Recipe from the Resort: Trail Creek Meatloaf with Tomato Onion Relish

The Trail Creek Cabin patio was full on July 4 with people enjoying great food and a great ambiance

The Trail Creek Cabin patio was full on July 4 with people enjoying great food and a great ambiance

Trail Creek Cabin is located merely a mile and a half east of the Sun Valley Lodge, but is a world away. Step inside the rustic cabin, built in 1937, and step back into an era both of simplicity and glamor; one where meals with friends lasted for hours and ended over a fine single malt scotch. Once Averell Harriman’s private hunting lodge, this idyllic location on the banks of Trail Creek hosted gatherings of some highly influential people, including by many reports, Ernest Hemingway. Today, the cabin’s rough-hewn exterior, log furniture and grand fireplace still exude a masculine, woodsy energy, but don’t let that fool you – the food is refined, sophisticated, and offers just the right fresh, healthy, flavorful ingredients that still give a nod to Trail Creek’s hunting lodge heritage.

Make your own history at Trail Creek Cabin, built in 1937

Make your own history at Trail Creek Cabin, built in 1937

For a festive Fourth of July celebration, my family, friends and I ventured to Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy a meal beneath one of the most spectacular Idaho sunsets I can remember. Under Chef Wendy Little’s discerning eye and exacting palate, the menu offered something for everyone in our party of seven that included four children. Wendy, who has been with Sun Valley Company since 2009 and the chef at Trail Creek Cabin since 2010, said the special environment at Trail Creek Cabin informs the menu, with hearty steaks and meatloaf year-round favorites. For summer, Wendy also incorporates a great deal of fish and farm fresh, local, organic greens and vegetables into her seasonal offerings. For children, she insists on the same high quality of product as with adults, simply cutting down portion size and offering sides to appeal to the younger set. “I don’t do chicken nuggets or strips or any of that,” she laughed.

As we were under a bit of a tight deadline to get to Sun Valley On Ice, our server quickly took our order that included wild salmon, Idaho trout, cowboy rib eye steaks with buttermilk onion rings and baked potatoes (a favorite at the table), Kobe beef sliders, organic chicken and a buffalo and lamb meatloaf. All delivered wonderful flavor and excellent sides, but the meatloaf proved the most interesting. Chef Little agreed to share this recipe with the readers of The Valley Sun.

Trail Creek Meatloaf is a year-round favorite

Trail Creek Meatloaf is a year-round favorite

Trail Creek Meatloaf with Tomato Onion Relish

For the relish: (yields approximately 2 cups)
1 small onion minced
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tbl. Olive oil
7 oz. ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled and seeded

Method:
Chop tomatoes and pepper into a coarse dice, sauté onions and garlic in the olive oil, then add the chopped peppers and tomatoes.
Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and cook 15 minutes.
Cool before stirring into the raw meatloaf mixture. Reserve the extra sauce to spoon on top of the meatloaf as a sauce.

For the meatloaf (yields one four inch deep meatloaf pan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.5 pounds ground buffalo meat
1.25 pounds ground lamb
3 eggs
4 ounces heavy cream
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1.5 cups tomato relish
½ pound bacon for lining the meatloaf pan
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method:
Place meat, eggs, cream, tomato relish, salt and pepper in the bowl of a kitchen aide mixer. Using a paddle attachment, slowly blend these ingredients.
After these are mixed, slowly sprinkle in the breadcrumbs and mix for three minutes more. Cook a small piece to check for seasoning.
Line a Teflon pan with strips of bacon and then fill with the meat mixture. Place more strips of bacon over the top of the meatloaf if necessary.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 30-45 minutes until an instant read thermometer registers 155 degrees.
Allow the meat loaf to rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Spoon reserved tomato onion relish on top of each slice and serve.

Makes ten generous, delicious servings that taste even better the next day!

Chef Wendy Little of Trail Creek Cabin works painstakingly to share Idaho's local flavors and Sun Valley's rich history with diners

Chef Wendy Little of Trail Creek Cabin works painstakingly to share Idaho's local flavors and Sun Valley's rich history with diners

While I would certainly recommend making this meatloaf at home (dinner one night, sliced into picnic sandwiches the following day!), no visit to Sun Valley is complete without going out to Trail Creek Cabin. Rent a bike from Pete Lane’s, hop on the bike path, and pedal out for light fare and a signature huckleberry mojito on the peaceful creek-side deck. Or make a reservation for the whole family or a romantic dinner for two on the lawn and enjoy Chef Little’s carefully crafted fare that incorporates more than just a bit of true Sun Valley flavor!

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

–RES

The deck on the banks of Trail Creek -- there is no nicer spot for a glass of wine and a light bite

The deck on the banks of Trail Creek -- there is no nicer spot for a glass of wine and a light bite

Recipe from the Resort: Yellow Squash & Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Healthy, tasty and light -- try this recipe from Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta at home!

Healthy, tasty and light -- try this recipe from Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta at home!

When I visited Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta in the Sun Valley Village this week, I realized it had been a while since I had enjoyed a meal there. If you, too, haven’t been into the restaurant lately, now is the time to again make Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta a part of your restaurant repertoire.

After spending an afternoon with Chef Dennis Pittsley, getting a taste of the new summer menu, it was clear that this is no run-of-the-mill pizza joint. Chef Pittsley has been at Bald Mountain Pizza for two years, working diligently to incorporate the freshest, most flavorful and creative ingredients into the menu.  Before taking over the stove at Bald Mountain, the Chef was a familiar face at the lavish Lodge Dining Room Sunday Brunch. As a longtime (embarrassingly) regular attendee at brunch, seeing Dennis again was like finding an old friend. It also gave me an indication of the attention to detail and passion he now brings to Bald Mountain Pizza.

Chef Dennis Pittsley gives the tomatoes, garlic and shallots a light saute

Chef Dennis Pittsley gives the tomatoes, garlic and shallots a light saute

As a mother of three, I know how hard it can be to find a restaurant that appeals to the entire family and Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta’s menu, based on Italian favorites but with a healthy, modern flair, will keep everyone happy. Particular eaters can build their own pizzas, while others branch out and order those made with chicken pesto, wild mushrooms, even asparagus and Gruyere. A wide array of popular starters and pastas will keep those from three to 103 smiling. But the day I visited, Chef Pittsley introduced me to a vegetarian dish –Yellow Squash and Zucchini ‘Pasta’ created from local garden-fresh ingredients. Light, flavorful and healthy, it will be my ‘go to’ order during the warm weather months.

As part of our Recipe from the Resort series, Chef Pittsley shared his recipe with The Valley Sun. A wonderful alternative to traditional pasta, substituting strands of fresh vegetables for spaghetti incorporates local summer flavors at the peak of readiness. This is a recipe you will rely on time and again at home.

Squash and zucchini are a garden fresh alternative to pasta

Squash and zucchini are a garden fresh alternative to pasta

Yellow Squash and Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh chopped oregano
  • Fresh minced garlic and shallots
  • California cold pressed unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Break off the ends of the asparagus and add stalks to a little olive oil in a sauté pan. Don’t overcook, the idea is to let the flavors of the fresh asparagus shine through.
  • Transfer asparagus to another dish.
  • Using a Japanese Mandolin slicer, or a simple vegetable peeler if you do not have a Mandolin, slice the zucchini and squash into long ‘pasta’ strands.
  • Heat some olive oil in a medium size sauté pan.
  • When the oil is hot (but not smoking), add in minced garlic and shallots. Sauté quickly until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes and oregano, stirring for just a few seconds.
  • Add the zucchini and squash along with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  • Add ¼ cup water and cover for one to two minutes, depending on how soft you prefer the zucchini and squash.
  • Give all the vegetables a good toss before plating. Top the dish with fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
In the restaurant, or on the deck, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is a great dinner choice for the entire family

In the restaurant, or on the deck, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is a great dinner choice for the entire family

As easy as it is to incorporate this recipe into your summertime rotation of dinner choices, it is a wonderful experience to let Chef Pittsley do the cooking for you, too. Pop over to the Village, grab a table on the deck and rest assured the entire gang, from toddlers to grandparents, will enjoy this taste of Sun Valley. Kick back with smoked trout bruschetta and a chilled glass of wine, order some breadsticks for the kiddos (the chef promises they will be to the table in a matter of minutes), and wind down after a busy Sun Valley day. Be sure to also take advantage of the Resort’s special “Dinner and a Movie” offer. With your paid meal at Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta, you will receive movie tickets for that evening’s show at the historic Opera House. Current movie listings can be found here.

Summer should be this simple, shouldn’t it?

–RES

Recipe from the Resort: Sweet Corn & Nectarine Salad

The Konditorei's Sweet Corn & Nectarine Salad is fresh and flavorful

The Konditorei's Sweet Corn & Nectarine Salad is fresh and flavorful

Nothing, but nothing, tastes better on a hot summer day than a salad fresh from the garden. One of the best of the season is a Sweet Corn and Nectarine Salad, the creation of the Konditorei Chef Derek Gallegos. As part of the Recipe from the Resort series, Chef Gallegos, who enjoys a wide local following, shares his recipe with The Valley Sun. You will see how easy it is to enjoy this refreshing salad, packed with flavor, at home.

In mid-June, Chef Gallegos was in the midst of transitioning the Konditeroi’s menu from heavier winter and spring fare to one in step with soaring temperatures. A large part of this process is, wherever possible, incorporating farm-to-table ingredients into each dish. Look for an assortment of constantly changing fresh vegetables, brought to the kitchen at the peak of their readiness, fruit and lighter fare that is true to the Resort’s Austrian heritage, but with a modern, healthy spin.

Though there are four parts to this salad: the salad itself, the preserved lemons for the lemon vinaigrette and the grilled and pickled sweet onions, don’t let the number of ingredients deter you. Make a big batch of preserved lemons and keep them for up to three months in the refrigerator. Similarly, the onions can be made well ahead of time (Chef Gallegos said they taste pretty good on a burger, too!) With the preserving and pickling out of the way, building this salad is a quick and easy process of chopping and whisking.

Chef Derek Gallegos dices the nectarine after cutting fresh corn from the cob

Chef Derek Gallegos dices the nectarine after cutting fresh corn from the cob

Sweet Corn & Nectarine Salad
2 servings
Active prep time: 15 minutes
Additional information: Preserved lemons for the vinaigrette should be made at least two days ahead of time

Ingredients
Salad
1 large ear fresh sweet corn, corn cut off the cob
1 ripe nectarine, pitted and cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup grilled & pickled sweet yellow onions
¼ lb Wood River Organics local mesclun salad mix
¼ cup preserved lemon vinaigrette
1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
2 oz. Cypress Grove Creamery “Midnight Moon” goats milk Gouda

Toss above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, divide onto two chilled plates, shave cheese over salads using a Japanese mandolin.

Preserved Lemons (for the vinaigrette)
6 lemons, washed
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh thyme

Mix together salt and sugar. Slice ½” off ends of lemons and discard, slice lemons ¼” thick. Alternate layers of lemon slices, the sugar/salt mixture and fresh thyme in a plastic or stainless steel container. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for a least two days. Lemons will keep in refrigerator for three months.

Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, just toss with the preserved lemon vinaigrette, et voila!

Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, just toss with the preserved lemon vinaigrette, et voila!

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
6 slices preserved lemon (rinsed well and seeded)
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
½ tsp. pepper
2 dashes Tabasco
1 tsp. salt

Blend above ingredients together well in a Vitamix or similar blender, then add slowly on medium speed:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canola oil

Grilled & Pickled Sweet Onions
2 large sweet yellow onions
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup champagne vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt

Peel onions and slice ½” thick. Rub with a little olive oil and season with 1 tsp. salt. Grill until lightly charred on both sides and soft, place in a non-reactive container. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and pour over grilled onions, let sit in fridge overnight. Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.

If you enjoy a salad at the Konditorei, be sure to chose among an endless assortment of pastries for dessert

If you enjoy a salad at the Konditorei, be sure to indulge in a European-style pastry for dessert

If you prefer to spend lunchtime on the beautiful Konditorei patio in the Sun Valley Village, Chef Gallegos would be more than happy to do the pitting, slicing and pickling for you. The Konditorei is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, as well as afternoon coffee accompanied by the most extensive, decadent Old World pastries imaginable. Go ahead and indulge — the Sweet Corn & Nectarine salad is really healthy!

–RES

Farm to Table

Eat like a local! It's Farmers' Market season

Eat like a local! It's Farmers' Market season

A walk through the Wood River Farmers’ Market, that made its seasonal debut in Ketchum last Tuesday, invites appreciation for the here and now and anticipation for what’s to come. The offerings at the popular Market, located at East Avenue and Fourth Street, unfold with the warming weeks. The first early summer stands offer hearty lettuces, radishes and my favorite, local morels harvested from secret verdant places. As days grow longer and hotter, tomatoes, zucchini, peas, beans, broccoli, peppers, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries – all the pleasures of summer – begin to appear. The Market is constantly evolving, constantly surprising.

Amid all the fresh offerings from local Idaho fields, you will also find pork ribs and steaks and street tacos, oh my! The Market is a terrific place to grab lunch (all the locals do) or to take home prepared food for the family for dinner. Many Tuesday nights at my house feature a half rack of pork ribs (I dare you to walk away from the scent from the cooking meat at the Market), coupled with a fresh salad and vegetable and loaves of crusty bread – all purchased booth to booth.

Step right up -- dinner is served

Step right up -- dinner is served

For those with a sweet tooth, hop into the long, but worth it, queue for homemade pies with the flakiest crusts in creation. Sample elegant little cakes in miniature mason jars and abundant French pastries and treats. If you are gluten free, there are also plenty of rich, delicious choices.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover the local cheeses, glorious flowers, handcrafted pottery and jewelry, jams and jellies, tomato sauce, fresh eggs, herbs, handmade sausage. It’s a good thing we have 18 full weeks to enjoy the area’s bounty. And if even that isn’t enough, the Market moves to Hailey on Thursdays.

Everyone enjoys the first days of summer break with a sweet treat

Everyone enjoys the first days of summer break with a sweet treat

Under Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko’s direction, look for a strong farm to table influence in the Resort’s restaurants this summer. Sun Valley’s complement of eateries – from the sophisticated grab-and-go Short Line Deli to fine dining at Trail Creek Cabin and the Ram will all feature local ingredients and indigenous flavors. The restaurant’s chefs incorporate what is at the height of freshness into their menus, constantly changing their epicurean alchemy during these warm months and into the fall. Please check back to this blog during the course of the summer for regular postings about our chefs and recipes from the Resort’s kitchens.

The pleasures and benefits of being a locavore are well documented and commonsensical. During Idaho’s long frozen winters, eating this way takes some work. But in the summer, just stroll or bike downtown. Enjoying the freshest, tastiest food harvested from just down the street or down the Valley couldn’t be easier or more edifying.

–RES

A Day for Dad

Enjoy the food, the putt-putt golf and the view this Father's Day at the Sun Valley Club

Enjoy the food, the putt-putt golf and the views this Father's Day at the Sun Valley Club

Scenario No. 1
On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, your father, who works so hard and does so much for your family, opens his well-intentioned gift. Imagine his delight at receiving (a) a new set of drill bits (b) a tie (very useful for Idaho) (c) a new electronic gadget that his children will proceed to take away from him, ‘just to help set it up!’ Proceed to the backyard and put him to work over the grill, preparing a festive meal for the gang. Watch the joy on mom’s face as she realizes she gets to clean up!

Scenario No. 2
Hear the sound of laughter ricochet off the manicured greens as dad and the family enjoy a rousing round of putt-putt at the Sun Valley Club. Everyone’s short game skills are put to the test. Victory is celebrated, defeat quickly forgotten. The 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course offers 52,000 square feet of fun for every age and skill level. And the best part? On June 16, putt-putt is complimentary!

Try your skill, or just have fun, on the Sawtooths Putting Course
Try your skill, or just have fun, on the Sawtooths Putting Course

Next, your group, comprised perhaps of dads, grandfathers, friends, children and spouses then walks a few short feet to the Clubhouse for a fabulous feast that dad doesn’t have to cook and mom doesn’t need to clean up.

Tuck into a special menu. Choices include a rack of baby back ribs or chicken with baked beans, corn on the cob, potato, corn bread and honey butter or an old fashioned western bacon cheeseburger and, of course, beer. If dad prefers to celebrate his big day with a gin and tonic, there is also a full bar. The restaurant’s regular lunch menu, including fresh and healthy salads, sandwiches and other favorites will also be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A special late afternoon menu will be available until 5 p.m.

The Clubhouse is casual, but elegant, with spacious tables conducive to conversation. Dine on the deck or inside. Both spots offer stunning views of Baldy, Dollar and the rolling, expansive greens of the Trail Creek Golf Course. In fact, if dad was inspired by the putt-putt, he may end up playing the front nine.

The Sun Valley Club provides the perfect backdrop for Father's Day

The Sun Valley Club provides the perfect backdrop for Father's Day

Sun Valley was recently recognized by Golf Digest as one of the top 75 resort courses in North America. The signature Trail Creek course challenges golfers of any ability. The legendary Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed this traditional alpine course in 1980 with a full compliment of stream carries and ominous bunkers well positioned to catch the errant shot. Just across the street, dad may also choose to tackle the White Clouds course. Encircled by some of the most sublime scenery in the Lower 48, dad will enjoy these nine holes, situated on cloud nine. This course complements the Trail Creek Course by presenting contrasting play with more sand trap shots, side-hill lies, risk-reward and blind shots.

The Clubhouse is consistently my father’s favorite spot to have lunch, so our family will certainly be stopping in on the 16th for a memorable meal and to swing at some golf balls. Treat your dad, and the entire gang, to a wonderful, relaxing and delicious Father’s Day in Sun Valley. Just come on in. No reservations are needed. The memories will last forever and he will certainly appreciate it more than another necktie.

–RES

Happy Father's Day to my dad who always has my back and who is my favorite fishing buddy

Happy Father's Day to my dad who always has my back and who is my favorite fishing buddy

Fun Facts:
Father’s Day has the highest percentage of collect calls of any day during the year.

Father’s Day has been celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June since 1972.

a la Mode Promises a Sweet Summer

The welcome mat is out at a la mode. Come on in for a sweet treat!

The welcome mat is out at a la mode. Come on in for a sweet treat!

Picture this: It’s a late summer afternoon in Sun Valley. The strong sun is high in the sky. You are hot. Most likely, you have spent the morning hiking, biking, golfing, playing tennis, riding horses, swimming or enjoying any of the other countless activities that make the warm weather months here so spectacular.

But now you need a refreshing break.  What better way to recharge your summer batteries than with cold, creamy, delicious (and house made!) ice cream. Step into a la mode in the Sun Valley Village and step back to simpler times. This old fashion ice cream parlor, that opened June 1 for the season, is charming and whimsical, featuring jars filled with brightly colored candy, oversize glass containers frosted with chilled iced tea and lemonade. And, of yes, ice cream.

Color and whimsy abound at a la mode

Color and whimsy abound at a la mode

la mode debuted its new summer menu this weekend, featuring house made and local ice cream treats for the entire family. Traditional ice cream, gelato, yogurt and sorbet are all featured on the menu in flavors from vanilla bean to tin roof to butterscotch pecan. Yum! Homemade ice cream bars come in varieties including almond joy, rocky road and orange dreamsicle. The list of toppings is 17 items long and features the usual suspects like marshmallow sauce, but also adds a twist with chocolate covered pretzels, peppermint patties and toasted coconut.

Feeling cooler yet?

And we haven’t even gotten to the creative sundae menu and the parlor’s most popular item: milkshakes. In fact, on Saturday, I met Carlos sitting at the cool marble bar at a la mode, savoring his milkshake. This true aficionado marked his calendar so as not to forget to come in on opening day because he loves the shakes that much.

Curious, and hungry, my family took Carlos’ advice and ordered milkshakes – two chocolate and one Oreo. When the freezing, thick shakes, capped with a festive swirl of real whipped cream were brought to our table outside, the children’s eyes were as big as their appetites. And the milkshakes delivered. Between gulps, everyone agreed, it is definitely the best frozen drink around.

Sundaes layered with flavor...

Sundaes layered with flavor...

Thick chocolate milkshakes...

Thick chocolate milkshakes...

For the sake of journalistic balance, I strayed from the milkshake plan and ordered a banana cream pie sundae. My large dish, layered with crushed graham crackers, vanilla ice cream, pastry cream and of course, loads of bananas and whipped cream was packed with flavor and texture – delicious! All the sundae offerings (grasshopper, strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cookie, fudge brownie, cheesecake) incorporate fresh ingredients from both a la mode and the Konditorei next door to create one-of-a-kind taste sensations.

Sated, and sleepy, our first venture to a la mode this summer was a huge success. This sweet storefront is sure to be a hub of yesteryear festivity all summer long. Truly, what better way is there to enjoy a leisurely hot afternoon than with ice cream, especially when it is this good?

–RES

Carlos, a huge a la mode fan, gives his milkshake a thumbs up!

Carlos, a huge fan of a la mode, gives his milkshake a thumbs up!

Summer, Your Way

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us and with it, the promise of endless sunny days filled with, well, whatever makes you happy. Sun Valley summers are rife with possibility, whether your tastes tend to climbing mountains, biking single track, swinging at tennis or golf balls, sunbathing, stargazing … the possibilities truly are endless.

For my family, summer is all about being outside. When, in late June, the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m., there is time to indulge in everything that makes the season so memorable.

After much consideration and heated debate around the dining room table, here is a list of the top five activities that define our Sun Valley summers. It would have been easy to name 50, but the winners are:

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

Hiking
My favorite way to enjoy the wilderness and scenic beauty of the Wood River Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains and beyond (and beyond and beyond) is on foot. Whether I have a two-hour window in my schedule or the luxury of a full day to get out into the woods, the possibilities for eye- (and lung!) popping hikes are as limitless as the amazingly well maintained, beautiful trail system that originates in our backyard. In-town hikes like Adams Gulch, Proctor Mountain and Chocolate Gulch offer diverse topography and challenge. A short drive from town gets you into the White Clouds, the Smoky Mountains, the Pioneers and the Boulders. Tucked among these mountain peaks are some of the most spectacular high altitude lakes you will ever see, and even during “high season,” many of these trails are surprisingly lightly traveled. My all-time favorite in the Smoky Mountains is the Norton Lake/Big Lost loop — spectacular and easily manageable in a half-day. Given a full day, the Sawtooths are my destination of choice, with trailheads in the Stanley area about an hour’s drive north of Ketchum. One of the destinations in that region isn’t called Shangri-La for nothing! Oh! And hiking up Baldy to Roundhouse for lunch and a gondola ride down is pretty terrific, too! And cresting the final ridge up to Pioneer Cabin is probably one of the most beautiful payoffs, beauty-wise, in the world. This list goes on and on!

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

Fly Fishing
As the band the Talking Heads sang in the 80s, “Take me to the river, drop me in the water,” and for our family, this is gospel, as long as we get to bring our fly rods. Sun Valley is surrounded on every side by some of the most pristine, productive trout water in North America. Steps from town, the Big Wood River fishes fantastically throughout the summer, tempting novices to get hooked and offering more sophisticated fishing to experienced anglers. For children, Penny Lake is fishing heaven and a great introduction to the lifetime sport. Over Trail Creek pass, Copper Basin and the Big Lost River beckon with some of the most spectacular scenery in the state and south of Bellevue, Silver Creek draws fly fishing aficionados from around the world with its notoriously selective natives that challenge and delight.

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating Away
With two figure skaters in the family, much of our summer is spent at the Sun Valley ice rinks. But skating isn’t only for those working on their Double Salchow! Taking a few turns around the iconic outdoor rink that hugs the Lodge’s terrace is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. In fact, it is the coolest place to be on hot summer days. Skate rentals, attire to make you look like a gold medalist and admission to general sessions are all available at the historic skate house, as is the opportunity to sign up for a few lessons with one of the rink’s highly accomplished pros. Then on Saturday nights, beginning in July, the stars of the skating world shine under Idaho’s canopy of stars in Sun Valley’s world famous ice shows. We love to enjoy the bountiful dinner buffet before the show or wrap up in a blanket on the bleachers to see, up close and personal, the finest athletes in the world. This year’s lineup includes luminaries like Evan Lysacek, Ryan Bradley and Ashley Wagner. This may be your last chance to glimpse future Olympic champions as they finalize preparations for Games in Sochi.

Dining al fresco
Dining outside is one of the great pleasures of life, especially when you live in a climate where it is only possible for a short window of time. Whenever eating out is on the calendar, we chose to go al fresco. At the Resort, dinner on the Ram terrace is our absolute favorite, both for the food and the terrific view of activity in the Village. The swan pond, surrounded by soft green grass, couldn’t be more picturesque if an artist painted it. Other terrific outdoor dining at the Resort includes the terrace at Gretchen’s restaurant overlooking the ice rink, light fare and drinks on the Duchin Room terrace and of course, my other favorite, outdoor dining at the historic Trail Creek Cabin. A short drive from Sun Valley takes you a world away to enjoy outstanding food as Trail Creek burbles nearby and the surrounding mountains look, at sunset, as if they are draped in velvet. Other al fresco dining opportunities also abound in Ketchum and Hailey when decks and patios are the place to see and be seen all summer long, whether you’re enjoying a burger or a gourmet four-course dinner.

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

Leisurely bike rides
Nearly every night of the warm weather months, my children and I hop on our bikes, hop onto the Rails-to-Trails bike path that runs right by our home and pedal the evening away. This paved path is appropriate for everyone as it gently leads past Hailey to the south and well past Ketchum to the north. The route often runs next to the Big Wood River and offers more than 32-miles of pedaling possibility. My advice? Don’t rush. This is a great opportunity to simply enjoy the surroundings and the company.

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Summer possibilities are so varied, whether you are visiting for two weeks or have lived here for 20 years, there will always be new hikes to try, new mountain bike trails to explore, another stretch of river to fish or to whitewater raft, campsites you haven’t visited, a new stretch of beach at a mountain lake at which to picnic, a swimming hole to jump into, another opportunity to work on your handicap. Phew!

No matter what you like to do, though, the critical thing is to just get outside, be with friends and family and remember what summer is supposed to be about. Unplug, enjoy, unwind, explore. It’s summer in Sun Valley.

–RES

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Eat Well, Do Good at the Idaho Foodie Event of the Year

Cheers! You are about to enjoy an evening you will never forget! (Photos courtesy of Guy Hand)

Cheers! You are about to enjoy an unforgettable evening! (Photos courtesy of Guy Hand)

Let’s face it. We have all attended many memorable fundraising events that served less than memorable food. When the purpose is to paddle up for worthwhile causes, dinner often plays second string to a starting lineup of socializing and shopping auction items.

On May 21, however, food will be the focal point at Edible Idaho’s Trail Creek Dinner Benefit for the Hunger Coalition – an opportunity to do good and eat really, really well. Foodies rejoice!

Sun Valley's own Chef Murcko is known for sourcing the finest in local flavors and ingredients

Sun Valley's own award-winning Chef Murcko is known for sourcing the finest in local flavors and ingredients

According to Claudia Sanchez Mahedy, publisher of the magazine Edible Idaho South (a sponsor of the event with Sun Valley Resort, Hotel McCall and The Hunger Coalition), the concept is tantalizingly simple. Two Idaho James Beard Foundation semi-finalists, Chef John Murcko, Director of Culinary Operations for the Sun Valley Resort, and Chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s Restaurant at Hotel McCall, will weave their edible alchemy throughout the evening, astounding and delighting guests. The chefs’ gastronomic genius will tantalize the taste buds, all while benefiting the Hailey-based Hunger Coalition.

Both Chef Murcko and Chef Kucy are famous for sourcing as much local food as possible for use in their restaurants and purveyors for this event include: 44 North Vodka, Cinder Wines, Huston Vineyards, Telaya Wine Co, Homestead Natural Meats, Ballard Cheese, Blue Sage Farm and Southwind Potatoes.

Chef Gary Kucy will weave together tantalizing tastes for this memorable meal

Chef Gary Kucy will weave together tantalizing tastes for this memorable meal

Be among the 50 lucky people to enjoy this never-to-be-duplicated evening. Start the night at the Sun Valley Inn before boarding picturesque horse drawn wagons that will whisk you to the historic Trail Creek Cabin. There, star mixologists will greet you with specialty cocktails sourcing only the freshest and tastiest ingredients. Guests will then be seated in the rustic but sophisticated and romantic space to then enjoy a six-course meal paired with exemplary wines. Winemakers and farmers who have generously donated their products will be in attendance to answer questions.

Tickets are $200 per person and all proceeds support The Hunger Coalition of Blaine County, an organization celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

If you need extra incentive, a sneak peek at the Chef’s Tasting Menu planned for this glorious gastronomical gathering features the following (and much, much more): an amuse course including stuffed spring morel with sweet pea emulsion as well as dill & peppercorn gravlox, pickled trumpets, warm horseradish potato and chives. A sunchoke chowder with morels and green garlic takes the soup course from humdrum to oh my! Subsequent plates will include flavors as varied as a sturgeon osso bucco with bacon, Brussels leaves, fiddleheads, lemon and tomato; oxtail shepherd’s pie with goat chop, smoked ramps and potato; and an elk mix grill with roast Idaho elk striploin, grilled elk sausage, roasted garlic-sage potato puree and huckleberry-red onion marmalade. Is your mouth watering yet?

A ride on a horse drawn wagon to the historic Trail Creek sets the tone for this special night

A ride on a horse drawn wagon to the historic Trail Creek sets the tone for this special night

Be sure to get your tickets early, as this event is sure to sell out. Then prepare to enjoy the finest fare in Idaho! Tickets and more information are available on the Edible Idaho South website.

– RES

Mother’s Day Made Easy

The Sun Valley Lodge -- an oasis for Mother's Day

The Sun Valley Lodge -- an oasis for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday for which most children and spouses truly want to create a relaxing, special day for the mom in their lives. But good intentions don’t always lead to great results. It can be a day of high expectations and occasionally high stress for those left in charge of plans. Let’s face it — sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to do for the person who does so much.

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

Sun Valley to the rescue! The Resort is offering a special package especially tailored to what moms want. If relaxation, pampering and a memorable experience are what you’re after, your search is over. There isn’t a mom out there (this mom of three included — hint) who wouldn’t love a getaway to, or even a staycation, in Sun Valley.

First, Mom will check in to a luxury room in the Inn or Lodge (where someone else will make the beds) for a special rate of $225 on Saturday night, May 11. But that pays for much more than a fantastically comfortable bed and the finest linens; it also includes Sunday Brunch for two at the elegant Lodge Dining Room. This famous brunch offers dozens of dishes to tantalize a mother’s taste buds.  She can indulge at as many stations as she desires and treat herself to dessert without having to think even for a moment about dishes. Settled in beneath crystal chandeliers with white linens, silver and sparkling stemware, she will feel as important as she is.

Relax and get pampered at the Sun Valley Salon & Spaaah..

Relax and get pampered at the Sun Valley Salon & Spaaah....

But wait, there’s more! For the ultimate in mom downtime, she will also receive a one-hour massage at the Sun Valley Salon & Spa. Her cares will float away beneath strong hands, a pampering and attentive atmosphere, far removed from her regular responsibilities. If you really want to wow mom, add a luxurious manicure and pedicure or facial to her stay. And be sure to make time to soak in one of the hot outdoor pools. Order her a cocktail to sip on the deck and she will really feel like she is off-duty!

Keep the love going by adding Friday or Sunday night to the package for just $100 a night (prices do not include taxes or resort fees).

If an overnight is not in the cards, be sure to at least enjoy brunch on Sunday. Service begins for this highly popular meal at 9 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m. No reservations are necessary and the feast runs $36 for adults and $21 for children 12 and under.

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

For room reservations, call 888-978-3475.

Mother’s Day is a holiday with history that stretches back to ancient Greek and Roman times. It is a wonderful way to honor and show your appreciation for the woman in your life who makes a difference daily in the life of a family.

Book today! She deserves it! And it will certainly go over better than that gadget from the hardware store or that small appliance you think she just might like, but she probably won’t …

–RES

Slack’s back… Let’s eat!

Half a Sun Valley Club "Club Sandwich" and a cup of soup for $8? It's what makes slack worthwhile!

Slack: characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy <a slack pace>

As a longtime local, I have to admit that spring slack is my absolute favorite season. It’s not that I can’t embrace the electric vibe of excitement winter brings with it, or that I don’t adore the infectious energy of summer, it’s just that slack is when the locals get their town back.

In the months of April and May, you will see those fabled “gone fishin’ till summer” signs in Wood River Valley shop windows, and dogs do actually lie undisturbed on Main Street. But one of the best aspects of this monumental slowdown are the locals’ specials. Restaurants all over town (well, at least the ones that stay open) offer amazing deals as a way of saying thank you to their most loyal clientele – and to get some bums on those seats before they get too dusty.

Of course the resort gets in on the action too, ramping up some of its regular year-round specials, as well as bringing out some choice ones just for the “shoulder season.” Here’s a quick roundup of some of my favorite spring specials in Sun Valley.

While the high-powered-career woman is not a type often found in Ketchum, hard-working small-business woman is. If you‘re one of those, why not treat yourself to that lunch out with girlfriends you’ve been promising yourself all winter but just couldn’t find the time for? The time is now, round up the ladies, head to Gretchens and enjoy half-price entrees and, most importantly, half-price wine, any Tuesday or Thursday in May.

Pacific Ahi Tuna grilled medium rare, served with pineapple chutney, lime aioli and organic greens on a brioche bun is the perfect accompaniment to lunch with the ladies.

For the families who need something to do with the little ones now that Dollar Mountain has said farewell for the season, pop in on Bald Mountain Pizza for some cheap, nutritious entertainment. Let the tykes build their own unlimited-topping pizza for just $5 (daily 5-9 p.m., now through June 6). Plus, get free tickets to a movie at Sun Valley Opera House following the carb overload.

Pile your pie high with Bald Mountain Pizza's unlimited toppings for $5 deal.

Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, golf widow/er, or just enjoy a spectacular view, make sure to stop by Sun Valley Club, arguably the resort’s hottest lunch spot, and chow down on the spring dining special of a cup of soup and 1/2 a sandwich for a just eight bucks. (runs from Monday through June 9, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.).

Skiers, when the mountain closes this Sunday, channel the resort’s famed Austrian ski instructors and drown your sorrows at the newly remodeled Konditeroi. This Austrian gathering place has gone back to its Eastern European roots and is offering German beer and a house-made brat for $12.99 through June 7, a bargain for such a scrumptious taste of Sun Valley history.

Catch up on more delectable offerings from the resort’s 17 restaurants here, and follow Sun Valley Resort Dining on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out this season.

Happy trails!

Jennifer Tuohy

Email restaurantreservations@sunvalley.com for details on any Sun Valley restaurant.