39 Degrees and Ranch Potato Chip Nachos
39 Degrees is the lounge situated within the Sky Aspen Hotel. We found it when perusing a local dining guide and it was listed as one of the best places for "Apres Ski" (the requisite drinks after a day on the slopes). We decided to venture over on the last day of our February trip to Colorado and check out the scene and the cocktails. I was feeling a little under the weather, but figured recovery could wait until we got home. I ordered the IPA Smash made with Aspen Brewery IPA, Hendrick's gin, aperol, grapefruit juice, jalapeno-lime syrup, and basil. There was a lot going on in this glass.
Rob ordered the 39 Degrees cocktail (when in Rome right?) made with Belvedere vodka, Solerno blood orange liqueur, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and mint. When it made it to the table, Rob was assured by the waitress that lots of guys order from name alone. For being a pink cocktail, it was refreshing and not overly sweet.
To snack on we went for some Mongolian chicken skewers over pad thai and Ranch Chip Nachos.
Both were very tasty, but there wasn't much ranch to the nachos. I decided to try making something similar at home, I also just really like the idea of potato chip nachos.
I will admit this now, I still need some practice with making baked potato chips. Some come out awesome, most not so much. I highly recommend giving it a try though, the ones that do turn out make it totally worth it. I baked mine following these instructions from Martha (and added a few shakes of ranch seasoning before and right after baking), but in a time crunch I'd say some good kettle chips would work wonderfully too.
The most important part of any nachos though, is the cheese. The chips at 39 Degrees had a white cheddar fondue on top. I kind of forgot about the "white" part and went with a sharp cheddar for my cheese sauce. To make it you'll need
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 ounces beer
3 shakes ground mustard
4 shakes chili powder
3 shakes Worcestershire
a few cracks fresh black pepper
You'll need two saucepans. In the first bring the beer to a boil over medium high heat. Once rolling, lower the heat a little and start whisking in your cheese. Once all the cheese is melted in whisk in your seasonings and Worcestershire. Remove from heat and set aside. In your second saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and beings to foam, whisk in the flour. You're making a roux. Keep whisking until the flour butter mixture reaches a paste consistency, then pour in your cheese sauce. Whisk everything together over medium heat until the cheese sauce reaches your desired consistency. Spoon over your potato chips and top with some crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes and chopped scallions.
Does anyone have any tips for oven-baked potato chips? I'm all ears :-)