Finding Dessert in the Desert…And Other Fine Eating in an Unexpected Place

We explore all the dining options offered at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa in Colorado

And don't forget about the smoothies and other drinks!

One would hardly think of the desert as a culinary destination, but at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, expectations are often exceeded.

Click here to see some of the delicious dishes

Colorado’s Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa seems to have emerged from the ancient rocks as an oasis for travelers with big appetites for adventure. While the food could have taken a back seat to the need for speed, instead, they went full throttle on delivering the complete package.

Just off property at the Outpost General Store sits Duesey’s Diner, a vintage food truck with high end eats. Gas up and grab a Kobe tri-tip cheesesteak or an antelope burger with a salted caramel milkshake and be restored. Or maybe you desire something a little lighter, like an heirloom tomato & cucumber salad? Duesey’s Diner has an expansive menu, in spite of its small size. It’s worth a stop during your travels.

Your journey doesn’t have to end at Duesey’s! Back at the resort by the Palisade Pools is the Cantina, offering snacks and sandwiches, as well as smoothies, beer, wine, and cocktails. Fried shishito peppers and edamame dipped in a piquillo pepper aioli make the time spent with friends fly by. Smoked chicken torta, topped with house-made guacamole and chipotle aioli powers you up for an afternoon spent exploring. Or just lounge in the hot tub with a frozen prickly pear margarita and a fabulous view of the Palisade rock formation. Casual, it is, but it’s far from boring.

Paradox Grille by the Kayenta Lodge is the perfect place for a bite of comfort. The cast iron sweet onion rings are more like onion doughnuts — who knew one could make them so large? — and are served with a tempting smoked cheddar fondue. The homemade salsas and guacamole with freshly-fried tortilla chips are top notch. It’s quality all the way at Paradox Grille.

One day for lunch, I ordered the open-faced avocado and herb ciabatta and was presented with such brightness! Goat cheese is spread upon half of a ciabatta roll, topped with wild mushrooms, arugula, pickled Fresno chiles, and an avocado that has reached the peak of perfection. Served with a side of hot and salty hand-cut French fries, it is balance achieved, and it can be eaten al fresco, so you can enjoy the bright sunshine and beautiful landscaping.

There is no dessert desert at this resort! Select from prickly pear and lime cheesecake, a salted caramel ice cream sandwich, and local bourbon pecan pie and pass them around the table. Each bite is sure to be followed with moans of ecstasy.

Guests must experience an open-air breakfast at Entrada. Sit on the patio, which is equipped with outdoor heaters for chillier days and nights, and watch the jackrabbits hop across the lawn. The cottonwood trees sprinkle their fuzz on everything, a bit of magic in the mesas.

Mornings that start with the “cowboy breakfast” — two eggs scrambled, game sausage, a hash brown mound like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and the most perfect Southern biscuit — set the mood for the day. Well nourished, you’re ready to take some cowboy lessons at the Palisade Ranch. Or maybe the smoked brisket hash and eggs is more your style: scrambled eggs, tater tots, pickled onion, tomatillo salsa, guacamole, and fresh crema, served with a selection of hot sauces. Whatever you choose, rest assured that it will be fresh, inventive, and come with excellent service, as well.

The desert doesn’t have to be barren if you know where to go. A trip to Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa in Gateway, Colorado — whether for an evening meal or a weeklong sabbatical — is sure to satisfy your hunger in the most enchanting ways.

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa

43200 Colorado 141

Gateway, CO 81522

(970) 931-2458