Colorado Springs Independent, July 23, 2014
by Matther Schniper
Excerpt from the Day Tripper Article: World-class eats, drinks and single-track among the draws of Del Norte, a San Luis Valley ‘gem’


It’s July 4, and we’ve capitalized on our long weekend with a Friday push-off, stopping southbound to dip feet in the hoot-out-loud frigid waters of Zapata Falls, just outside the Great Sand Dunes National Park entrance. Ninety minutes later, we’re seated inside the Windsor Hotel’s bright, light-wood dining room, where white tablecloths don’t mean informally dressed diners are made uncomfortable. A top-shelf creative cocktail list with ample Colorado spirits helps, as does a craft beer list dominated by special-release Three Barrel bombers, plus a 475-milliliter Chimayo Sour Ale.

It’s the latter that stuns us as a pairing with our crispy trout, dancing deftly with the flavors of its saffron rhubarb beurre blanc. We also relish a charcuterie board of mostly local cheeses and meats, including a spicy Soppressata and barnyard-evoking Capicola produced in Salida; Fort Collins-made goat cheese; and Monte Vista-made Gosar Sausage (found locally at Mountain Mama’s and Garden of the Gods Gourmet). There’s also a stupid-good local lamb hit with a lavish and tart huckleberry Bordelaise (named for Bordeaux wine) sauce over celery root purée with caramelized Brussels sprouts.

After our dinner, we finally introduce ourselves to 30-year-old co-owner/server/sommelier Kodi Whitehead, who first emailed me a month prior to invite us to the area. He reached out both as a fellow Colorado College alum and as an alum of Tavern at the Broadmoor, where he was prior to working directly with Wolfgang Puck at Cut steakhouse inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Soon, Kodi’s wife Regan — the Windsor’s chef, also a 30-year-old Broadmoor alum and a badass pastry chef with experience that includes L.A.’s Four Seasons and Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air — fills our table with superb dessert samples: dark chocolate soufflé, a strawberry-rhubarb crumble and (brace yourself) an orange-almond shortcake stuffed with vanilla bean-goat cheese whipped cream and honey-balsamic-tossed figs, garnished in bay leaf syrup and almond croquant (brittle). Toes curl.

The feeling of Broadmoor quality all-around jells when we meet assistant food and beverage director Kevin Hass, 35, who managed three Broadmoor eateries (and met Kodi and Regan) before bartending at fine Fort Collins spots and being lured here.

There’s an extensive hotel history, told in part on the Windsor’s website, but better heard in lively fashion through Kodi’s father Steve, regarding the hotel’s reprieve from demolition in 1993 by the Windsor Restoration and Historical Association, of which he was the VP at the time. Today, after a $3 million, two-decade-long restoration to re-open, 20 swank rooms go for as low as $88 nightly, which includes continental breakfast with Regan’s pastries. » Read Full Article