The Yurt at Solitude Mountain Resort

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Image Courtesy Solitude Mountain Resort

Of all of the dining experiences available to residents along the Wasatch Front, dining at The Yurt at Solitude is among the most unique and memorable experiences out there. Let me try to paint a picture for you: upon arrival at Solitude, find your way to the ski rental shop, where you’ll meet your guide and strap on some snowshoes to get ready for your hike up to The Yurt. “Did I dress warm enough?” you wonder quietly to yourself, and perhaps out loud to others. Once the sun goes down in the mountains, things cool off very quickly. Your guides will equip you with a headlamp, and off you go to begin your journey. If you’re not the “hiking type,” don’t worry—if you can walk around a park, you’ll be just fine. No man left behind. Unless you’re going to make me late for dinner. Then all bets are off. It’s a short half mile hike up to the yurt, which is a large tent with origins in Mongolia. Upon arrival, snowshoes are removed, and you enter the yurt, which seats up to 26 guests. A small staff of servers, including one who looks remarkably like Chris Pratt and has similar comedy chops, greets you and helps you find your seat, as well as the appropriate libations. The room is cozy and warm, with help from the cast iron wood-burning stove.

There is no electricity in the yurt. Propane lamps light the room, and everything is cooked on the wood-fired stove. It is cozy. Comfortable. Intimate. Chef Craig Gerome is the chef. I have been a fan of Gerome’s work since his time at the Annex in Sugarhouse (RIP). His balance of flavors is always on point, and his work with seafood is masterful.

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Chef Craig Gerome plating a dish of smoked short ribs, potato fondant, charred carrots, and turnip pureé

Our menu consisted of:

Salad: chicory salad with whipped Bellwether Farms ricotta, pine nuts, tarragon, and Pecorino Toscano.

Soup: pacific Bay chowder, diver scallops, and sourdough.

Entreé: smoked beef short rib with potato fondant, charred carrots, and turnips.

Dessert: milk and honey panna cotta with huckleberries and white chocolate crunch.

For those looking to really make an impression–whether it be a first date, corporate dinner, anniversary, or just a special evening–a dinner at The Yurt at Solitude is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

“Memorable,” “unique,” and “adventurous” are words that could be used to describe this experience. But I think I’ll just stick with “delicious.”

The Yurt is available Wednesday through Sunday during the winter season. Guests 13 years of age and older are invited. Parties of 1 to 26 are welcome. A four-course dinner, snowshoe guide, tax, and corkage are included in the price, with wine and beer available for purchase.

$140 per person. Find more information here.

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Gerome serving up a Pacific Bay chowder with diver scallops

 

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Wine chills outside of the yurt

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Milk and honey panna cotta with huckleberry jam and white chocolate crunch

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Disclaimer: I was an invited guest on behalf of Gastronomic SLC and SLCeats

 

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Wasatch Mountain Table Series

The Wasatch Mountain Table Series at Solitude Mountain Resort is back for its second year. I was invited to check out their inaugural dinner of the season and wanted to share some photos. Before I do, let me give you some details about the series. The Mountain Table is just that–a table set up creekside at the Solitude Mountain resort. 

The Mountain Table seeks to emphasize locally grown and sustainable ingredients. For anyone who knows the chef behind the series, Michael Richey (formerly of Pago), this will come as no surprise. Local farmers, ranchers, and winemakers are present to tell you about their wonderful products. For example, we had Evan Lewandowski, proprietor of local winemaker Ruth Lewandowski, present to tell us all about the exciting (and challenging) things happening in the Utah winemaking scene.

Bruschetta of truffled fava beans, oyster mushrooms, and promontory cheddar

Tempura squash blossoms with housemade ricotta, spearmint, and preserved lemon


Purple mizuna with toasted almonds, Slide Ridge honey, Timpanogos Peak (this cheese is incredible), white peaches, and creamy roasted garlic vinaigrette


Hand cut pasta with hen egg, english peas, beech mushrooms, pancetta, and charred onion butter


Wild sockeye with purple top turnip, new wasatch potato, sugar snap peas, heirloom tomato, white wine and sweet basil

Bing cherry tart with buttermilk ice cream and Bourye caramel

The series runs four more dinners for 2013:
July 13th
August 3rd
August 17th
September 7th

Cost is $75 per person/$110 per person with optional wine pairings. To make reservations, call (801) 536-5722 or email dstevenson@skisolitude.com

Be sure to bring a jacket. It goes from very warm to quite chilly in a matter of minutes once the sun sets.

Disclosure: I was an invited guest of Solitude Resort and did not pay for this meal

Wasatch Mountain Table Dinner Series

Solitude has re-envisioned what outdoor dining should be with the introduction of their Wasatch Mountain Table dinner series. Set just outside the St Bernard’s restaurant along the bank of the Big Cottonwood creek, it is the perfect spot for getting together with friends to enjoy each others’ company, as well as Chef Michael Richey’s creations. Chef Richey was formerly the chef at Pago and The Tree Room at Sundance Resort. I was lucky to be invited to take part in the dinner and share my thoughts on the experience.

Forty guests are seated at a long communal table, which provides ample opportunity to get to know new people and better get to know old friends. To my right sat an auto parts salesman who also happened to be a CIA graduate from New York. Across from me was one of Salt Lake’s leading interior designers. Needless to say, while our conversation bounced around from hospitals to car parts to motorcycles and cooking, there was never a lack of interesting topics.

Anyone familiar with Chef Michael Richey’s style knows that he focuses on sourcing as many of his ingredients as close to the kitchen as possible. Many of the ingredients from tonight’s dinner, such as honey vinegar, tomatoes, eggs, and apricots, are sourced along the Wasatch Front. For other ingredients where sourcing locally isn’t an option (i.e. wild King salmon), ingredients are sourced regionally. Tonight’s dinner featured products from M&M Farm (in Richey’s opinion the best produce in Salt Lake City), Slide Ridge Honey, Sandhill Farms, Clifford Farm, and Mystic Salmon. Kelli Bess, from Slide Ridge, took a moment to tell us the Slide Ridge story. They are family-owned, produce a variety of honeys, honey wine vinegar, mead, and are now producing honey wine (they are a federally licensed winery). It was fun to put a face and story to one of the products we were going to enjoy that evening.

Our evening began with some delicious appetizers. 

The first were the M&M Farm Yukon Gold potato pillows topped with American Sturgeon Caviar. For those of you who may be caviar novices (like me), let me calm your fears: If you’ve ever had tobiko at a sushi place, you pretty much know what you’re getting into with caviar. This was my second favorite dish of the evening.

The next dish was a bruschetta topped with romesco, grilled green onions, and black garlic. Rich, crunchy, and delicious.

Next up were the Utah pork rillettes with grilled bread. Think chicken or tuna salad, except taken to the next level with pork as the protein.

Our final appetizer was deviled Clifford Farms eggs topped with icicle radish, black truffles, and chives.

Now, on to the dinner.

Arugula salad with cherries, roasted yellow beets, and the most deliciously smooth house-made ricotta cheese that I’ve ever had. The salad was dressed with a Slide Ridge Honey vinaigrette. 

Maple Torta with braising greens, chevre, caramelized onions, and a balsamic reduction.

Wild King Salmon with snap peas, roasted eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil nage, and corn pone. This dish stole the show with an absolutely killer variety of flavors and textures. Everything about this dish was perfection, from the deeply roasted eggplant to the wonderfully herby nage to the amazingly deep and rich corn pone. And of course don’t forget the tastiest piece of salmon I’ve ever had. Somebody get cracking on legalizing marrying food, because I just found my soulmate. Definitely my favorite dish of the evening.

Stone fruit tart with apricot ice cream and bourbon caramel. Anybody who knows me knows I’m not much of a cooked fruit guy, especially in desserts. Something about the texture that gets me. But I put that aside and I’m glad I did because the tart was wonderful. The tart featured a nice crust and a delicious house-made apricot ice cream.

For those who missed out on this dinner, you’re in luck. Solitude is hosting three more of these dinners throughout the Summer, on July 28th, August 18th, and September 15th. Be sure to bring a jacket, as the temperature drops noticeably the second the sun disappears behind the mountains.

Click here to go over to Solitude’s site to get more info on the Wasatch Mountain Table.

Chef Michael Richey