Reinvent Father’s Day

Let’s face it. Typical Father’s Day gifts and activities can be, well, typical. My guess is that the gift of a standard necktie and stereotype of dad as grill chef on Father’s Day only became jokes because they are so common.

Well, in Sun Valley, Father’s Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, June 15, can be anything but average.  Add the many activities your dad will love, to all the gear he needs and throw in a new outfit or two to accompany said activity in style, and you’ll have a Father’s Day to remember.

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Start Sunday with a stop at Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village. There will be free bike demos all day from Cervelo, Turner, Norco and Kona. Terrific mountain bike trails await just across the street in the White Clouds and road biking possibilities stretch in every direction.

Next stop? The Sun Valley Club for a wonderful, relaxing lunch at the restaurant. Whether he wants to tuck into a hearty meal following his biking adventure or wishes to keep it light for afternoon activities, there is something for everyone on the locally-sourced, super fresh menu.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

Following lunch, dad may want to simply relax on the patio and take in the view, or if he is a golfer, there are numerous choices to consider. One is to take the whole family to the Sawtooth Putting Course for 18 holes of fun for every skill level and age. Playing the front or back nine at the storied Trail Creek or White Clouds courses would also make many men very happy.

Dad not a golfer or a biker? How about a scenic trail ride on horseback from the Horsemen’s Center. These gentle rides last up to an hour-and-a-half and offer never-ending vistas and views from atop Dollar Mountain. Then head down to the Konditorei at the Sun Valley Village for the finest coffee drinks, pastries, hearty breakfasts and fabulous lunches. This time of year, dining on the Konditorei deck cannot be beat.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Or how about a family hike up nearby Proctor Mountain with a picnic lunch up top? The Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village will prepare made-to-order sandwiches and offers chips, drinks, desserts and salads to round out the meal.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe a romantic dinner is in order for the man in your life. Book a babysitter and make a reservation on the deck at Trail Creek Cabin or at the Ram patio in the Sun Valley Village. Both offer fine dining in a beautiful atmosphere. Please call restaurant reservations at 208.622.2391 to book your table.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

As far as gifts go, every store will offer endless ideas. Pop into Pete Lane’s for the latest and greatest bike and hiking gear; the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club sells only the best names in golfing hardware as well as the latest styles for the game; Brass Ranch will help any man achieve the look of the mountain lifestyle. Before Father’s Day, take a few hours to shop the Village stores. Dad will be stunned by your thoughtfulness at finding the perfect gift.

There is really so much to do, perhaps you should make a weekend of it. That would allow for fly fishing, as well. There may not be a more relaxing activity for the man who does so much for so many than to wander hip deep into one of the area’s glorious rivers to unplug and unwind.

No matter how you celebrate Father’s Day, be sure to acknowledge the great fathers you know. They deserve a day to remember.

–RES

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

 

 

Along the Banks of Trail Creek

As our server Shauna approached the table to take a drink order with her signature smile, the business of the day began to evaporate into the tumbling water of Trail Creek as it raced just feet from where we sat. The wide wooden deck, perched inches away from the burbling stream, was set with umbrellaed tables and offered a full bar, complete with comfortable bar stools and festooned with twinkling lights.

The deck at beautiful Trail Creek Cabin awaits to make your dining dreams come true!

The deck at beautiful Trail Creek Cabin awaits to make your dining dreams come true!

Welcome to summer at Trail Creek Cabin, Sun Valley’s historic restaurant located 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge. This romantic hideaway in the Idaho hills was originally built in 1937 as a hunting lodge and now offers a first-class dining experience featuring a menu filled with the freshest, most local, most seasonal choices available.

There is no better place this summer to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail (pictured is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan) and delicious, locally-sourced food.

There is no better place this summer to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail (pictured is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan) and delicious, locally-sourced food.

This summer, creekside dining is a must-do. Though the restaurant normally offers al fresco dining on the lawn adjacent to the restaurant, there is something really special about descending the steps onto the deck. The slight mineral smell of the creek and the sounds it makes as it bounces over rocks and around bends ensure a one-of-a-kind experience.

Through June 21, the menu at Trail Creek Cabin includes a nightly “deck” special, that for $15.95, is a can’t-miss. This week, the special included a grilled New York Steak with crushed red potatoes and seasonal vegetables accompanied by a glass of red wine and ending with homemade cinnamon ice cream.

The daily 'deck special' hit the spot.

The daily 'deck special' hit the spot.

The rest of the menu this summer, under the direction of Chef Wendy Little, is full of delicious details and fan favorites. Small plates include House Smoked Rainbow Trout with potato and watercress salad, a Charcuterie Plate and Ground Elk-Buffalo Sliders. A complement of salads provide a light interlude and rely on locally grown, in-season ingredients. Large plates range from Grilled Eggplant for the vegetarian to a Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye for those who crave a taste of the wide-open range. Of course, wonderful fish dishes like Cedar Planked Alaskan King Salmon and Potato Wrapped Idaho Sturgeon with sublime sides are also available.

Trail Creek Cabin is also known for it’s hand-crafted cocktails and extensive wine list. Bartender Richard carefully prepares Basil Lemondrops using fresh basil that is still growing behind the bar. Another favorite is a Huckleberry Mojito, full of the flavor of fresh local huckleberries. My favorite is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan made with fresh pineapple. It’s a trip to the beach without ever having to leave the beautiful Idaho mountains.

My chicken was juicy and flavorful, perfect for a summer's evening.

My chicken was juicy and flavorful, perfect for a summer's evening.

Save room for dessert as Trail Creek Cabin’s enormous “Mile High” Mud Pie is something you have to taste to believe. They also serve local ice creams, a wonderful chocolate lava cake and specialties featuring in-season berries and fruit.

For dinner one night recently, our party of four enjoyed a relaxing dinner on the deck and ordered a wide selection from the menu. I sampled the night’s Market Salad that was comprised of the freshest local asparagus, crumbled egg, a bit of breadcrumb and hazelnuts. It was accompanied by a wild mushroom strudel and was absolutely perfect. Our large plates ranged from the Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye (with the best buttermilk onion rings ever), the deck special, Brick Red Organic Rotisserie Chicken and the Slow Cooked Heritage Pork Ribs. Delicious!

Bring your friends and enjoy a memorable meal along the banks of Trail Creek.

Bring your friends and enjoy a memorable meal along the banks of Trail Creek.

To make a special night even more special, book a round-trip carriage ride to Trail Creek Cabin from the Resort. This approximately half-hour journey includes beautiful scenery and the chance to take life at a slighter slower pace. For details on this memorable option and to ask about the Mountain Romance package, please call 208.622.2387.

Reservations for dinner are available by calling 208.622.2097 and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Dinner on the deck beside Trail Creek – it really feels, and tastes, like summer!

–RES

Giddy Up!

Growing up on the East Coast, my early perceptions of the west largely consisted of visions of horses and wide open plains – images from books and films. This reality was reinforced by trips to ‘dude ranches’ in Wyoming as a child. I mostly remember scratchy straw cowboy hats, stiff leather cowboy boots and saddle sores from vacations spent on horseback. But I also remember the gorgeous scenery and excitement of learning riding basics.

Picture yourself here. Trail rides are offered seven days a week throughout the summer in Sun Valley.

Picture yourself here. Trail rides are offered seven days a week throughout the summer in Sun Valley.

Though Sun Valley isn’t the Wild West, horseback trail riding is certainly still part of our western culture. And no trip to a dude ranch is required to get some quality time in a saddle.

The Sun Valley Horsemen’s Center, located within easy walking or biking distance of the Lodge and Inn, provides a genuine trail riding experience that is fun, scenic and great for all ability levels. During the summer, stop by the Stables, or call 208.622.2387, and book a guided one or one-and-a-half hour ride up scenic Dollar Mountain. Rides are also available by appointment.

Look for the wagon on Sun Valley Road and stop by the Horsemen's Center to reserve a trail ride or carriage ride.

Look for the wagon on Sun Valley Road and stop by the Horsemen's Center to reserve a trail ride or carriage ride.

Chana, the assistant manager at the Horsemen’s Center (who looks the part in her flannel shirt, cowboy boots with spurs and broad smile), said both rides are beautiful. The California native turned Sun Valley wrangler said the longer ride dips down the Elkhorn side of the mountain, while the shorter ride offers fantastic views of Ketchum and beyond.

“During the high season that really heats up in mid-June, we offer trail rides seven days a week,” Chana said. “The first ride goes out at 9 a.m. and the last ride at 4 p.m. Reservations are required and we can take up to eight people at one time. We cater to the ‘never-ever’, the experienced horse person and everyone in between.”

Participants must be at least eight years old, 52 inches tall and accompanied by an adult. Riders are asked to arrive at the Stables 20 minutes before their set-out time for an orientation. A one-hour ride costs $46 and the longer ride runs $59. Tax is not included.

Communing with Sun Valley's horses is a popular family activity.

Communing with Sun Valley's horses is a popular family activity.

If you don’t want to ride a horse, you can still visit with some of Sun Valley’s most popular residents. The wide pasture along Sun Valley Road is populated by some of the Resort’s gentle horses that are more often than not up for a scratch on the nose or a carrot treat.

Another way to get a taste of the western experience is to book a summer wagon ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner. Please call 208.622.2387 for the details on this memorable mode of transportation. Currently, wagon rides are being offered on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The cost is $28 for guests 13 years and older and $18 for ages 2 – 12. This does not include dinner.

Your limousine awaits ... Idaho style!

Your limousine awaits ... Idaho style!

Rustic takes a turn to the romantic when the horse drawn carriage ride is part of a special package in Sun Valley. First, you will be welcomed with chocolates in your well-appointed and elegant room. Then, step back in time as you board a carriage that will carry you to, and from, the sublime Trail Creek Cabin. There, a table for two awaits, either outdoors on the patio or inside in the one-of-a-kind dining room. This romantic special is $237 per person double occupancy and includes one night’s lodging and the carriage ride. It does not include dinner. For reservations please call (866) 616-8224.

Get your giddy up on!

–RES

A meal at Trail Creek Cabin is made even more special by a horse drawn carriage ride

A meal at Trail Creek Cabin is made even more special by a horse drawn carriage ride.

The Taste of Summer

Summer has arrived in Sun Valley (yay!) and with it, the beginning of a delicious, fresh season of food.

Right now, there’s no better place to enjoy the tastes of summer than Sun Valley Club Restaurant, especially with the addition of ten new dishes to their already extensive lunch menu.

The terrace at the Sun Valley Club is a pretty spectacular spot to enjoy lunch and the food is just as good as the view!

The terrace at the Sun Valley Club is a pretty spectacular spot to enjoy lunch and the food is just as good as the view!

Grab a comfortable seat on the patio. Sip a swamp water or glass of fine wine and enjoy the sweeping vistas across the Trail Creek Golf Course and up to Dollar and Bald Mountains and beyond. It’s like being at country club except you don’t have to pay dues.

While you relax, Chef Erik Olson and his professional team in the kitchen will prepare for you the tastiest, freshest lunch that emphasizes farm-to-table and local ingredients.

The new cold poached salmon salad is a refreshing and delicious choice for summer

The new cold poached salmon salad is a refreshing and delicious choice for summer

Twice this week, my friends and family have enjoyed lunch at the Sun Valley Club. Our first visit was to celebrate the last day of school and our party of five enjoyed salads including the Club’s famous Crab Louis and a filling and tasty southwest chicken salad, as well as the slider trio, the green chile chicken melt and a falafel lettuce wrap. Everything got a thumbs up.

On the second visit, we decided to change up our tried-and-true favorites to explore the new menu options. But what to choose? Perhaps the shaved prime rib sandwich with havarti, crispy fried onion, grated horseradish and whole grain mustard sauce on ciabatta? The grilled chicken flatbread is also an appealing option with chicken, sorrel pesto, tomato, feta, red onion, arugula, pine nut and parmesan. Something lighter perhaps? An in-season caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, basil pesto, white balsamic, arugula and shaved parmesan sounds like an early summer winner.

The fish tacos, new to the Sun Valley Club's menu, were a hit with our group

The fish tacos, new to the Sun Valley Club's menu, were a hit with our group

I finally settled on the cold poached salmon salad as it was a sunny, hot day just made for a light dish. It didn’t disappoint. The beautifully presented plate offered a generous serving of poached salmon with a delicate cucumber mint salsa over mixed greens, dotted with avocado and mango. It tasted as great as it looked.

My dining partners both opted for the Rocky Point fish tacos and sung the praises of the cod filets in white corn tortillas with cabbage, baja sauce, pico de gallo, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime.

It was a shame we all had to go back to work as the Sawtooth Putting Course and driving range beckoned nearby. All the Sun Valley golf courses are fully open and it surely looked like everyone was enjoying their time on the beautiful fairways.

In other Sun Valley restaurant news, the Ram Restaurant in the Sun Valley Village reopens for the summer on June 6 and is a wonderful place to enjoy al fresco dining on the patio with a view of the swan pond. More often than not, live music also accompanies a fine meal at the Ram. This summer, along with steakhouse favorites, this wonderful restaurant (my personal favorite) will serve lighter options like halibut cheeks and Divers scallops. Don’t worry, fondue is still on the menu!

Beginning June 21, bike, hike or take the gondola up to Roundhouse on Bald Mountain to enjoy lunch with a breathtaking view

Beginning June 21, bike, hike or take the gondola up to Roundhouse on Bald Mountain to enjoy lunch with a breathtaking view

At the Konditorei, patio dining is in full swing and the restaurant is now serving locally roasted Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, all Fair Trade and organic. Three styles – Boulder Blend, Sawtooth Single and Pioneer Decaf are the perfect accompaniment to one of their hand-crafted European style pastries.

And the Roundhouse opens its doors to the most scenic lunch in the Lower 48 on June 21, to coincide with the start of gondola service up Bald Mountain. This is the perfect reward for a hike up the hill or just a great way to spend some time with family and friends surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

It promises to be a succulent summer in Sun Valley!

–RES

Whether you dine inside or on the patio, the Sun Valley Club is a great place to celebrate

Whether you dine inside or on the patio, the Sun Valley Club is a great place to celebrate

Hot Jazz in Cold Midwinter

After an active winter’s day on the slopes, there is no better way to unwind than to the sounds of live jazz music. Add in the comfortable and inviting environs of the Duchin Lounge at the Sun Valley Lodge, a handcrafted cocktail or glass of fine wine and some of the best bar food around, and you have the recipe for a perfect night.

Come on in for some hot jazz at the Duchin Lounge

Come on in for some hot jazz at the Duchin Lounge

Throughout the winter, the Duchin Room comes alive almost nightly with a variety of jazz artists performing in a variety of styles. Sunday evening, an enthusiastic crowd found a seat, settled in and let the dynamic and transformative piano music of the incomparable Alan Pennay, accompanied by an amazing bass guitar, wash over them. Pennay played to the attentive, appreciative group from 6 to 9 p.m. Pennay first came to Sun Valley in 1972 from Australia, to ski and play piano. His standards with a twist have earned him a loyal following.

Alan Pennay's standards with twist have earned him a loyal following

Alan Pennay's standards with twist have earned him a loyal following

After a busy weekend, I joined the crowd, settling in to my favorite seat at the Duchin Lounge. The high leather banquettes in the back are a great place to find some privacy and peace to enjoy the music. Our wonderful server, Virginia, served up tasty treats – Kobe beef sliders and homemade hummus and pita. At the bar, Bobby mixed tasty cocktails with a smile. The room was filled with both locals enjoying the last gasp of the weekend before returning to work and visitors taking advantage of yet another great facet of a Sun Valley vacation.

Live music continues this week with crowd favorite Paul Tillotson and his trio performing on the 28th and 29th from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. followed by the one-and-only Joe Fos Trio playing until closing. Please check HERE for a full schedule of entertainment at the Sun Valley Resort.

Let bartender Bobby create a special cocktail for you, or perhaps just pour a fine glass of wine

Let bartender Bobby create a special cocktail for you, or perhaps just pour a fine glass of wine

The Ram Bar at the Sun Valley Inn also offers live music to accompany your evening. On January 30, enjoy the sounds of Brooks Hartell from 5 – 8 p.m.

There is no better cure for the midwinter blues than some red-hot jazz. Spend a few hours at the historic, cozy and comfortable Duchin Lounge and let yourself be transported by the live music. It’s like a little mini-vacation within a vacation or just the regular workweek.

Who needs a sit-down dinner when you can enjoy delicious sliders while listening to fantastic jazz?

Who needs a sit-down dinner when you can enjoy delicious sliders while listening to fantastic jazz?

For more great live music, be sure to spend some quality après ski hours at the Warm Springs and River Run lodges. Until 5 or 5:30 p.m. on weekend afternoons, extend the day by kicking back with friends, a beer and some great tunes.

Enjoy!

–RES

Bonus picture of Sunday night's unbelievable sunset over Baldy

Bonus picture of Sunday night's unbelievable sunset over Baldy

I Can See Clearly Now

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

The weather Thursday was bluebird skies, scattered white fluffy clouds, bright sunshine and no smoke: the perfect day to kick off Labor Day weekend by hopping on the River Run gondola to ascend to a barbecue lunch with the best view in town.  Sailing over the single track mountain bike trails and ski runs, the ride on the gondola is beyond scenic. As you soar above the tree line, the majestic Pioneer Mountains provide a sublime vista to the east, while the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley take form in miniature below.

But getting there is only half the fun when you decide to have lunch at the historic Roundhouse restaurant. Perched at 7,700-feet above Ketchum, Roundhouse says Sun Valley like nothing else. With its rustic interior, vast decks and unparalleled views, a meal there shouldn’t be missed.

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

Roundhouse just reopened for the rest of the summer season and will serve a tasty, varied barbecue menu through September 8. Choose from traditional beef burgers or veer into the more esoteric: buffalo burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers (my choice – delicious!), bratwursts and entrée salads. Sides include homemade coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad or chips. Enjoy a beer, wine, cocktail or soft drink with your sophisticated picnic on the deck.

From Friday to Monday, the Lookout Restaurant atop Baldy will also offer its wildly popular taco bar at lunch to those enjoying a hike, bike ride or sightseeing trip on the mountain. Lift service to Lookout begins where the gondola lets off to get riders to the tip top of the hill.

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

Lunch with a view is just one of many must-do activities to put on your Labor Day weekend “to-do” list. One of the busiest holidays of the year in Sun Valley, there are parades to delight; antiques and art to browse and buy; cars to covet; pancakes of which to partake.

The annual multi-day celebration that is Wagon Days is jam-packed. Starting Friday, Arts, Crafts and Antiques Fairs can be found up and down the Valley. From 4 – 7 p.m. that day, cowboy poets, old-time fiddling, western music and more will delight at the Ore Museum in Ketchum with concerts from Matt Renner and the band Slow Children Playing to follow.  Also Friday night, local art galleries will open their doors and welcome lookers and buyers from 5 – 8 p.m.

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons is a sight to behold and the grand finale of Saturday's parade

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons, is a sight to behold as the grand finale of Saturday's parade

Saturday is the big show with many events leading up to Wagon Days‘ famous Big Hitch Parade. Starting at 8 a.m., bring the entire family to Ketchum for an old-fashioned, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with all proceeds benefiting local youth groups. The kids can work off that carb-fueled energy at a children’s carnival featuring mini train rides, astro jumps, a climbing wall, bungee run and more.

At 1 p.m. the Big Hitch Parade rolls down Sun Valley Road. This, the largest non-motorized parade in the Northwest, features museum quality buggies, carriages, carts, stagecoaches and wagons that illustrate and honor the tenacity of the area’s early settlers. Six gigantic Lewis Ore Wagons, the Big Hitch, pulled by a 20-mule jerkline, offer the eye popping grand finale. Music and festivity in Ketchum extend well into the night following the parade.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race also follows at Rotary Park. A favorite of children of all ages, this event launches thousands of plastic ducks into to Big Wood River to ‘race,’ all while benefiting local non-profits.

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

In Sun Valley, on both Saturday and Sunday, be sure to come by the Silver Car Auction beginning at 9 a.m. 250 collector car owners and dealers display and auction off unique and beautiful cars until 8 p.m. There is eye candy for everyone from admirers of classic cars to sports cars and is a must-see for aficionados of every persuasion.

While in Sun Valley, be sure to stop into the Konditorei or Gretchen’s for a delicious breakfast or lunch, or grab gourmet sandwiches to go at the Short Line Deli followed by a special ice cream treat at a la mode. Village restaurants will be serving dinner over the weekend, too – the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the best in local flavors and handcrafted recipes after a very busy day.

And then there is the final Sun Valley on Ice show of the year starring Johnny Weir, rodeos, more live music, a hoedown, western dance – not to mention golf, biking, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, the Gun Club, fly fishing, swimming …! There is so much to do, it’s a good thing it’s a long weekend.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

We can’t wait to see everyone out in Sun Valley and Ketchum enjoying glorious weather (the forecast looks great), a fantastic array of events and fun for everyone. We are all so grateful that Wagon Days is on and better than ever and can’t wait to share this spectacular weekend, as well as our own very special, very active version of normal, with our guests. It’s going to be a great Labor Day weekend!

To borrow shamelessly from the incomparable Johnny Nash, Jimmy Nash and others, “It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day…”

–RES

Breaking Bread with Brian Boitano

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Olympic figure skating legend Brian Boitano just looks like someone you want to have as a friend; someone with whom you want to share dinner, a cocktail and stories. Now is your chance! Brian is coming to Sun Valley to host a special cooking class and party on September 1 and you are invited.

Cooking you might say? Brian Boitano? Yes! As the 1988 Olympic champion, the 1986 and 1988 World Champion, and the 1985-1988 U.S. National Champion in figure skating, he is one of the most exalted skaters of our time. After turning professional following his 1988 season, Brian continued and continues to skate, entertaining countless fans in shows and television specials each year. He has headlined Sun Valley On Ice many times and is a local favorite. But he also found a second career about which he is equally passionate – cooking.

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will share some of them with the lucky guests at his August 22 event

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will offer tips and techniques to prepare them at home with the fortunate guests at his August 22 event

A self taught chef, Brian took his love of food and entertaining and parlayed it into a popular television program on both the Food Network and Cooking Network. In What Would Brian Boitano Make? the eponymous star of the series shares recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining with viewers, all with his signature style. From his television work came a cookbook by the same name, a collection of his best recipes that will help you look like a gold medalist in your own kitchen.

On September 1, 100 lucky people will gather at the spectacular home of Kim Selby in Ketchum to learn from Brian as he gives a cooking lesson and offers tips a la his popular television show.

The Valley Sun caught up with Boitano to discuss the upcoming event.

TVS: You have a long-standing connection to Sun Valley. Are you looking forward to returning next week?
BB: Sun Valley is near and dear to my heart and I always love to come back. Not only do I have wonderful memories of all the shows I’ve performed in, but I have good friends here.

TVS: But this time, you’re trading in your skate blades for knife blades. Tell us what people who attend the function on the 22nd might expect.
BB: Well, you can expect great food and drinks that you will be able to replicate at home. You can also expect to learn these recipes in one of the most beautiful kitchens in the Northwest. Kim’s house is gorgeous and is fully stocked with everything you need to make an unforgettable meal. She even has a pizza oven that we’re going to use.

TVS: Is this event for the seasoned cook or for anyone who is interested?
BB: My philosophy on cooking is that everyone can do it. You just need a plan. My cookbook, from which I will be choosing recipes for that event, lets you make delicious food in very few steps. It’s for everyone from the novice to the experienced chef.

TVS: You created all the recipes in your cookbook yourself, correct?
BB: Yes, they are all mine! Usually I follow something that interests me when beginning a new dish. I may not have used much allspice in cooking and would like to try it, so I think about what allspice would be good with. Rice? For sure! Let’s try rice. Then I lay out how I’m going to make a new dish. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but if it doesn’t I can dissect what went wrong and learn from it. The dishes in my cookbook have gone through a lot of changes to get to where they are!

During all my travels for skating, I have been able to indulge my interest in food from many cultures and many different flavors. I also give a nod to my Italian heritage. It all comes through in my recipes.

TVS: Any ideas about what you plan to cook and teach the guests to cook?
BB: One of the things I’m making is southwestern sopapillas – a recipe in the cookbook that people just love and I love. Where sopapillas are usually sweet, mine are savory. They are little dough balls that puff up when you fry them. Then I poke a hole in them and stuff them with salsa and bean dip. They are absolutely delicious, easy to make and certain to impress dinner guests! I am also planning on a white wine sangria with fresh mint in it and pizza because when you have a pizza oven in the house, you have to use it!

TVS: Any plans to take to the ice while you are in town?
BB: I actually do plan to skate a little bit in Sun Valley to get in shape for my upcoming season. There are a lot of people at the rink I really appreciate working with and it’s a beautiful place to skate. I have two NBC shows coming up in the fall so I am ready to train for them.

TVS: This dinner benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club. Do you have a special connection to the organization?
BB: Skating in Sun Valley is very special and I always want to support and encourage young people in the sport. When I was an up-and-coming skater I competed in the Club’s annual Summer Championships and I am happy to help this excellent program.

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime chance to break bread with Brian Boitano are available at www.sunvalleyfsc.com, by calling 208.622.8020 or at the Club office located behind the skate house. Very limited VIP tickets are available for $200 ($375 per couple) and include a private cocktail hour with Brian Boitano. Tickets to the cooking demonstration, that include signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are available for $100 ($175 per couple). Guests will also receive a signed cookbook. All proceeds benefit the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club, dedicated to skating excellence and making this lifelong sport available to children in the Wood River Valley.

I have my ticket and look forward to this amazing night! See you there.

–RES

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO RECENT FIRES, THIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 1. TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!

 

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

Recipe from the Resort: Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Sun Valley’s long established Austrian heritage is nowhere more apparent than the newly reinvented Konditorei Café in the Sun Valley Village. Step inside, take in the endless expanse of the pastry case and step across the Atlantic to a culture where afternoon tea and cake are a daily ritual. As someone whose early childhood was spent in Germany and who delighted in sidewalk cafes filled with handmade delicious treats, the sight of Black Forest Cake, Linzer Cookies and all the new confections imagined by the Konditorei’s Head Pasty Chef Chris McCarthy, bring back a flood of fond memories.

Chef McCarthy understands the appeal of what he does, not only on a gastronomic level, but on a visual and emotional one as well. This Wood River Valley native attended culinary school in Arizona where he learned both to cook and bake. There, he found his true calling was in flour and sugar, pastry cream and buttercream. Before making his circuitous route back to his hometown and to the Konditorei upon its grand reopening last December, Chef McCarthy prepared pastries in prestigious kitchens from Sea Island, Georgia, to a Ritz Carlton in Florida.

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

As part of the Valley Sun Recipe from the Resort series, the chef shares with our readers the steps to create his fresh, flavorful Key Lime Pie with Creme Anglaise. Now, if you’re like me and intimidated by pastry prep, don’t worry.  Chef McCarthy promises this recipe is easily replicable at home.

Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Ingredients for the crust:

#2 graham crackers – buy crumbs in a bag or crush in a food processor until they are the consistency of granulated sugar

19.2 ounces melted butter

9.6 ounces sugar

3.2 ounce all purpose flour

Method

Combine until uniform in texture and form crust in small pie tins

Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise

2 quarts cream

1 pound sugar divided into two half pounds

1 vanilla bean — cut in half and scrape out the beans (this gives it the little dots in the sauce)

1 egg yolk

Method for the Crème Anglaise

Combine cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil

Whisk together yolk and second half of the sugar

Temper in yolks with sugar (translation for people like me who don’t know how to do this: pour a ladle of hot cream into the yolk sugar mixture. This tempers the yolks so when you add them to the cream they don’t instantly curdle)

Combine all ingredients in cream pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon in a thin, even layer

Strain over an ice bath through a fine mesh china cap to remove any lumps that my have occurred during the cooking process and to prevent the egg from scrambling

Ingredients for Key Lime Pie Filling:

2 lb. 3 ounces sweetened condensed milk

8 ounces key lime juice

8 ounces egg yolks

Zest from 2 limes

Method:

Combine all ingredients together and mix until homogenous

Spoon key lime filling into graham cracker crust

Bake for about five minuites until outside is set then chill until ready to serve

Top with a dollop of Crème Anglaise

This makes about 12 – 15 small tarts

This dessert will certainly be met with a lot of ooh’s and ah’s at your next dinner party, but if you prefer to simply relax on the Konditorei patio and sip a cappuccino, Chef McCarthy and his six pastry wizards will present you with Key Lime Pie or any of the other daily offerings without all that clean up. My family’s favorite? The cream puff swans. Not only are they delectable, they represent the signature Sun Valley swans that glide gracefully around the picturesque Lodge pond.

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The team in the Konditorei pastry kitchen also create hundreds of custom cakes (call ahead to order) and even spectacular wedding cakes. Chef McCarthy said he truly enjoys making one-of-a-kind cakes for one-of-a-kind occasions.

Be sure to visit the Konditorei for a taste of the old country (they serve breakfast and lunch, as well) with a modern, healthy, farm fresh twist. Maybe cake and coffee will become an afternoon tradition in Idaho, too.  One can always hope!

Enjoy!

–RES

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

Recipe from the Resort: The Ram’s Salmon Rillettes

The perfect start to dinner at the Ram Restaurant: Salmon Rillettes and a cocktail

The perfect start to dinner at the Ram Restaurant: Salmon Rillettes and a cocktail

On a warm summer evening earlier this week, I found myself seated on the Ram Restaurant patio perusing the new modern steakhouse menu, sipping a glass of champagne, and once, again, pinching myself that I get to live here.

Selecting from the Ram’s new seasonal menu that was instituted in June proved difficult. Serving only the finest cuts, the Ram’s reinvention as a modern steakhouse with a new twist (five of eight Entrees are meat), choosing among the beef, lamb, short ribs, chicken and fish proved an omnivore’s dilemma.

Relaxing to the music of an acoustic guitar, my friend and I finally decided on dinner. I ordered Salmon Rillettes and the Snake River Chicken; he went the more traditional route with the Summer Beet Salad and Meyer Natural Angus 8-ounce Tenderloin with heirloom tomatoes (at the peak of freshness), creamed spinach and Bernaise sauce. Who doesn’t love Bernaise sauce?

Chef Brian Janego promises that his recipe is easily accomplished at home

Chef Brian Janego promises that his recipe is easily accomplished at home

Chef Brian Janego who has been with the Ram for three years, is thrilled to offer his new menu, certain it will appeal to many palates. “All of the meats, including the lamb, are USDA Prime,” Brian explained. “It doesn’t get any better than that. And most of our meats are sourced in the Northwest: Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington and Montana. Here, we give a nod to the traditional steakhouse, but our dinners are all conceived to work as a whole. You won’t get a slab of beef cooked in butter with a choice of sides.”

Despite the meat-centric menu, Chef Janego is really excited about the Salmon Rillettes I ordered and when the dish was served, I understood why. Presented beautifully in a sealed canning jar and accompanied with watercress salad, rye toast and fennel-dipped apple balls, this starter was a feast for the senses.

The key flavorful ingredient in this dish is salmon and Chef Janego lets the flavor shine through

The bountiful key ingredient in this dish is salmon and Chef Janego lets the flavor shine through

Chef Janego agreed to share this recipe with readers of the Valley Sun and while I would certainly recommend enjoying this company-pleasing dish at home, be sure to come to the Sun Valley Village to get the full experience of dinner on the Ram Patio or in the historic dining room. In fact, the Ram is the longest continually operating restaurant in the valley, having opened in 1937. Much in the dining room is original including the wide plank floors. The hideaway booths are from the 1940s and the carvings beneath the white linens go back decades. Go ahead and take a peek. There is live music at the Ram every night and dinner is served from 6 – 9 p.m. seven nights a week through September 2.

Cozy and romantic; rustic yet sophisticated, nowhere else personifies Sun Valley quite like the Ram.

Salmon Rillettes

Ingredients

For the salmon:

¾ cup salmon poached in white wine

¼ cup hot smoked salmon (available at local grocery stores)

Fresh chives

Lemon Zest

Smoked Paprika

For the Lemon Aioli:

4 cups extra virgin olive oil

4 lemons juiced and seeded

4 egg yolks

Combine in a food processor or whisk together

Method:

Gently fold aioli into the salmon and seasonings, leaving the meat chunky. Use about 3/4 cup of the aioli per portion to moisten and bind the salmon.

Service:

Using a small ring mold, cut four small circles of thin caraway bread. Quickly drop the rings in butter in a sauté pan until toasted.

Prepare a salad of fresh watercress and shaved fennel.

Using a melon baller, place three balls of apple, dredged in fennel on the plate next to the salad, toast rounds and sealed jar of salmon.

Serve and savor!

–RES

Be sure to save room for some of the Ram's handmade desserts

Be sure to save room for some of the Ram's handmade desserts

Recipe from the Resort: Chef Chad’s Crab Cakes

The restaurant at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse is nearby yet away from it all

The restaurant at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse is nearby yet away from it all

It is the height of the season. Ketchum and Sun Valley are overflowing with people and you are hungry for a full-of-flavor, satisfying lunch. But you want something different, something new. A trip out to the Elkhorn Clubhouse, located just minutes south of the Sun Valley Resort (right on the back side of Dollar Mountain) is exactly what you’re looking for. There, Chef Chad K. Woodland offers a menu that will appeal to everyone in your party in an atmosphere that feels like you have gotten away from it all.

The chef believes that the ingredients in a dish should speak for themselves; that if you’re camouflaging flavors, you might want to rethink what you are serving. From a long list of hearty appetizers including lamb sliders, garlic and ginger chicken wings and sweet chili shrimp; salads like the popular and hearty taco salad and a salmon Caesar; and lots of inventive sandwiches, it is hard to decide what to order. Signature cocktails run to the classics like a Singapore Sling or Manhattan, with a large selection of wines by the glass rounding out the recipe for a relaxing afternoon.

Once you have chosen what you would like to eat for lunch or an early dinner, all you need to do is decide where to sit. The large patio is probably the most popular choice on a summer’s day. Offering expansive views of the pristine Elkhorn Golf Course, the patio is a peaceful oasis far from the madding downtown summer crowd. Indoors is lovely, too, with a spacious bar, cozy banquettes, and an almost Arts-and-Crafts, northwestern feel – different than anything else in Sun Valley.  The restaurant is open to the public, seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The patio is the perfect place for an appetizer and cocktail or a leisurely lunch

The patio is the perfect place for an appetizer and cocktail or a leisurely lunch

One of the favorite items Chef Woodland serves is his special crab cakes. Now, preparing crab cakes can be a little tricky. Those that are run-of-the-mill are dense and soggy with fillers, over-fried and short on that key ingredient: fresh crab. But when crab cakes are good, they are really good, and the crab cake appetizer Chef Woodland serves daily is really, really good. Loaded with fresh Dungeness crab and herbs, the chef lets the flavorful shellfish shine. A transplant to Sun Valley from the Seattle area, Chad has a soft spot for fresh seafood and knows how to honor its intrinsic goodness.

If the lure of your own patio or kitchen proves overwhelming, though, as part of our Recipes from the Resort series, Chef Woodland shares his recipe for these crab cakes with readers of the Valley Sun.

The crab cakes at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse are chock-a-block of that key ingredient: crab meat

The crab cakes at the Elkhorn Clubhouse are chock-a-block of that key ingredient: crab meat

Chef Chad K. Woodland’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

For the crab cake:

1 lb. Dungeness crab meat

Panko breadcrumbs

Enough mayonnaise to bind the meat

Sea salt

Egg yolks

Clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil

For the red pepper coulis and chive oil: 

1 tsp. fresh chives

1 tbsp. fresh basil

Roasted red peppers from a jar or can

For the basil aioli:

4 egg yolks

6 large basil leaves

1 tsp. of tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar

A pinch of salt and pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Blend roasted red peppers with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, creating a coulis that is poured carefully into the center of a shallow plate.

Blend extra virgin olive oil with finely chopped fresh chives.

Strain the fibers.

Pour the chive oil carefully around the red pepper coulis.

For the crab cakes:

Take approximately one pound of Dungeness crab meat and combine it with the chives and a chiffonade  (long thin strips) of basil using your hands.

Form the crab meat into a patty by hand or use a round form if you have one.

Using a brush, coat each side of the crab cake with egg yolk.

Bread each cake lightly with the Panko breadcrumbs.

Heat clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil in a skillet.

Brown both sides of the crab cakes.

Finish the crab cakes in a 350-degree oven for about five minutes.

Place crab cake in the center of the red pepper coulis.

For the basil aioli:

Combine egg yolks, vinegar and basil leaves in a blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil.

Dollop the basil aioli onto the crab cake and serve.

Chef Chad K. Woodland invites you to be his guest for lunch or an early dinner, served daily

Chef Chad K. Woodland invites you to be his guest for lunch or an early dinner, served daily

But better yet, let the pros do the cooking! Parking is plentiful, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and the food is fantastic at the Elkhorn Clubhouse. Come on by. Chances are you’ll want to stay the whole afternoon, watching the golfers work on their game as the sun begins to slowly set over the hills. 

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming special events, too, including a winemakers’ dinner and a beer dinner. The beer dinner is scheduled for August 31 and will feature specialty kegs from Boston’s Samuel Adams Brewery. Chef Woodland will pair the beer with delicious complimentary dishes. The winemakers’ dinner will feature organic Idaho winery Holeinsky and will take place on September 27. This dinner features a five-course gourmet meal paired with wonderful vintages.

Come catch a break from your busy summer and enjoy a flavorful meal with a great view at the Elkhorn Clubhouse. It is worth a trip off the well-trodden path!

–RES

The interior dining room at the Clubhouse is like no other space in Sun Valley

The interior dining room at the Clubhouse is like no other space in Sun Valley