A week in the Rocky Mountains
July 22, 2014
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For our first three nights in Idaho we stayed with our friends Peter and Sandra in their house in Ketchum, next to Sun Valley. Ketchum, at nearly 6,000 feet, is primarily a winter ski resort. In mid-summer it offers visitors a sophisticated, but real, western feeling, riding the ski lifts or strolling the streets and poking in shops, spending time in Chapter One bookstore, listening to guitar at Starbucks in the afternoon, stopping at the Arts Center. Ketchum is just thoroughly an agreeable small city.
The next morning we went to the Ketchum Arts and Crafts Fair, where we bought a lovely, locally-crafted piece of turned Norway Maple.
We then took the ski lift up Bald Mountain to 9,150 feet. Here is the view from the top. The yellow contraption on the right is a snow gun at the top of a ski trail. They are needed at the start of the ski season.
Here Peter, Linda and Sandra are walking back to the two lift stations on top.
We had lunch at The Roundhouse, on the plateau two-thirds of the way up, where one transfers from the gondola lift to an open chair lift. We had a nice table outside.
Linda is placing our order at the counter before the grill.
That evening we dined at CK’s Real Food, in Hailey, south of Ketchum. We were seated outside on the flowered terrace.
We ordered a bottle of 2007 Lambert Bridge Sonoma County Viognier; interesting and good; it was followed by a superb bottle of 2009 Antinori Tignanello, at a surprisingly reasonable price.
Peter’s first course was
“Kusshi” Washington State Oysters on the Half Shell
with Mignonette granità
My starter was
Roasted Beet Salad
Rollingstone Chèvre, pecans, Belgian endive,
grilled apricots, white balsamic vinaigrette
The beet salad was well composed; a good summer starter.
Sandra went on to
grilled sweet onions, Chimichurri, fries
Kobe Flat Iron Steak
Smokey blue cheese, warm baby turnips and new potatoes, spinach pancakes
Peter said that his Kobe beef and spinach pancakes were particularly good.
The following morning we had brunch at Christina’s, which seems to be a very trendy Sunday morning gathering place.
That evening Peter and Sandra hosted a dinner party for nine at their house. The meal started with a flavorful pea soup, went on to a poached salmon and a salad of heirloom tomatoes with cucumber ribbons and radish slices.
Profiteroles with chocolate and raspberry sauce followed.
Monday morning we drove north to the Galena Lodge at 7,289 feet below the 8,701 foot Galena pass summit. Peter biked up the hill to the lodge.
We took a walk and had lunch. Peter and Sandra drove back to Ketchum while Linda and I drove on North on Route 75 over the Galena Summit. At the lookout beyond the pass we had our first excellent wide and long views of the Sawtooth Mountains of central Idaho and the Stanley Basin valley on their east side. This stunning range of the Rocky Mountains has 60 peaks over 10,000 feet high. Continuing north we checked into the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, where we stayed four nights in the left half of this cabin.
That evening we dined at the nearby ranch of our friends Ben and Mary. The ranch has been in Mary’s family since the 1930’s. This is the view from their cabin of some of the lower Sawtooth Mountains and the front of the family’s acreage.
The Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch serves a hearty breakfast in the morning. Here you can see the coffee urns on the left; then the cereals, fruit, biscuits and bread. The staff table is to the right of the door to the kitchen.
There is a selection of cooked breakfasts one can order. The first morning I had the IRMR Standard: Two Farm Fresh Eggs, Grilled Asparagus, Leek, Bell Pepper, Marinated Tomato, Quinoa and Local Goat Cheese. The second morning was the Breakfast Special of the Day: Banana Bread French Toast, Meyers Rum Banana’s Foster Sauce, Sliced Bananas
The third morning the Breakfast Special was Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Montana Huckleberries (no photo.) On our fourth and last morning it was Dungeness Crab Cakes Benedict with Local Chive Hollandaise and Lemon Roasted Asparagus.
When you order your cooked breakfast, you also order your sandwich for lunch from the interesting and varied menu. This arrives wrapped on the breakfast table. One can add chips, fruit, cookies etc at a table on the way out.
On our first morning in the Sawtooth Mountain area we hiked with Ben and Mary along the shores of Pettit Lake and ate our sandwiches at a picnic table with a lovely view of the lake and the mountains behind it.
In the early evening we went to Redfish Lake and had an aperitif sitting on the porch of Redfish Lake Lodge with its view of the lake and mountains.
We went on a bit further north to Stanley, where we dined at the Back Country Bistro. It offers a four-course dinner with four or five choices in each course. My dinner is shown below; the others had various selections from the menu.
We ordered a bottle of 2010 Rutherford Hill Merlot. Nice.
TEMPURA LOBSTER BITES
Cold Water Tail, House Tempura Batter, Yuzu Sauce
Asian Micro Greens, Tuxedo Sesame Seeds
My main course was the
Broken Arrow Ranch, Free-Range “South Texas Antelope”
Espresso Chili Rub, Pecan Smoked, Oven-Finished
Chipotle Lime Beer Blanc, Micro Cilantro
Idaho Mashers, Seasonal Vegetables
The dessert was
Blue Berries, Whip Cream, Orange Zest
The first two courses and the dessert were quite good. The antelope was disappointing. It was dry with an overly spiced coating and a sauce underneath which I didn’t care for. The vegetables were hard to appreciate with it.
The next morning Linda and I drove north through Lower Stanley along the Salmon River. We spotted two bald eagles, one a small one still in the nest atop a power pole. Linda shopped at the Sawtooth Artisan’s Guild in Stanley.
That evening we dined at the IRMR. Three meals a day are included in the price of the room. We had all our breakfasts there and took our sandwich lunches, but we only went to one of the dinners because we explored Stanley restaurants with our friends. During each week there are evenings for smokehouse, barbecue and Dutch Oven dinners outdoors as well as other evenings in the dining room, like this one. Before dinner we sat on the front porch of the lodge with Ben and Mary, enjoying the view and a bottle of Colombia Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
The hors d’oeuvres of the evening were Idaho potato crescents with “fondue sauce.”
Mary and Ben had the
Grilled Sourdough Panzanella Salad
Local Arugula, Montana Goat Cheese,
Organic Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Basil
We ordered a bottle of 2012 Bergström Oregon Pinot Noir. Very Good
The other three had the
Cast-Iron Columbia River Steelhead
Fuji Apple, Fennel & Mustard Greens Salad
Local Black Kale, Shitake Mushroom & Goat Cheese Farroto
I had the
Montana Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin with Candied Pepper Bacon
Roasted Orange Tomato & Almond Sicilian Pesto
Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic, Bell Pepper & Rainbow Chard
Panade, Cast-Iron Broccolini
The ingredients, particularly the beef, were all good.
For dessert Ben had the
Secco Italian Moscato Bubbles w/FreshBerries
Organic Shortbread Sugar Cookie
The following evening we dined at The Redd in Stanley.
We ordered a bottle of 2013 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier
and one of 2012 Irony Pinot Noir.
Both of these California wines were quite nice and a real bargain. The glasses in which they were served were a rustic delight.
Mary ordered a green salad; the rest of us had the
Tortilla Espanola with Aïoli
The tortilla had potato slices layered in an egg mixture cooked like a very thick omelette. Its discreet flavor was nicely sparked up by the garlicky aioli.
Linda and Mary went on to
Pan Seared Salmon with Red Pepper and Corn Salsa,
Black Beans, Rice and Braised Kale.
Ben and I had
Rosemary Leg of Lamb over Saffron and English Pea Risotto
The desserts were
Mixed Berry Pie and Almond and Apricot Tart
The next day Linda and I flew back to New York City while our friends stayed on in their beautiful setting. We had enjoyed a lovely week.