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Surviving FOOD & WINE: Little Nell Wine Director Carlton McCoy's Weekend Battle Plan

FOOD & WINE is officially here, and who better to give the inside scoop on where to drink and eat (when you're not drinking and eating, that is) than The Little Nell's (one of our 38 Essential Ski Town Hotels) Wine Director/MS Carlton McCoy? The gregarious, down-to-earth man known to send custom "hangover kits" to battle-fatigued guests, and proud drinker of "lite" beers gave Curbed Ski a weekend plan of action that even the most jaded attendees and locals will find irresistible.

Friday: "Well, I think the best way to start the day is by attending my and MS Shayne Bjornholm's 10am tasting seminar, 'Showstopping Champagne.' After the Grand Tasting, hit up Element 47 or Ajax Tavern for lunch on the patio. Cool off with a bottle of Raveneau Chablis. Or go to Bodega, the new restaurant by Jimmy Yeager (of Jimmy's/"BFIC" fame, featured in our Aspen Dining and Drinking guide). It's a mescaleria and raw bar, but there's also a special where you get five different cocktails brought to your table in a bucket." (Curbed Ski likes this adult version of Spring-Break-in-Mazatlan). For dinner, and I really don't mean to be self-promotional, but the Nell has the greatest wine list in town. If you can score an invite to our Friday or Saturday after-parties, they're going to be the hot spots, but if not, our bar will have a Champagne Cart going."

Saturday: "You can go for hair of the dog," or do what I do, which is order up Element 47's Emma Farm's Wagyu Burger, which is topped with housemade Wagyu bacon and braised short rib." Despite it being the theme of the weekend, it can be tough to eat enough, so this will set you up for the day."

"Saturday afternoon is a good time to sneak off somewhere where there are no crowds. I suggest driving up Conundrum Road, and hike a half-mile to the river. Take a nap, and some time to enjoy Aspen. You'll wake up refreshed and ready to go. For dinner, spring for a blow-out meal. The roasted chicken at Cache Cache and a bottle of wine are ideal. Then come by the Nell, put your credit card down, tell the bartender what your budget is, and have me pick out what you'll be drinking."

Sunday: "Bottomless Bloody Mary's poolside at the Nell, or something crisp and fresh, like dry Riesling. That's what it's all about."

· The 18 Hot Spots for Dining & Drinking in Aspen [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Wrapping Up the Après Ski Cocktail Classic [Curbed Ski Archives]
· All 2014 FOOD & WINE coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]