Archive for the ‘Montana weddings’ Category

Where’s Waldo? Or in this case, Where’s Chef Kate?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Winter is quickly loosening its grasp on Swan Lake, although the shadowed snow drifts will probably remain until well into May. But with the temperatures nearing 50, thoughts turn to spring and the inevitable crush of a fun-filled, visitor-packed summer.

While the Horse still slumbers under several feet of snow, and Chef Kate still lingers somewhere near the equator, plans are underway for an exceptional year of good food, music and even better Montana hospitality at Laughing Horse Lodge.

So where exactly is our intrepid hostess? We caught up with Kathleen at a remote 5 star eco-resort on the west coast of Panama where for the past few months she has been guest chef, teacher, student and explorer…a typical winter for this 12 year Montana resident.“I originally came to Panama to build up my Spanish so that I could bring in a South American guest chef for the summer and have a way of communicating in the kitchen,” says Kathleen. But not satisfied to have just one ball in the air, the study trip turned into a temporary gig at one of Panama’s newest luxury resorts, Boutique Hotel Cala Mia located on an isolated Pacific island in the Archipelago Chiriqui.

“This has been an experience in self-sufficiency and creativity,” laughs Moon as she recounts the first trip to Isla Boca Brava…a two hour journey by bus, cab and boat from the nearest town. “ I arrived all jazzed only to discover that there wasn’t a single piece of chocolate on the island and it would be two more weeks before anyone was going shopping back on the mainland.”

Surrounded by troops of howler monkeys, noisy parrots, and a 3’ iguana living in the thatched ceiling of her bungalow, Kathleen went to work (without chocolate) with the property’s Italian owner Vittoria Ghini, establishing a Spanish-language SafeServe-style  training program for the kitchen, setting up an on-line reservation system, and giving the island chef a break each week. “It’s been a real struggle in the kitchen being ‘forced’ to work with fresh fish and lobster brought to the dock each afternoon,” Moon quips, a smile in her voice.  “I’ve also learned a bit about making artisan cheese…and in Panama of all places.”

Ghini, and her Dutch husband Max, opened the resort 4 years ago and  support the dining room at Cala Mia with an extensive organic farm and dairy operation located a few kilometers east on the island. Fresh arugula, herbs,  aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and a dry-land rice are produced, as well as organic butter, cream and an outstanding Gouda.

Building and maintaining a luxury eco-resort and an accompanying organic farm with a small but state of the art dairy processing facility would be a challenge even in the US or Europe, but to do so on a remote second-world  island with a single car ferry (built by Max) and the feat becomes extraordinary.

“These people are impressive,” states our traveler, “my highest complement to Vittoria and Max would be that with their independence and entrepreneurial abilities remind me of many of the Montanans I’ve befriended over the years.”

Kathleen returns home just in time to participate in the annual Taste of Bigfork on May 1st.  She’ll be bringing with her new ideas and a renewed dedication to providing even more organic offerings on her already outstanding menu.

The dining room at Laughing Horse Lodge reopens May 20th with dinner served Wednesday – Sunday, from 5pm. Reservations are highly suggested.

Howlers in the trees.

A ‘Taste’ for Adventure – Freefall Tuesdays at the Horse!

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Freefall Tuesday’s at the Horse

This summer our popular Chef’s Tasting and Wine Dinners become Freefall Tuesdays, where you put your taste for adventure into the capable hands of Chef Kate and her creative kitchen staff.  Freefall is a five course tasting experience loosely inspired by a specific region of the world, with each course paired with wine selected by the chef and a local wine expert. Using only the freshest ingredients available from local farm-to-market growers, organic meats and wild fish, each menu is sure to stimulate and please the most discerning of foodies.

Freefall is limited to 24 guests with secured reservations required. Freefall is $129 per couple with wine, ($34 per person without wine).

Last summer’s series was a sell-out, so reserve early!

Our epicurean explorations:

June 14 – Polynesia

June 28 – Portugal

July 12 – Tasmania

July 26 – Afghanistan

August 9 – Sri Lanka

August 23 – Guadalajara

September 13 Freefall End of the Season Missoula Farmer’s Market Menu with Guest Chef

 For reservations: email Kate at laughinghorselodge@gmail.com

What to do on a rainy afternoon in June….Drink Beer!

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Our second annual World Tour of Beer at the Horse was another resounding success, albeit, a more subdued and dignified affair this year with the soothing guitar of local NPR celeb John Floridis and 26 true beer afficianados huddled over their note cards and Angus Sliders. The pros from Rocky Mountain Wine Distributors pulled out some exquisite and hard to find beers from Europe, California, Pennsylvania and South America – 14 in all were served along with a table laden with the efforts of our new “Kitchen Slave”, Andrea Wight.

(Andrea doesn’t like the term chef or cook so we are calling her KS as

This horse loves the Belgian Duvel!

she has been slaving away in the kitchen learning our menu and creating some wonderful new dishes drawing on her recent experiences at Caneel Bay in St. John  and Zola’s in State College PA.)

Andrea spent the afternoon turning out an array of canapes that would make any beer drinker salivate…Beer Battered Mushrooms with Chipotle Dipping Sauce, Angus Sliders with Arugula and Horseradish Cream, Poached Shrimp, Smoked Salmon and Dill Cucumbers, Classic BBQ Wings, Ahi Sashime with Wasabi Ginger Sauce and the piece de resistance…bittersweet chocolate and raspberry truffle squares to accompany the Lindeman’s Frambois (a Belgian raspberry beer that is the nectar of the gods!).

The highlight of the evening was Xingu, a black Brazilian beer that to my pallet tasted like roasted figs…and I love figs.

The Horse added a few of the more popular finds to our Beer Menu for the summer including Victory Prima Pils, Einbecker Pils, Duvel Belgian Golden Ale, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Ayinger Brau-Weisse. On tap for the season are three local beers – Great Northern Brewery’s Wheatfish and Kettlehouse’s Cold Smoke and Double Haul IPA.

If you’re looking for a relaxing escape for a few hours or an evening, take a drive over to the Horse, grab a cold one and set yourself down in our glorious garden…heaven is that close.

Down Island Cuisine Menu for Chef’s Tasting June 22nd

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Tuesday’s Tantalizing Travel Tastings At The Horse Join Chef Kate and crew as we explore various culinary regions of the world.  You’ll enjoy a tempting six course tasting menu complete with unique beer and wine pairings in the intimate and fun atmosphere of Horse’s dining room or garden. 

 Each evening commences at 6:30pm with a casual presentation by a local travel professional, and an offering of tasty morsels and conversation regarding the region being explored.  Bring your travel adventure stories!

 Dinner begins at 7pm. One seating only, limited to 24. Secured reservations required. $69 per person, $109 per couple.

 Down Island Cuisine Menu – June 22nd

 Carrot Coconut Bisque with Candied Ginger Tuile 

Curried Chicken Roti with Cilantro Crème Fraiche

 Golden Beets, Fennel & Bahamian Conch Salad with Lemongrass Aioli

 Jerked Mahi Mahi with Grilled Mango and Chile Relish  Served with Miso Sweet Potato Puree

 Saban Spiced Goat Stew with Cruzan Rum Fruit Bread

 Burro Banana Tart with Tropical Fruit Salsa

July 13th, 6:30pm – Cuisine of Turkey

July 27th, 6:30pm Cuisine of Argentina

August 10th, 6:30pm Cuisine of Morocco                                                                                       

 August 24th, 6:30pm Cuisine of India

406-886-2080          www.laughinghorselodge.com

The Horse Serves Up Some Island Fare at 2010 Taste of Bigfork!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Join Chef Kathleen at this year’s Taste of Bigfork on Sunday, April 25th, 2pm – 4pm as she serves up a little island flavor with Caribbean Lobster and Sweet Potato Mizo Dumplings with Charred Pineapple Relish. The Horse will present at Showthyme  as a guest of Blu and Rose. For tickets to this annual ‘fun’ fund raiser, contact the Bigfork Chamber of Commerce at www.bigfork.org.

 The dining room at the Horse reopens on Friday, May 7th for another season of simple yet beautiful food featuring organic and natural fare. Summer dining hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 5pm – 10pm for dinner. Brunch served Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 2pm.  The dining room is available for private breakfasts and lunches Monday – Friday for groups of 12 or more by reservation. Catering off-site  is available for groups up to 150.
Check out the 2010 menu at www.laughinghorselodge.com

A Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Old and New Friends from the Horse on Finishing Our 10th Year

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

As the snow begins to sugar the mountain tops here in Swan Lake, I begin the task of closing the Horse for the long winter. First the gardens, so lush and beautiful this year, are cut back and a few tears fall as the last of those glorious hollyhocks are stuffed into the mulch bag – their seed pods carefully saved for gorilla gardening around the neighborhood. Those monstrous hanging baskets of sunrise pink petunias are delivered back to the nursery and the drip systems are drained. The herb garden – so prolific this summer – gives up the last sprigs of lovage, savory and tarragon to flavor the fall stew bubbling on the back burner.

The highway is quiet, the lake even more so. No jet skis, boats or swimmers – just flocks of migrants heading south stopping in for a quick bite and respite. This is my favorite time of year – full of gold light and the smell of winter on the air. The few visitors coming through the door are a hardy breed seeking stillness and ready for any weather Nature may send their way.

It has been an amazing season thanks to the many returning guests who over the years have become good friends. And so many new faces that portend an even rosier future for the Horse.  It has been 10 years since the doors opened and what a wonderful ride it has been…fascinating visitors and guests, exciting stories of traveling adventures, quiet moments on sunset contemplations and the absolutely wonderful gratification of knowing that my staff and I have contributed in some small way to making special memories for you and your families.Kathleen on porch

Although the lodge will be  closed November 1 thru April 30, we won’t be idle…upgrades and improvements will take place over the winter to make your 2010 stay even more comfortable.  On behalf of Nikki, Cooper, Sampson and Juliet – thank you – for the hikes, the cookies and the new vocabulary (Sampson has incorporated a distinct New Jersey accent and now knows the main theme to Encounters of the Third Kind!)

For all our new and old friends – have a safe and exceptional winter. We’ll be looking forward to welcoming you back to the Horse next year.  Kathleen

Swan Lake’s Laughing Horse Lodge a Welcome Respite for Traveling Vegetarians

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

 In Montana, beef is royalty, but occasionally even a carnivore craves greens and fish and the kitchen at Laughing Horse Lodge is pleased to oblige. The menu presented by chef/owner Kathleen features many dishes based on organic and natural ingredients that can be stepped up with responsibly harvested fish including sushi-grade Ahi and line-caught Alaskan Salmon.

 For a warm summer evening try her signature Polynesian – organic baby farm greens tossed with dried organic cranberries, diced apples and ginger glazed pecans topped with a seared Ahi steak and fresh gorgonzola crumbles drizzled with a zingy wasabi ginger dressing…and that green stuff on the edge of the plate? It’s not guacamole, but freshly made wasabi…sizzling!

 Kathleen’s large entrée salads – The Rancher, The Yucatan Stack and the Polynesian – are meals in themselves, but if you are looking for something with a bit more heft, put in an order for the Organic Basil Pesto Linguini brimming with gently sautéed vegetables, or the Mango Ahi served on a bed of organic wehani red rice steaming with the flavors of Thailand.

 And so that our carnivore partners don’t feel left out, there’s a 14oz natural Buffalo Ribeye served up with a tantalizing Wild Berry Glaze, natural Angus Sirloin aged to fork-tender perfection, Angus Prime Rib and of course, the famous ½# steak burger served on a homemade foccaccia bun.

 

Wild Salmon, Savory Black Bean, Natural Chicken or Steak...The Burger is King!

Wild Salmon, Savory Black Bean, Natural Chicken or Steak...The Burger is King!

The dining room is open Wednesday through Sunday at 5pm with a public brunch Saturday and Sunday 8am – 2pm.

Reservations definitely suggested…406-886-2080.

Planning a Wedding at Brumar Estates or Swan River Inn?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Give your guests a true Montana experience before your special day at Brumar Estates or Swan River Inn with a rehearsal dinner or groom’s dinner at the Horse. Laughing Horse Lodge offers a beautiful garden perfect for a Cowboy Barbecue or sit-down dinner for groups up to 50.  We would love to be your host for a Montana wedding reception or groom’s dinner. More guests? The Swan Lake Community Hall (available for $250) can host up to 150 with ADA bathrooms, catering kitchen, stage, dance floor, and chairs and tables.  And don’t forget the Horse, or our sister property Candlewycke Inn, for your additional wedding guest lodging – we’re only minutes to Brumar and Swan River Inn.  To tour the Horse or the Swan Lake Community Hall, please call us at 406-886-2080 or e: laughinghorselodge@gmail.com. The Horse will gladly cater your event at the Hall, at your private home or ours.