Dining Review: Stein Eriksen Lodge

Ski Traveler 1002 Pic F

Deer Valley, Utah

Cara Schwindt considers herself a caretaker of wine. In her role as sommelier of the esteemed Stein Eriksen Lodge, she selects wines with a "world view" for her 300-bottle list, ensures they are properly handled and stored, and educates her staff about their presentation at the table. Over the past four years, she has expanded her wine cellar (which services the Glitretind and Valhalla restaurants, as well as special functions and room service) to more than 8,000 bottles.

Schwindt, who is not shy about her love of wine of every type, is perfectly suited to her job. "Everyone should drink wine" is her philosophy. "No matter how much you know about wine or how much you want to spend, you should have wine with your meal."

Pairing wines with executive chef David Zane's seasonally oriented dishes requires an educated palate and an open mind. "It's a triangle of food, wine and the person who's drinking it," Schwindt says. "There are perfect pairings. But if the person doesn't care for them, it's irrelevant."In addition to wines by the bottle, which are laid out by varietal designation, from lightest to fullest, Schwindt offers 80 half-bottles and about 18 wines by the glass. While this approach showcases the depth of selection, it also demonstrates Schwindt's practical side. "When people come up here to 8,200 feet, they need to go easy at first," she says.

"That way, they'll be able to enjoy themselves—and their wine—for their entire stay."

Just Deserts

Chocolate fudge cake, crème brà»lée and apple bread pudding at Grouse Mountain Grill, Beaver Creek, Colo.

Lemon mousse, chocolate, caramel and hazelnut tarts, and fruit cobblers at Wolfdale's, Tahoe City, Calif.

Matterhorn sundaes and Swiss waffles at the Swisspot, Stowe, Vt.It's All Good at Johnny B's
Rock 'n' roll on the jukebox, Marilyn and Elvis on the walls, and an old-fashioned soda fountain/bar that bustles all day long. That's Johnny B. Good's Diner on Steamboat's main drag. The day kicks in with chicken fried steak and eggs, huevos porcanos, crepes and omelets, moves on to meatloaf "sammies" and patty melts, then winds up with Southern fried chicken and New York Dawgs. Sip a root beer float, cherry phosphate or milkshake (with or without a "kick"), then top it off with pie a la mode or a jumbo banana split. At Johnny B. Good's, every day rocks.