Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Chef Kate at 5 Star Caneel Bay Resort as Chef Garde Manger

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

One has to love the French for their contribution to the art of cooking, especially the names for those of us in the kitchen-  chef de tournant; chef de partie, and my favorite – chef garde manger. Beautiful words wrought with layers of meaning, but all boiling down to one thing…he or she is a cook and hopefully a good one!

Well this ‘cook’  is spending the winter on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands at the Rosewood 5 Star resort of Caneel Bay, ‘slaving’ away in a kitchen larger than the entire property upon which the Horse sits. As Anonymous once said “It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it.” 

 While the Horse sits shivering in sub-zero temps and being buried by that lovely white stuff, I walk a mile and a half to work each day in 84 degrees; spend my day creating dishes with a group of professionals that love what they do and who they do it for (some of the staff at Caneel have been here since the sixties!); and when the work day is done, I clock out and head for one of Caneel’s amazing beaches for a refreshing swim before walking back to my humble abode in the village of Cruz Bay.

Besides the sybaritic pleasures of island life, the real reason I chose Caneel for my winter exploration was the chance of working under their new executive chef, Anthony Dawodu. Dawodu was seduced away from the Boston dining scene by Caneel a few years ago and given a great challenge -restore Caneel’s reputation as a 5 star dining experience and do it quickly.

 If you’re familiar with island life anywhere, the word ‘quickly’ is seldom used in conversation; in fact it is anathema to the zeitgetz of living under palm trees surrounded by water. Dawodu, however, was up for the challenge and has, in less than three years, restored the gloss to Caneel – the quality of the dining experience aside, the business acumen and cultural understanding shown is impressive by any standards. 

And so, here I am, seeing first hand a resort business recovery model in action; improving my kitchen chops; and filing away ideas, recipes and techniques to bring home to the Horse to make your dining and lodging experience even better in the coming years.  It’s a great way to spend the winter, and most importantly, I don’t have to shovel snow!

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

It’s Fall! Cassoulets and Hunter Stew and Hot Pots on the Menu!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As the air becomes laden with the crisp smells of fall, the Horse’s kitchen fills with the aromas of savory stews bubbling on the back burner. Join us for classic French cassoulet, our famous Hunter’s Stew and our simmering fondue – the Gorgonzola Basil Hot Pot. Of course, the full menu is also available featuring prime angus steaks and prime rib, unique vegetarian offerings and wild, hand-line caught fish.

For reservations, call 406-886-2080.

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.

As Gaelic as it Gets! Ola Dubh and Max Hay Perform at Laughing Horse Lodge

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

When it comes to the fine arts of distillation, brewing and music, one cannot discount the genius of the Scots. Laughing Horse Lodge is pleased to present Max Hay performing some foot-stomping Celtic tunes along with Ola Dubh (or ‘Black Oil’)  a collaboration between Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park, Distiller of the Year*. This nectar of the gods is based on Harviestoun’s award-winning Old Engine Oil. With more than a stylistic nod to the classic Imperial Porters (and Stouts) of the nineteenth century, this deliciously rich, dark, 8% a.b.v. beer is the first ale to be aged in malt whisky casks from a named distillery and, with traceable casks and numbered bottles, the rest with genuine provenance.

So make the call and reserve your spot at the Horse for a glass of Black Oil, a delicious Shepherd’s Pie and Max crooning out the Black Velvet Band! June 25th, 7pm. 406-886-2080

Max Hay Performs Live Music South of Bigfork, Montana

Monday, May 11th, 2009

June 25, 7pm – Maxwell Hay Performs “With a weathered guitar and a voice like a finely-tuned muscle car, Max’s music is a spicy departure from the traditional acoustic act.  A savory mix of Irish, Blues, Folk, and sharp-witted original songs make for a gourmet entertainment experience fit for the gourmet dinner you’ll enjoy at the Horse.  Max’s delivery is a full body workout of stomping feet, articulate harmonica work, percussive guitar work, and even the occasional egg-shaker!” Live music is just a short drive from Bigfork Montana! To make your reservation, call Laughing Horse Lodge at 406-886-2080.

Dan Dubuque to Perform for Tour of the Swan River Valley Cyclists

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Acoustic guitarist, Dan Dubuque will perform at Laughing Horse Lodge on May 30 for the cyclists of the annual Tour of the Swan River Valley. Dubuque is known for his unorthodox and eclectic style that has drawn a loyal following across the Northwest. Dubuque will perform from 7pm – 9pm in the dining room. The concert is free. Dinner is available with reservations.

There’s A Bull Trout with Your Name On It In Swan Lake!

Monday, May 4th, 2009

The pike and bull trout will be waiting for you in the ice-free waters of Swan Lake this May. Swan Lake is the only body of water in the US where it is legal to catch and keep one Bull Trout per day, and there’s a monster lurking in the depths just waiting for your line! And when you’re fished out for the day,

Catch and Release

Catch and Release

mosey on back to the Horse for a cold brew and a hot meal in front of a roaring fire. Join us in May for our Fisherman’s Special and receive a welcome glass of draft micro brew or wine; two nights lodging for two in one of our cozy queen cabin rooms; four gourmet dinners; two brown-bag lunches & four delicious breakfasts; boat parking and freezer space for your catch. Make your reservations on line today!

Package: $259 per couple.

Beer! Wonderful Beer! Tasting at the Horse!

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 7pm
Explore the wonderous world of beer – both exotic imports from small, family run breweries dating back to the 16th century and  little known hand-crafted domestics – with Laughing Horse Lodge and Rocky Mountain Distributors. Enjoy a selection of mouth-watering tidbits created by Chef Kathleen while you sample over 20 unique and delicious European and North American beers.  Featuring Montana breweries! Tasting takes place in the dining room at the Horse.  Special sample pack and case pricing available.
$10 per person. Must be 21 to attend.
Reservations required. 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: The Horse will gladly cater your event at the Hall, at your private home or ours.