Savor The Summit 2014: More Than Meets The Eye

There is more than meets the eye at Savor the Summit in Park City. That is saying a lot because the event is pretty amazing. Imagine one long table stretching the length of historic Main Street, with each restaurant putting on their special decorative touches you can enjoy fine dining in the outdoors with 1,500 of your closest friends.

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The event is unique and the food is amazing but there is more!  Even if you don’t participate in the elegant meal, you can still enjoy great music and special libations at Savor the Summit.

That’s what we did this year. We made sure to go to the Spirit Garden Main Stage at the Kimball Arts Center to taste Constellation wines, Wasatch and Squatters brews and sip the signature cocktails.

Mountain Town Music did not let us down with their choice of bands for the event. Guests got their party started dancing to the funky Changing Lanes Experience.

Picture 3 Picture 4 PATWA Reggae Band closed the party with their classic and authentic sounds.

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Old friends, new friends and even a few four-legged friends (at the Spirit Garden) enjoyed a celebration of summer nights in the mountains at Savor the Summit. If you were at this year’s Savor the Summit, let me know what you thought of the experience in the comments below or on Twitter at @Nancy_MoneyDiva. Here are a few more of my favorite pictures from the event. Until next time, enjoy your #DeerValleySummer.

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Akeeno Clarke’s Deer Valley Difference

Akeeno Clarke

Akeeno Clarke

New to Deer Valley’s staff, Akeeno Clarke is a culinary extern who comes to us from Jamaica. Born in Hanover, Parish of St. James, Akeeno went to culinary school in Montego Bay. He currently works as a Chef at Royal Street Café.  

JF: Why did you pick culinary school?

Akeeno: Because in Jamaica, you want to set an example for youngsters like yourself. In high school, I was actually granted a culinary scholarship to go to Spain, and I ended up working for the Grand Palladium Palace, one of the most famous hotels on the island of Ibiza. When I returned from that experience, I felt compelled to further myself professionally and to commit to a culinary career.

JF: How did you become aware of Deer Valley Resort?

Akeeno: In Jamaica, we don’t know much about skiing. I was approached by my Dean who told me about a program offered by Janus International, involving hospitality student exchange for bachelor degree graduates like me. I actually sought out this program and that’s how I was told about an opening at Deer Valley, in a state called Utah. I’d never heard about that place. The only thing they told me was to bring some warm winter clothes because it was going to be cold!

JF: Get ready for some snow!

Akeeno: That’s right, be ready for the snow. So, I looked up on the Internet, I explored the Deer Valley website and after I completed that first Skype interview, I immediately felt the love. I liked the people I talked to and I jumped on the opportunity!

JF: What did you expect when you took that job?

Akeeno: Apart from expecting some very cold weather, I was told in the interviews that the resort was ranked number one in America. I was also told in one these interviews by Chef Chris Gibson at the Royal Street Café, that everything in the kitchens is made from scratch. Their dressing, their tomato sauce and everything else are all made from scratch, from quality, fresh ingredients.

JF: Were your hopes realized?

Akeeno: When I got there, not only did everything I had imagined materialize, but my expectations were absolutely exceeded. I must commend Chris Gibson as he set the tone and shone a very distinct light on what was supposed to be done.

JF: How would you compare your previous experience, abroad in Spain, with that at Deer Valley?

Akeeno: I must say that Spain and America are two distinctly different nations. The way of doing things is also different; while the internship in Spain was very enriching, Deer Valley offered both a much more friendly and professional work place. I guess Deer Valley has been improving its services, its culture and its environment for a much longer period of time. Nevertheless, both places will have been great experiences that I will treasure for a long time!

JF: This obviously is your first season at Deer Valley Resort?

Akeeno: Yes, my very first season, but I hope the first of many more to come!

JF: Are you saying that you are hoping to return next winter?

Akeeno: Definitely, if I am given the opportunity!

JF: What were your first impressions when you began to work?

Akeeno: From the get go, the minute I arrived, Chris told me, “Jump in the kitchen!” and proceeded to show me around. While I was already getting involved, I began to pick up bits and pieces of the job, that I guess, make the “Deer Valley Difference.” The whole training was communicated to me in a very friendly manner. What surprised me the most was how everyone was treated equally, the same rules that applied to the managers also applied to the staff and whether I was hard at work or just having fun skiing, I was always treated with respect and friendliness.

JF: Precisely, let’s talk about your skiing experience. I guess you had never seen snow before you came here, right? When did you arrive?

Akeeno: That’s right; snow was new to me! I arrived on January 13, and it was cold and snowy; it had just snowed the day before.

JF: How did you learn to ski?

Akeeno: That’s surprising because when I first came here, I was shocked; I arrived from a warm country into a very cold place. I told myself, “I’ll never go skiing!”  I had heard about a couple of ski lessons that were coming up, but I never went to any of them. Then my friends, back in the kitchen, kept on telling me, “You need to go skiing, you need to come with us!” I’m talking about guys from Argentina or from the Philippines and one day someone summoned me one more time to get on skis. It’s at that moment that I finally decided to give it a try. I actually never took a ski lesson. My buddies showed me how to do it; that was it and now I’m doing it almost every day!

JF: You mean to say you’re skiing every day? That’s a fast learning curve!

Akeeno: You’re right, I’m skiing almost everyday and to my surprise I’m enjoying it very much. I love to ski!

JF: Aside from skiing, what are the most important things you’ve learned since you’ve been at Deer Valley?

Akeeno: First, I’d say that they’re a lot of different cultures in the work place. You need to be receptive to all the people that surround you. Coming from Jamaica where the culture is a lot different, in Deer Valley I needed to learn how to interact with all my co-workers whether they came from Argentina, Peru or Paraguay. Another important element of what I learned is the barrage of recipes I’ve learned to prepare. But what I learned the most has been about quality and consistency in all the meals I prepare, and my own ability to control my attitude in that high stress level job. Those are by far the most important skills I’ve learned at Deer Valley and I treasure them.

JF: Now, if you had friends who might be interested in taking a position at Deer Valley, what would you tell them are the required qualities to successfully accomplish the job and be happy?

Akeeno: As a matter of fact, when my friends back in Jamaica ask me what it would take to get a job like mine at Deer Valley, I always tell them that they must be a consistent person, they must be very punctual, they have to show up early on the job everyday. I mean they’re not supposed to be at work watching the clock, they have to be committed to their task. Much of this has to do with the high standards Deer Valley is setting. People working here have a mutual interest with what Deer Valley is trying to create and what they want to achieve for themselves.

JF: This makes a lot of sense. Now, in your view, what is so special and so different about Deer Valley Resort?

Akeeno: What’s really special about Deer Valley? As I mentioned before, it’s all the employees. They all know how to provide quality in a consistent manner. It never changes; everyone is aware of the standards Deer Valley is setting. It’s not like one day you can provide a certain level of service and a totally different one the next day. For instance the “Deer Valley Difference” is found in details like when you are about to ride the chairlift, the lift attendant brushes the snow off the seat and says, “Enjoy your day skiing!”, regardless of whether you are a guest or a resort employee. They will repeat these gestures and say something nice to you every single time; it never changes…

JF: The same measure for everyone?

Akeeno: The exact same!

JF: Akeeno, anything else you’d like to say?

Akeeno: I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Deer Valley, its staff, its managers and all my co-workers. Thank you for accepting me and for sharing your knowledge with me. When I return to Jamaica, this will have been a life changing experience for me that I will share with every one I come in contact with. I only hope that I can keep on working at Deer Valley Resort for many more seasons!

As Seen on the TODAY Show

Deer Valley Resort’s executive chef of Snow Park and Empire Canyon Lodges appeared on NBC’s TODAY Thursday, March 6, 2014, for its TODAY’S Kitchen segment. For the in-studio segment, Executive Chef Jodie Rogers showcased how to make a variety of creative pancakes, from carrot cake pancakes with cream cheese frosting to bacon, blueberry and fresh thyme pancakes.

Today

Deer Valley Resort Pancakes

Makes about 10 four-inch pancakes

Basic Pancakes Mix

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T + 1t olive oil
  • 1T + 1t sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup water

Serve with blueberries, chocolate chips, butter, banana butter, berry compote, vanilla whipped cream, maple syrup, powdered sugar

Deer Valley’s Carrot Cake Pancakes

  • Makes about 10 four-inch pancakes
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T + 1t olive oil
  • 1T + 1t sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup water

1 cup fresh peeled carrots, Fine-Grate (lay on a baking sheet to air dry for approx. 15 minutes)
½ cup dried carrots, Fine-Grate (for garnish) To prepare the dried carrot: Spread the fine-grated carrot on parchment paper and slow roast at 300 degrees for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

¾ cups toasted walnuts, chopped (save ½ for garnish)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

Make the basic Pancake recipe

In a separate bowl, mix the dairy, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together.

Take ½ of the batter and add in the grated carrots and ½ of the toasted walnuts and cinnamon

Over medium heat, pour the pancake batter onto the pan.

Once bubbles form and burst on the top of the pancake it is time to flip. Only flip pancakes once.

After another 3-4 minutes, the pancake is cooked. Remove onto a plate and either eat, or place the plate in the oven on warm to keep the pancakes hot until you are finished cooking all of them. (Tip: these pancakes take longer to cook due to the extra moisture from the carrots)

Serve three pancakes stacked with dried carrots and walnuts sprinkled on top

Top with Deer Valley’s Cream Cheese Frosting

 Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2.5 pounds

  • ½ lb butter, soft
  • 2 lb. cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 ¼ lbs powdered sugar

Tip: If butter is not smooth before adding cream cheese – there will always be lumps

Directions:

Beat Butter until very soft and smooth. Scrape sides several times so that no lumps remain. (Very important)

Add cream cheese, beat well – scrape again several times so that cream cheese and butter are very smooth but do not overbeat.

Add vanilla and salt

Add powdered sugar

Mix 1 minute on first speed

Scrape bowl well and mix on third speed for about 30 seconds

Don’t overbeat as it tends to make the frosting runny

Deer Valley Resort Bacon, Blueberry and Fresh Thyme Pancakes

Makes about 10 four-inch pancakes

Start with Deer Valley’s Basic Pancakes Mix

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T + 1t olive oil
  • 1T + 1t sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Add:
  • 3-4 bacon slices
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Whip cream mixed with lemon juiceand fresh thyme to taste

Directions:

Slice the bacon into small pieces and fry it over medium/high heat until it is the crispiness that you desire. When finished drain on a paper towel.

While the bacon is cooking, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl

In a separate bowl, mix the dairy, egg, oil and vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together

Over medium heat, pour the pancake batter onto the pan

Immediately after you pour the batter, sprinkle a hand full of bacon bits onto the pancake. You could mix the bacon directly into the batter, but I have found that you get better distribution if you sprinkle it on this way.

Once bubbles form and burst on the top of the pancake it is time to flip. Only flip pancakes once.

After minute or two, the pancake is cooked. Remove onto a plate and either eat, or place the plate in the oven on warm to keep the pancakes hot until you are finished cooking all of them.

Top with lemon thyme whip cream

Elderberry Compote Pancake Syrup

  • 3 ½  pints of berries (elderberries
  • 1 pint fresh (or frozen) strawberries- washed, trimmed and sliced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ pint fresh blackberries
  • ½ pint fresh blueberries
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 splash of Grand Marnier
  • 1/8 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Honey to taste

Directions:

Combine water and sugar in medium sauce pan.

Cook while stirring until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear.

Add ½ berries and honey

Cook until berries are soft

Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier and Vanilla extract

Put remaining berries in another pan

Pour syrup over berries and mix lightly so as not to break up berries

Chill overnight

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Deer Valley Resort Executive Chef to Appear on NBC’S TODAY

Deer Valley Resort’s executive chef of Snow Park and Empire Canyon Lodges is scheduled to appear on NBC’s TODAY Thursday, March 6, 2014, for its TODAY’S Kitchen segment. For the in-studio segment, Executive Chef Jodie Rogers will showcase how to make a variety of creative pancakes, from carrot cake pancakes with cream cheese frosting to bacon, blueberry and fresh thyme pancakes.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me and Deer Valley Resort,” said Rogers. “As one of the nation’s most respected morning news programs, it is an honor to be invited on the show. I look forward to demonstrating a portion of Deer Valley’s delicious fare to millions of viewers.”

As Deer Valley Resort’s executive chef, Rogers is responsible for overseeing operations of all Snow Park and Empire Canyon Lodges’ restaurants and food events, including breakfast, lunch and bakery offerings in the Snow Park Restaurant and Empire Canyon Grill during the ski season. Rogers also oversees menus for the childcare and ski school programs, après-ski appetizers in the EBS Lounge, two of the resort’s evening restaurants, Seafood Buffet and Fireside Dining and Deer Valley’s only year-round restaurant, Deer Valley Grocery~Café. Rogers also plans all wedding and banquet menus at the resort.

Jodie

Rogers’ innovative menu offerings have received notable awards and accolades, such as Park City’s People’s Choice, SKI Magazine’s best in on-mountain food and dining, America’s Top Restaurants by Zagat and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. A native of Australia, Rogers spent five winters as an employee of Deer Valley®, serving as the manager of the employee dining program, as well as an assistant sous chef and then sous chef at Snow Park Lodge. She was promoted to Snow Park Executive Chef in December 2000. Empire Canyon Lodge was added to her responsibilities in 2002 and most recently, the Deer Valley Grocery~Café in 2010. Rogers boasts a 15-year cooking career that includes stints in several hotels in Sydney, Australia, and working as head chef at Australia’s Charlotte Pass Resort. In both 1994 and 1998, she was part of the cooking teams that took the Australian Salon Culinare, Restaurant of Champions gold medal. She successfully opened Toast Bar and Restaurant in London, England in 1999.

For more information about Chef Rogers’ TODAY appearance or for recipes and images from Deer Valley Resort’s food and beverage offerings, visit deervalley.com

Deer Valley Resort Announces Special Take-Away Menu for Super Bowl Sunday

Just in time for the big game, the resort has announced a take-away menu guests can order from and pick up at Deer Valley~Grocery Café for their Super Bowl parties. 

Super Bowl to-go menu options include:

    • Chilled cooked shrimp
    • Chilled Dungeness and Opilio crab legs
    • Housemade tortilla chips and salsa fresca
    • Purple, sweet and russet potato chips with caramelized onion and balsamic dip
    • BBQ and cilantro lime glazed pork ribs
    • Buffalo-style chicken wings
    • Pulled pork sliders
    • Mini cup cakes
    • Assorted half-size cookies
    • Assorted brownies and bars
    • Mini chocolate éclairs
    • Cashew caramel corn
    • Football shaped sugar cookies

Additional information and pricing for the take-away menu items can be found at deervalley.com. Orders may be placed by calling 435-615-2400. Orders must be placed by 5 p.m. Saturday, February 1, and picked up at the Café by 7 p.m. Sunday, February 2, 2014.

DVGC

Deer Valley Grocery~Café serves fresh roasted coffee and espresso drinks, soups, chilies, stews, salads made with seasonal ingredients, Panini sandwiches, creative appetizer and entrée specials, housemade breads, desserts, cakes and other freshly baked items. The café also offers daily soup, sandwich and salad specials. A selection of gourmet grocery items, house prepared take-away entrees, as well as wine, beer and liquor are available for purchase.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and located in the Deer Valley Plaza building at 1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060.

My Favorite Things: Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley

Julie Andrews and Carrie Underwood may have enjoyed raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string when they reflected on their favorite things. For me, though these don’t rhyme, I love the mountains, I am addicted to skiing, and am crazy about sushi. Since the combination can be found at Yama Sushi at Montage Deer Valley, this restaurant is officially one of my favorite things.

My husband Jay and I pulled up to the resort to the complimentary valet parking, walked through the lobby and we made our way to Yama Sushi. The restaurant is nestled along the windows over looking ski runs and the expansive deck with a roaring outdoor fire pit.

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I have to admit we started with a sesame wings appetizer with chili and peanuts because we just couldn’t resist them – we decided it isn’t a “first date” item to order.  Since we’ve been married for 19 years, we were safe!  We weren’t worried about getting any sauce on our chins.  Besides, we were kindly provided with a warm towel for quick clean up, so we started our sushi night in wing heaven.

Our server Brittany was full of good advice and since we love trying new things, we decided to try the local favorite “Wasatch Roll” with Montage Mountain Ale battered shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon, cucumber, avocado, chipotle aioli, and tobiko.  After trying, the lemony Yama Roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, yuzu-shisito pepper “pesto” suzuki, lemon and micro shiso, my husband now has a new favorite roll!

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Since I am normally more of a wine lover than a sake aficionado, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try the sake flight.  As a sake novice, in the past I had only tried warm sake. To keep up with my quest to try something new every single week of my life, I decided to try three different cold sakes.   I won’t tell you which was my favorite. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself and maybe you’ll find that Yama Sushi becomes one of your favorite things, too.

A0002494with vignette

For a sample menu, click here.

More information on Yama Sushi, click here.

 

 

 

Who Has a Gingerbread Doghouse?

What makes the holidays special to young and old alike?  Well, I have a theory – it’s the delight of the surprise.  When you open up an unexpected gift, your eyes open wide, a quick smile comes to your face and you lose your breath for a second.  The really cool thing about it is the gift giver experiences the same physical reaction as the gift receiver!

One winter when I was a young girl, my brother and I spoiled our Christmas. You see we searched until we found my parent’s special hiding place and we saw our unwrapped gifts!  At the time, it was a thrill to seek out and find something we weren’t supposed to see.  We kept it our little secret.  Then on Christmas morning when we opened the packages, the whole thing fell flat. Knowing what was inside took away the delight and it just wasn’t the same. My brother and I never spoke about it but we never tried to find presents again.

When I went to see the life sized gingerbread house adorning the lobby of the Montage Resort at Deer Valley, I expected it to be wonderful.  A 12 foot high gingerbread house was sure to be impressive!  I’d heard the resort’s award winning Executive Pastry Chef, Raymond Lammers and his team spent two months building it – so I knew it was going to be really special.

House

It is spectacular!  The house is tiled with over 11,000 gingerbread cookies (2,000 roof tiles, 8,000 small tiles and 1,000 white gingerbread tiles) and completed with:

1 ½ pounds of nutmeg

135 pounds of butter

165 pounds of sugar

170 pounds of molasses

85 pounds of corn syrup

540 eggs AND 110 pounds of special sugar were used for the 26 sugar candies and the 6 window panes.

But there is more!  The delight came when while I was looking up at the gingerbread house, a furry friend nudged me.  Jonas, the Bernese Mountain Dog Ambassador at the Montage was visiting his very own gingerbread doghouse.  Let me ask you this.  Who has a gingerbread doghouse?  Well, Jonas and his fellow ambassador, Monty both do. These 3 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep gingerbread doghouses sit on either side of the life sized gingerbread house.

House 2

When I saw them, I had the same physical reaction as if I was opening that unexpected gift. Everyone around me had it too. I watched teenagers elbowing each other and saying, “Look at the doghouses!”  Jonas lapped it all up oblivious to the doghouse as he focused on making sure each one of the guests had a chance to pet him and give him a nice big hug.

Don’t spoil the surprise when you bring your family to visit the gingerbread house at Montage Resort – keep the gingerbread doghouses under wraps!  That way you can watch their reactions as their eyes go from the tall roof line of the gingerbread house, to the six foot tall candy canes on either side of the front door, and finally to the doghouses with the names “Jonas” and “Monty” written in icing on the top.

House 3

 

Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting 2013-2014

Eat all the food.

That’s my motto: Eat all the food. So, when I was invited to this year’s Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting, I realized it was the perfect antidote to my late-autumn blues—in which my impatience for winter rears its head. I had, that morning, said to a friend, “I’m trying to overcome my grumpiness about the beautiful weather.” Because, as we locals know, the mid-Novemeber weather is a tease—a few inches of white stuff, followed by fifty degree sunny days. Gloriously sunny. It’s enough to knock the wind out of a desperate-to-ski person’s sails. Or something.

So, dining a la Deer Valley, and mentally planning my evenings out for the winter, banished all grumpiness. Which may or may not have been followed by some freshies in the next three days. I dare not take credit.

Regardless, there were so many exciting developments revealed at the menu tasting, I couldn’t help but feel excited and hopeful about the coming season.

Perhaps the best news, at least to a woman who enjoys a “cheese course” nearly every evening—even if that translates, roughly, to breaking off a bite or two of aged Gouda pulled from my stash in the fridge and warmed from a rest at room temperature for a few minutes—is this: Deer Valley now makes artisan cheese. Yes, there is a cheese making operation at 8100 feet, in Silver Lake Lodge, utilizing dairy from the Heber Valley.

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You can enjoy this cheese at every restaurant at Deer Valley, but perhaps the best news is that you can purchase it to enjoy at home (or in your vacation lodging, or on the plane ride home, or in the taxi on the way to the airport), at the Deer Valley Grocery Café.

Belgian-born cheese maker Corrine Cornet-Coniglio knows her stuff. She walked me through tasting all four cheeses: Blue Belle, Moon Shadow, Meadow Lark, and The Provence Kid. Each one delighted my palate in a different, cheese-obsessed way. (Yes, I’m planning to devote another post entirely to Corrine and the cheeses.) For now, I’ll tell you that the Blue Belle is a ripened blue cow’s milk cheese, Moon Shadow is an ash-ripened goat cheese with a white rind and a firm texture that made me wonder why other cheese makers bother, Meadowlark is a double-cream soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese and The Provence Kid is a marinated goat cheese with Herbes de Provence. I was lucky enough to take a couple of these cheeses home, and served them the following night to guests. My friends conferred near-rock-star status on me, just for having introduced them to the cheese.

Dinner brought still more fun surprises, many of which were inspired by Chef Jodie Rogers and Clark Norris’ trip to Iowa over the summer, for a farmer’s appreciation dinner. Here’s a restaurant-by-restaurant guide to the new menu items:

Lemon-Black Garlic Bluenose Bass, The Seafood Buffet 

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Prepared in an oolong tea and wild mushroom broth, and served with fresh basil chiffonade, this dish boasts a sustainable New Zealand blue-nose bass. It’s light, but satisfying, and the flavors are complex and rich, without being overpowering.

Porchetta – Royal Street Café

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Chefs Clark Norris and Chris Gibson prepare this Niman Ranch Pork Belly in an immersion circulator at 145 degrees for a whole day. Then, they pair it with creamy Brussels sprouts (who knew?) and whole grain mustard. It’s so rich, they decided it needed to be served only in appetizer portions, but I could make a meal out of it, with a salad, easily. 

Pancetta Wrapped Monkfish- Mariposa     

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This dish was a favorite on the specials menu last winter—and it was so popular, that Chef Norris and Chef Tim Gibson decided to make it a staple of the regular menu this season. With its mustard pickle burre blanc, pan-roasted frisee and chevre mashed Yukon gold potatoes, it’s a superstar of a dish. Chef Norris even shared his secret to pan-roasting the frisee—he sears an entire head of the greens in a cast-iron skillet, then places a second skillet on top of the greens, themselves, creating a crispiness through the entire bunch. 

Rose-Hip Glazed Niman Ranch Pork Tenderloin—Fireside Dining

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Chef Shane Symes uses rose hips foraged from the mountain to create the glaze. Accompanied by parsnips, which are boiled in 2% milk, strained, then pureed with the retained liquid in a smoothie blender. The parsnips almost take center stage—they’re that good. 

Buckwheat Crepe and Deer Valley Brie Roulade—Mariposa        

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You’d think this is so rich that you need to share it. But, to my mind, it’s so rich, I need to keep it all to myself. You have my permission to do the same. Pastry Chef Stephen Harty pairs it with champagne huckleberry sorbet, lacquered walnuts and huckleberry crunch. Seriously, you will need to swat away your dining partners’ wandering forks.

 

Salted Carmel Panna Cotta—Seafood Buffet

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Snow Park Pastry Chef Debbie Swenerton said she was “inspired by Cracker Jack,” when she created this dessert. The milk chocolate cremoso, caramel corn cream with a cone of cashew caramel corn is going to be a runaway hit with certain members of my family, when we visit the Buffet this winter. The ski lodge version of the ballpark snack is, forgive my expression, a grand slam home run.

 

 















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Double Life of Snow Park Restaurant

Snow falling slowly to the ground is transcending and full of magic. A blanket stitched together one fat flake at a time, it smooths the sharp edges of the world offering a more tender landscape to the senses. Few things are more inviting than the best snow on earth, and few places more than Deer Valley. Under a dark Utah sky and through the lights of the Snow Park Lodge, my friend Kate and I walked toward the Seafood Buffet last night, all smiles after several days of great skiing.

I had come to lunch last week at the Snow Park Restaurant, enjoying New York Strip with béarnaise, Seared Scallop Florentine, and a piece of cheesecake that was, as Will Ferrell says, “Scrumtrulescent.” The Scallop Florentine is easily one of my new favorites. I am almost certain that it is meant to be served over pasta, but with scallops that tender and a simmering sweet sauce I couldn’t let anything get in their way.

Instructors from the Deer Valley Ski School were enjoying lunch a few tables away, hands gesturing in smooth arcs and deep angles like pilots talking about turns and maneuvers carved out of the sky. Like many Mondays at a ski mountain everyone was very relaxed and in no hurry. I browsed the food, taking note of the house made bratwurst and gourmet pizza for my next day visit. When I was asked to come back for Seafood Dinner I readily agreed.

As we were seated for dinner the restaurant was relaxed, guests mingling at the tables and serving stations. I was immediately drawn to the Natural Buffet, specifically the Opillio crab. I may live in the Wasatch now but was raised in Maryland. Hardly a crab has gotten by me over the years. After living near the southern tidewaters for the past several years Kate naturally leaned toward the fresh shucked oysters, and steamed clams and mussels. As we began to eat it occurred to me that few foods encourage sharing like seafood. Take two or more people with a passion for sustainable gathering from the sea, and the conversation will travel up and down the coasts of the country. 

Our talk was punctuated with trips to the sushi bar and carving station (Double R Ranch prime beef!) along with our server recommended sable fish and ahi tuna.

After nearly an hour of talking and eating we made a last foray, standing at the bakery trying to make the most difficult decision of the evening. Chocolate raspberry torte and coffee finished us, the mesmerizing spell of a great meal slowly receding. Several inches had fallen while we were inside, promising a great day to come and capping a wonderful evening.

Make reservations for yourself and some friends online or by phone at 435-645-6632. If you can, take a friend who has never been to Deer Valley before. The look of contentment on their face at the end of the evening is almost as rewarding as the meal itself. Thanks to Ryan and the rest of the staff of the Snow Park Restaurant for an outstanding meal.

 

Lucky Locals

Yesterday, I felt like a very lucky local. I can sum up the reasons in three little words: Turkey Chili Nachos.

I know what you’re thinking: Seriously, folks, what took you so long to come up with THAT little gem? Well, it’s just what happens when Deer Valley’s crack culinary team gets to spend the off-season…at work. The fact that the Deer Valley Grocery Café is open year-round is a boon to everyone—locals and visitors alike. Because not only can it taste like ski season, even if the lifts are not operating, but the culinary team has a little breathing room to get a boost of creativity. Of course Turkey Chili Nachos are a genius idea. It’s a new twist on an old favorite.

Before I ate the nachos, though, I had a chance to chat with sous chef Ben Stevens, who heads up the kitchen at the Deer Valley Grocery Café. He poured me a cup of coffee (yes, I had already had a meeting over coffee an hour earlier, but I am incapable of saying no to a steaming mug of Millcreek Coffee Roasters coffee at Deer Valley.)

It turns out; the Deer Valley Grocery Café is always going to cook up a little twist or surprise. In part, because Ben and his team really want to cater to their crowd, and use the café to showcase not just the Deer Valley signature meals and desserts, but the local purveyors who make the food possible. “We want to hear people’s comments, get their suggestions,” he told me. “The more we hear what people want, the better we’re able to cook up a surprise or two.” In fact, one of the things that surprised me is the fact that entire catered dinners for a crowd can be ordered from the café—“It makes it more of a vacation if you can eat comfort food without having to cook,” Ben said. For some of us, just a day off from cooking can feel like a vacation, so I’m all in.

A few other secrets: The pot pies are healthier than you think. “We don’t use cream,” Ben says. “It’s a vegetable volute that gives the pie that creamy texture.”

Still, I couldn’t resist needling Ben to spill a little bit of his “My Deer Valley” secrets.

Ski haunt: “Empire—it’s like the hidden gem, with Mayflower on one side and Empire on the other.”

Ski lunch: “Fish tacos at Empire Canyon Lodge.”

Ski timing: “First chair—working at the Café got me in the habit of being up at 5am. Suddenly, first chair at 9 feels like a whole day off, even if I’m just getting in a few runs before I start the lunch shift.”