Cheers to Summer at Deer Valley

September Bickmore and Bonnie Ulmer of Deer Valley Grocery~Café, produced the winning cocktail last month at the Park City Cocktail Contest when a panel selected this original cocktail, “Flower & Pine” as Park City’s “Signature Cocktail” for spring and summer 2012.

We met up with Bonnie Ulmer to find out what makes summer in Park City so great and to share a recipe for one of Deer Valley’s signature cocktails.

When did you come to Deer Valley?

I was one of the originals. Starting as a bartender and cocktail waitress at the Après Ski lounge, I started opening day in 1981. I have been making drinks here ever since.

What is a perfect summer day to you?

I usually have Sunday and Mondays off. We wake up early to get a little wakeboarding or waterskiing in on the Jordanelle or Deer Creek. On Sundays we make our way over to the Park City Silly Market for a while and then head back to the closest body of water for paddle boarding. We usually round the day off with a BBQ and of course a couple cocktails.

What is your favorite thing on the menu at Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe?

Ben Stevens, the chef at Grocery~Café makes the best Panini’s. I love to sit and eat on the deck.

What is your most memorable concert at Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater?

My favorite concert at the Snow Park Amphitheater had to have been Lyle Lovett. He was married to Julia Roberts at the time and all my friends and I kept trying to see if she was in the crowd somewhere.

Your must have treat at Deer Valley?

My favorite dessert has to be the McHenry’s Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie served at Royal Street Café.

What is your favorite cocktail?

Blueberry Mojito.

Biggest misconception about Utah liquor laws?

I have so many bar patrons surprised you can actually get a drink in Utah. Some of our cocktails, with liquor flavorings have as much as two and half ounces of liquor in them.

We asked Bonnie to share the recipe to her favorite cocktail, the Blueberry Mojito. It makes a great cocktail to enjoy over the Memorial Day weekend.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Valley Blueberry Mojito

Yields: 1 Drink

Ingredients:

1 handful mint

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Quarter wedge of lime

½ to ¾ cup lemonade (preferably not from concentrate)

1 oz. premium light rum (Bacardi Silver brand suggested)

2 Tbsp. fresh or frozen blueberries (one tablespoon smashed to create some juice)

Splash of soda

½ oz. premium dark rum (Myer’s brand suggested)

Sprig of mint (for garnish)

Slice of lime (for garnish)

Ice

Procedures:

-  In a tall 16 oz. class, add mint leaves and sugar. Squeeze juice from the lime wedge into the glass. Mash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or a special wooden “muddler” until the mixture is fragrant. Fill the glass with ice.

- Add lemonade until the glass is 2/3 full. Add splash of soda then add light rum and blueberries and stir.

- Slowly pour dark rum into the drink so it floats on top.

- Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime, serve.

 

 

 

Toasting Season’s End

On my last ski day of the season, I raised a glass (shocking, I know) with dear friends and Ski Dad (we’d spent the morning showing off our dueling mad-skill-sets for the first time since we had completed our respective three-day clincs), feeling quite satisfied. Not only because I’d tackled endless crazy terrain all morning with my favorite people, but because, whee!, I’d discovered a new favorite libation at Royal Street Café. I’d like to think that every patron who sits down at RSC at 11:30 gets the same question from the servers: “Would you like to put in a cocktail order now, so that it’s ready for you at noon when we can serve it,” but I suspect that Rebecca, our fabulous server that day, has been reading my blog entries.

I, of course, insisted that my friends have the Blueberry Mojito, but determined that I was under professional obligation (to you, dear reader) to test a new beverage—The RSC St. Germain Elderflower Cocktail. It is the winner of  the 2010 Park Cit Cocktail Contest and it’s a winner in my book, too.

The very prospect of a new drink prompted me to look at the menu in a new light, and indeed order something new—the RSC Fish and Chips. Made with Steelhead Trout, the team at RSC takes this pub standard to a new level.

Our server, Rebecca, (did I mention that she’s awesome?) insisted that we have dessert—and so, the mini ice cream sandwiches were ordered, and devoured.
As I licked the last of the decadent fudge dipping sauce off my spoon, I worried that I might have après lunch legs awaiting me for the afternoon. Turns out, that St. Germain cocktail offered a certain salvo for that particular ailment. I was, it turned out, refreshed and recharged.

We found some lovely powder (yep, there was still fresh stuff) and more than one “Woo hoo,” was heard from our crew.

Make My Day

So, my very best days at Deer Valley happen when I can, well, make someone’s day—either by turning them onto a new favorite run on the resort, or a new favorite dessert in one of the restaurant. Once in a blue moon, I get to do something really special—which is to make someone a fan of the resort before they have ever skied a run.

To wit: On a recent bluebird morning, I was booting up by the trunk of my SUV alongside a couple who said they were visiting from Vancouver, BC. “We heard this mountain is awesome—that we could not visit Park City and not take advantage of the best grooming in the country.”

I told them I would never disagree with that statement, and went on to offer some tips–my favorite groomers, plus the can’t-miss quality of the Blueberry Mojito at the Royal Street Café. If I drank it as much as I talked about it, there might be a problem!

“Wow, you know a lot about the mountain,” Mike said, after he and his girlfriend Arlie introduced themselves. “You wouldn’t happen to have an extra ticket voucher for us, would you?”

As it happened, I did. Instead of responding verbally, I simply slipped my hand into the cargo pocket of my plaid ski pants (you know, the ones I’m so proud of) and produced a voucher I had on hand, redeemable at the ticket window for a full-day ticket.

Is there anything better than sharing a passion with someone, and then being able to give a gift like that?

“It’s like winning the lottery!” said my new friends. I must say, that it felt like winning the lottery to hand over that pass.

“But I’m only going to ask one thing: you need to let me take your picture—and you need to email me to let me know what you thought of the resort,” I said, handing them a business card.

“Deal!”

We parted ways at that point. A few days later, this email arrived…All the way from Vancouver. I know, it’s like magic, this interwebs stuff.

“We had the good fortune of meeting you in the Deer Valley parking lot last week before our wonderful day skiing. We also had the good fortune of sharing our first lift with Tom, a former tour guide at Deer Valley to important people like presidents, who was kind enough to give us the presidential tour of the mountain all morning. We had lunch in the lower lodge instead of the Royal Street Cafe so we could get more runs in and take advantage of the amazing grooming and sunshine out on the slopes. The rumors about the grooming were all true! I can also say that the salad bar was best I’ve ever had… delicious! We were also very impressed with the service and staff at the resort. Everyone was very professional and the resort was definitely the classiest either of us have ever been to. Thank you so much for the lift ticket, it was a great start to a great day. We really appreciated it! Can you please send us a link to your blog and please feel free to ask any further questions you may have.

Michael and Arlie from Vancouver, BC, Canada HEH!”

And moments later, an email with this photo attached—way better than the parking lot shot I would have posted here!

We interrupt this family ski season for…Moms’ Day Out!

“Do me a favor,” Ski Dad said to me on the eve my well-planned Chicks on Sticks celebration of the first day of ski school. “Please don’t try to show off.”

Now I know I am a bit competitive. Ahem. And I know that I like to push myself on the hill. But showing off? For the crowd I had assembled? Not likely.

In my posse for Sunday’s adventure were a veteran former ski instructor, a friend who likes to hike the glades near her house and ski back country, and several solid intermediate skiers—myself included in that group. There was no way I could rival Lisa the hiker and Linda the vet. I could only hope to keep up.

Then, Linda sat down at the Snow Park table where Ski Dad was stealing a post-ski-school drop-off cup of coffee before (sniff) catching his Vegas-bound flight for a business trip, and announced: This had better be a very social ski day—I skied waaaay harder than I planned yesterday! Ah, sweet relief.

Quite soon, we were joined by Lisa and our pal Miriam, who quickly and nervously announced that she hoped she could keep up.

Just as quickly, Lisa and I said, “This is a relaxed, social ski day. No contests, no pressure.”

The rest of the day—after meeting up with our friends Debbie and Donna—proved an exercise in fun. We set ourselves up with a morning at Empire. Bracing as the temperature was, the sun was shining and the snow was soft. And those in our group (cough, cough, Linda and Lisa, cough cough) who felt like stretching their mogul muscles and tree-turns were  able to indulge their whim while the rest of us cruised Orion. It’s one of my favorite things about skiing at Deer Valley—your party does not have to split up into entirely different parts of the mountain to suit everyone’s ability. Empire may not be the answer for every group, but there are diverse runs on almost every part of the mountain that will cater to most levels. The best perk of skiing Empire in this instance was that Debbie and I had stopped in at the Rossignol Demo Center, where, for just a credit card impression (no charge) a person can check out skis for a two-hour trial. So we had a good time figuring out the ways in which the unfamiliar sticks were betraying our bad habits!

Before we descended on Supreme, a lovely guy named Travis

stopped at our request to snap a photo. It was, I must say, one of those bluebird days that had each of us, by turns, stopping to take in every single view from various vantage points.

The top of Supreme was ungroomed (a small sign warned us) and we approached the chopped up run with a bit of hesitation. Linda spoke up with wise words: “Pick one side or the other and just go!” So we did. And did not regret it.

By the time we finished this run (in the middle of which I literally backed out of the approach to some “baby moguls” Linda and Lisa invited me to try—see Ski Dad??) we were cold and in need of refreshment. Luckily, a reservation (and our dear friend Alix, who no longer refers to herself as a skier, but is always game for a meal and conversation) awaited us at Royal Street Café. I couldn’t get there fast enough, carving some ambitious turns at the bottom of Birdseye to reach the great indoors. A few yelps of joy escaped my lungs, and Linda, who happens to be Little Guy’s (very patient) preschool teacher noted, “If you were true to your son, you would have issued his rallying cry of Yeeha!! But perhaps he comes by his exuberance honestly?”

Once we settled into or seats (after resting our gear on the adjacent hearth), our doting and hilarious waiter insisted that someone at the table try the restaurant’s famous award winning Blueberry Mojito. So, game girl that I am, I took one for the team—then passed it around for everyone to sample. One and all appreciated the contrast of tart blueberries against sweet rum and mint. Then again, who wouldn’t?

Appetizers were ordered—tuna tartare, hummus and pita chips, edamame—and the entrees were pondered. All but two of us scored the tuna tacos, while Alix enjoyed an Indian spiced vegetable Panini and Donna dug into the Asian Chicken Salad. Miriam opined that it may be best to keep the details of this lunch from her husband, who had prepared a sandwich at home in the morning to tuck into his pack for a day of skiing at another resort. Ok, Miriam, we’ll keep your secret.

Asian Chicken Salad

Tuna Tacos

Darling Waiter then offered us no choice but to try the petite-but-powerful ice cream sandwiches. Lisa, in a moment of clarity, decided a carrot cupcake must be sampled as well. So, thanks to her, we did not die from a lack of variety—or vegetables—in our diet. Donna remarked that she and her family had recently been at a new restaurant nearby and found themselves wishing they’d stayed at Deer Valley to eat—and that this meal only reinforced her belief that the beauty of Deer Valley lies in the combination of lovely terrain and great dining. Needless to say, it only further reinforced my “I ski for lunch” policy.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Carrot Cake Cupcake

Then again, I found myself rethinking that policy for just a split second as, we made our way to Flagstaff, to do an afternoon run on Lost Boulder. Our après-lunch legs were overmatched, to say the least. Undaunted, we worked our way over to Wasatch lift, collectively grumbled over the necessity of the steeps at the top of Bald Mountain and headed for Keno. The entire group kept stopping to rest—I mean wait for each other. We are that polite.

Then it was off to Crown Point for a mellow set of turns along Kimberly to meet up with Little Stick for a lovely afternoon glide over, yep, some still-untouched corduroy.

We skied down to the bottom of Wide West, at which point most goodbyes were made. Linda stuck around to say hello to Big Guy, who preceded his brother as a regular in her classroom.

Collecting the boys at the end of the day, I found nothing but smiles. Little Guy registered a hint of relief—exactly what you would expect from a child who had a good time but was tired and ready to be in the car, headed home

On the way home, the kids shared tidbits of their day—until Little Guy, true to form, fell asleep in the car just as we turned onto our block.

I quickly dispensed with the gear, awoke Little Guy from his premature slumber (with visions of a 2am wakeup warning me out of letting him snooze through dinner), called Ski Dad at his hotel to confirm our intact arrival from the mountain, and beelined it to my favorite kitchen appliance: the Mac. A few mouseclicks later, dinner from a favorite pizzeria was ordered, filtered water dispensed into spill-proof cups, and aaaah, sweet sofa!