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

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

River Run Rocks

A huge group turned out for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Saturday afternoon at River Run

A huge group turned out for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Saturday afternoon at River Run

It’s spring break and Sun Valley is ready to party!

Sun Valley Resort set in motion the feel good vibe of spring in the mountains on Saturday afternoon, when a crowd estimated at over 1,000 people gathered at the base of River Run to enjoy the sounds of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The afternoon was sunny and warm and concert goers peeled down to t-shirts and ski pants as they enjoyed a cold beer and hot music.

In true Sun Valley style, with the first chords from Lukas Nelson’s guitar, people rushed the dance floor and didn’t sit down again during the entire hour-and-a-half long concert.  The stage, set up just outside of Brass Ranch, offered a large area for dancing and standing and seating room stretched from the bridge to the base of the lifts.  Also in true Sun Valley style, the event drew everyone in town — from 20-somethings to kids in strollers, from retirees to Ketchum’s ubiquitous four-legged friends.

Everyone came out to relax and to enjoy the band’s signature sound. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real stopped in Sun Valley during a tour that next leads to Utah, California and Hawaii. But judging by the number of fans they have in Idaho, hopefully they will return. The four-person band is known for their high-energy performances. Though Lukas is music royalty (his father is Willie Nelson), the 25-year-old lead singer and guitar player has earned his own huge fan base with original music that is less a little bit country, and more a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

Lukas Nelson rocks River Run

Lukas Nelson rocks River Run

Saturday’s concert was the first of four free concerts celebrating spring on the mountain. The Rock ‘n The Sun Spring Concert Series will continue on March 23 with Paranoid Social Club at River Run, on April 6, The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, also at River Run and on April 13, the day before Baldy is set to close for the season with Diego’s Umbrella  at Warm Springs. Concerts run from 4:30 – 6 p.m. This is the first time Sun Valley has ever offered a free après ski concert series of this magnitude with a large outdoor stage and full concert sound system.

The recipe for apres ski spring break style? Eat, drink, be merry

The recipe for apres ski spring break style? Eat, drink, be merry

Next up, Paranoid Social Club is an American Rock band formed in 2002 in Portland, Maine. The band’s debut album Axis II produced the hit “Wasted” which was featured as the theme for Broken Lizard’s cult classic film Beerfest, as well as being the soundtrack to every college party in America, according to the band’s website. Their next album featured the single “Two Girls” which was used in HBO’s series Entourage and Cathouse and gave birth to a house remix album produced by club DJs. I’m guessing Paranoid Social Club will bring the crowd to their feet again.

No explanation needed

No explanation needed

Expect big crowds this weekend for this party band. Find a seat or your spot on the dance floor and enjoy Spring Break Sun Valley style!

Thanks to Sun Valley Resort for making spring skiing even better.

–RES

 

 

Romance at the Ram

A cozy banquette for two

Last weekend, I found myself without children – a rare state for me. My daughters were whitewater rafting and my son was at a sleepover. With this sudden profusion of grown-up time, my immediate instinct was to avoid my own kitchen and let a professional do the work. I wanted elegance, charm, great food, a cocktail. So I headed to the Ram Restaurant in Sun Valley Village. From the toile draperies to the hideaway wooden banquettes with their needlepoint backs and leather seats, there is nothing I don’t like about the Ram. On the occasion that I have an evening to spend with an adult I really want to talk to (read: a date), the Ram is my restaurant of choice. On Saturday night, I slipped into a booth by the window, admiring the pressed white linens, sparkling crystal, and spotless silver, and allowed the soothing notes of the piano to adjust my attitude. I went from harried mommy-mode to night-on-the-town-mode in record time.

There is something truly relaxing and romantic about the Ram. From the moment you walk into the room — styled with more than a hint of Sun Valley’s Austrian roots in mind – the pressure is off. Unlike some other area restaurants fueled by the see-and-be-seen scene, at the Ram, you can bring a big group and make a scene or simply nod and smile at your fellow diners as you enter (because you will inevitably know someone there), but take comfort in the fact that your privacy will be respected. Many of us locals (you know who you are) seek refuge, while seeking a good meal, at the Ram.

The gateway to a wonderful evening

None of this would matter, of course, without delicious food. For a few years, the Ram’s menu was bit heavy for me, focusing on wild game, red meat and rich sides. Not my thing. Today’s selections are much more eclectic. Sure, you can still get a great steak, but I swapped the red meat for gravlax, the heavy red wine for a perfectly chilled Cosmo, added a fresh beet salad and a hot, creamy cup of New England clam chowder and, voila! I created my perfect meal (plus a few bites from the communal Bananas Foster, of course). My only complaint? Rice pudding is no longer served. I used to go to the Ram just for that. (Hint).

The beet salad is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. The Ram’s chef, Steve Ludwig, was kind enough to share this healthy, delicious fall recipe.

Ram Beet Salad:

 what you will need:

roasted beets

honey-lavender vinaigrette

candied walnuts, crumbled/crushed

ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

chive rounds

picked arugula

picked fresh herbs: chervil, parsley, dill, etc. (whatever you like)

 for the beets:

Find medium to large beets at the store. I use chiogga and golden varieties for this dish since the red beets stain everything. Set your oven to 350 F and depending what type of beets you bought, cut the greens off.  Find roasting pans or pots with lids large enough to hold the beets.  Roast different color beets separate from each other by placing them in their own pan, adding a ½ inch of water, covering tightly with lid or aluminum foil and roasting in oven until a small pairing knife can be inserted easily into the beets.  Depending on how uniform the beets were, some will be done before others; remove beets from pans as they fininsh cooking and continue to roast the remaining beets until all will easily take the pairing knife. Let cool for a few minutes and take clean dry kitchen towel and rub the outside of the cooked beets with this towel to remove the skins.  Trim off the root end if necessary and any blemishes.  Trim the top and bottom to create flat surfaces.  Using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter and going from top to bottom, press down and cut out a cylinder of beet.  Slice these beet cylinders into about ½ inch discs.  Let cool down.  This can be done up to two days in advance.

Next, make the honey lavender vinaigrette.

 

honey-lavender vinaigrette

 ingredients:

1 T and 2tsp lavender

1 T honey

3.5oz chevre goat cheese

1 small shallot, rough chopped

1/2 cup champagne vinegar

2 T water

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper, ground

1 cup olive oil

method:

- put first eight ingredients in blender and process until smooth

- with blender still running, slowly add oil to emulsify

Assemble salad:

1)   toss beets with a touch of salt and some of the honey-lavender vinaigrette

2)   position on plate and top with crumbled candied walnuts, ricotta salata cheese and then chive rounds

3)   lightly dress the arugula and herbs in some more of the vinaigrette and place on top

4)   enjoy!

Sun Valley is currently running fall slack dining specials at the Ram and at all Resort restaurants — a terrific, affordable opportunity to enjoy some great food at a great price!  Be sure to check them out!

Fall Dining Specials

Do you #LoveSVFood?


Wish you were here ... eating this! The winners of Sun Valley's summer Instagram contest.

Taking photos of food was once the sole purpose of social media, that and telling people what you were doing at any moment in time. While, thankfully, we’ve moved on somewhat, food is still ubiquitous online. From sharing recipies, flaunting the delicacy you’re currently enjoying or pining over the one you wish you were consuming, food porn is ubiquitous in the modern age – probably because a love for food is one thing we all have in common.

This summer, Sun Valley Resort launched its first Instagram contest (for those not familiar, Instagram is a free photo-sharing social network). The resort opened the contest in early June, inviting guests at Sun Valley to snap a creative picture of their dining experience using Instagram and tag it with #LoveSVFood. Each week through the summer, one winner was awarded Sun Valley Swag. Last week the “Best Shot” was selected from among those twelve winners and awarded the grand prize, a three night stay at Sun Valley Resort.

Local girl Kristina Poydenis snapped that grand-prize winning shot, capturing her delectable Mud Pie at Bald Mountain Pizza & Pasta. Here’s Kristina’s shot, as well as some of the weekly winners and a selection of the many entries to the contest over the last two months:

A selection of entries and winners to @SunValleyResort’s summer food instagram contest.

A selection of entries and winners to @SunValleyResort’s summer food instagram contest.

For more on Sun Valley’s food, check out my series of Recipes from the Resort and learn how to whip up some of these delicacies in your own kitchen.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Recipe from the Resort: Summer Vegetable Pasta

 

A summer vegetable extravaganza

It’s been a long, hot summer by Wood River Valley standards, and if your vegetable garden is anything like mine, it’s hitting its peak right now, producing lots of beautiful colors and juicy treats. However, as all mountain gardeners know, we don’t have much time until the first frost, so best use up that sumptuous bounty quick smart. And the fifth dish in my Recipe from the Resort series, a delicious summer vegetable pasta from Bald Mountain Pizza & Pasta chef Dennis Pittsley, is the perfect vehicle.

Dennis’s dish is a unique twist on a traditional vegetable pasta, he incorporates spinach into his pesto and adds corn to the veggie mix, providing a surprising sweetness and delightful crunch. This is a simple, sweet and very healthy dish, and the pure pleasure of eating freshly picked veggies from your garden makes it manna from heaven.

Get your fresh veggies at the ready

Summer Farfalle Pasta
4 servings
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
Veggie Pasta
2 cups zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups yellow squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh white corn, cut off the cob
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup of fresh seeded diced tomato
a handful of chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 oz of dry farfalle pasta

Spinach-basil pesto
2 cups of fresh basil
4 cups of fresh spinach
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

A quick sautee and you're almost done.

Directions
for the pesto
Blanch the spinach and the basil, then cool down in ice water to maintain the green color.. drain and squeeze as much water out as possible. roast the pine nuts in the oven at 350F. Combine greens and pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency.

for the Pasta
In a large pot, bring salted water to a steady boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. while the pasta is cooking sauté the vegetables (excluding the tomatoes) and garlic for 2 minutes in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the drained pasta to the pan, remove from heat, stir in the fresh and sun dried tomatoes. Toss in the pesto and serve immediately.

Summer Farfalle Pasta

If your garden hasn’t been kind enough to provide you with the ingredients needed, head down to Bald Mountain Pizza & Pasta and let Dennis whip up his specialty for you. The pizza is darn tasty too, and it’s a great restaurant for the kids. If you time it right you can enjoy dinner and then take the tykes to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days at the Opera House for free (courtesy of the resort’s dinner and a movie special), or leave the kids at home and catch The Dark Knight, both starting this Friday.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Recipe from the Resort: Idahoan Strawberry Lemonade

It's summertime and the living is easy... and what better time to sit back and relax and enjoy a long, tall cocktail?

In a slight twist on our Resort Recipes series – where I scour Sun Valley’s restaurants to bring you the secrets behind the dishes on offer – I decided to get the skinny on some perfect summertime beverages. So, I headed back to my favorite creek-side diner, the historic Trail Creek Cabin and sampled its most popular summer cocktail: The Idahoan Strawberry Lemonade.

Here’s manger Matt Robinson with a step-by-step guide to this delicious summer cocktail, the ideal accompaniment to your end-of-summer parties:

Video not displaying? Click here.

Idahoan Strawberry Lemonade (hard)
Makes 1 pitcher/12 tall drinks

Ingredients
2 cups strawberry puree (made from fresh strawberries)
2 cups simple syrup (sugar and water mix)
2 cups lemon juice
18 ounces of Idaho Potato Vodka
Soda water
Garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices

Directions
Make the puree by placing the strawberries, syrup and lemon juice in a food processor (not a blender). Add that and the vodka to a pitcher full of ice. Top off with soda water. Pour into 12 tall glasses, garnish each with a  fresh strawberry and lemon slice. Serve with a straw. For a single serving take a tall glass filled with ice, add 2 ounces of the strawberry lemon puree and 1.5 ounces Idaho Potato Vodka, top with soda water and garnish as above.

While Matt was creating my Idahoan Strawberry Lemonade some thirsty hikers stopped in and were tempted into joining us!

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Details: Trail Creek Cabin is located 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge (half a mile past the Sun Valley Club), and is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. The Trail Creek Cabin Deck Bar is open 4 – 8 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday and features live music Wednesdays & Thursdays from 5 – 8 p.m.. For reservations call 208.622.2019 or email restaurantreservations@sunvalley.com

 

Recipe from the Resort: Gretchen’s Ribeye Steak

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Chef Derek Gallegos shows off his restaurant's house specialty.

Valley taste-makers will be familiar with Chef Derek Gallegos’ work, initially as the chef/owner at The Sun Valley Brewing Company and more recently at Three Ten Main restaurant in Hailey. Today, he is at the helm of Sun Valley Lodge staple Gretchen’s. Named after Sun Valley’s own Gretchen Fraser, the family restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the year.

For a taste of Gretchen’s goodness at home however, I talked with Chef Gallegos to get you a step-by-step guide to the perfect ribeye, one of the restaurant’s newest specialties.

Video not displaying properly? Click here.

Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter & Zinfandel Syrup, served with Idaho Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

Gorgonzola Butter
Ingredients
1/4 lb. gorgonzola cheese room temperature, 1/4 lb. unsalted butter room temperature, 1 yellow onion, finely diced and caramelized in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 dashes tabasco, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Directions
Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Place on plastic wrap or parchment and roll into log shape, Place on cookie sheet and chill in fridge until firm.

Garlic Confit
Ingredients
1 lb. garlic cloves, peeled, 2 cups extra virgin olive oil, good quality, but not your best. Or just enough to cover the cloves.
Directions
Put garlic in small thick-bottomed sauce pan and cover with oil. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer and cook until garlic is soft and just beginning to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes while cooking. Cool in oil. Will keep refrigerated for 1 month.

Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients
4 medium Idaho russet potatoes, about 3 lbs., 1/4 lb butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions
Cook peeled and cubed potatoes in water on low boil until easily pierced with fork, drain and save cooking water. In same pot lightly crush potatoes, add melted butter and warm cream, whisk potatoes until smooth, add some cooking water to potatoes if too stiff, add salt and white pepper to taste.

Zinfandel Syrup
Ingredients
1 bottle inexpensive, fruity zinfandel, 1 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup meat glacé (heavily reduced beef/veal stock), optional
Directions
Reduce all ingredients in thick bottomed sautee pan over medium heat to about 1/2 cup or until syrupy. Let cool.

Steak Salt
Ingredients
1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon rose peppercorns, 1 tablespoon allspice berries, 1/2 cup black peppercorns
Directions
Grind all above ingredients in spice/coffee grinder then mix with 1 lb. kosher salt and 1 oz. brown sugar. Put in jar with tight-fitting lid. Use on steaks, chops, ribs and fish throughout summer.

Don’t want to cook? Head to Gretchens and let Chef Gallegos and his crew cook this for you to perfection.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Call 208.622.2800 or email restaurantreservations@sunvalley.com

Recipe from the Resort: Sun Valley Club’s Chicken Lettuce Wrap

Welcome to The Valley Sun’s series of Recipes from the Resort, where I scour Sun Valley’s restaurants for some of the best dishes to pinch for your personal cooking pleasure. This week I visited the resort’s newest dining establishment, The Sun Valley Club, and caught up with chef Art Wallace to get the skinny on a staple of the club.

Chef Art Wallace's versatile chicken lettuce wrap, a great option for wheat- and gluten- free diets

Check out this video for a quick, step-by-step guide to the simple but scrumptious Chicken Lettuce Wrap:

Chicken Lettuce Wrap
Serves 2

Internal Garnish
Ingredients
1/2 red bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper, 1 green onion, 1/4 cup water chestnut, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger, 2 cups cooked chicken, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 6 whole lettuce leaves (Butterleaf or Iceberg)
Directions
Chop all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Combine bell peppers, onion, water chestnut, garlic and ginger. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over a high heat, saute the vegetable mix, add the chicken, saute for 2- 3 minutes more. Serve with whole lettuce leaves for wrapping and sweet chile and curry sauces.

Coconut Curry Sauce
Makes one cup
Ingredients
1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon curry paste, 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Directions
Bring coconut milk and curry paste to a boil, reduce heat, simmer and add brown sugar. Continue to simmer until sauce reaches desired consistency.

Don’t want to cook? Head along to The Sun Valley Club and let Art and his crew whip these up for you.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

What’s brewing at Trail Creek Cabin

Enjoying good brews and good food over Trail Creek at the Sawtooth Brewery Brewer's Reception Sunday.

Historically Trail Creek Cabin was the hotspot of Sun Valley Resort. The cabin in the woods was built in 1937 by Sun Valley’s founder Averell Harriman as a place for his fancy East Coast socialite friends and glamorous, raucous Hollywood buddies to mingle over meat and music.

Manager Matt Robinson is hoping to resurect some of that sophisticated party atmosphere by launching a series of beer tasting dinners. “Beer fits well with the relaxed atmosphere up here,” he said, while pouring some tasty local brews from a mobile chiller. This past Sunday night, Mr. Sun and I abandoned the little ones and headed up to the cabin to sample the goods at the Sawtooth Brewery Brewer’s Reception.

Mr. Sun samples the Sunnyside Summer Ale. Matt Robinson pours the Last Chair Stout and Sawtooth Brewery founders Paul Holle and Kevin Jones toast the evening's success with their better halves.

Mr. Sun, who is an accomplished all-grain home-brewer, has very discerning tastes when it comes to beer and traditional Western food. The combination of a great brew and a perfectly smoked pork rib is as important to him as the particular pairing of a sweet Sauternes with a slice of foie gras is to a sommelier. So you can imagine his delight as we tucked into the four course extravaganza starting out with appetizers of shrimp ceviche and elk tartar complimented by a Sunnyside Summer Ale. Next came the first course of False Summit Amber Ale with grilled artichoke and romesco sauce, then a salad of asparagus and arugula salad and a sampling of Flow Trail Pale Ale. The main course was a hoppy Freeheeler Rye IPA accompanied by Trail Creek’s sumptuous house smoked baby back pork ribs, then finally a molten chocolate cake topped with ancho chile ice cream, washed down with a healthy dollop of Last Chair Stout.

Chef Wendy Little and Sawtooth Brewery’s head brewer Paul Holle collaborated on the menu to achieve the perfect balance of malt, hop and yeast with meat, vegetable and manchego cheese. Accompanying our beverage and barbecue feast was a running commentary from Paul and his business partner, Kevin, on the nuances of each libation, including the story behind the bubbly brews.

Sawtooth Brewery's beers paired with Wendy Little's divine asparagus and arugula salad, baby back pork ribs and molten chocolate cake with ancho chili ice cream. Spicy!

As we supped under clear skies, serenaded by the gurgling Trial Creek beneath our feet and surround by the ghosts of Trail Creek, one could just imagine the erstwhile regular Ernest Hemingway discarding his signature Mojito and digging into one of Wendy’s grilled artichokes with a Sawtooth Brewery Amber Ale clasped firmly in his hand.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Matt will be hosting brewer’s receptions throughout the summer, from $47 per person. Check sunvalley.com or call 622.2019 for details. There will also be regular beer and wine tasting on Tuesdays at the Cabin, as well as live music on the deck Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. For more of Paul’s crafty creations visit sawtoothbrewery.com or stop into the tap room on Main and 6th streets in downtown Ketchum.