Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Spartan Racers Will Get Some TLC from the Horse Next May

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, fresh off the incredible success of the recent Dragon Boat Races, is bringing the Spartan Race to Flathead Lake Lodge on May 11 & 12, 2013.  This outrageous (and very muddy) challenge of physical and mental prowess will pit some incredible examples of human engineering against the likes of …well…the likes of you and me. The two day event looks to be a fun way to spend a couple of days watching  fit (and not so fit) but definitely crazy folks pit themselves against a 4 mile obstacle course (including a very large hill) while carrying packs of rocks…just kidding, well only slightly.

For those racers visiting from out of the area, the Horse is offering up a Thursday – Saturday package of a three night stay with early-out gourmet breakfast each morning; a three course dinner with beer or wine upon arrival on Thursday evening; and a fun practice run on Friday up a local mountain (the Horse will provide packs and rocks if requested!). Races begin bright and early on Saturday and Sunday at Flathead Lake Lodge located only 25 minutes from the Horse.

Package 1:  Single occupancy in a queen room, three nights, three breakfasts, and welcome dinner – $155.  Package 2: Double occupancy in a queen room, six breakfasts, and two welcome dinners- $209. Package 3: Four singles in the Bunk Room, 12 breakfasts, four welcome dinners- $660 (or $55/person per day).

The Horse is located  in the village of Swan Lake, eighteen miles south of the host town of Bigfork. Extreme racers are invited to unwind and relax before and after the races while enjoying the award-winning hospitality (and hot showers!) of the Horse. To reserve your package, write to Kathleen at laughinghorselodge@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Tantalizing Tuesday’s Chef Tasting & Wine Dinner, July 10th, 2012

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Join us on Tuesday for our second tasting dinner of the season. We’re exploring the new take on old Bavarian traditions including a Smoked Trout and Apple Strudel, classic Leberknoedelsuppe, Poached White Asparagus with Hollandaise Foam, and Bolete-Encrusted Tournedo of Angus with Barolo Vinegar Sauce. We’re pilfering some great dishes from the Black Forest and, of course, the wines will be exceptional! $129/couple. Secure reservations required. 406-886-2080

12th Anniversary for ARC Fundraiser in Swan Lake -Huck Pancakes!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

 
Swan Lake, MT – The heavy rains in early summer may have alleviated the risk of a hard forest fire season, but for families that lose their homes to fire there is no season, for domestic fire can hit at any time and place.
 
Spurred on by the disastrous Bitteroot fires of 2000, Laughing Horse Lodge joined forces with the American Red Cross to raise monies to assist families who had lost their homes to that devasting blaze. Donating the kitchen and dining room to volunteers and neighbors, owners Kathleen and Richard allowed their home and business to become a catalyst for aid.
 
Eleven years later, the Horse is going strong, and the sense of community responsibility still stronger, as volunteers descend on Swan Lake to assist in the annual Labor Day Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast.“We’ve been told that this is the longest running ‘fund raiser’ of its kind in the valley,” says Kathleen, “but it’s not about the length of time, its about the people who come out to eat pancakes and drop a check in the jar to help someone they will never meet.”
 
Over $50,000 has been raised over the years, all the funds staying in the NW Montana area to aid families. “The magic number is $6000,” states Kathleen, “that’s what we aim for each year during the three day event.” Representatives from the local ARC explain that it takes about $3000 to help a family get relocated and purchase needed clothing and items to set up a temporary home. Overall, eleven families have received necessary assistance from the kindness of strangers enjoying breakfast with friends at the Horse.
 
The 12th Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast for Montana Fire Victims will take place at Laughing Horse Lodge, Milemarker 71.5, Hwy 83, Swan Lake on September 3,4 and 5, 8am to 12 noon. A minimum donation of $6 will receive delicious fresh huckleberry pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee served by your neighbors and friends.  Experienced pancake grillers are welcome in the kitchen for two hour shifts!
 
Can’t make it? Send your check made out to American Red Cross – Montana  to Laughing Horse Lodge Pancake Breakfast, PO Box 5082, Swan Lake, MT 59911. For more information, call 406-886-2080 or visit www.laughinghorselodge.com

Annual Beer Tasting at the Horse…what else can we do on a rainy Tuesday evening? Drink Beer!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Our annual World Tour of Beer at the Horse is just around the corner, and like last year, the Horse will be the perfect place to cozy up with your friends as the rain continues to pour. 

The pros from Rocky Mountain Wine Distributors will be on hand with some exquisite and unique beer finds from Europe, the US, and  South America – 12 new beers and a table laden with the efforts of ‘yours truly’ and my new staff. 

We’ll be serving up Baked Figs wrapped in Bacon, fresh Ahi sashimi with wasabi sauce, smoked salmon sushi, over-the-top buffalo wings, and, my favorite, pork carnitas mini tacos with Gloria’s fresh salsa. And of course, we’ll be pulling out the stops on dessert…nothing like a fresh rhubarb and strawberry tart with a Belgian berry beer!

The Horse will add a few of your favorites to our Beer Menu for the summer  along with our draft offering for the season are three local beers – Great Northern Brewery’s Wheatfish and Kettlehouse’s Cold Smoke and Double Haul IPA.

The Tour begins at 6pm on Tuesday, June 21, at the Horse located at Milepost 71.5 on Hwy 83. $25 per person (beer tasters and eaters) and only $10 for designated drivers (non-drinkers). Reservations required. 406-886-2080.

 

Pacific Rim Cuisine Featured in First ‘Free Fall’ Tuesday Chef’s Tasting & Wine Dinner

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Join us for our first ‘Free Fall’ Tuesday on  June 14th as we explore the culinary offerings  of the Pacific Rim.

Put your taste for epicurean adventure (say that fast three times!) into our hands for an evening of beautiful food inspired by the great chefs of Singapore, Maui and Kauai, Hong Kong and even San Francisco. We’ll be featuring all natural meats, wild fish, organic cheeses, and, for the first time, organic greens and vegetables from the Horse’s garden! Each course will be matched with a wine selected by Rocky Mountain Wine Distributors.

 

Our Pacific Rim Menu

Ceviche of Prawns, Scallops and Lobster  -in passion fruit citrus over organic spicy micro greens and slivered green papaya

 Brie and Mango Quesadilla in Roasted Tomato Tortilla   -with cilantro macadamia nut pesto 

Roasted Maui Onion and Goat Cheese Salad  -organic Tyee spinach and fresh mandarin orange with Haixin basil vinaigrette

 

Grilled Natural Pork Tenderloin Medallion and Wild Mushroom Polenta  -marinade of Makers Mark and fresh pineapple juice with warm pineapple chutney

 

Chilled Sticky Black Rice Ball Infused with Ginger and Maui Honey  -with young coconut ice cream

Secured reservations are limited to 24 people. Dining room opens at 6:30pm, dinner begins at 7:00pm. $65 per person with wine, $39 without wine.

To make your reservations, call Chef Kate at 406-886-2080 or email laughinghorselodge@gmail.com.  Laughing Horse Lodge is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.com.

Pesce in Acqua Pazza – From the sea to the plate in minutes

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Cuando los ingredientes son óptimas, la cocina puede ser simple.”

“When the ingredients are optimum, the cooking can be simple”.

No truer words have been written, especially when it comes to fresh -beautifully fresh - fish still redolent of brine, eyes bright, firm fleshed and loaded with culinary possibilities. Last evening four Americans showed up at the dock, a stringer of corvina (sea bass) in hand, and a request for dinner. The menu was already set for the Cala Mia dining room, and with only 30 minutes before the hotel’s guests would be arriving, an uncomplicated dish was required.

I remembered reading David Shalleck’s Mediterranean Summer, a biographical journal of his first year’s as Chef on a luxury sailing yacht in the Med, and how he was challenged to create new dishes every day using only the freshest of ingredients for his discerning and demanding owners. Cheffing at an isolated island resort is similar to cooking on a yacht…you just can’t make a quick run to the market when the whim hits you. So you get creative and simplify, simplify, simplify…and use what your location offers up…in this case fresh fish.

One of Shalleck’s ‘go to’ recipes was Pesce in Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water), a traditional Neapolitan dish that exemplifies simplicity.  With Cala Mia’s ‘go to’ guy, Beto, cleaning the sea bass, I began to assemble the dish. Thirty minutes later, as our four fishermen finished their first course of organic gazpacho with Feta and virgin olive oil, their pesce was served.  After the ‘oohs and aahhs’, silence reigned as they quite obviously enjoyed their dish. (Although I would like to take full credit for its success, the kudos go to the Neapolitans who for centuries have mastered the art of simple, yet elegant dishes; and of course, the tasty corvina.)

Pesce in Acqua Pazza (Cala Mia Style)

Ingredients:  

Fresh fish…the best is flaky fish like halibut, snapper, bass or grouper.

Garlic

Firm, ripe tomatoes

Italian Parsley

Zucchini

Capers

Kalamata Olives (optional)

Leeks

Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt and white pepper

[Although this recipe is designed for cooking whole fish, I have adjusted it to individual-serving stoneware  oven-to-table dishes.]

Brush the ramekins with olive oil.

Cut fish into 1″ chunks and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Layer the ramekins with thinly sliced leeks, zucchini and a touch of minced garlic.

Place the fish chunks on top of the vegetables.

Place thinly sliced tomatoes over the fish.

Sprinkle with minced parsley, a bit of diced kalamata olives and capers (rinse both well to remove excess brine).

Drizzle with olive oil and cover for the oven.

Note: The dish will appear somewhat dry, however, after 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven, the fish will be simmering in a lovely bath of ‘crazy water’. Do not overcook!

Bon appetit! Chef Kate

Ceviche De Angosta con Pomelo, Simple Elegance in the Wilderness

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

A Pacific  storm has circled Cala Mia and Isla Boca Brava, the freshening breeze dropping the temperature to near tropical perfection. It is the first day in a month without sun, and I am happy for the change.

The morning begins well before sunrise with a boat ride  to Boca Chica to meet up with Chef Ricardo who is taking me on my first shopping expedition in the provincial town of David. There are no large grocery stores in David  thus our first stop of the morning is a triple wide garage off a residential side street filled with the morning’s fresh produce…melons, peppers, yucca, papaya, guava, pineapple and a variety of lettuces and cabbages overflow boxes and bins. There is a riot of color and chaos reigning in the aisles as farmers bring in their offerings, trading or selling fresh carrots and broccoli, bartering still warm jugs of milk and cream for a bag of butter beans or squash. As I walk around and select what I want to use in the restaurant for the next week, I am amused by the dichotomy of this market experience and those experienced last fall during my trip to Languedoc. Like produce, familiar Latinate faces, but there the similarities end.

The European markets are masterpieces of visual splendor…it is not enough to have a stack of carrots for sale at the Menton halle, no, the carrots have to be laid out in an intricate design, framed by vivid aubergines and the delicategreen gold of artichokes – each farmer’s display trying to out do that of his neighbors’.  In the David market, no such attempt is made. This is a working man’s tiende, the only real display being one of beautiful bags of garlic – grown in China.

But at the end of the day, a carrot is a carrot and a pomelo (grapefruit) will taste the same whether it was crowded in a burlap bag in Panama, or in a geometrically perfect pyramid interspersed with vibrant purple plums in France. So the carrots and the pomelos and a dozen or more relatives are bagged up and loaded into the back of a rented white Kia work truck and off we go to the Super Baru – a combination general store offering hardware, groceries, clothing and butchery…a little bit of everything, and not a lot of anything (except Olive Oil of which there are 27 varieties!).

 It takes two hours going up and down and back up the aisles translating labels and doing menu exchanges in my head to get close to what I want and am envisioning for the dining room in the coming week when it is my turn to head up the kitchen.

Another hour to check out and then back to Boca Chica to meet up with Chombo and the Cala Mia boat.

Loading fresh produce onto Chombo's boat.

When I consider the physical difficulty of getting raw ingredients to this isolated island, the dedication of Cala Mia’s owners and staff to presenting exceptional food is singularly inspiring.

Well, the sky is darkening and a few stars are peaking through the remaining clouds…it is time to head to the kitchen and begin assembling tonight’s offering. Chef has asked me to create a first course using locally harvested lobsters and I am happy to oblige, especially since I have those beautiful pomelos…

Ceviche de Angosta con Pomelo

Ingredients: 

Freshly poached lobster tail, chilled and loosely diced in large chunks

Grapefruit segments, skins and seeds removed

Cilantro (minced)

Red and Yellow Peppers (demeated), minced

Garlic, minced

Red Onion, minced

Lime juice

Passion Fruit juice

Olive Oil

Salt and White Pepper

Hot Pepper Flakes

Arugula and Mustard Greens

Toss cilantro, peppers, garlic and onion with the lime and passion fruit juices, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and pepper flakes. Chill for an hour to let the flavors meld. Toss in lobster and grapefruit segments and refrigerate for another hour, stirring occasionally.

Place fresh greens in the bottom of  large martini glasses, leaving a few sprigs sticking out as garnish. Place ceviche into the glasses, distributing the remaining liquid as a dressing for the greens. Serve immediately

Bon apetite!

Finding the luxury of peace and quiet…in Panama and Montana.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Cala Mia Sunrise

When it comes to exotic travel, the words ‘luxury’, ‘5 star’ and ‘deluxe’ take on different shades of meaning. Everything is ‘relative’ after all and no more so when exploring the fringes of civilization  (and that includes the Swan Valley of NW Montana!)

During one of my winter explorations a few years back, I took on the responsibility of managing a self-proclaimed 5 star resort on a tiny, basically unknown island in the Dutch West Indies. The website was alluring with beautifully staged photos of beautiful people looking at beautiful scenery, drinking beautiful drinks and eating beautiful food…all in all, pretty darn beautiful…and with a rate sheet to match.

The sad reality however, was simply that, sad. The owners couldn’t or wouldn’t see that their 5 star resort was barely clinging to 2 stars. Yes, the position of the hotel 2000’ up on the cliffs over a wild, wind-whipped beach offered a 280 degree of the Caribbean – spectacular. Yes, it was the only property on island that boasted both a tennis court and a fresh water pool, both now in less than pristine condition. And yes, the rooms were spacious and cool with breath-taking views from every angle. But. And it was a very big but…the paint was peeling, the curtains and linens frayed and bleached by too much sun, mildew creeping into every corner, the dining room looking like a nursing home cafeteria…you get the picture…and I was the extent of the staff. But the owners didn’t, and were still trying to charge upwards of $500 a night…a rate that on any of the sister islands within a short boat ride would have truly gotten you 5 star luxury in the form of 600 count Egyptian cotton linens, room service, elegant dining and a professional and discreet staff.

Once the owners handed over the property and left for their vacation, I dug in with some really deep cleaning, painting and scavenging the best furniture, art and linens to make at least three of the rooms, the lobby and the dining room somewhat approach luxury…my goal was simple…try to meet the expectations of those few people who had made reservations during my tenure. I also implemented a procedure whereby the guests, upon lighting from their taxi, were given a ‘beautiful’ tropical cocktail and walked out to the pool deck with that stunningly ‘beautiful’ view. My hope (and it worked pretty well) was that the ‘Wow!’ factor would blind them to the reality of the rest of the property.

But that was then and this is now…and ‘now’ finds the Horse tucked away safely under the winter snow and me on an isolated Pacific island off the coast of Panama – Isla Boca Brava in the Archipelago Chiriqui – working at Boutique Hotel Cala Mia (which means My Coast in Castellan). Before arriving at the hotel, I wondered if their ‘beautiful’ website would stand up to reality…and I have not been disappointed.

Perched on a peninsula with both sunrise and sunset, between the waves of the Pacific and a lovely bay, the hotel would be considered luxurious by any standards. The luxury of Cala Mia is not however in 600 count sheets or over-the-top room amenities… the sense of luxury comes from the care that the owners Max and Vittoria have lavished on their little corner of paradise. From the individually designed bungalows redolent of Tuscany in their warm colors and soft contours (each with unlimited hot water on demand), to the personal responsibility they have taken in making this tropical escape as environmentally friendly as possible with complete solar power, recycling and an organic farm producing probably the only truly traditional Dutch Gouda in all of central and south America.  The couple,  full-time residents of Panama for 16 years, have also committed themselves and the resources of both the hotel and the farm to supporting several indigenous families of Ngobe by donating a percentage of sales to the groups and providing jobs (a rarity on the island).

Guests stepping from the water taxi (the only way to arrive at Cala Mia) are greeted by another form of luxury…a well-trained, attentive, yet discrete staff* that seems to know what you want before you do. Upon delivering your bags to your ocean or bay view bungalow (no check in required), the staff quietly disappears leaving you to discover what true luxury is…quiet…no cell phones, no TVs, no clocks, and nothing more pressing than making sure you remember that dinner is served at 7:30.  

[*A caution for celebrities considering a vacation to the island…Cala Mia will be good for your soul but not for your ego – most likely you won’t be recognized – no less bothered for an autograph!]

If you can tear yourself away from the simple pleasure of sitting on your private patio looking out onto a blue-green horizon shadowed with more islands and towering cumulous clouds scudding by like sailing galleons, you’ll discover a jungle echoing with the eerie chatter of howler monkeys and rare birds calling to each other in the tree tops. Jeweled butterflies flit through the undergrowth, as colorful as the traditional Ngobe dresses worn by the smiling women who care for your room each day. And if the pure sybaritic pleasure of doing nothing tires, open air activities abound – horseback riding, hiking, fishing, diving, and kayaking.

I’ll be on island at Cala Mia for the next six weeks, welcoming a unique group of travelers who have made their way here for something that has become a rarity in our fast-paced lives…the simple pleasure of simply being.

I look forward to returning home to the Horse in April and preparing it for your summer visit…and to sharing with you the luxuries of Montana and the simple pleasures of the Horse.

Kathleen

Rob Quist Song Writer’s Workshop Moved to October 29th & 30th at the Horse.

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Join Montana’s official Troubadour, Rob Quist  for a weekend of fun and interactive skill enhancement for beginning and intermediate song writers.

Enhance your writing and communication skills in this dynamic and interactive workshop that will guide you through the song creation process: identifying literary devices, using alliteration, simile, metaphor, creative license, figurative language, personification, symbolism, imagery and repetition. Students will be able to immediately apply their honed skills in a casual concert setting on Saturday evening in the intimate dining room at the Horse.
Workshop: $175
Meal and lodging package available, contact Kathleen.

Fat Trout Force the Horse to Change Dining Room Hours

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

It’s fall…arriving a bit early this year, but this is Montana and the weather is  fickle as a teenager’s heart. But with the cooling weather comes one of the best times of the year in the Rockies…crisp days, clear nights, the aroma of wood fires floating on the evening air, and, most important, fat and sassy trout

One such trout – a particularly rotund specimen of approximately 20 inches – has forced me to alter my dining room schedule for the fall allowing me one more evening to try to land ‘her holiness’.  There are many  great reasons to live in Montana, fall trout fishing is one of the best…and spending a stolen evening on the river with a 5 wt in my hand beats standing over a hot stove, even if I’m cooking up some special fare for great friends and visitors. So please forgive me, but I’ve changed my dining room hours to Thursday – Sunday, 5pm – 9pm for dinner and Sunday Brunch, 9am – 2pm…on the flip side, I have extended my season through the holidays.

The lodge dining room is available Monday – Wednesday for private dinners and events for 12  to 56 persons. So if you are planning a holiday party, special family get-together or just a night with good friends, include the Horse in your plans. We’d love to host your event here or help you give a stellar performance in your home.

So here’s to a great fall, brilliant fishing and a delicious dinner at the Horse..see you soon. Kathleen