Your family is packed into the SUV and you're headed up I-70 for a weekend ski adventure. But the thought of dinner springs to mind, and you begin dreading the idea of rounding up your exhausted kids at the end of the day to wait in line at an overpriced resort restaurant, and the notion of trying to prepare dinner at your Airbnb (is there even a cutting board and a sharp knife in the kitchen?) results in even more anxiety.
Then you spot the little red trailer with the sign reading Postcard Foods just past Idaho Springs, and you realize a hot breakfast now and fresh-prepped dinners for later are as easy as a quick exit from the highway.
Entrepreneurs Bridget Bagel and Jim Abraham are the couple behind Postcard Foods, which officially launches on Friday, January 24, at exit 234 in tiny Dumont. Their goal is to provide freshly prepared and flash-frozen meals from their seven-by-twelve-foot trailer, along with panini, salads, quinoa bowls and hot coffee from Corvus Roasters.
Bagel and Abraham looked at the growing number of diners ordering food from restaurants for off-premises consumption, and realized that vacationers were an untapped market for grab-and-go food. Bagel grew up in a Jewish family where food was always a celebratory experience, and she later graduated from Boston University with a master's degree in gastronomy (a program founded in conjunction with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child). She's worked in various aspects of the food-service industry (including three years as a waitress in Jackson Hole, Wyoming), and she and Abraham have both traveled extensively together, enjoying food from all over the world.
Those travels influenced the prepared-meal options at Postcard Foods, which range from Marrakesh Chicken Tagine served with quinoa to Tehuacan Three Sisters, a meatless mix of beans, squash and corn served with grits. The dinners serve two or three adults each and are packed in compostable, microwaveable, oven-safe containers. Other options include shepherd's pie with beef, veggies, mashed potatoes and Monterey Jack cheese; a pesto polenta bake with eggplant, mushroom zucchini and two kinds of cheese; and mac and cheese with optional panko breadcrumbs. Bagel designed each of the entrees so that customers would have vegan, gluten-free and kid-friendly options in addition to meatier fare, and with an eye toward international flavors. "We want to show an appreciation, not an appropriation," she explains. "It's out of genuine respect."
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Abraham has a neuroscience degree and a knack for tinkering, so he's been overseeing the construction of the trailer. "Half of it is taken up with a merchandising freezer," he explains. "To my understanding, nobody's ever done this before."
So you'll be able to pull up and load up, or you can order ahead through Postcard's website and pick up your frozen food, along with pressed breakfast burritos or sandwiches made on City Bakery ciabatta, hot soup (quarts of frozen soup are also available), or even 16-ounce bags of Corvus coffee that Postcard will grind to order so you can brew coffee at your destination condo or cabin. Abraham points out that the Dumont and Downieville exit offers several other amenities (a gas station, cannabis dispensary, ski rental shop and liquor store), so you can load up on other items when you stop for food. And the Postcard Foods trailer is designed to resemble a vintage postcard, with a "Colorful Colorado" sign mounted on top, so you can take a photo and make your own postcard (and if you tag @postcardfoods in your Instagram post, you'll be entered to win a free weekend's worth of meals.
Bagel prepares all the food in a commercial catering kitchen, and Abraham notes that the long-term goal is to deploy multiple trailers in areas with heavy vacationer traffic.
Starting January 24, Postcard foods will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you're using your phone or GPS to navigate, the exact address is 1041 County Road 308, Dumont. Through the end of ski season, the trailer is offering a free sixteen-ounce cup of Corvus coffee with the purchase of a prepared meal.