Restaurant: bb’s kitchen
Cuisine: Contemporary American with a twist
Chef: Jeff Casagrande
Location: on the second floor of the building at 525 East Cooper Avenue, next to Ralph Lauren, and a block and a half walk to Gondola Plaza
When I was deciding on my Aspen list of restaurants for the photo shoot for the Food & Fashion section on my blog, bb’s kitchen wasn’t originally on it. Then, I met with my local photographer Michele Cardamone, who recommended we go and meet the owner of bb’s, Bruce Berger, who happens to be a dear friend of hers. Since I have a lot of respect for Michele and her artistic creativity, I immediately agreed.
As we walked up the staircase to the second floor of the building where bb’s is located, you can see how the layout of the restaurant is immediately inviting. Starting at reception – you one can feel the warmth of the place; with a cozy bar on the right wall, a huge skylight overhead that provides ample natural light, intimate dining booths on the left with an open kitchen at opposite end, create an efficient space which exudes a welcoming ambiance.
There is an outdoor terrace where one can dine al-fresco while enjoying expensive views of the Aspen mountain and an adjacent lounge that is perfect for an aperitif or an after dinner drink by the fire place. Cool art collected by the owners, Bruce and Barbara, adorn the walls in both spaces. The collective effect is that of chic comfort with smart casualness which is perfect for a relaxing evening out in town.
I met the owner, Bruce who is full of old world bon-amie and charm and is very passionate about his restaurant. While we were nibbling on tiny green shishito peppers in sweet & salty sauce (unexpectedly absolutely delicious), Bruce shared with us his journey of how he got to opened this restaurant. Bruce was not a restaurateur prior to bb’s; he is a successful real estate developer with an interest in the restaurant business and he’s an exceptional home cook famous for his cookouts for friends and family. Both he and his wife Barbara consider Aspen to be their home and support local community and arts. So Bruce thought it would be the best place to open his first restaurant. It took him a year to find the perfect space and – story has it – Barbara was not completely enamored with the idea but Bruce insisted and actually named the restaurant after his wife using her initials. Well I’m sure that they are both happy now, the restaurant is a success and an accomplishment to be proud of.
While Bruce does not cook himself, he brings back culinary inspirations from their travels to exotic locations, which his talented Chef Jeff Casagrande then magically brings to life in the kitchen.
So let’s begin this feast with spicy chicken & mushroom ramen.
It is what your soul asks for after a day of skiing- a perfect après-ski treat- hot, filling and full of flavor!
You may find it unusual for an American restaurant to have ramen on its menu. But this is one of the inspirations that Bruce Berger brought back from his travels.
Shall we all have a happy dance here?! The next dish, a fried duck egg with house-cured duck prosciutto slices, black truffles and asparagus strudel which tastes as glorious as it looks on this photo.
This dish is intense and exemplifies culinary pleasure – one of my favorite items on the menu. Rich runny yolk in the deepest shade of yellow you can possibly imagine, is sprinkled with flaky sea salt, cracked black pepper and chopped chives – an absolute MUST HAVE at bb’s!
Something unique I tried was seared fois gras served with a tiny peanut butter & jelly sandwich, caramelized banana slices and toasted marshmallows.
Who would ever think of such combination? Totally playful and decadent – I have been craving this dish since the second I tried it.
Broken Arrow Ranch antelope steak is cooked to perfection and served with yam gratin, bacon-cherry marmalade and rainbow chard. Those cherries work wonderfully with the meat and balance its slightly gamey taste.
Those with a large appetite, like me, will really enjoy chef’s braised lamb shank with Parmesan polenta, wine-infused sauce and baby carrots.
Tender, flavorful and so satisfying, especially with a nice glass of wine.
For dessert – a liquid center cupcake, toasted marshmallow & graham cracker ice cream.
Break the cup cake with your spoon and watch it ooze deliciously, mixing with the ice cream.
Other items to try on the menu are the small bites since they are wonderful to share. There are the duck tacos, which consist of duck confit, salsa verde and jicama slaw providing happy marriage of succulent flavors. Also, the brisket on steamed buns, crispy pork belly with sweet corn cakes, caramelized apples and fried quail egg make amazing nibbles.
LOOK: For this photo shoot I collaborated with one of my favorite stores in Aspen- Maison Ullens. This Paris-based fashion brand is known for its luxurious knits, softest leather and casual chic design (coming to New York City soon). I must have spent two or three hours picking the right ensemble with the help of the store’s very stylish manager, Tracye Tackbary.
I picked up some handy tricks from her on how to tie a scarf and wrap a belt around your waist in a unique way. We got carried away with the outfits and couldn’t pick just one look. Instead, my first stylish look easily transitioned into a cozier second look. When I travel, I often think about the wardrobe for the area and when I think Aspen there are a few things I can always find in my suitcase- a nice pair of skinny leather pants, warm chunky sweater and a scarf- all for comfort without sacrificing the stylish look.
For bb’s kitchen we chose electric blue leather pants and gorgeous sweater in a darker shade of blue with a crisp white shirt that was peaking out of the collar.Perforated leather scarf, my messy braid and dark colored red lipstick played amazingly against bb’s red leather interior. Cross body red bag for a pop of color. For the outdoor area I changed into a beautiful navy cardigan with a black belt wrapped around my waist and soft navy cashmere scarf.
Photographed by Michele Cardamone.