Celiac Chicks Gone Wild In Vail: The Wildflower Restaurant

9 Comments 19 January 2011

The Wildflower Restaurant Gluten Free Vail
The Wildflower 877-LAV-ROCK (528-7625)

As you may know, the main reason we were invited to come visit The Lodge At Vail was to check out the new Wildflower restaurant menu. The restaurant has been around for years, but Chef Paul Wade was hired last Fall and just completed a total revamp; including everything from interior design to menu concept.

After skiing on Saturday, we met with Chef Wade to discuss the Wildflower’s new gluten-free menu. (You can see it here, click on Cuisine In Balance) It turns out his culinary career spans 20 years and he has worked all over the world at restaurants such as The Four Seasons Wailea in Maui, Hawaii, where he was voted one of the top 10 chefs in Hawaii. It was a treat to talk to someone so passionate about food, plus we loved his super fun-sarcastic-quirky side.

The Wildflower Sign

He started to explain to us his personal beliefs about food and dining. He summed up his goals with straightforward descriptions like “healthful cuisine” and “responsible dining” while referring to himself as a student of “social, cultural and culinary anthropology.” Finding the American obesity problem truly unsettling, he wants to be a part of a “countercultural movement for authentic food sources”; which would include farm-to-table ingredients, minimally processed foods, no hormones, antibiotics, GMOs and zero artificial ingredients.

The Wildflower Walkway From Our Room
Come! Let’s go for a walk from our room to The Wildflower. It’s the white building.

The responsibility goes both ways though, the consumer needs to be “body responsible”, meaning we have a responsibility to learn how to take care of ourselves and eat accordingly. He’s making it easier for his guests to do just that with his menu choices.

The Wildflower Restaurant Front
Here we are…

As if this part of his belief system didn’t already hook us, he leaned forward and eventually told us something that he hasn’t ever before made public. He wasn’t sure if you wanted or needed to know this, but we convinced him that you did.

He has lived with Crohn’s disease for 25 yrs.

Yes, initially he was interested in new healthy cuisines professionally, but when he applied them personally he saw big health benefits.

So, like us, he understands what it’s like to be sick and live with diet restrictions. And, also like us, his condition inspired him to discover a whole new world of food choices. As a talented chef, he’s created a delicious healthful cuisine. He’s “not just grabbing on to a market trend, but trying to do the right thing and give people a new choice.”

We really loved all of Chef Wade’s beliefs and philosophies surrounding food and his concept for The new Wildflower menu. And we’re so happy that serving safe gluten-free food fits into his whole vision, and he wants to do it right.

Thank you, Chef Wade!

The Wildflower Restaurant Vail Around
I’ll show you the other side…
The Wildflower RestaurantThe Lodge At Vail Pool
Here’s the heated pool for The Lodge. Wish you could see the steam rising.
The Wildflower Restaurant Vail
The entrance to the Wildflower is on the other side of the building within The Lodge.
The Wildflower Restaurant Entry
Love the snowy tree view.
The Wildflower Restaurant Vail Tables

Notice the difference in the decor since the remodel? Love it! The aim was “casual elegance”.

OK, it’s time to go eat!

The Wildflower Gluten Free Menu Vail Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche, these are always a nice surprise!

Oh, and see the rock in the photo? It was such a nice rustic touch, all of the place settings had rocks.

The Wildflower Gluten Free Menu
  Not your ordinary Hummus & Papadam
The Wildflower Potstickerz
Shrimp Consomme, Crab, Pancetta & Lemongrass Pot Stickers
The Wildflower Potstickers Close
Yes, they were crunchy due to the rice paper wrapper!! And the flavor!? Ecstasy!
The Wildflower White Prawns
  White Prawns, Butter Lettuce, Local Radish, Persian Cucumber & Lemon. Fresh!
The Wildflower Seared New Bedford Scallops
Seared New Bedford Scallops, Soy Caramel, Sandalwood & Oxtail Broth, Tempura Mushrooms
The Wildflower Superfoods
 Ayurvedic herbs and spices are found in the Tumeric Saffron Oil and Coriander Cumin Ginger Extract. They’re fun and pretty!
The Wildflower Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass Cubes
Don’t worry, the Chef knows the difference between wheatgrass and wheat. Technically, there isn’t gluten in wheatgrass. It’s your personal choice whether you want to indulge in these or not. We did because we were being “wild”;) And how fitting, we were eating at The Wildflower!
The Wildflower Lobster
Hand Shucked Lobster, Chickpea Dumplings, Black Trumpets, Flageolets, White Celery Broth
The Wildflower Lobster II
Can you believe it?! This had dairy-free olive oil based hollandaise! Is it getting hot in here?
The Wildflower Ahi
Ahi Tuna, Rice & Nori Crust, Avocado Pearls, Wilted Spinach, Apple-Red Chile Mustard.
The Wildflower Tuna II
Again, crispy crunchy fun! I think this was my favorite dish, if I had to choose.
The Wildflower Elk Loin
Our mystery guest ordered this from the non-gluten-free menu titled American Alpine Cuisine: Grilled Elk Loin, Blackberry Braised Red Cabbage, Parsnip Carrot Puree, Gingerbread Jus
The Wildflower Pineapple Tart
Caramelized Pineapple Tart, Macadamia Nut Crust, Lemongrass Meringue
The Wildflower Dessert
Organic Chocolate Tempura, Banana Glass, Cinnamon Marshmallows, Pistachio Custard Note: The marshmallows were Kelly-friendly, as in they aren’t made with corn syrup! When I found this out I had to hold myself back from kissing the chef!
The Wildflower Tea
Gratuitous tea and honey pic. I think it is pretty.
The Wildflower Fun
We were stuffed, but happpy from our sensuous feast! OH, and the whole staff was so fun, a complete cast of characters! We miss you! [air kiss]
The Wildflower Mystery Guest
(Moi, Mystery Guest and Kim) Yay for hat hair! Yeah, people are so friendly in Vail, that they just join you for dinner after meeting you on the slopes! That’s called Rocky Mountain Hospitality.

So, if you can’t tell from the photos…Chef Wade’s gluten-free menu puts the “rock” in Rocky Mountain cuisine! If you are ever in Vail, or live nearby, be sure to stop by and check it out. We’re sure you’ll be blown away.

And don’t forget to say “Hello!” for us!


Kelly & Kim

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Your Comments

9 Comments so far

  1. 1
    Carol Schwan says:

    You are so lucky, it looks wonderful, thanks for the info.

  2. 2
    carol says:

    Your meal looked incredible!
    Now, all we need is for other restaurants to follow suit and offer us something beyond salad and over cooked chicken….

  3. 3
    Dana says:

    Yum!!! This looks amazing.

  4. 4
    Diane says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Now, I’m REALLY hungry!

  5. 5

    I had no idea they had this new menu! I ate there about 2 years ago, and even without a GF menu they definitely knew the scoop and the food was A-MAZING! Definitely one of the best values in Vail. I cannot wait to make a date with the boyfriend to check it out.

  6. 6
    Pat Walter says:

    I used to live in CO and Vail is a great place.

    Wildflower’s new menu up there is just yummy and the photo’s are mouth-watering delish.

    I hope some of the other restaurants follow along on the gluten-free path and not because it’s the “in” thing to do but because some of us need to eat this way if we are going to eat out!

    Thanks for the tour!

  7. 7

    WOW! The food looks amazing! I hope you ladies had a fabulous time!

  8. 8
    Katie says:

    So apparently my husband and I must visit Vail and The Wildflower. I have Crohn’s, and he is allergic to wheat – thus making a gluten-free diet the easiest for us to follow! 🙂 I’m SO excited to have discovered you all recently. Thanks for all you do!


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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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