Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting
All in. That’s the only attitude to adopt when the annual Deer Valley Winter Menu Tasting invitation arrives. It is the best reason, ever, to take a one-night (…and morning? More on that, later.) hiatus from my wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free eating habits. Savoring the flavors of the ski season, Deer Valley style, is the way I frame my entire winter. Each ski day is planned around meals, rather than the other way around. Consider this your guide to shaping your skiing and dining plans. But be warned: you may decide to increase your breaks-to-run ratio.
The tabletop tour left me with a few well-earned observations:
There is always time for tacos. With the addition of a taqueria to Silver Lake Restaurant, you can sample Red Chile Lime and Cilantro Shrimp, Mole Wagu Beef or Niman Ranch Pork Carnitas with lots of freshly-made salsas, on white corn tortillas.
Pho is fun. A Pho Bar, dubbed Bald Mountain Pho (pronounced “Fuh” ), found at the home of the former Bald Mountain Pizza restaurant, could be the solution to feeling too full to ski after lunch. Pho, melding hearty broth, rich meat, and light, fresh veggies, is satisfying without being too heavy, and thus energizing you for a full afternoon of carving turns.
Add sriracha, hoisin, or red chili oil—all house-made and gluten-free—to customize your favorite flavor profile. (If you’re like me, and “hot” is never hot enough, pair it with a Provo Girl Pilsner, from Wasatch Brewery, for the inevitable moment when your taste buds demand a break.)
Salt is a tool. Seafood Buffet Freaks (that’s my self-designated title, actually), be sure to include the Himalayan Salt Block preparations in your buffet indulgence. We were treated to a sea scallop that was seared on the block, and served alongside roasted Brussels sprout, grilled kale, shiitake bacon, and Arancini di Riso. (Paired with: 2013 Dr. Hermann H Riesling, Mosel.)
Hens got game. The après ski meal at The Brass Tag brings a twist on chicken and waffles—Harissa Rubbed Cornish Game Hen, served atop a cornmeal sweet potato waffle, sweet potato puree, and housemade lime yogurt cream, and enjoyed with 2008 Bodegas y Videos Alzania Finca La Moneda, Navarra. The game hen is cooked for 3 hours at 160 degrees, in a method known as Sea Bath Cooking—so it’s tender and juicy, and flavor-rich.
A glance at our menus after the game hens yeilded loud (if vaguely inauthentic) protests, when we realized that two courses had yet to emerge from the kitchen. Well, nothing quiets a room full of over-fed, over-indulged folks quite like this:
Don’t doubt the lamb. If you haven’t been to Fireside Dining in a while, The Niman Ranch Lamb Rack with piperade polenta, Strong Vertical Gardens micro-greens, and Basque apple cider au jus is exactly the excuse you need to book a table, now. (What? You haven’t been? Let’s go!) I didn’t think I could love lamb chops more than I did, already, until I tasted this version. Done and done.
If it says, “potato,” it’s healthy. I thought I couldn’t eat a bite more, and then I discovered evil genius on a plate: Mariposa‘s Rustic Sweet Potato Tart with just a spoonful of bourbon praline ice cream. See? Sweet potato = guilt free. Such thinking defied the overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t consume another bite, and I rallied to finish it.
Don’t skip breakfast. I had just decided that I would bail on that first meal of the next day (if only for the reason that I’d be sorely disappointed by my own cooking), when Janine Trolio, manager of the Deer Valley Grocery~Café, announced she had prepared a breakfast basket for each of us. She thought of everything— house-made Bloody Mary Mix, house-made yogurt with strawberry-rhubarb jam, Deer Valley granola, a lovely pear, and Kouign Amann—sweet, bready goodness.
That, my friends, is the Deer Valley Difference. Food and Beverage Director, Jodie Rogers, and her team leave zero details to chance, and you’re never, ever left without a great dining option at any hour of the day. I’ve already made the mental shift to plan my ski days so that lunches land me at Silver Lake more frequently. What’s your plan for the perfect ski-in dining experience?
I would love that recipe for sriracha!!