Few activities work up an appetite like a day on the slopes. And, often, it’s the promise of a warm drink and a good meal enjoyed at a quaint mountainside eatery that’s really propelling us downhill. With that in mind, we found two apres ski treats in the nearby White Mountains to sate that appetite.
An enameled wood-burning stove is the eye-catching centerpiece of Max’s restaurant at the Snowvillage Inn. In winter, it goes beyond being a commanding tchotchke, spreading warmth to match chef Brian Anderson’s winter menu, which includes spicy “drunken” green lipped mussels steamed in a curry broth with chili and ale (the latter adding a tangy lemony-yeasty note). There’s giant ravioli stuffed with ricotta and porcinis, tossed with sauteed veggies, and Moroccan spiced lamb chops accompanied by well-cooked falafel with an appealingly soft center.
On the western side of the White Mountains, The Bretton Arms is decorated in shades of elegant beige and woodsy browns and greens. For winter, executive chef Laurent Géroli offers richly flavored dishes like deconstructed wild boar ravioli. A wrapping of ham imparts a smoky flavor to her Chilean sea bass and the shrimp scampi is almost a bouillabaisse, with angel hair pasta and juicy shrimp and clams.
Both of these White Mountains eateries dress up desserts. Choc-chip or frosted spiced cookies accompany Max’s creamy crème brûlées, which are infused with either chili and bitter chocolate, or maple and ginger, respectively. Bretton Arms’ pumpkin croissant bread pudding has white chocolate crème Anglais, tart cranberry compôte and pumpkin seed tuile, while the jasmine rice pudding has coconut macaroons and rum-soaked pineapple. Don't worry; you'll work off the calories on the slopes.
The Bretton Arms is part of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, but sit’s located in a small, late 1800s inn at the foot of the grand hotel. Next door to, a separate wine bar is a cozy spot to warm up. Nothing says cozy, however, like a crackling fire, and both Max’s and the Bretton Arms boast one.
If you go
Bretton Arms 310 Mt Washington Hotel Rd., Bretton Woods, NH Entrees: $18-$40 603-278-1000 omnihotels.com