A Tale of 2 Ski Hills – Deer Valley and Jackson Hole


Jackson Hole – wild, wooly, in your face, hard-core, deep powder, tight trees, lousy grooming – VS – Deer Valley – elegant, fashionable, respectfully, friendly, warm, happy, sunny, clear skies, awesome grooming.

A Tale of 2 Cities – Jackson, Wyoming and Park City, Utah


It’s odd how cities with so much in common can be so fundamentally different. So lets start with what they share.

Bourbon and Burgers – Way too expensive for what it is


Give the Montage credit for calling a dog a dog. Bourbon and Burgers says – we’re serving burgers. And knowing it’s in the Montage, one of Deer Valley’s seriously expensive hotels means you have to know it’s not going to be cheap.

But over $150 for 5? For Burgers? We didn’t even have any Bourbon.

But you pay for luxury – and the Montage serves that up in spades. Driving up the windy road into the mountains that surround Park City, you turn into the Montage access road – and are immediately surrounded by glowing trees on all sides. The impact is magical. Continuing the experience, a valet greets you at the entrance, a concierge welcomes you to the Montage and directs you to your destination.

The location of Bourbon and Burgers is upstairs a bit from the Apex, the Montage’s high-end restaurant. It has a commanding view of the surrounding ski slopes, totally dark of course at this time of night. Deep dark wood, a roaring fireplace, a full bar, and elaborate service – even if they are only serving burgers.

The menu – true to its name – consists primarily of burgers. I totally enjoyed the ahi tuna ‘burger’, the rest of our group ordered more standard fare – the double burger and the classic. We also ordered an appetizer of fried pickles which was very disappointing, and every one ordered a different flavor of fries – I had Sweet Potato Fried – but there were also orders of Truffle Fries and Garlic Fries. None were outstanding – all were seriously expensive.

After dinner we wandered the public spaces of the hotel, spending most of our time in the Vista Lounge. Huge space, giant fireplace large enough to stand in, luxury games including a wooden version of Clue that featured inlay rooms, and offerings of Fondu, mulled wine and mulled cider. Best of all – the quite enjoyable piano player who unobtrusively provided background music. The Vista Lounge was definitely the best part of dinner.

Bottom line – if money is no object – go and enjoy the burgers. As for the fries – Montage – you need to up the anty on those. And either fix the fried pickles – or take them off the menu.

Shabu Shabu – Fun – but 5 minutes later you are still hungry


Park City is a very cool place with a wild geography. There’s an awesome Main Street – with tons of restaurants – all with prices to match. So while you can count on quantity of options, and probably some pretty decent quality – you are also going to be paying the price of being on Main Street.

Getting off Main Street offers lots of options but not things are definitely going to be further apart. About 7 miles away towards the highway is an area called RedStone. It’s really an outdoor mall (there’s a Best Buy and a Bed Bath and Beyond) with a collection of restaurants – one of which is Shabu Shabu.

We opted for the drive because the price was very right – and the restaurant promised to be a bit different from what we’d been enjoying. And different it really is.

One Park City Restaurant Observation – despite the cold weather, Park City Restaurants do not believe in Vestibules or curtains over door ways. So every time a guest walks in – so does a cold draft. The trick is to pick a table far from the door – preferably around a corner.

So – since the Shabu Shabu is long and thin with no corners – finding a table away from the draft proved impossible. Annoying, yes. A reason not to go back? No. But do choose your seats careful.

On to the food concept. The idea of Shabu Shabu is individual cooking pots. Holes in the granite table tops are specially designed to hold good quality cooking pots securely on flat top cooking elements. The pots contain water which the water seasons according to your taste (mostly soy sauce), and then you pick your dinner protein off the menu. There’s beef, pork, chicken, various fish, even Kobe Beef. Each protein option is presented with vegetables, udon noodles and rice.

You take your platter of protein and veggies and pop them into the hot water. Instructions from the waiter tell you to put certain veggies in earlier – other protein in later depending on the cooking time. Since all the proteins are sliced extremely thin cooking time is minimal. Also since they are sliced so thin, it’s hard to tell exactly how much meat you are getting – but given how hungry we were shortly after leaving the restaurant – I’m guessing the portions are a lot smaller than they appear.

Price depends on Protein type – ranging from a low of $14 for a ‘Regular’ portion of Pork or Chicken to $26 for a ‘Large’ Portion of Kobe Beef. The amount of veggies and noodles didn’t seem to vary.

You cook, you eat, you leave. Meal done.

It’s quite social since it takes time to cook and you can chat during the cooking time – and it’s quite good. But you are cooking yourself, and you are in control of the seasoning, so it’s hard to tell how much effort the ‘chef’ contributed.

The only problem – and it’s easily solved – we all ordered ‘Regular’ portions – and honestly – ‘Large’ would have been a better option. While we were full when we left – I’m not kidding about being hungry 5 minutes later. Good think we had ice cream in the fridge.

So choose your seat carefully to avoid drafts, order ‘Large’, and enjoy.

Windy Ridge Cafe – Bill White for the Budget minded


I’m still in Utah – having gotten myself a nice ‘boot bruise’ which trust me isn’t much fun. So I’ve been keeping myself interested by watching TV, answering email, Skyping with anyone who calls – and eating out.

So tonight we decided to try Windy Ridge Cafe. The deciding factor was a 2 for 1 entrée offer from the Bill White Group – that and the no reservations required vibe.

The restaurant is not on Main Street. Which means that you are going to go by car or bus – which in Park City is ‘off the beaten track’. This probably keeps the prices reasonable – and on a Wednesday night – the crowds away.

The menu entrees run between $20 to $30 dollars – with my Utah Red Trout crusted with almonds was just $23. Nice price – and it came with 2 sides, veggies and my choice of potatoes. My fish was a bit overcooked – but the Sweet Potato Fries made up for any lack on the fish. Other entrees at the table included a Ruben Sandwich, a French Dip (bread was gummy – but the meat was great), pesto salmon over linguine and my favorite on the table – a mushroom crusted Sirloin which was seriously yummy.

Desserts – while relatively low-priced (just $5.50 each) were ok – but honestly nothing to write home about.

Bottom line – casual atmosphere is great, food is good to a bit better than good, but dessert is better eaten at home (sorry Windy Ridge).

Windy Ridge Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bangkok Thai – A must enjoy if you go to Park City, Utah


My husband and I have been fortunate enough over the last 10 years or so to spend at least 2 weeks enjoying the skiing, the people, the scenery, and the food in Park City, Utah.

Home to the Sundance Film Festival, and some completely amazing ski hills, Park City hardly lacks in restaurants to enjoy. Unfortunately, many of them are seriously expensive – and during Sundance time – incredibly crowded. So every year we tend to stay out of the main city area during Sundance – but the one restaurant in Park City that we always make time to enjoy is the Bangkok Thai.

Main Street in Park City during Sundance is definitely a must see and a must walk. There are people everywhere, and outlandish dress is the norm. Fur is every where – as are high heels (in January – in Ski country?), there are celebrities to see, movies to watch, and lots of free stuff to grab. I particularly like the L’Oreal booth which offered free min-make-overs.

But this blog isn’t about Main Street and Sundance – it’s about our fab meal at the Bangkok Thai!

The restaurant itself is tiny, and normally seats maybe 50, but for Sundance they cram in extra tables – beefing up the number of people they can serve to around 100. Yes – it’s crowded, but never mind – the food is worth it.

The Bangkok Thai offers 2 tasting menus in addition to its elaborate menu. Feeling hungry, we opted for the 9 dish Signature menu since it had all the standard yummy dishes – including a to-die-for sea cod dish. We checked that they were willing to do the tasting menu – even during Sundance – and once we got an ok – we sat back to enjoy the meal.

First up was a lobster spring roll, delicate and light. Next was one of my favorite dishes – a tuna tartare – served on a crisp cracker. Yum. I also really enjoyed the Pad Thai, the Gentle baked Prawn, and the curry was outstanding – sweet and spicy at the same time. It was actually hard to be sure to leave room for the Sea Bass 3 ways – but I did. The only let down was the desert – which one has to wonder why they bother.

Service – given the crowded conditions and demanding clientele – was actually excellent. Fast when we wanted it to be fast – and slow when we started to feel full.

Bottom line – if you get to Park City – check out the Bangkok Thai – it’s definitely worth enjoying!

Bangkok Thai on Main on Urbanspoon

Tarahumara – Impossible to pronounce – but awesomely good Mexican


I’m in Park City, Utah – home of Sundance Movie Festival, Deer Valley Ski area – and some pretty incredible Mexican food. And the very best of the bunch is not located in Park City – it’s actually in Midway!

Located in a small shopping mall, this family run restaurant literally packs people in. We tried to go on a Friday night – too many people. We tried again on a Tuesday – and things were lots better – crowds had dispersed – and it was family night. There was a clown doing face painting – free – but you don’t go for the family entertainment.

Nope – you go for the food. On the blackboard over the simple counter is the list of intriguing options – from Mango and Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla to Mole Poblano, Scallops in Passion Fruit & Tomatillo Sauce to a selection of Burritos and Tacos.

You line up to order – get handed chips to carry back to your table, along with your table number. A quick trip to the 30 item salsa bar nets you a selection of different salsas – from ‘kids salsa (my favorite)’ to 3 fire versions that are clearly way hotter than I’m willing to try!

Weaving your way past table after table packed with families on a Tuesday night out, you finally score a table – make sure your number is visible, and wait. Sooner rather than later, your order arrives – more food than you can possibly eat at a price that makes you want to come back the next day. Can you say – Wow?

I got the Mango and Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla – and it was outstanding. Other dishes that appeared on our table included the Scallops, a Mole Pablano, and a yummy Ceviche. For dessert we shared the home-made cherry pie – gently warmed. And I picked up a giant-sized cookie to take skiing with me the next day.

Inexpensive, delicious, memorable, and fun. A prefect recipe for a repeat trip!

Tarahumara on Urbanspoon