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!

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

Renowned Cheese Maker Joins Deer Valley Resort

Taking its award-winning dining to new heights, Deer Valley Resort is now offering hand-crafted, artisanal cheese produced in the kitchens of Silver Lake Lodge at 8,100 feet by renowned cheese maker, Corinne Cornet-Coniglio. All milk for the artisanal cheese comes from locally pastured cows and goats in the Heber and Ogden valleys and the specialty cheeses are served in every Deer Valley® restaurant, as well as available for purchase at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

Deer Valley

Corinne Cornet-Coniglio, a Belgium native, joins the Deer Valley team to spearhead the creation of the resort’s signature artisanal cheeses. The Cornet family was deeply rooted in the dairy industry in Belgium. She spent decades in Europe procuring knowledge of every possible European variety of cheese, including farmstead and Abbey cheeses located in remote locations. Fluent in French, she spent a significant time in France, gaining firsthand experience with dairy farmers and cheese makers. It was there that she acquired her knowledge and passion for cheese making and goat husbandry.

Coniglio came to the United States to pursue a career in cheese making in 2002. She was the former co-owner and manager of Roubideau Farm-to-You, a fromagerie in western Colorado near Aspen. Having a genuine farmstead artisanal cheese operation, she was directly involved with raising goat livestock and running a successful goat dairy, food and agritourism marketing business. After that venture, Coniglio became the national sales director for a French cheese making company and was the ambassador covering all U.S. territories for the company and its cheese making equipment.

As a professional cheese maker, consultant, and owner of Fromages Without Borders in Utah, Coniglio has a personal mission to promote gourmet/European-type cheese in the U.S. and help companies extend their production of more European-style cheeses.

 

“I am thrilled to be a part of Deer Valley Resort’s fine dining experience and create beautifully mastered artisanal cheeses,” Coniglio said. “Utah’s soil, grass, weather conditions and farming techniques will create a very specific range of new Terroir cheeses that I am excited to explore with the resort.”

 

The five artisanal cheeses currently being produced by Deer Valley are:
    • Blue Bell – A true artisan blue made from fresh cow’s milk and aged over 60 days to creamy perfection and ripeness
    • Moon Shadow – Ash-ripened goat cheese with a bloomy white rind and firm textures, made with 100% local goat’s milk
    • Meadowlark – A double cream, soft-ripened, cow’s milk cheese encased in a velvety white rind.  Hand-made in the French moulé à la louche tradition
    • The Provence Kid – Fresh goat cheese encrusted with Herbes de Provence
    • Triple Truffle – Triple cream Camembert-style brie infused with fine black truffles from Umbria, Italy. Creamy and earthy

American Cheese Society

For more information about Deer Valley Resort’s hand-crafted, artisanal cheese making, please visit deervalley.com

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.

 

 















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savor Your Summer at the Royal Street Cafe with Deer Valley’s Signature Cocktails

 

three cocktailsWhat are your favorite memories of summer?   One of mine is a girl’s weekend (before I moved here permanently) in Park City – three California girls came in for a four-day weekend.  Dressed in short sleeved t-shirts and shorts, we rode the chairlifts from Snow Park to Silver Lake Lodge and to the top of Bald Mountain.  It was a beautiful warm summer day so we didn’t dream of bringing a light jacket!  It got chilly on the lift so the three of us huddled together for warmth.  We each pulled our arms out of the sleeves wrapping them around our waists underneath our shirts to slow the goose bumps.  When we arrived at Silver Lake, we ran into a shop and bought sweatshirts!  We enjoyed the second half of our lift ride to the summit much better and have laughed about it ever since.

On the way down, we stopped for lunch at Royal Street Café and enjoyed a lingering lunch on the deck in the full sun with our new sweatshirts draped across the backs of the chairs and Blueberry Mojitos in our hands. Now, I live here full time and always bring visitors on that very same scenic lift ride and to bask in the sun for alfresco dining on the deck.  As a local, I’ve learned to always bring a light jacket or sweatshirt as temperatures change frequently in the mountains, and I’ve also picked up a thing or two about cocktail options at the Royal Street Café.

My friends and I lucked into the Blueberry Mojito because we saw it come out on a tray to a patron sitting at a table next to us.  We said to the server, “We’ll each have one of those.”  What we didn’t know at the time was the Royal Street Café scours the farmers markets each week to choose local seasonal fruits such as raspberries and apricots and herbs such as rosemary and basil for their cocktails.  They make juices and mixes fresh each day. When we were enjoying our day in the mountains, we were sipping the freshest local fruit juices and tasting hints of freshly picked local herbs from right here in the Wasatch Mountain area.  To us, the experience was seamless but to the team at Royal Street Café, it was intentionally designed for us to really enjoy a sense of place – the mountains and the summer season.  It worked!

nancy and bonnieA lot of the inspiration for seasonal cocktails comes from lead bartender, Bonnie Ulmer, who has been a part of Deer Valley since the beginning. I had a chance to spend some time with Bonnie, observing her skills in action, chatting with her on the deck and having a taste test of the latest signature cocktail. In case you need some help deciding which drink to sip as you drape your arm over a chair sitting on the deck on a summer afternoon, here are some suggestions for making your summer cocktail decision:

sipping rosemary collinsTry this summer’s signature cocktail – Rosemary Tom Collins. If you like something a little on the tart side with the freshly made sweet and sour mix and you want to completely blow your mind with the addition of the hint of rosemary, this is the one for you.  When I tasted it, I couldn’t put it down because of the unique flavors.  You’ll notice when I snapped some photos of the drinks on the deck, the Rosemary Tom Collins had been sipped quite a bit.  I’ll admit it; it was me! You try taking just one sip and let me know how that works for you! The rosemary adds a unique sensory experience that encourages you to take sip after sip.

Experiment and go with this week’s special.  The restaurant and beverage team at the Royal Street Café all weigh in on the weekly special cocktail.  I got to try the RSC Berry Crush with Grey Goose vodka, splash of Chambord, fresh raspberries, and house made lemonade served over crushed ice.  The weekly special is one of the things Bonnie loves most about summer! She had a twinkle in her eye when she talked about plans for a cucumber and basil combination she was planning.  Whatever fruit is ripe and herbs are available, a new special cocktail is created to pair with the weekly food specials. If you want to be adventuresome and try something new, try the current creation.

mojitoGo with the winner – Deer Valley’s Blueberry Mojito.  This drink is the winner of the Park City’s Best Cocktail Award in 2007/2008 and for good reason. With the combination of mint, lime and blueberries, how can you go wrong?  People from all over the world come to Royal Street Café asking for this special drink and the recipe to take home.  Even the culinary challenged (such as me) have been able to make this drink at home with success!

Stick with the classics.  It’s fun to experiment with something new, but you certainly don’t have to!  You can order anything from a Manhattan, a High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, to a locally brewed lager from the Wasatch Brewery to enjoy on the deck at Silver Lake Lodge.

deck cocktailsThe diners who stop at the Royal Street Café are an eclectic group and the drink choices certainly fall right in line.  Whatever choice you decide, make it memorable. The important thing is to savor your summer and create lasting memories of your time in Park City, whether you live here year-round or you are here for a short stay.

For a peek at the menu and more information for Royal Street Café, click here.

 

 

An Evening with the Utah Symphony

I’ll admit it.  I hid the chocolate. It’s not like I needed to because there were also two pieces of lemon cake right on top of the gourmet picnic basket I carried to our blanket on the lawn at the Opera Hits concert with the Utah Symphony.  I just wanted the chocolate raspberry truffle tartlets all to myself.

You can come right out and say that’s selfish and I must be an awful person. It is all true – I can’t deny it.  But I have to say if you’d seen the desserts in the Deer Valley gourmet picnic basket, you would have done the same thing or at least thought about it.  I simply couldn’t help myself.

Food is important especially when you are enjoying an outdoor venue. I remember a few years ago, I went camping by the beach in Bodega Bay, California with my brother and sister-in-law. They invited their neighbor who brought two cans of tuna as her culinary contribution to our weekend.  I am dead serious. By the way, she also sat in my chair the entire time and I had to sit on the ice chest (but I am not the least bit bitter.)  When enjoying the outdoors, you don’t want the ordinary. You want something special.

On the lawn listening to the operatic voices of angels – the sopranos, the tenors and the opera choir backed by the full symphony orchestra, we had that something special. My husband and I lingered and enjoyed the bottle of Pinot Noir with our Brie, apples, grapes, crusty baguettes, and antipasto before feasting on a salmon steak and filet as well as the amazing lemon cake.  What a great night.

Later when we got home, he dug through the basket, found the chocolate tartlets and said, “Look, I found these for you.  You can have them both.”

“Chocolate raspberry tarts? Oh I love them. Thank you, Honey.  That is so sweet of you,” was my shy reply. He obviously didn’t know someone had hidden them in the bottom and he clearly is a better person than me.

Come on though. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing?

Deer Valley Historical Hike With Michael O’Malley

Who knew that the popular beginner run, Ontario, was named after the deepest and most prolific mine in Park City (and last to close in 1981) not a province in Canada?  Who knew that Flagstaff mountain was not named after a city in Arizona but after a mining claim from three soldiers at Ft. Douglas- a pine bough stuck in the ground with a bandana tied around it?    Well everyone who took the Deer Valley guided historical hike, that’s who.  My husband, Jay and I met the group of hikers at the base of the Sterling Express Lift at the Silver Lake Lodge to join the hike led by Deer Valley mountain host, Michael O’Malley.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

After our first history lesson and introductions all around, we grabbed some ski poles to use as walking sticks and headed up the trail —at a brisk pace I might add.  I was a little nervous that this group would leave me in the dust but I found out later our leader was doing a “level check” to see how we stayed together.  Michael said he starts out with a “New York attitude” to gauge the group and sets his pace accordingly. I guess we all possessed some of that attitude because we ended up staying together as a group really well (probably helped by a couple from Long Island on their first visit to Deer Valley.)

Michael has been leading the Deer Valley Historical Hikes, which are free to the public, for about four years now. He shared a bit about his experience with me:

Photo by T.J. Lenahan

How did you get started as a historical tour guide?

I have to blame the women in my life!  I got volunteered.  More than 10 years ago my wife volunteered me to help Hal Compton, resident historian with the Park City Museum,  http://www.parkcityhistory.org/   for a season when he injured his shoulder. I’ve been doing it ever since.  I model my tours after Hal’s.  He is 83 years old now and still leads great tours.

Then four years ago, I got volunteered again! Jennifer Franklin with Deer Valley mountain hosts who serves on the Park City Recreation Advisory board volunteered me when the board wanted to offer free public hikes. So here I am.

What is your favorite history tidbit?

One of the most common questions I get is, “Do they still mine in Park City?” The answer is –yes! but it is not what you think. The mine shafts are drain tunnels that carry water to treatment facilities at the Jordenelle which produce the “new silver” —  water.

The route we took through the aspen groves and then on the ridge was beautiful  - is that the route you always take?

We actually have several routes — well a half dozen — we choose them based on the weather conditions.  Last year the route we just took had snow on it.  A couple of the guides and I go out the day before to check the trail conditions. Changing keeps it interesting, too. Besides we have a group of regulars (“repeat offenders” as Michael calls them) so we like to mix it up.

Which hike is your favorite?

I like hiking Guardsman’s pass past the Xfiles to the Daily chute.  It is a beautiful and peaceful hike.

What is your favorite season for hiking?

The second week in October is really great. Last year the foliage was amazing with the deep red and bright yellow colors. It is also cooler then and we don’t encounter as many mountain bikers which opens up more possibilities for the group hike.

Favorite thing about being a host?

I really enjoy showing the out-of-towners our mountain but I really love to hear when a local takes a hike and says, “I never knew that!”

Fun mining fact?

Michael showed us an “adit” then he laughingly said if you ever need a four letter word for entrance to mine shaft in the New York Times Crossword, you have it now.

We learned a lot, saw beautiful vistas and got some great exercise.  I will now look at the mountain as more than simply nature’s playground to enjoy but with a new depth that knowing the history provides.  Historical hikes are the second Sunday of the month until October 14th.  Here is a link for more information.

If you want to enjoy the beauty but don’t feel like hiking up, pick up a ticket and ride the chairlift to Bald Mountain – ride down or hike down.  We love to enjoy lunch on the deck of the Royal Street Cafe at Silver Lake Lodge afterwards — open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 between June 15th and Labor Day.

Deer Valley Cocktail Mixology

Last week we highlighted long time Deer Valley bartender Bonnie Ulmer. Three time Park City Cocktail Contest winner, we wanted to know the secret behind the mixology at Deer Valley.

Next time you dine with us at Royal Street Cafe and try  the daily drink special, you can be assured it contains the freshest and most local of ingredients. Each week Bonnie and the Royal Street staff search the local farmers markets for fresh fruit and herbs to incorporate into their drinks. Don’t be surprised if the mint or rosemary in your drink was even grown right here at Deer Valley or in one of our talented chef’s back yards.

“We try to stay local, whether it’s honey from Beehive Honey or whiskey from High West, we really like to incorporate that into our drink specials” says Bonnie.

Have some fresh mint lying around? Bonnie recommends trying her 2010 Park City Cocktail Contest winner her Limoncello Ginger Cocktail, available at Royal Street Café.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limoncello Ginger

Yields: 1 Drink

2 Lemon Wedges

1 oz. High West Vodka

1 oz. Domain De Canton Ginger Liqueur

½ oz. Limoncello

2 oz. fresh lemonade

Ginger Ale

Fresh Mint

Procedure:

In a tall Collins glass, muddle 2 lemon wedges in a splash of ginger ale. Fill glass with ice, add vodka, ginger liqueur, Limoncello and 2 oz. fresh lemonade (Use “Simply Lemonade” if you don’t want to make fresh). Top with ginger ale and stir. Garnish with fresh mint and lemon wheel. Get comfy and enjoy!!

 

 

Bonnie’s Blueberry Mojito -Definitely Try This at Home

When I read that the Blueberry Mojito was Deer Valley’s award winning bartender Bonnie Ulmer’s  favorite drink, I thought I would try her recipe and make it for my friends.  Now I need to start by saying that the most complex drink I usually make is a rum and coke and if I want to get a little crazy, I make a gin and tonic (with a lime.) I am  often spotted pouring  a simple glass of red wine so a blueberry mojito is a tall order for me.

I tried to make a signature drink for a dinner party once.  If my life depended on it, I couldn’t tell you what drink it was. The whole thing has been erased from memory – my subconscious must have blocked it out! It turned out badly.  When my guests sipped the cocktail, their faces scrunched up like the guy on the bitter beer commercial.  They exchanged sidewards glances and then there was silence.  The only sound was the popping of corks as they switched to wine. I never tried making a special cocktail again….until now.

When our friends Harry and Michelle invited us for dinner over Memorial Day weekend, I saw an opportunity for a second chance. I offered to bring Bonnie’s Blueberry Mojito makings to kick off the season.   This was a low pressure situation for me  – it was just the four of us so if I totally messed it up, I would only  have to endure  minor teasing.  So I gathered the rum, mint, lemon aid, limes, soda and blueberries in my tote for the maiden mojito voyage.

Turns out making the drink together was a blast -Michelle and I smashed mint until fragrant, measured the rum, and tossed in the blueberries following the recipe from the blog.  After pouring the dark rum on top and tasting it, seemed like something was missing. Oops -forgot the club soda. Added a splash then more rum on top and we were good to go.

The verdict?  Best mojito ever!  Refreshing – not too minty but just right. They weren’t as pretty as Bonnie’s, of course, but everyone loved them. My husband and I even planted mint so we can enjoy mojitos all summer. I can’t wait to try the original at the Deer Valley’s Royal Street Cafe.