It wasn't until we took our first bite of Matsuhisa-Aspen's tuna sashimi salad that we recalled a fundamental principle of fine dining: nothing perks up the appetite like good food.
This was our first trip to the Rocky Mountain town, but it didn't take long to get a feel for the place. Take a studio-back-lot western set, splice in Rodeo Drive and lift the result 8,000 feet into the ether and you have Aspen, where a log cabin can cost $10 million (granted, the one in question has a seven-car garage) and the preferred mode of transportation is private jet. Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Bulgari all have stores in town, and Gucci is on its way. Yet often the only traffic is a lone Labrador retriever trotting purposefully through an intersection or a Range Rover with mud on its fenders.
We'd come to Aspen to explore its alpine cuisine, which focuses on such local ingredients as venison and trout. We also knew that some of the nation's top restaurateurs had opened satellites here, and we were eager to visit both the new places and the old outposts.