Getting away from it all starts with getting out of the kitchen and letting someone else prepare the food. However, when I travel, I have a few caveats. If my son is along, I always make sure that they are an allergen-friendly destination. Of course, the other caveat is vegetarian meals since I don’t eat meat. What I can’t believe is how hard the combination can be to find.
I am pretty simple, but I don’t just eat salads. When that is all I am offered at places that serve ‘gourmet eats’ I am rather disappointed at their lack of knowledge of Vegetarian lifestyles. Why not ask me about food preferences or if I do or don’t eat eggs or seafood.
What makes this Colorado Dude Ranch in Durango stand out is not only the fact that the meals are all-inclusive they were also fabulous! The Chef gets picky eaters, vegetarians, allergen-friendly eats and for those who are carnivorous kind of chowhounds, he’s got you covered.
Every meal I had offered both proteins and carbs, so balanced! Lavishly live foodie heaven and dig into foodie fabulous dining at all-inclusive Colorado Dude Ranch in Durango! P.S.- bring expandable pants!
Foodie Fabulous Dining At All-Inclusive Colorado Dude Ranch
Your journey with food begins the minute you commit to your Dude Ranch trip. There’s a little paperwork and if you have no food aversions then you are set to go. If you have food preferences, lifestyle choices like Vegan, and Vegetarian, etc. you fill out the paperwork and this Dude Ranch takes it from here!
BEING REAL WITH FOOD
Here’s what I know, good food and flawlessly executed service do not just happen, there’s magic behind the scenes that allows it to happen. We have been on many all-inclusive trips, and some of them, I have never discussed.
Want to know why? The food was flat-out awful. Often, the word all-inclusive translates to all-crap and there’s no other way to dish that sentence up (pun intended)!
Fantastic food comes together when there are partners working together to get it all right. In this case, there’s Tiffany the bridge between the kitchen and the guest, Chef Brian and Pastry Chef Brian. There are charts, and notes and people who take the time to learn what you eat and don’t eat.
Let me show you what I learned when I sat down with Tiffany, the Dining Room Supervisor. She’s the sweetest person you can meet and as someone working in guest relations, she’s top notch! I will refer to Tiffany as the Chef’s Liason, it is truly what she is!
The Inside Scoop On Setting Up Your Dining
Horse-Drawn Ride To Dining
One night we go to experience incredible outdoor dining under all the trees. The area is quaint, and perfect to enjoy a meal at. What I loved were all of the different food options, from Salmon to mushrooms, multiple other veggies, fresh salads and more.
By the way, the rolls you see ‘were to die for’ and delicious. Definitely wear comfy pants. The food is just that good! Vacation calories don’t count!
Chuck Wagon Lunch
Your Friday day-long horseback ride or 1/2 day whichever you choose is met in the middle with an old-fashioned, chuck wagon. Here you will enjoy a fresh lunch served from the back of the wagon.
Brett gave us a full history of the Chuck Wagon and how he fixed it all up to replicate as close as possible what it would have looked like. The food and the history were fascinating. You can hear the story here with Brett the Head Wrangler and Barn.
In the morning you will always find some kind of egg, with meat, etc. I am no a big breakfast person so for me, a bagel and fruit or pancakes were my happy place. The waffles were downright crisp and yummy.
Also, there’s a nice assortment of juice and super fresh coffee. Just remember, you are going horseback riding, so liquid in is liquid out and the woods are your friend. LOL!
Family Breakfast Ride
Check out the griddles, fired up with breakfast outdoors. Here we found coffee, hot chocolate, eggs made to order by Jeanne, Indian Fried Bread, Grits, and fresh fruit. Make sure to fill your belly because you gotta ride back too and then climb those ‘cardiac steps’ so you will work it all off
As I mentioned, Chef Brian always had me covered with proteins, and veggies no matter the meal. Here are just a few of my meals, and one was better than the next. Truly, I could not be more appreciative of not having to get stuck eating just salads or being forced to eat eggs because he did not work like that.
Spaghetti Squash and Meatless Meat Balls – Now this was a meal. Everyone else had carb pasta, and I scored the winning dish if you ask me. Then again, pasta is great too!
My meatless burger was done perfectly and grilled, like all the other burgers. I did not have to eat pan-friend junk. Forever, will I be thankful for this fun lunch? I packed on the veggies and stacked it up big!
Of course, there was Mexican day, and I loaded up the nachos. To be honest, first I ate other stuff and then I loaded up nachos. The guac rocked freshness, and that is all I can say. I believe the picture does justice to the taste.
Meatless Roast Beef
One day, I believe everyone was having roast beef sandwiches and he had meatless roast beef for me. Oh, my food-gasm this was ‘da bomb’ on a bun! I ate every last piece.
Peppers and onions added to the taste and then I crammed on the tater tots, it was an all-in kind of meal, lol! I was all in and stuffed in my pants after:) Ha! Really I loved this meal in case you can not tell, I am a foodie and enjoy every bite! (well only when food is good do I enjoy it!)
ADULT COCKTAIL PARTY
I simply won’t spill the beans on this whole meal because you need to experience it. Do dress up a bit, you can read my what to wear on a dude ranch article for dress suggestions on the ranch and for this dinner.
On any other night, the ranch is alcohol-free. However, you can bring wine with you and keep it in your refrigerator in your room. Let’s be serious, I did, because the porch is perfect for enjoying nature and a quiet retreat. Other couples did as well so you can either bring it or ask whoever is going into town to pick a bottle up for you and put it on your tab. Simple!
Since the environment is family-friendly, alcoholic beverages are not a nightly thing, unless of course you came to my cabin and enjoyed a glass after dinner (oh yes, you all know I am a wine-loving gal!, no shame here!)
Appetizers and cocktails start the evening off and seating on the outdoor covered porch. In actuality that is the first and only night, I spent time out there. Then it is on to a 5-course meal, including a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet.
Look at the salad, does fresh just come out of the screen and greet you? It was as perfect as it appears on the screen. Truly a work of art with a simple bed of greens.
Here’s my meal, remember it was vegetarian, the others had lamb I believe.
Last Evening Meal & Closing Ceremony
Ah, what a sad night, the time we leave all the new friends we have made and knowing the reality of life is about to kick back in. I have to cook and clean and work again, and who wants to enter back into that?
Mike and Jeanne worked the griddles and grills, with beef and portabellos and vegetables and so much more. It was a wonderful night and again, hats off to the chefs. Delish!
Go to Colorado Trails Dude Ranch to grab a reality check on your fast running life. Spend time here with your family and the staff. Enjoy the outdoor activities and indulge in food that will keep reappearing in your mind, long after you leave.
Hike, walk, drop a few before you go, because the food will entice and tease you with goodness in every bite. Every dish radiates with the vibrancy of the area. Whether you are starting your day with fresh eggs, or ending with stacked dinner plates, all meals will make you swoon.
Thank you to Colorado Trails Dude Ranch staff for all the accommodations you provided me and Where Niko Travels. While our trip was hosted, all images, and opinions are my own based on my stay.