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

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

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!


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

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.


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.



Join 2012 James Beard nominee, chef John Murcko, Culinary Director of the Sun Valley Resort and 2013 James Beard nominee, chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s of Hotel McCall, as they prepare an extraordinary six course meal using local ingredients and paired with exemplary wines.

Guests will meet at the legendary Sun Valley Inn, be taken to the famed Trail Creek Cabin by horse drawn carriage, and will have the opportunity to meet the chefs and chat with the winemakers and farmers who have generously donated their goods for the benefit of The Hunger Coalition. Order your tickets for this wonderful evening here.




Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - 5:30pm - 9:30pm

The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley’s annual gala fundraising event will take place on Friday, July 26, 2013, at the Trail Creek Pavilion in Sun Valley.  The event will feature fabulous live and silent auction items, including a signature painting by local painter Brandis Sarich.

The Shelter is excited to already have several fantastic live auction items lined up for the event, including an amazing African safari and an Arctic adventure to see the polar bear migration.

In it’s 30 years of operation, the Animal Shelter has adopted over 12,000 dogs and cats into loving homes in addition to offering many life-saving programs and services to the community.  The Dog Days of Summer annual benefit is the largest single source of income supporting these programs.  To sponsor the event or donate a live or silent auction item, please contact Volunteer & Events Coordinator Brittany Farrell at (208) 788-4351.  More information is also available at


ph. (208) 788-4351 |

There were Moonbeams in the Snow…

Cuddle up in the sleigh, gitty up Nellie Gray, and away we go!

Cuddle up in the sleigh, gitty up Nellie Gray, and away we go!

On Friday night, I found myself in the pages of a storybook. The fairytale featured five sweet children, a favorite aunt, a cowboy, a horse drawn sleigh and a roaring fire. The main character of this meticulously illustrated tome was the fullest, most luminous moon imaginable. Gliding across the snow at 9 p.m. on the way to Trail Creek Cabin, it cast long shadows of tree branches against a white stage and shone so brightly we could clearly see the pattern of the woolen blankets, the tree knots on the wooden benches, the fabric of everyone’s caps.

As Jess gave our two draft horses an appropriate nudge, the regular world of the brightly lit Sun Valley Inn and Village blurred behind as we trotted into a land of white. Across the unrecognizable golf course we flew, down a steep embankment and to the side of rippling Trail Creek. Here, the book does not offer any dialogue of consequence. Laughter, hushed conversation and whispers were carried into the frozen night air and dissipated among the canopy of stars. Surrounded by a sky so clear and cold it felt like it could crack, chatter was secondary to simply feeling the sleigh move over the frozen ground.

The storybook Trail Creek Cabin welcomes you

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin

Lights in the distance began to coalesce as we hurried toward the historic Trail Creek Cabin. Discarding the warm blankets and hopping off the back of the sled, we turned the page as we entered the cheerful, warm, log building and found our table beside a huge, roaring fire. Fragrant coconut curry soup awaited our arrival, as did the scones for which the restaurant is famous. Hats, scarves and gloves were peeled off as the fire quickly warmed us. With the return of the heat and light, dialogue flared with renewed energy.

Dinner at the cozy cabin

Warming our toes and indulging our inner foodies at the cozy cabin

Plates of flavorful salmon and steak and prime rib emerged from the kitchen, feeding ravenous late-night appetites. An accordion player serenaded our group, ending with a rousing rendition of “It Happened in Sun Valley.” Love was in the air, as a wedding reception (brought to the cabin by sleigh) celebrated in the attached yurt and at the adjacent table, a man dropped to one knee, proposing marriage to his blushing bride-to-be. She said yes and showed her stunner-of-a-ring to the room amid cheers and applause.

We sang that favorite Glenn Miller tune from 1941 as we bundled up and made our way back into the night. It was still relevant more than 70 years later. Feel free to hum along…

“Howdy folks, let’s go for a ride. Get your favorite one to sit by your side.

Cuddle up in a sleigh, gitty up, Nellie Gray, and away we go!

While you listen to the sleigh bells ring, you’re yodeling to your baby.

You’ll feel nice and warm, no matter how cold it may be….”

We cuddled up beneath the blankets, feeling nice and warm no matter how cold it may have been. With the moon striking midnight above, we turned the last page of this tale and set off in the direction of picture-perfect Bald Mountain, enjoying an experience that could only happen in Sun Valley.


A storybook-perfect Sun Valley sleigh

A storybook-perfect Sun Valley sleigh

Goodnight, moon

Goodnight, moon




Rustic BBQ welcomes Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament to Sun Valley

Musician Muzzie Braun, Sun Valley Resort's Jack Sibbach, and KTVB news anchor Mark Thompson, with his twin daughters, arrive at the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Welcome BBQ at Trail Creek Cabin yesterday.

While the skies overhead were heavy with smoke from numerous wildfires burning around Idaho, the smoke emanating from the fire pits roaring at Trail Creek Cabin was far more welcome. Delicious smells of roasted pork, beef and seasoned potatoes greeted the nearly 200 guests invited to the 36th Annual Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament.

As friends and families converged on the sumptuous feast, the atmosphere was relaxed and jovial. The attendees – including celebrities from the sporting world such as Joe Washington, Jack Morris and Frank Quilici, stars of the screen such as Kevin Sorbo and Arte Johnson, and Idaho VIPs Muzzie Braun, Mark Johnson and Congressmen Crapo and Simpson - enjoyed a traditional Western welcome BBQ, and learned their fate for the upcoming tournament.

Cooking up the good stuff for the guests of the 36th Annual Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament

Pinned to the side of the marquee were the pairings for the purpose of the event, the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, played on the courses of Sun Valley Resort. The four-person two-best ball tournament has been raising money for a very worthy cause over the last four decades; research into a cure for cancer and leukemia. In 2011, $700,000 was raised at this event, with proceeds benefiting the University of Minnesota Cancer Research Center in Minneapolis and the St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise.

Renamed this year to honor the tournament’s co-founder, baseball Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew (who passed away last year), the event was born from Killebrew’s desire to raise money for research into the disease that killed his Minnesota Twins teammate infielder Danny Thompson. For an excellent article on the history of the tournament and more details as to the weekend’s events, be sure to read Idaho Mountain Express sport’s editor Jeff Cordes’ piece here.

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

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

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


A Hero’s Journey Fundraiser for SVAS

A Hero’s Journey Fundraiser for SVAS

Special Guest Speaker:

William “Bill” Baker

Bill Baker is the Former President and COO of the Motion Picture Association and former Assistant Director of the FBI

5:30 pm Cocktail hour followed by Dinner

Presentation by Bill Baker

Auction and Inspirational Opportunity

Dance the night away to the Straight Up Band

For more information, contact | 208.726.9298 ext. 115


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 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 or stop into the tap room on Main and 6th streets in downtown Ketchum.