Returning to Vail

The past several weeks I have been doing a lot of traveling. Most recently, I was in the Midwest visiting my family, which was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Sometimes I don’t understand why I live so far away. But that kind of distance certainly brings clarity- when I am given the time to be with them, I don’t take it for granted anymore.

I spent many breezy afternoons and evenings cooking in the kitchen with my mom. I spent many hours discussing future business dreams with my dad. Laughing with my brothers. Sitting outside on the deck. And going for walks around the lake in the late evenings. It was lovely.

I visited with both of my grandmas, one who I hadn’t seen in three years. I also met up with my high school French teacher who I hadn’t seen in eights years (!) to talk about what else- French pastries.

My mom and I went to Chicago one of the weekends to meet up with her best friend and her daughter. We ate out, shopped, and relished in the energy you can only find in a big city. I got to stop by my former school, The French Pastry School, and see all of the new and exciting changes they have gone through in the last three years.

Walking through the kitchens at The French Pastry School made my mom crave croissants, so I decided to make a batch at home. Croissants are a type of laminated dough, and when done properly using real butter, take a great deal of patience and dedication. Especially if you don’t have a dough sheeter and must roll them by hand (I don’t have a dough sheeter).

But they are so worth the extra effort. Flaky, tender, delicious.

My younger brother drove back out to Colorado with me to hang out in Vail for a week (and how cute is he?! See picture below).

When we reached Vail I was delighted by how green everything has gotten since I’ve been away. Looks like summertime. It’s been pretty dry though, and with the lack of snow this winter, we can only hope for some rain.

The warmer spring led to an early opening of Piney Road, and we took full advantage of that yesterday. Piney Road is a single lane dirt road that leads about ten winding miles back to Piney Lake. It can be a bit touristy at times, but it is quintessential “Colorado”. It is a large lake set in a valley surrounded by towering mountains and a lovely mix of alpines and aspens. It’s not surprising to find moose here and it looks like a picture from a post card.

We hiked along the lake and up into the surrounding mountains, pausing to bask in the sunshine on flat rocks and take in the view. Days like these remind me even more why I adore the Rocky Mountain summers.

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Chef Megan Joy

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