Capella and “221 South Oak” kick off 2009 Telluride Wine Festival

Capella and “221 South Oak” kick off 2009 Telluride Wine Festival

[click “Play” to hear Eliza Gavin’s interview]

Warning: do not read further if you are on a diet (again) or it’s been a few hours since you ate your last meal. The mouthwatering menu at Eliza Gavin’s Telluride eatery, “221 South Oak,” is an eclectic blend of flavors and styles.

The mix at Eliza’s table reflects the chef’s southern heritage. She was raised in Richmond, Virginia and ran her first kitchen while attending college at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Her extensive travels –   Europe, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia, and all over the United States,  Seattle, Boston, Nantucket, the Chesapeake Bay, the Deep South and California – are likewise reflected on the plate, as is her rigorous training.

Eliza moved to New Orleans after college, where she landed a job at Galatoire’s, a prestigious fine dining establishment that has graced Bourbon Street for over one hundred years. She mastered classic Creole cooking before moving to the Napa Valley, where she attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. She completed her training across the pond at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

Finally, Eliza’s food speaks volume’s about Eliza: the menu at “221” is both inventive and playful.
Check out a few highlights:

Menage a Foie: Grilled Foie Gras with Ham, Praline Crusted Foie Gras and Pâté de Foie Gras

Pineapple, Hearts of Palm and Mango Salad with Chevre,
Basil, Macadamia Nuts and Spicy Miso Dressing

Red Wine Braised Kobe Short Ribs with
Walnut-Bleu d’Auvergne Raviolis and Haricot Vert

Red Fish with Barbeque Shrimp,
Broccolini and Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Tart with Pistachio Crust and Fig Compote

The 28th annual Telluride Wine Festival opens in style on Thursday, June 25, with a reception for patrons, chefs, speakers, winemakers, sponsors, and exhibitors at the new Capella resort, followed by a Patrons’ Dinner at “221.”

Capella is complex of 100 hotel rooms and about 50 condominiums, which opened in the Mountain Village, Telluride’s sister town, in February to rave reviews. Aptly named for the alpha star of the constellation Auriga, Capella is bound to transform its new address from ground zero for beginner and intermediate skiing to a hang-out for food, drink, and special events for townies and tourists alike. At Thursday’s Telluride Wine Festival event, premium wines will be paired with breathtaking views.

Ecumenical events such as Friday’s Toast of Telluride, 4 – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday’s Grand Tasting, 4 – 6:30 p.m. in Town Park, prove that in general, the Telluride Wine Festival is no more hoity-toity than the leafy green that got Obama in deep poop. Remember arugula-gate? However, Thursday night is special. It is the one night of the year the Festival can thank a select group of people who support the event year after year.

The 2009 Telluride Wine Festival co-directors, Steve Olson, the wine geek, and Steve Swenson chose “221” for the Patrons’ event after an unforgettable dinner last March.

“Eliza’s restaurant is always a home run. Once Steve O. and I settled on ‘221’  for our patrons, I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing one very important detail was off my list and in her very capable hands,” said Steve Swenson

To learn more about what Eliza has under her tocque for that special night, click the “play” button on her podcast.

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