Friday, February 17, 2012

Sun Valley Idaho: The Food

One of the things that I was pleasantly surprised about in Sun Valley was how much awesome food we ate. Not that I expected it to be bad at all, but considering the fact that we stuck to fairly affordable places and even ate most of our meals at the Lodge or in Sun Valley Village...well, that just really says something about the quality of what you can get on a budget in this little ski area!

We arrived too late on our first night to need anything to eat, so our culinary adventures (of a sort) started on a Sunday morning. We grabbed a quick, light breakfast and some coffee at Konditerei Coffee in the Village, and I must say that this was the only "just average" experience we had during our time there. The coffee itself was good, but the food was okay at best and honestly a bit overpriced for what you got. I ordered a chocolate croissant, paid for it, and then was told they didn't have any after I waited 10 minutes for it. They offered me a refund or something in exchange; I chose a slightly less expensive muffin but while I certainly wasn't going to ask them to refund the difference that at least should have been offered, in my opinion. Steve had a breakfast burrito that was...well, let's just say we won't go there. I'll just repeat that at least the coffee was good.

After a long morning of skiing we were famished, and a good thing too, because we headed back to the Lodge for their infamous Sunday Brunch in the Lodge Dining Room. This was by far the most expensive meal we ate on our trip...but hey, it was all-you-can-eat! For the brunch buffet itself and two Bloody Mary's, plus tip, we paid about $90 and it was worth every penny.

Their fruits, cold salads and cheese selection were, in a word, amazing.

Live piano player and crepe station

Yum, desserts! (and a random mini quiche at the top, haha)

Looking back into the beautiful and nearly empty dining room (we were leaving just as brunch was ending)
The *only* issue I had with this brunch is that some of the food - namely the coffee cake on the dessert bar and some of the hot foods, like the quiche - had obviously been set out when brunch began at 10 AM and had been sitting there ever since :-/ So not surprisingly, if you want the really fresh stuff, get there first thing rather than going right before close as we did ;)

Because we had such a huge, late lunch we just snacked a bit for dinner on Sunday night, and our next real meal out was Monday morning at Moose Girls [located at 360 East Ave.] in Ketchum. We'd had a few people suggest "The Kneadery" to us, but then we heard from other (more reliable) sources that that particular restaurant isn't as good as it used to be. Moose Girls came highly recommended and I am extremely glad that we left the Lodge a bit early and lugged our ski boots the couple blocks from the bus stop to have breakfast here.


We ordered one of their special Monte Cristo breakfast sandwiches, as well as the Salmon Eggs Benedict, and then we split them so that we both got to taste everything! To be honest I'm not quite sure the salmon on the Eggs Benedict was my cup of tea, but in general everything was delicious, portions were hearty, and the hash browns were amazing as well! They have cappuccinos and the like and will refill your cappuccino cup with regular coffee for free, too, which was a huge plus for us.

Clockwise from top: hash browns, Salmon Eggs Benedict, Breakfast Monte Cristo
Of course we skied all day, which meant two things: we didn't really eat, and we were starving for dinner by 4 PM! We headed over to Bald Mountain Pizza for their opening at 5:30 PM, and wow. Considering the affordable prices and the quality of both the service and the food, this was by far the best meal we had in Sun Valley. And honestly - I'm picky about pizza. Like, really picky. So for me to say that the pizza at this place was good...well, that means something. Trust me.

First, our server Jonathan - who was awesome enough to be memorable (and I mean that in the very best way possible) helped us with our beer selection. He let us taste the red ale they had on tap, which was awesome. We liked it and ordered a pitcher for $20! Not too shabby.

Ninkasi Brewing Company's Believer Double Red Ale
Next Jonathan helped us with our food order. Normally I'm not one to take suggestions because I can usually look at a menu and know what I want, but we decided to listen to him and ended up with the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer (for Steve - I don't do mushrooms) and two 8" pizzas to share - the Chicken Caesar and the Philly Cheesesteak (a daily special). We also got a giant plate of breadsticks (they just "come with" your meal) that were very tasty. Steve ranted and raved about the mushrooms and finished the entire plate himself; I had some of both pizzas and was beyond pleasantly surprised at how awesome they were, especially the Chicken Caesar.

Chicken Caesar pizza at Bald Mountain Pizza
We even took some cookies to go and our bill was still only about $50...before we left a generous tip for our awesome waiter, of course ;)

After such a big dinner and knowing that we had plans for a big lunch at the Roundhouse on Bald Mountain for our last day, we didn't do much for breakfast but instead arrived at the top of the Roundhouse Gondola just before noon for an early lunch. We ate in the actual restaurant - though I've heard good things about eating in the bar as well - and had another overall great experience.

There was a live accordion player...
We got to dry/warm our ski boots by a roaring fire
And we enjoyed some a bottle of wine with our meal while we rested from a long morning of skiing!
(plus the views were great)
Food-wise we split a grilled apple-prosciutto-manchego (etc.etc.etc.) flatbread and a Croque Monsieur with Pommes Frites...and again, everything was delicious. I wish I could have tried some of the heavier meals on the menu...everything looked so amazing! And dessert would have been great as well, I wager. But faced with the knowledge that we had to ski back down over half of the mountain with our bellies full of food and wine, we took the safe route and stopped with a light lunch and just one bottle of Riesling ;)

Pommes Frites & a Croque Monsieur; a slice of the flatbread on the side
For our last night we once again planned on just snacking. The previous evening we'd visited the Inn Lobby Lounge after eating at Bald Mountain Pizza, having been invited by the bartender and the piano player (whom I met at the bar at River Run Day Lodge earlier that day, of course...haha) - and the bartender mentioned that he also worked in Ketchum at a place called Cornerstone. He wasn't supposed to be working the next night (our last night) but we decided to stop by anyway...and lo and behold he'd had to work anyway! So we enjoyed some great talk with Sean the bartender at Cornerstone on 211 North Main Street in Ketchum...and a few good drinks...and some really delicious mac-n-cheese to tide us over.

Cornerstone Mac-n-Cheese. Don't miss it.
In general Cornerstone was a sort of eclectic mix between local dishes and modern decor. The food was a bit pricey but after tasting the mac-n-cheese, I'm sure anything else on the menu is well worth whatever it costs! And honestly, don't forget to check out the bathrooms. They're insane. You'll find yourself wondering, "How did this bathroom end up in a restaurant in Ketchum, Idaho?" No lie.

Cornerstone bathroom - not the best picture due to dim lighting, but seriously, it was crazy awesome.
This brings me to the end of our culinary adventures in Sun Valley, Idaho, but I do have to say one more thing - if you ever end up in this state...ever...do not under any circumstances eat this:


It's supposed to be candy of some sort, but I'm still not sure what exactly it's supposed to taste like. It's awful. I think it may taste as bad as it looks, and that's bad. Avoid it at all costs. Trust me on that.

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