A week in the Rocky Mountains

July 22, 2014

Linda and I spent the week from July 11 to July 18, 2014, in central Idaho, first in Ketchum and then in the Stanley Basin, typified by this view:

(Note: You can click on any photo below and it will come up in full-column width. As usual, you can click on any words in blue for more information.)

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 first evening we dined at Enoteca, on Main Street. For starters we shared the salumeria plate, a burrata with olive oil and a warm, herbed flatbread.
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These were very good. To follow I had a pizza and the others had various main dishes, which they enjoyed.

The next morning we went to the Ketchum Arts and Crafts Fair, where we bought a lovely, locally-crafted piece of turned Norway Maple.

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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.
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Here Peter, Linda and Sandra are walking back to the two lift stations on top.


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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.
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Linda is placing our order at the counter before the grill.

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The cook is cutting watermelon while hamburgers char on the grill.

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I had a black bean burger with cole slaw and a beer. Just right for the occasion.

That evening we dined at CK’s Real Food, in Hailey, south of Ketchum. We were seated outside on the flowered terrace. 

ketchum2 013 (343x480)ketchum2 012 (249x480)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.

Linda started her meal with
CK’s Squash Blossoms
Rollingstone chevre, light beer batter, aïoli
Sandra started with
Finger Caesar Salad
hearts of romaine, Reggiano, focaccia croutons
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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

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The beet salad was well composed; a good summer starter. 

Sandra went on to
Gaucho Steak
grilled sweet onions, Chimichurri, fries 

Peter had
Kobe Flat Iron Steak
Smokey blue cheese, warm baby turnips and new potatoes, spinach pancakes
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Peter said that his Kobe beef and spinach pancakes were particularly good.

Linda and I had the
Lava Lake Lamb of the day
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Lamb sirloin from Lava Lake had been grilled. It was served with wilted kale and white polenta. Nice.

Peter’s dessert was an ice cream sundae; mine was
Vegan Lemon “Cheesecake” Brulee,
almond oatmeal crust, strawberries
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The following morning we had brunch at Christina’s, which seems to be a very trendy Sunday morning gathering place.
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Linda and I had Eggs Benedict while Peter had French toast.
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We watched the final of the World Cup, on at 1:00 Mountain Time.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mary prepared a lovely dinner of leg of lamb and other good things.
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Ben opens a bottle of red wine in their rustic kitchen.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.

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We ordered a bottle of 2010 Rutherford Hill Merlot. Nice.


Cold Water Tail, House Tempura Batter, Yuzu Sauce
Asian Micro Greens, Tuxedo Sesame Seeds

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Artesian Romaine Char-Grilled, BackCountry Bistro Caesar Dressing, Shaved Parmesan
Red Onion, Grape Tomatoes, Lemon Wedge, House Lemon Pepper Croutons
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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
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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.
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We had our sandwich lunch alongside the Salmon River with this view.
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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.
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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

Linda and I had the
Roasted Local Carrot-Ginger Soup
Lemongrass Gastrique & Chioggia Beet Chips
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 The soup was good, although overly gingered.

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We ordered a bottle of 2012 Bergström Oregon Pinot Noir. Very Good 

There was an intermezzo of watermelon sorbet.
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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
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The ingredients, particularly the beef, were all good.

For dessert Ben had the
Secco Italian Moscato Bubbles w/FreshBerries
Organic Shortbread Sugar Cookie

The rest of us had the
Cinnamon & Mace Spice Cake
House Meyers Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Toasted Almonds
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The following evening we dined at The Redd in Stanley.
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We ordered a bottle of 2013 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier
and one of 2012 Irony Pinot Noir.
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Both of these California wines were quite nice and a real bargain. The glasses in which they were served were a rustic delight.
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Mary ordered a green salad; the rest of us had the
Tortilla Espanola with Aïoli
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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
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The desserts were
Mixed Berry Pie and Almond and Apricot Tart
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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.


5 Responses to “A week in the Rocky Mountains”

  1. Ronald Shelp Says:

    Mike – sounds like a great trip. I would never have guessed Idaho had so much to offer, including good food.


  2. kristin zimmermann Says:

    What lovely scenery, and good food and wine to enjoy as well.

  3. Jerry Says:

    Looks like a great time. We will have to get out to that part of the country

  4. Lora Says:

    Mike and Linda,
    The views are stunning! Idaho is on our list of places to visit and your post makes it all the more attractive. I love our Rocky Mountains!
    The food looks and sounds delicious as always. I’m glad you had such a beautiful visit to Idaho.

  5. Nancy Callaway Fyffe Says:

    Mike and Linda, Your posts are delightful. Each of them makes me want to make travel arrangements and each make my mouth water. Reading the posts I get to vicariously visit places on my wish list. This one I have read several times. The photos of the Rockies keep calling me back.
    Hope you are both well…… and traveling!

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