Wardrobe dilemma: How does one dress for the swanky, Havana-themed Publisher's Party at the Top of Mt. Aspen while still keeping warm? At 3,000 windy feet above the city—and feeling much colder than the reported 45 degrees—the answer is you pull on your stilettos and deal with it. Since the only way to the party site was the Silver Queen Gondola, food luminaries and regular folk alike waited in line for their ride, keeping warm with glasses of beer and wine. Mario Batali (in his signature shorts and orange clogs) and Michael Symon were just a few of the chefs spotted on the way up.
But the cold was (mostly) forgotten once you got inside the bash: a Cuban band, complete with an energetic, ponytailed bongo drummer, played dance music, while stations serving fresh seafood, empanadas and massive amounts of roast pig. (Between Jose Andres’ porky BBQ, this event, and the Cochon 555 party tomorrow night, Aspen isn’t the best place for piggies right now.)
The dance floor was packed most of the night, the merriment most likely fueled by the free-flowing mojitos made to order by fedora-wearing bartenders. Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle, Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais, and The Next Iron Chef runner up John Besh were among the ones observing the dance floor from the sidelines. “That guy can drink,” said one partygoer on Besh, adding that the New Orleans chef was the life of the party at this event during previous years.
Well, it is the Food & Wine Festival, not the Food & Virgin Daquiri Festival.
CLARISSA CRUZ is the Fashion Features Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the former Style Editor of People magazine and has written for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Food & Wine, and Budget Travel. @clarissanyc1