Friday, January 28, 2011

Curly Fry-Free Zone

Two words that make me shiver? Not “below 10.” No. Lodge Food. You know, burgers that taste of cardboard – or sawdust – and curly fries that may or may not have any actual potatoes in them. Or, might simply be potato dust and red-brown food coloring.

I can count the decent meals I’ve had skiing on one hand. On less than all five fingers. And all of them were west of the Continental Divide. In fact all of them were in one state. Not NY, not till this ski season, that is. I’ve been known to subsist while skiing on peanut M&Ms. Fast, nutritious (better than a cardboard burger. They’ve got sugar, chocolate, peanuts – genuine protein – while the green ones must count as a vegetable). Now, I’ve got a new ski meal. In fact, two of them. The bean burrito and the veggie quesadilla in the bistro at Plattekill. There are also chicken burritos and nachos, steak sandwiches and fresh (yes, not from a tin and made that morning) soup.

All this is due to Nate Batthany – and if you see the tiny corner where he gets to cook (everything is prepared to order) – you’ll see a miracle. He works in a space about the size of my desk. That is to say 2 X 5 feet. Maybe. He has a griddle and microwave. No stove.

He’s been running the bistro for a couple years – but his first job was at a ski center when he was 11 washing dishes for a ski pass (which might well have violated child labor laws…). He went to school in Delhi doing a degree in culinary arts then traveled around, cooking and waiting tables. He lived in the Yucatan and Chiapas and Costa Rica. Now his food reflects this. It also reflects the fact that he has a largely vegetarian family (step dad, girlfriend and three of her siblings…). Which makes Plattekill one of the few mountains to actually be veggie friendly.

But there are problems. One, the cocoa. I’ve said this before and will say it again. The only thing Alta has on Platte is the cocoa. Made to order on a cappuccino machine with real Dutch chocolate. (Consider this my attempt at lobbying for the bistro to get a cappuccino machine. Who wouldn’t like a real coffee or a proper cocoa?). While Nate insists he needs a stove. Then there’s Nate himself. He’s not the problem, but I found him outside last Friday on a powder day wondering if he could get a run in. Last year he had one hour of skiing. This year he’s determined to better that. But a line is waiting for him in the lodge…


  1. AGREED. Nate kicks but and with a cold Stella you can not beat the Lodge at Platty. We have not had one bad meal from Nate...ever!

    The grub and the suds are reason enough alone to head up to the mountain :)

  2. One of the best burritos I have ever had... everything is awesome!!

  3. nathaniel batthanyJanuary 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I just have to say thank you to all the Platty family for making me feel at home in your home. All your support and complements really mean so much to me. You guys are the best and hope to keep making your taste buds happy for many more years to come.
    I also would just like to say I could not do it on my own. Lawson Gavett my sous chef this year is a very bright polite hard working young man. With an in creatable thirst for the culinary arts. He one day dreams of becoming a chef himself. So please give him your support and complements to he deserves it.
    And just to let you know I did get out there this week to ski. After just five hours out there on the mountain I have fallen in love again. I truly know now why Lazlo, Danielle, Macker, and all the rest work so endlessly to keep this place alive. It is a magical place out there on the slopes of Plattekill.
    Thanks again for everything guys and thanks Mack Laz and Danielle for all your hard work you guys truly deserve all the credit.