Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28, and shoppers can get a free Wassail Days gift bag with purchases of $50 or more. Prosit, Rising Sun Distillery, Next Page Books and Nosh, Foote’s Rest Sweet Shop and Mountain Dweller Coffee all will be handing out free cups of wassail with qualifying purchases.

Residents also can find Marvin the Moose hidden in 10 decorated windows along Main Street, each with a different wassail recipe. Marvin also can be found “slightly off the beaten path” with a past Wassail Days winning recipe.

In lieu of visits from Santa this year, parents can sign up to get a call from Santa during which kids can tell him what they want for Christmas. Santa also will be taking surprise laps around Frisco in a Jeep courtesy of Groove Silverthorne.

“Wassail Days has always been about more than a hot beverage,” Frisco Events Manager Nora Gilbertson said in the release. “This event draws attention to all of the unique businesses that make Frisco such a magical place with a backdrop of snow, stunning scenery and twinkling lights. It is more important now than ever to spend locally when you are shopping for holiday gifts so our favorite Frisco businesses are around in 2021 to offer wassail tastings once again.”


Is your restaurant open for takeout? Join our list

The Summit Daily News is compiling a list of local restaurants that are open for takeout during the indoor dining closure.

To be included in the list, send the following information to news@summitdaily.com:

  • Restaurant name, address and phone number
  • Hours
  • Menu link
  • Instructions to order
  • Are you offering outdoor, in-person dining?

The list will be updated each day at SummitDaily.com and published once per week in the Summit Daily News.

Restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Summit County

Local restaurants offering to-go orders on Thanksgiving day

Free meals

Father Dyer United Methodist Church, 310 Wellington Road, Breckenridge

  • Hours: 4-7 p.m.
  • Menu: Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, homestyle stuffing, cranberry orange compote and pie
  • Cost: free

The Rotary Club of Summit County, Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne

  • Hours: noon to 3 p.m.
  • Menu: traditional Thanksgiving dinner
  • Cost: free

Paid meals

5th Ave Grille, 423 Main St., Frisco, 970-668-3733, 5thAveGrille.com

  • Hours: Noon to 8:30 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu and Thanksgiving dinner consisting of butternut squash bisque, roasted turkey with gravy, cranberry cornbread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, vanilla-glazed sweet potatoes, green beans with mushrooms and crispy onions, orange-zested cranberry sauce, and choice pumpkin cheesecake or apple tart
  • Cost: Thanksgiving dinner: $32 for adults, $16 for children younger than 12
  • Deadline to order: None, preorders recommended

Asobi Teppanyaki, 110 S. Park Ave., Breckenridge, 970-547-2862, AsobiTeppanyakiTogo.com

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Beaver Run Resort, 620 Village Road, Breckenridge, 970-471-9130, BeaverRun.com

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Menu: Slow-roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, glazed sweet potatoes, rolls, mixed green salad, butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie
  • Cost: $228 (serves 6)
  • Deadline to order: Wednesday, Nov. 25

Blue Stag Saloon, 232 S. Main St. Breckenridge, 970-453-2221, BlueStagSaloon.com

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Turkey or honey roasted ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh herb stuffing, glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, crispy Brussels sprouts and candied sweet potatoes
  • Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children, add pie for $5
  • Deadline to order: None

Breckenridge Ale House & Pizza, 520 S Main St, Breckenridge, 970-771-3637, BreckenridgeAleHouse.com

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

The Breckenridge Tap House, 105 N. Main St., Breckenridge, 970-453-2167, BreckenridgeTapHouse.com

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Briar Rose Chophouse, 109 Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge, 970-453-9948, BriarRoseChophouse.com

  • Hours: Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Thanksgiving dinner with choice of entree — turkey, trout or prime rib — served with whipped Yukon gold potatoes, stuffing, turkey gravy, sauteed green beans, butternut squash, cranberry sauce and choice of pumpkin cheesecake or pecan pie
  • Cost: $31-$55
  • Deadline to order: None, preorders recommended

Cabin Juice, 605 S. Park Ave., Breckenridge, 970-423-2299, CabinJuice.com

  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Roasted delicate squash salad, roast turkey breast with gravy, garlic whipped mashed potatoes with rosemary, sauteed broccolini with almonds and pumpkin pie
  • Cost: $98 (serves 4-6)
  • Deadline to order: None

Food Hedz World Cafe & Catering, 842 N. Summit Blvd. No. 19, Frisco, 970-668-2000, FoodHedzCatering.com

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Menu: Bread and butter, roast Colorado turkey, turkey sauce, sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, country mashed potatoes, candied yams, Brussels sprouts with bacon and onions, and pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream
  • Cost: $36.95 for adults, $19.95 for children younger than 12
  • Deadline to order: Tuesday, Nov. 24

Hearthstone, 130 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge, 970-418-3998, HearthstoneBreck.com

  • Hours: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Menu: Apple and kale salad, mushroom soup, roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes, duck confit stuffing, Brussels sprouts with bacon, cranberry orange compote and pumpkin peanut butter mousse
  • Cost: $225 (serves four)
  • Deadline to Order: None, preorders are recommended

LoLo Juice, 505 S. Main St. B4B, Breckenridge, 970-423-6864, LoLoJuiceBreck.com

  • Hours: 8 a.m. to noon
  • Menu: Full menu

Modis, 113 S. Main St., Breckenridge, 970-453-4330, ModisBreck.com

  • Hours: 3-10 p.m.
  • Menu: Family-style Thanksgiving as well as single meals and meal kits
  • Cost: $150 for the family-style Thanksgiving meal that feeds four to six people
  • Deadline to order: None, preorders recommended

Ollies, 180 W. Jefferson Ave., Breckenridge, 970-423-6284, OlliesPub.com

  • Hours: Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Turkey plate
  • Cost: $24 for adults, $13 for children
  • Deadline to order: None

Pho Real, 301 N. Main St., Breckenridge 970-423-6732, GoPhoReal.com

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Red Buffalo Cafe, 358 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-468-4959, RedBuffaloCafe.com

  • Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Red Mountain Grill, 703 E. Anemone Trail, Dillon, 970-468-1010, RedMountainGrill.com

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu and traditional turkey dinner includes soup or salad, turkey, stuffing, truffled mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean almondine, and choice of pumpkin or apple pie.
  • Cost: $19.95 for the Thanksgiving dinner
  • Deadline to order: None

Salt Creek Steakhouse, 110 E. Lincoln Ave. Breckenridge, 970-453-4949, SaltCreekBreck.com

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with oven-roasted breast of turkey, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, candied yams, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, gravy, apple cobbler and vanilla ice cream. (Ham and additional sides available)
  • Cost: $160 for dinner package for five to six people, main dishes and sides can be sold individually
  • Deadline to order: 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23

Snake River Saloon, 23074 U.S. Highway 6, Keystone, 970-468-2788, SnakeRiverSaloon.com

  • Hours: 3 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Menu: Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce, dinner roll and pumpkin pie
  • Cost: $25 per person
  • Deadline to order: 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving day

Silverheels Bar & Grill, 601 Main St, Frisco, 970-668-0345, SilverheelsRestaurant.com

  • Hours: Noon to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Full Silverheels and Kemosabe Sushi menus as well as a Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner roll and an individual pumpkin pie
  • Cost: Thanksgiving dinner: $22.95 per person
  • Deadline to order: none

Subway, 280 Summit Place Center, Silverthorne, 970-468-2304, Subway.com

  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Whiskey Star Smokehouse, 231 S. Main St. Breckenridge, 970-453-9683, WhiskeyStarBreck.com

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Menu: Turkey or smoked beef brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, candied sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce
  • Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children, add pie for $4
  • Deadline to order: None

Windy City Pizza & Pub, 400 North Park Avenue No. 15A, Breckenridge, 970-453-5570 and 191 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, 970-485-6263, WindyCityPizza.co

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Menu: Full menu

Are you open on Thanksgiving day? Email the details — including hours, menu, cost and deadline to order — to news@summitdaily.com to be added to this list.

Home Cooking: Cozy Thanksgiving sides

For many of us, Thanksgiving plans have been upended and downsized. If your Thanksgiving dinner is anchored by a turkey breast or a roast chicken instead of a 20-pound turkey, I’d like to suggest you place your emphasis on creating one favorite side dish and a special dessert.

Below are three suggestions for extra-special side dishes that I hope will make your Thanksgiving dinner feel as festive as if you had a crowd.

And for dessert? This year, I’m not taking any chances with exploding pecan pies at high elevation. (Yes, I’ve tried all the recipe tricks.) Instead, I’ve ordered a chocolate bourbon pecan pie from La Francaise Bakery on Main Street in Breckenridge.

Speaking of supporting local businesses: If you would rather let someone else do the cooking, many of our local restaurants are offering delicious grab-and-go Thanksgiving dinners that include all the fixings.

The closure of indoor dining beginning Sunday creates challenges for local restaurants trying to stay in business and keep their workers employed. So why not order a delicious takeout Thanksgiving dinner and save these recipes for Sunday dinner?

Spinach Gruyere ricotta noodle casserole
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • 1 package egg noodles
  • 1 14-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly butter a medium baking dish.

Boil the noodles, and add the spinach during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles and spinach.

Mix together ricotta, eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg and half the cheese. Gently fold in the noodles and spinach, and then pour into the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Bourbon bacon Brussels sprouts
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 pieces of fried bacon
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Gating of fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, such as Emmenthaler

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and trim off the bottoms. Put them into a pot of boiling water and for about 10 minutes or until fork tender.

While they are cooking, gently warm in a small saucepan one cup of heavy cream and a quarter cup of bourbon with a clove of garlic, a fresh grating of nutmeg, a pinch of salt and pepper, and two sprigs of thyme.

In another skillet, fry three pieces of bacon until crisp, and then break them into half-inch pieces.

Drain the Brussels sprouts and put them into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Using a sieve to catch the garlic and thyme, pour the cream into the baking dish, and top with your favorite cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Cornbread dressing with sausage, apple and cranberries
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 pound pork sausage (I use sage or hot flavored)
  • 1 leek diced, white part only
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh poultry herbs, minced (thyme, rosemary, sage)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the pork sausage in a large frying pan and break it into little pieces. As the sausage is cooking, add the diced leeks and celery, and saute together until the leeks and celery are softened.

Add apple (red or green) and dried cranberries to the pan. Remove it from heat and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring mixture into a large baking dish.

Add six cups of crumbled corn bread and chicken stock. Season with a pinch of freshly ground pepper, kosher salt, nutmeg and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if you wish.

Gently toss all ingredients together. If you’re making this ahead, cover with foil and chill in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, dot with butter, cover again and bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Then uncover and allow to brown for another 10 minutes.

<em id="emphasis-6ea6edc35c8479cafd0c6136bfef190b">Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson</em>

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

Best Sushi: Kemosabe Sushi

Komosabe Sushi head chef Tyler Carley.
Photo from Tyler Carley

When it comes to sushi in Summit County, Best of Summit voters said there’s no place better than Kemosabe Sushi on Main Street in Frisco, a casual fine dining experience that provides visitors and local foodies with some welcome twists to the traditional Japanese cuisine.

Kemosabe opened in 2009, brought on by popular demand from customers at Silverheels Bar & Grill, a sister restaurant next door where patrons used to take advantage of twice-weekly sushi nights. Not long after, the standalone Kemosabe Sushi restaurant replaced the special offerings. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Kemosabe offers an eclectic menu of Asian-fusion options designed to complement Silverheels’ Southwest-inspired offerings.

“We’ve been fusing flavors and trying new things,” said Tyler Carley, the restaurant’s head chef. “In that way, we’ve found we can do things a little off the cuff, which gives our guests a little bit of a different experience from more traditional sushi bars.”

Guests can dive into one of Kemosabe’s signature creations like the Curtis-C roll with fried jalapeno peppers, cream cheese, avocado and cilantro oil topped with yellowtail tuna. Or try out the restaurant’s most memorable appetizer: the spicy tuna tower, a Japanese-style take on nachos with wonton chips, avocado, raw spicy tuna, pico de gallo and eel sauce.

While a tempting menu of contemporary and innovative blends is usually more than enough to get customers in the door, Carley said it’s the restaurant’s dedication to fresh ingredients and simple, powerful flavors that keeps community members coming back to try something new.

“I buy the best quality fish that I can from my providers,” Carley said. “And simple fish needs simple sauces to taste good. We make every single one of our sauces right here in-house with as few ingredients as we can to really let the fish speak for itself.”

And for Carley and the rest of the team at Kemosabe Sushi, getting the nod of approval from regulars and visitors is a satisfying experience as they strive to solidify themselves as the best in the county.

“We work really hard to look at things every day to see what’s working and what’s not so that we can create a dynamic dining experience year-round,” Carley said. “Especially with the competition we have and all the other great sushi bars, it really means a lot for the community to recognize us. We work really hard here, and that’s the payoff.”

Kemosabe Sushi is at 605 Main St. in Frisco.

Summit County restaurants ready to serve Thanksgiving to-go

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants in Summit County are offering to-go options for Thanksgiving.
Photo from Getty Images

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Steve Kaufman’s name and Butterhorn Bakery’s extended closure.

DILLON — At the Red Mountain Grill in Dillon, hosting Thanksgiving in the restaurant has been something of a tradition that started fairly small.

Owner Steve Kaufman said he originally started serving Thanksgiving meals for local workers who didn’t have any family in town. As the years have gone on, Thanksgiving at the grill has gotten big enough that the restaurant has quickly filled to capacity, often with regulars that keep coming back every year.

This year, Kaufman said “no one knows what to expect.”

Even before the newest pandemic health restrictions were announced, ending in-person dining at restaurants starting Sunday, Kaufman had planned to offer a to-go menu for Thanksgiving, and he’s not alone. Many Summit County restaurants that typically would open their doors for visitors or local workers to enjoy a holiday meal had opted to focus on to-go offerings amid the uncertainty of rising case rates.

On Thanksgiving, the Red Mountain Grill is offering its full menu as well as a Thanksgiving spread at $20 per person, which includes a choice of soup or salad, truffled mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, green bean almondine, cranberry sauce, turkey and a slice of either apple or pumpkin pie to finish it off.

The Blue River Bistro is also planning on offering its usual menu as well as a full Thanksgiving meal for takeout service, which manager Carl Schatz calls “a bistro twist on the classic meal.”

As the pandemic wears on, Schatz said he thinks the bistro’s experience with to-go orders has them very well prepared to offer an excellent meal to their customers. Blue River Bistro was voted Best Curbside or Takeout Service During COVID-19 in the 2020 Best of Summit awards.

Schatz is encouraging anyone who’s interested in ordering for Thanksgiving to sign up quickly. The restaurant has a limited amount of time slots for its Thanksgiving to-go offerings.

Like many business owners, Vinny Monarca has been doing his best to apply the lessons learned early in the pandemic to help him be ready for the upcoming holiday at Vinny’s Euro-American Cuisine and Frisco Prime.

Monarca is the owner and chef for both restaurants, which have been operating out of Frisco Prime while Vinny’s prepares to move into a new location. He originally had planned to host both dine-in and to-go service on Thanksgiving but also had been preparing to pivot to takeout only even before the new health orders were announced.

Frisco Prime’s $30 takeout Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey and pork loin roast as well as several sides, including a sausage stuffing that Monarca describes as a “savory sausage bread pudding.” The restaurant also will be offering vegetarian options, including a quinoa-stuffed squash and Tofurky.

He says desserts need to be ordered by Tuesday, Nov. 24, but that dinner can be ordered as late as Thanksgiving day, though sooner is better.

“I do like cooking Thanksgiving dinner,” he said. ”I’m pretty pumped up.”

Sides and desserts to-go

For those who may still want to cook some of their Thanksgiving meal themselves, several local restaurants and shops are offering options that allow people to fill in the pieces of the meal that usually would be brought by visiting relatives.

The Bakers’ Brewery is usually closed on Thanksgiving, but Stephanie Sadler, the restaurant’s head chef and co-owner, decided she would offer her expertise to the community this year.

“I love cooking for 30-100 people, and this is the only way I can do that now,” she said.

Bakers’ is offering servings of smoked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, cranberry sauce, pineapple Hawaiian rolls and their pies (cherry, apple and pumpkin) for people to order a la carte. She said she’d also be willing to smoke some ribs if anyone was interested in a less-traditional option for the holiday.

Sadler said she wanted to make sure people were able to order what they needed to fill the gaps in their meal.

“A lot of people I know, they don’t even know how to cook anything but green bean casserole or mashed potatoes,” she said.

Bakers’ is taking orders by phone and email until 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.

For those interested in getting a whole turkey. The Lost Cajun in Frisco is still selling 10-pound turkeys, which are seasoned with Cajun-style seasonings, injected with flavorful oil and fried. Because the turkeys are fried right before pickup, all orders need to reserved with a time slot.

While the official deadline to order is Thursday, Nov. 19, their general manager said there may be a chance to add more times or turkeys for a few people who call on Friday. A fried turkey is $60, or $99 for those who want to add gumbo, potato salad, rice, coleslaw and French bread.

Soupz On will be closed on Thanksgiving but will be offering their popular vegetarian honey roast butternut squash soup for takeout on Wednesday.

Saved By the Wine also will be closed on Thanksgiving day but is offering several sweet and savory pies, house-made breads and a charcuterie board for people to preorder. The wine bar and bakery is also offering specials on wine pairings with anything on their Thanksgiving menu. Orders must be made by Monday, Nov. 25.

The Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe had originally been scheduled to reopen for Thanksgiving orders on Friday, Nov. 20, after being closed for their annual fall break since Oct. 26. With the new virus restrictions, the popular Frisco spot has canceled its Thanksgiving plans and is now scheduled to reopen on Dec. 11.

Open for Thanksgiving? Add your restaurant to our list

The Summit Daily News is compiling a list of restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving for carryout. To be included in the list, email the following information to news@summitdaily.com:

• Restaurant name

• Address, phone number and website

• Hours on Thanksgiving

If you have a special menu for Thanksgiving, please also include the following details:

• Menu

• Cost

• Deadline to order

The list will be published on SummitDaily.com and will be updated daily through Thanksgiving.

3 ideas for thinking smaller this Thanksgiving

Editor’s note: This column has been updated to reflect that Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe is not offering Thanksgiving orders.

My wife says I sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance to the titular protagonist of the animated show “Bob’s Burgers.” While our physical characteristics may not be very similar, we both have a particular passion for Thanksgiving. Every year, the show puts out a Thanksgiving episode, and my wife will look over at me and say, “That sounds like you,” as Bob Belcher obsesses over his newest Thanksgiving meal.

I love Thanksgiving. A lot. One thing I especially love about the holiday is that it gives me carte blanche to cook obscene amounts of food without the risk of having to eat all of the leftovers myself.

With that said, it should go without saying that this Thanksgiving is going to be a bit difficult for me as we are planning on staying at home instead of visiting family members. The turkey that I had preordered from the Scanga Meat Co. will be going into our chest freezer for a future family gathering while my wife, kid and I enjoy a much less ambitious meal.

I imagine there are more than a few people who are also having to scale back their Thanksgiving plans right now, so here are a few tips to have a smaller Thanksgiving dinner.

Go for a smaller bird

You can get fairly small whole turkeys, but most of them are still too large for a small family, unless you really like leftovers. Instead of getting a whole bird, many grocery stores (including Safeway and City Market) offer turkey breasts.

You might also try cooking Cornish game hens, which are small enough to make one serving per bird. This year, I’m going to take advantage of a smaller group, and a smaller bird, to make my first attempt at spatchcocking — taking the spine out of a bird and flattening it for more even cooking.

The Rocky Mountain Cannery in Breckenridge offers a solid selection of pepper jellies and preserves that can be paired with cream cheese and crackers.
Photo from Rocky Mountain Cannery

Get a little something special

Because I’m not thinking of buying enough food to feed a large group, one thing I’m thinking about is splurging on a few special ingredients.

Crystal Otto is the owner at Olive Fusion in Breckenridge, a specialty food shop that offers several specialty meal kits. The shop offers several specialty oils and spices that could be great to enhance many dishes. For poultry, she recommends coating it with their rosemary oil and Naples seasoning.

For an easier Thanksgiving meal, Otto says their Tuscan-fried chicken and roasted potatoes kit is a simple, delicious option that only needs chicken, potatoes and your choice of veggies.

The Rocky Mountain Cannery in Breckenridge offers several regionally sourced gourmet foods, including a healthy variety of pepper jellies. Owner Deven Carr says pouring a half-cup of one of their pepper jellies over 8 ounces of cream cheese makes a solid pairing with crackers.

If you want to round out a Breckenridge-supplied charcuterie board, consider adding some cheese from The Cheese Shop and bread from La Francaise French Bakery.

Sister Pie’s salted maple pie combines a custardy texture with a salty-sweet maple flavor.
Photo by E.E. Berger

Don’t skip dessert

Usually I would be gearing up to make at least three pies for Thanksgiving. For me, pie is the go-to dessert for the holiday.

For those who don’t want to make their own pie, there are plenty of great options in the area to order pies ahead of time, including the newly opened Saved by the Wine. However, if you’re open to something new, I might recommend trying a recipe from one of my favorite joints in Detroit: Sister Pie.

If you’re ever in Detroit, definitely check out their shop down on the east side of town, but head baker Lisa Ludwinski also has an amazing cookbook, which is full of some of the shop’s best recipes. The one that I’ll be baking this year is their salted maple pie, which is their version of a classic chess filling.

You’ll have to buy the cookbook to get her pie crust recipe, but I did get permission to share the recipe for the filling. If you like the idea of a pie with custardy filling and salty-sweet maple flavor, give this one a try.

Sister Pie’s salted maple pie

Makes one 9-inch pie


•1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

• 1 cup Grade B maple syrup

• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, heaping

• 3 large eggs, room temperature

• 1 large egg yolk, room temperature

• 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

• 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1 9-inch pie crust

• 1 large egg, beaten

• Flaky sea salt


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and maple syrup. Whisk in the brown sugar, cornmeal and kosher salt.

Crack the eggs and yolk into another medium bowl. Add the cream and vanilla and whisk until combined. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the maple mixture and whisk until just combined.

Place the blind-baked shell on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the crimped edge with the beaten egg. Pour the maple filling into the pie shell until it reaches the bottom of the crimps.

Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges are puffed and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken. It will continue to set as it cools.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for 4-6 hours. Once fully cooled and at room temperature, sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt, slice into 6-8 pieces, and serve.

Store leftover pie, well wrapped in plastic wrap or under a pie dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from ​“Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit” ​by Lisa Ludwinski.

Steven Josephson is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News.


Best Daytrip From Summit County: Buena Vista

No matter the season, Buena Vista’s shops, restaurants, trails and more make it a prime destination for visitors from all over.
Photo by Scott Peterson / Chaffee County Visitors Bureau

Summit County residents may often feel like they live in paradise. World-class ski resorts, delectable dishes and well-trafficked trails are all over the place, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth expanding one’s horizons to leave the area every now and then. Colorado’s iconic recreation and restaurants aren’t limited to Summit County’s borders. For a daytrip out of the county, Best of Summit voters recommend heading south to Buena Vista for an escape that’s familiar yet refreshingly different.

There are plenty of trails for hiking and biking in the summer that become perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter, when rugged roads for all-terrain vehicles can be swapped for snowmobiles. Residents who are homesick for a 14er or the Blue River will find comfort in the Collegiate Peaks and excellent rafting on the Arkansas River.

It’s hard to beat refueling at K’s Dairy Delite with a burger and shake after all of that exercise. Award-winning craft beer to quench your thirst can be found at Eddyline Brewery. Are spirits more your thing? Then Deerhammer Distillery has just the bottle for you.

East Main Street has a variety of unique coffee shops, restaurants, stores and more. Check out the Buena Viking food truck in the summer or the House Rock Kitchen. Follow the road east all the way to the idyllic Riverside Trail and watch kayakers paddle through the rapids. Then cap off your day with a soak in one of the local hot springs.

Guests should plan for Buena Vista to be busy as the town’s charm is no longer a secret. Though an oft-overlooked option is to spend the day golfing.

“We have a nine-hole golf course that I think has some stunning views of all the courses I’ve played in Colorado,” said Melissa Traynham, executive director of the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce. “That’s something that I don’t think people think of when they come out for the summer.”

Buena Vista is also a great winter destination with Monarch Mountain nearby. Being inside Colorado’s banana belt, a large geographic area that gets warmer weather compared to the region as a whole, Summit County locals might want to use their daytrip as an escape from the cold.

“We get mild winter days where you can get a warm, sunny day where the snow might melt, and you can get on a mountain bike or something, too,” Traynham said.

“The elevation gain is so drastic here with the mountains rising 7,000 feet from the valley floor; we have the best of both worlds,” said Scott Peterson, marketing director for the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau. “World-class snow for skiing and snowmobiling and hiking, biking and fishing year-round on the valley floor.”

In Buena Vista, there’s something for everyone.

To get to Buena Vista from Summit County, head south on Colorado Highway 9 to Fairplay, take U.S. Highway 285 south to Johnson Village and head north on U.S. Highway 24. The 60-mile drive takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. For fresh scenery on the way home, head north on Highway 24 to Leadville, and take Colorado Highway 91 back to Interstate 70. The return route adds about 15 minutes to the drive.