A Taste of Trail Creek (at a special price)

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Ah, slack. The autumn shoulder season in Sun Valley brings many pleasures – gorgeous sunny days, bright fall foliage, and no less importantly … slack food specials. During the quieter months, most of our area’s mouthwatering eateries entice diners with appetizing meals at an appetizing price.

Sun Valley Resort is on the slack special program with historic Trail Creek Cabin offering a dinner special and both Gretchen’s and the Sun Valley Club inviting lunch patrons to enjoy the season with a price break.

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy diners

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy foodies

Wednesday night, finding myself with nothing in the refrigerator and too tired to cook anyway, I decided to take the short drive to Trail Creek Cabin for their two entrees for $30 promotion. On the menu through November 2? Hungarian Beef Goulash, Spicy Cajun Gumbo, Vegetarian Lasagna as well as the full regular Trail Creek menu featuring locally sourced, seasonally appropriate fare.

Greeted by not one but two roaring fires on the brisk, almost-full-moon-lit October night, our group of five was quickly seated at a spacious, comfortable table. In short order, a big basket filled with Trail Creek Cabin’s famous sweet scones and other breads was delivered. Two minutes later it was empty. Did I mention I brought all three of my children?

Surrounded by the flickering fire, rustic décor and tantalizing smells from the kitchen, my family’s mood improved almost immediately. Conversation flowed and the day’s happenings were compared as we perused the menu.

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

For me, the only problem with slack specials is that many of them, at many local restaurants, don’t appeal to me. I am a pretty particular eater and, I am told, difficult to dine with. But there was something for everyone on the Trail Creek special menu. I found myself struggling to choose between the lasagna, the gumbo and a third special that evening, Idaho trout with seasonal vegetables. In the end, I went with the hearty gumbo as well as a cup of butternut squash soup with white beans. My dining companion opted for the trout special and everyone at the table ordered the soup. My children couldn’t deviate from their Trail Creek favorite (and the most popular menu item) — a cowboy steak with onion rings and a loaded baked potato.

All the food arrived piping hot and plentiful. The soup was a creamy taste of the season. My gumbo offered just the right amount of kick and my friend’s trout was fresh, light and full of flavor. Of course, the kids loved their steak, too.

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

For dessert, I downloaded coupons offering two-for-one, so we had to take advantage of that, too. Soon, two tall, frosty root beer floats arrived at the table, as did two warm chocolate lava cakes. They disappeared as quickly as the scones.

That evening, Trail Creek was bustling because even when Sun Valley is quiet, it’s not that quiet. Romantic tables for two were interspersed with large party groups. Many diners wore their badges from the Jazz Festival that is in full swing at Sun Valley Resort.

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Trail Creek Cabin is a special place. Just a few miles up the road from the Sun Valley Lodge, the historic building is cozy and inviting, harkening back to simpler times and feeling very much away from it all. Now, with the aspens glowing gold, the evening air cool and invigorating and dinner very affordable, it is the perfect time to make the sojourn to the cabin.

Be sure to reserve your table and enjoy a memorable meal by November 2.

Bon appétit!


Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

Clint Black and Much, Much More

The hills in Sun Valley are alive with late summer sounds of music. Even though the mad pace of high season has slowed down a bit, two amazing shows are coming to the Sun Valley Pavilion this week that should not be missed!

On Friday, high energy, country-based favorites, Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion for a concert sure to get the audience on its feet. A limited number of tickets are still available by calling 208.622.2135 or by clicking HERE.

Then, on Thursday, September 12, the one and only Clint Black will perform an intimate, acoustic concert at the Pavilion, presenting a side of his vast talent that few get to see. Here, this award winning singer-songwriter will perform with only four other musicians, while in many venues, Black plays for audiences of thousands. In Sun Valley, you will see him up close and personal. The concert, sponsored by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, promises to be a memorable one. Black is known for a classic, traditional country style. His debut album, Killin’ Time, produced four straight number one singles and the hits just kept coming. He will perform at 7 p.m.

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

Before ducking into the Pavilion to enjoy a pre-show glass of wine and conversation with friends new and old, be sure to spend some time in the Sun Valley Village getting the most of the late summer offerings. Sales at Village specialty shops are unbeatable in September. Both the elegant Brass Ranch and sporty Pete Lane’s are offering sportswear and ski wear at as much as 75 percent off. Logo apparel, holiday décor, gifts and wine and picnic essentials are discounted right now at the Sun Valley Signature Shop. The fashion forward ladies’ boutique, Panache, is also enticing shoppers with end-of-season prices. At Pete Lane’s, gear is also priced to sell with bikes, demos and rentals and bike apparel available. There are still weeks and weeks of fabulous weather ahead so if you have been considering buying a new bike, now is the time.

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Be sure to also plan to enjoy a pre-concert dinner at one of the Sun Valley’s acclaimed restaurants. In Idaho, gardens are right now at their peak and menus are filled with and embarrassment of fresh vegetables and local delights. Just steps from the Pavilion, take a seat on the decks of the Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta or Gretchen’s and soak up the early evening sun. Just up the road, Trail Creek Cabin provides a unique venue that is rustic yet sophisticated and very special. The signature Konditorei Restaurant will also be serving dinner until 9 p.m. beginning September 8.

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Sun Valley Resort is offering special room rates the night of Clint Black’s performance. Shop, savor and soak up the sounds of this country music superstar before retiring to the Inn or the Lodge. Order a nightcap at the Duchin Room or the Ram Lounge before turning in for a restful night. No driving, no worries, just relaxation. The package includes one night’s lodging and two show tickets for $129 per person double occupancy. Call 800-786-8259 for reservations or click HERE for more information.

Early fall is in full swing in Sun Valley! Enjoy!


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.

Recipe from the Resort: Gretchen’s Ribeye Steak


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
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
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
1 lb. garlic cloves, peeled, 2 cups extra virgin olive oil, good quality, but not your best. Or just enough to cover the cloves.
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
4 medium Idaho russet potatoes, about 3 lbs., 1/4 lb butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream
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
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
Reduce all ingredients in thick bottomed sautee pan over medium heat to about 1/2 cup or until syrupy. Let cool.

Steak Salt
1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon rose peppercorns, 1 tablespoon allspice berries, 1/2 cup black peppercorns
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

Ladies Day Lunch Special At Gretchen’s

Ladies Day Lunch Special at Gretchen’s in the Sun Valley Lodge

  • Half-price Entrees & Wine
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:30am – 3pm
  • Offered 10/20 – 11/22

*Gretchen’s Restaurant will re-locate to the Ram Restaurant at the Sun Valley Inn between 10/18 and 11/2

Reservations:  208-622-2144