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Hotel serves a dinner fit for a president

The Hotel Colorado marked the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelts visit to Glenwood Springs recently with a dinner of presidential proportions.A couple of hundred people, mostly out-of-town visitors, enjoyed white-glove service and a meal of five courses, each with an appropriate wine.During the mea,l Dr. Andrew Gulliford, director of special projects at Fort Lewis College in Durango, spoke about Roosevelt, highlighting his hunting expedition south of Silt.Roosevelt impersonator Casey Hicks regaled diners with first-hand accounts of his adventures, his politics and points of view.According to Gulliford, T.R. was a man before his time. The first president of the 20th century, he inaugurated a conservation movement in the country by creating the national forest system.Although from a family of privilege, he understood about corporate responsibility and was known as the trust-buster president in breaking up industrial monopolies and in supporting labor unions. He helped make the Panama Canal possible, stormed San Juan Hill and won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to a war between Russia and Japan.He put us on the international stage, Gulliford said.In 1905, he came to Glenwood Springs by train and hunted bear south of Silt around Divide Creek for three weeks in April and May. Gulliford said he believes T.R.s view of overgrazed areas here led to his decision to charge ranchers grazing fees for running their cattle on Forest Service land.He set aside more public land, as national parks, national monuments and forests, than any president before or since, he said. Roosevelt had a species of elk named for him, as well as a river in the Amazon Basin, Gulliford said. His real legacy is the land and the landscape that he saved from overzealous land and cattle barons.The evening also featured paintings of Roosevelts bear hunt, by former Redstone painter Jack Roberts, that are now housed at the Western Colorado Museum in Grand Junction. Hicks also conducted tours of the Roosevelt Suite in the hotel.Saturday nights menu included servings Roosevelt enjoyed at his farewell dinner at the Hotel Colorado in 1905, including caviar canaps, mock turtle soup, spring lamb in mint sauce and squab (pigeon) with cherry chutney sauce, new potatoes in cream, asparagus, and for dessert, Nesselrode (chestnut) pudding. Wines included sparkling wine, ros, a pinot noir and a dessert sherry.Servers literally wore white gloves during the dinner, and brought out each course in a choreographed parade. Gold flatware and a bevy of wine glasses graced the tables.We wanted to do something I dont think anyone has tried since Teddy was here, said food and beverage director Jeff Isbister, who has been on the job at the hotel a scant two weeks. We staged it like a parade (and) choreographed just like a drill team, he said.Isbister, who worked for Hyatt hotels for 15 years, said, Ive done a lot of these events. We had three dress rehearsals.Besides the synchronized service, the idea was to offer open-palm and silent service. If someone has to ask for something, you havent done your job, Isbister said.


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