Posts Tagged ‘Environmentally-friendly hotels’

Montana Dragon Boat Festival Racers Welcome at The Horse Next September

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Although the second annual Montana Dragon Boat Festival is a year away, it isn’t too early to book your lodging and Laughing Horse Lodge is the perfect place to be for your race team and dragon boats. Located just 25 minutes from the race site at Flathead Lake Lodge, the Horse offers up economical yet award-winning hospitality and dining, with the added benefit of beautiful Swan Lake – a perfect practice lake for your team. Reserve your rooms individually or reserve the entire property for your team.

Our special Dragon Team Package includes: 5 nights lodging for up to 26 ( a combination of double occupancy, bunk room and cabin); early-out gourmet breakfast each morning; Welcome BBQ Dinner for your team on the first night; boat and trailer parking; boat launch and secure docking on Swan Lake for pre-event practice; and Farewell Dinner for your team on the last night.  Package price as low as $70 per person dependent upon total occupancy. For details, contact Kathleen at laughinghorselodge@gmail.com.

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!

A Cowboy’s New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Horse

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Back by popular demand!

 Join us at the Horse for our Eastern Standard Time Cowboy New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance! Yes, you can celebrate the beginning of a new year and still be home safe by midnight (or at another party!).

You and your friends will enjoy a 5 course meal prepared by Chef Kate including a champagne toast with the fall of the ball in Times Square. You’ll also enjoy listening and dancing to the western rhythm of Joe Zambrano and Blue Smoke. So put on your dancing boots and bring your appetite for a fun and light evening at the Horse.

$159/couple. Secured reservations required.

Overnight lodging available, $105/double occupancy including a delicious breakfast in the morning.

Limited seating, so make your reservations early!

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

Laughing Horse Lodge A Haven for Foodies in the Flathead Valley

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Now in her tenth year as owner, chief cook and bottle washer, Kathleen continues to bring in the rave reviews for Laughing Horse Lodge from locals and visitors who have discovered this Swan Lake dining ‘secret’.

This season, Kathleen heats up her menu with nightly specials from the ‘over the top’ Asian flavor sensation of Saffron Soba Noodle Cake to the Norman Rockwell down home comfort of savory meatloaf floating in a sea of Crimini Mushroom Prime Rib gravy.

The Horse offers a laid-back, old Montana dining experience where the value is on the plate – mostly organic, always fresh and totally delicious ingredients prepared with care, presented with joy and affordably priced.

So if you are a foodie looking for the best the Flathead has to offer, take a short drive to Swan Lake and see what Kathleen is cooking up for the evening… “hmmm…all natural Tuscan-style Black Angus Prime Rib, or a large steaming bowl of clams swimming in a broth reminiscent of late summer nights in Capri?”

The dining room is open 5pm Wednesday – Sunday for dinner with a public brunch offered Saturday and Sunday 8am – 2pm. The kitchen is closed Monday and Tuesday night so that Kathleen may bring her creative skills to the private homes of the Bigfork/Swan Lake area for parties from 12 to 100.

 Reservations definitely suggested…406-886-2080.

Natural Porterhouse Pork Chop on a Green Chili Frittata

Natural Porterhouse Pork Chop on a Green Chili Frittata

Laughing Horse Lodge Finding New Ways to Protect the Environment

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Over the past several years Laughing Horse Lodge has attempted to become more environmentally aware in its business practices. Each year, more organic produce, grains and dairy, as well as natural meats and line caught wild fish are placed on the menu. Cleaning products have gotten gentler: guests are choosing to keep their linens longer; and now, the one area that is always a challenge for inn owners – guest amenities – has gotten a renewal and upgrade.

Thanks to the efforts of GREENWICH BAY Soap Company, a family owned and operated business that has been manufacturing fine toiletries since 1962, the Horse has been able to remove plastic shampoo bottles from the rooms and reduce bar soap waste.

Greenwich Bay’s Shampoo & Body Bar uses only the finest natural ingredients and is sulfate and paraben free. Using essential oils and very little filler water, the recycled paper wrapped bars require less energy to produce and fulfill two services in one for overnight guests.  A small notice in the rooms lets guests know the benefits of the bar and how they are helping to reduce waste and potential chemicals in the water table.

We’ve still got some areas for improvement, says owner Kathleen, but we’ll keep searching for new ways to reduce, minimize and conserve while still giving our guests an exceptional Montana experience.