It was 95 degrees in the valley when we left. By the time we got to Solitude, the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. We checked in under the tent and were handed a fig-infused gin cocktail.
The table was set in a flowering grassy meadow beside a stream and the mountains rose straight up behind the fir trees. Chipmunks scampered through the daisies. Children played tag on the lawn.
Waiters strolled by offering caviar pillows, ricotta-filled fried squash blossoms and warm goat cheese-stuffed figs with a crisp prosciutto triangle.
It all seemed like, and sounds like now, some kind of gastronomic Disneyfied hallucination, like a feast scene out of Fantasia, or Cinderalla's wedding reception.
Wasatch Mountain Table is a dream come true dining series presented by Solitude Resort. Mike Richey, formerly of Pago, turns to all his farmer, gardener, rancher, cheesemaker, sausage-maker friends to find the best of seasonal local foods–our menu drew from Creminelli Meats (Cristiano and his wife Silvia were guests); Clifford Farms (the Cliffords were also present); M & M Farms; Sandhill Farms; Shepherd's Dairy; Beehive Cheese; Uinta Brewing. The four-course meal was served at a long white linen-draped table adorned with wildflowers. No concrete, no deck, no flowerpots, just pure unembellished Wasatch mountain scenery.
First course was a dishe Richey made famous at Pago: cinnamon beets with Greek yogurt and cashew brittle over bitter greens.
Second course was a wax pepper stuffed with Beehive cheddar, battered and fried like a Mexican chile relleno, served over chorizo.
Third course, my favorite: slow-cooked lamb chunks and gnocchi served in a light curry with fresh sweet corn kernels, cherry tomatoes and Thai basil. Brilliant.
And finally, an apricot gelee tart in a graham crumb crust topped with Italian meringue. Served with moscatoas as moon rose and the clouds turned pink.
Youll just have to forgive me if I sound over-the-top gushy. But this dinner reminded me why I live in Utah. You oughtta go.
There are two more in this summer's series: August 18th and September 15th. Cost is $95 per person; $125 per person with wine pairings. Better call 801-536-5722 now and make your reservation.