We spent that particular winter weekend skiing the back bowls, strolling the Village, and people-watching—fueled by the inn's hearty breakfast. Each morning from 8 to 9 a.m. in the sun-drenched dining room, the staff sets out fruit, yogurt, warm muffins, and bottomless bowls of homemade "oatmeal," a soft blend of oats, apples, raisins, coconut, and brown sugar. Add to that the daily special—we enjoyed scrambled eggs with salmon and herbs one day and multigrain pancakes with mixed-berry syrup the next. And when, at checkout, we praised the oatmeal, Mike Campbell, the innkeeper, smiled and immediately handed us the recipe. We headed back to Denver fat and happy. Two years later, we fulfilled my promise by signing up for California Wines and Cuisine with Chef David Nowakowski. After checking in and settling into Cinnamon, a third-floor room with vaulted ceilings, a king-size bed fit with a puffy duvet, and a view of Gore Creek, we headed down to the lobby.
The Savory Inn's cooking classes begin at 6 p.m. sharp, and the intimate setup holds a maximum of 12 people. As students, we perched in tall chairs pulled up to a granite counter, facing Chef Nowakowski. In front of us sat the night's menu, recipes included, and a pencil for note-taking. Nowakowski explained the format: He would teach us how to make each dish, and we would reap the benefits by eating and drinking.