Monthly Archive for May, 2013

Foodies on the Road: Trokay Restaurant in Truckee

As we all know, no foodie road trip is complete without a few gastronomically-driven pit stops along the way. We were only one day into our trek to California when we stumbled by chance into an amazing restaurant in Truckee. After a long hot drive across the Nevada desert we were famished and exhausted. We found a rustic old hotel in the center of downtown Truckee called, surprisingly, The Truckee Hotel. Think of the Mercantile building in Ketchum (where Enoteca is located) and assume that it was built before there was electricity. It was very charming and I loved the claw foot tub/shower and the sink in the bedroom.

After checking in we wandered down the street looking for a place to eat and walked into a restaurant called Trokay to look at the menu. We knew right away this was the place for us! We sat down, ordered a bottle of the Willakenzie Sierra Leon Pinot and selected the four course tasting menu. The in-house pastry chef descended the staircase to our right with a small tin canister of what we were to find held house made breads including gougères, porcini dusted breadsticks, and mini buttermilk biscuits with a ramp preserve…yum! We were very excited about how this was shaping up.

Next they brought us a few amuse bouches, starting with a spoonful of braised rhubarb with shaved mountain sorrel, followed by a roasted garlic top dusted with porcini powder and a tarragon leaf set garnished with a streak of tarragon aioli.

Next another round of house made bread including a potato foccacia, mini French baguette, and walnut bread with house-made salted butter.

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Our first courses were next. Ed had the Treviso salad with radicchio, tangerine sections, and walnut vinaigrette. I had an earthy but sweet beet salad with local chevre, mountain sorrel, and candied walnuts.

Next course for me was the Kampachi sashimi, which was served in a bowl with a lid that was opened when brought to the table. Inside the lid was young pine smoke, which slightly infused its flavor into the fish. The only thing more exciting than the presentation was the innovative flavor of smokiness juxtaposed with fresh fish. Ed had the Dungeness crab salad, which was also delicious.

My main course was lobster with a citrus sabayon and a carrot puree with curry—an extremely unique preparation that I’ve never experienced. Not to be one-upped, Ed ordered the Wagyu beef tenderloin and short rib with a porcini mushroom ragout, cream of stinging nettle, and a crisp potato ball (can you tell that my food descriptions are getting worse as I drank more wine?).

Dessert for me was a Blue Bottle latte semi freddo with a beignet and a mocha créme. Ed had the deconstructed pear tart. While these were both incredible, the highlight of dessert was the wine.  We were given a taste of Royal Tokaji, a late harvest wine from Hungary. This is by far the best dessert wine we have ever had and was worth coming to Truckee for alone.

The 1st Annual SVHF Oktoberfest by Sawtooth Brewery

by Kendall Friedman

 

Paul Holle is a really good guy, but that’s not the only reason to drink his beer. With Paul Holledraughts like the Freeheeler Rye IPA, Flow Trail Pale Ale and my personal favorite, the Chili Cerveza, there is something for all of us beer lovers. The Sawtooth Brewery was the brainchild of Paul and his partner Kevin Jones. In a small ski town with no local brewery to speak of, it was an obvious solution to an obvious problem. And their business model fit perfectly with our mountain lifestyle. If you brew it, they will come. And we did.

I had a chance to sit down with this homebrewing-whiz-kid-turned-brewmaster-savant of our local Ketchum watering hole, the Sawtooth Brewery. Over a beer (a triple Belgian style, if you must know), we had a chance to discuss where his idea came from, where it’s going, and why their Oktoberfest event will fit perfectly with the Harvest Festival. We chatted tangentially in between questions (mostly due to my slight inebriation from the brew), but here’s the gist:

Me: What gave you the idea (and guts!) to start a local brewery?

Paul: Well, Ketchum needed one! I guess you could say it was a combination of the right opportunities at the right time. Plus, I had been home brewing since 2007 and there’s nothing I love more than sharing drinks with my friends.

Me: You guys are very involved in our community….What are some of your favorite events that you work with and supply beer for?

Paul: The first that comes to mind is our Anniversary Party—it’s so fun to have all of our friends out at once for such a big event. We also really enjoyed being at the Fat Tire Crit at last year’s Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival. Halloween is also a good one…basically, anything we have an excuse to close the street down for is a good excuse to pour!

Me: I know that you guys have some exciting irons in the fire with upcoming plans….Care to share?

Paul: Yup…We’re working on an expansion. Basically, we’re looking for the funding to consolidate our four sites into one in order to increase production by 400%. We’re also looking into canning our beer (naturally, my first thought here was “hot springs-friendly containers”!) and barrel aging. (Paul says the new space they’re looking at is 7,000 square feet. To give you context, their current location is 1,000. Kind of a big deal.)

Me: Tell me about your plans for the Sun Valley Harvest Festival’s first Oktoberfest…and will there be lederhosen?

Paul: Yes! I suppose if you’re wearing it? We’re hoping this event will really be all about the beer, but there will be traditional German food (we’re talkin’ brats and pretzels), live music, and the release of our Oktoberfest beer. We’ll also serve some other German lagers and our seasonal Pumpkin Spice Cream Ale. There’s even no cover charge; buying a stein gets you in and serves as your drinking vessel for the day/afternoon/evening, and is good for all future Oktoberfests. Basically, we just want everyone to embrace the mindset of “beer” and “fun.” This town loves theme parties and excuses to dress up—in this case, we don’t even need an excuse to throw the best beer party ever!

Naturally…I agreed with this sentiment. I walked away from this conversation slightly more intoxicated and enlightened by Paul’s wise words: “The best beer is the one in your glass.” In the case of Sawtooth Brewery, that’s pretty darn good.

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting new event we’ll be co-hosting with Sawtooth Brewery on Saturday, September 21st. Cheers!

Frederick and the Chocolate Factory

“I want surprises in my chocolate…I don’t want purity. I like peaks and valleys. Good beans, bad ones. The perfect and the flawed. Today, everyone wants the established names, the Ocumares, the Madagascars. I like getting in a truck and driving sixteen hours to a village that hasn’t replaced its original stock with the latest hybrid. Every bean is a story.”

frederickschillingSpoken like a true, passionate, chocolate purist. These words come from Frederick Schilling, founder of Dagoba Chocolate, and one of our Food Mavericks panelists at the Sun Valley Harvest Festival. Ever had an organic chocolate bar? Chances are you probably have as they are in no short supply today in stores across the country. What you may not know is this movement to eat sustainable chocolate was started by Frederick, and not as you would think. It was certainly not Frederick’s lifelong dream to be Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. One day skiing at Arapahoe Basin he decided he had to make his own confections (one with milk chai and the other with raspberry and rose hips). Before he knew it, Frederick was at his own booth at the Fancy Foods Show in New York peddling his hand-poured and wrapped chocolates. Three days later he was a complete hit (and completely out of samples).

In the years since, Frederick has sold his original business and has moved onward and upward to become the co-CEO of Big Tree Farms, a vertically integrated sustainable supply chain and organic food product development company based in Bali, Indonesia and Ashland, Oregon. Even with that on his plate, Frederick hasn’t given up his passion and talent for chocolate. More recently he co-founded AMMA Chocolate, an internationally award winning super premium brand of chocolate, based in Brazil.

Learn more at the Food Mavericks panel and about Frederick’s entrepreneurial journey through the chocolate industry, and how he’s reached his current achievements without losing site of his passion for sustainable food.

Get to Know Our 2013 Harvest Festival EmCee

Care to learn more about Ashley Koff, RD, celebrity dieAshley Koff, RDtitian, owner of the “AKA: Ashley Koff Approved” label, and official Master of Ceremonies for the 2013 Sun Valley Harvest Festival?  I had the pleasure and opportunity to interview Ashley to learn more about what drives her quality-focused foodie lifestyle. Here’s what she had to say…

1. What started your interest in healthy eating?

As a kid and young adult, I dealt with digestive issues and didn’t realize it and that better quality foods (along with a protocol to heal my digestive system) could help. Instead I either just thought I was unlucky (why was my belly the bloated one always?) or later as body image was a factor I just took more and more foods out of my diet. Looking back, I realize that growing up food made me sad and frustrated. Thankfully, my life plan included learning about what helped my body feel better – and it was eye opening when that meant I had more choices, not fewer. Healing myself (through working with others) connected me to food in a different way as well as to a different community of people – those who celebrate food for its variety of tastes as well as healing and health properties. What’s that commercial say “I’m not just the President of the club, I’m a member…” That’s how I feel about my job and being a foodie, more specifically a Qualitarian.

2. Describe what you mean by eating like a “Qualitarian,” and how that affects your overall lifestyle?

Quality — better vs. lesser — is the best way to determine whether your body will more easily recognize and use food. When our body easily knows what to do with what it’s getting, it works efficiently and effectively. The net result: better health. Being a Qualitarian means that you are someone who looks at the quality of what you consume as a key part of your decision to choose or skip something.

3. You’re extremely involved in raising public awareness of the value of healthy eating; what would you say is your core message to those looking to make this lifestyle change?

Yeah you could say it’s my day job and my night job – and I will say I have the best job out there (for me). I could quote quotes we see often and which deserve it – Gandhi’s “be the change you want to see in the world” or Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” … But I won’t because you said my “core message” and this gives me the opportunity to mention what I think is the biggest factor in health – your core… specifically your digestive system. If it’s not working optimally (and most people’s are not) you can’t get other health or appearance you seek. Truly you can NOT get them without a healthy digestive system. So start there. I share tips on my blog, my YouTube videos, and I wrote a book targeted both at people with digestive issues, but it also works to prevent them (Recipes for IBS)

4. How do you choose an “Ashley Koff Approved” product?

First, I must say that when I started AKA I boldly said “this is the only unbiased logo out there” boy was I SO wrong. It’s the exact opposite. It’s 100% biased. It’s what I think about a category or a food at that moment. My thoughts come from influencers, researchers, my own research including site visits and recipe trials and interviews. I like to ask the question “Just because they can, should they?” And I also evaluate how the brand is being marketed. I worked in advertising – had global food companies as clients – I know the tricks and appreciate the gray areas. Really the only thing that doesn’t go into AKA evaluation is money. At AKA, we say “The AKA stamp can’t be bought, it’s earned.” But it’s also not static, it’s always evolving and if one day your product that was AKA no longer reflects what’s better quality or your marketing bothers me then you lose your AKA. I’m not out there to punish
brands…I’m here to celebrate those that are making lives better and easier with better quality options.

5. At the SVHF, we equally see the importance in sourcing local and regional sustainable foods – what are your favorite ways to incorporate these into your diet?

Well the first thing to note is that these words have more buzz than a bee hive these days and we need to be equally careful playing in either. Local is not a health descriptor in the nutrition sense – it can be, when combined with things such as organic, non-GMO etc — and then it’s super healthy because it also means as a community you are all (farmers and buyers) taking care if your health and the environment. That’s super sustainable. But present me with local that’s GMO, pesticide sprayed, no crop rotation etc – well that’s the least sustainable as we are seeing all over the globe & there’s no way “local” should be a selling point there. So I buy and grow local organic, I support local organic serving restaurants, and for foods that aren’t available local (like my daily dose of chocolate — I buy organic and fair trade, even “bio” when available – it’s local to someone and I pay attention to how it’s being transported but I’m grateful to my global “local” neighbors for taking care of their lands and sharing their bounty.

6. What current projects are you working on? Any that you’re looking forward to starting?

I’m updating [AKA] right now – we have this massive database of over 20,000 products reviewed – but the presentation online isn’t consumer friendly. I recognize this and know that while I know every brand and what they make, people don’t shop for brands they shop categories first and then brands within it. I’m excited about our new tool!

I’m always starting something new, so follow me on social media @AshleyKoff on Twitter, AshleyKoffApproved for Facebook & Instagram, and YouTube to see if my newest project is a fit for you (I’m always interested in hearing your wants and needs as well as constructive criticism).

7. What events do you most look forward to about the Sun Valley Harvest Festival?

Umm the whole week! Oh yeah, I’m coming early and staying late! I can’t pick a favorite… But I do know the group in Sun Valley as well as those coming to share their expertise and products in the Food Mavericks & Food Trends Panel Discussions are some of my favorite people so what I’m looking forward to is every moment with each of them… And if I’m totally honest, the River Guide Cooking Demonstration, I know it’s not right to pick a favorite but this one’s unlike anything I ever get to do or see unless I’m with my little brother and his fellow guides in Bristol Bay AK or Portland OR.

Don’t miss the chance to see Ashley at the 2013 Sun Valley Harvest Festival! In addition to being our emcee for the weekend, Ashley will be moderating the Food Trends panel as well as giving a talk — “A Case for Quality”– at Zenergy Health Club & Spa, one of our sponsors for the weekend. See you in Foodie Heaven!