I've been working on Vine & Dine Festival at Big Sky Resort alongside Steve Merlino, event foodie extraordinaire. The event takes place August 14-17, and it's a smorgasbord of world-renowned chefs, sommeliers, and vineyards. Here are the highlights from one of the organizers, and it's not too late to grab tickets at the door for any of these:
Asado is a traditional Argentinian beef dish cooked on a "parrilla," or campfire grill for us Montanans, and the Thursday night feature event for the inaugural Vine & Dine. Not only is Asado a unique Barbeque experience, but it's close to sold out so stop reading this and get a ticket now. (I'll take this out if I can't post this afternoon, I think Asado is still interesting even though it's sold out).
After Thursday the heat gets hot at Vine & Dine with food from Google's Global Program Chef Scott Giambastiani who will be serving lunch and sharing a little bit about what he calls the "food revolution." As Google may one day take over our entire society (and the world), I suggest this lunch for THE lunch to attend on Friday (ok it's also the ONLY lunch on Friday). Needless to say it's going to be delicious, informative, and I may just ask Giambastiani to autograph my napkin.
Friday also consists of two seminars (remember, this isn't the average sit-in-an-auditorium-and-fall-asleep seminar, but a drink-wine-and-enjoy-life seminar): Tasting the Master's Way and Touring the Italian Countryside. Tasting the Master's Way features World-renowned sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher (both featured in Jason Wise's "Somm" documentary which won Best Documentary at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival). Dame and Fletcher will take us on an "entertaining tasting of carefully chosen wines." One seminar with these two and I'm hoping to be able to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier Exam. Kidding! That exam has one of the lowest pass rates of any exam in the world, which means who better to learn wine from than two of the top ranking somms?
A few more things must be mentioned. Friday night featured Vintner dinners all around Big Sky including Lotus Pad, Olive B's, Buck's T-4, and Saturday night features the headline event: The Wine Stroll. The Wine Stroll takes tasters through the Mountain Village at Big Sky Resort and through the vines of Oregon, South America, Washington, and countless other places. If there's only one event to go to, it's The Wine Stroll.
Before The Wine Stroll tasters can take to Lone Mountain and explore the pinots from 11,166 feet or while ziplining through the forest. Then enjoy any number of seminars and lunches such as Cheese & Wine: One Stinky Good Time or Jay Fletcher's Old Vines of Northern Spain. Essentially we've made it so no taster can go wrong at any of these events.
Last, and certainly the least amount of wine, is Sunday's "Where's the Wine" Brunch, featuring bellinis, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, and, ok, wine.
I'll be enjoying Vine & Dine all weekend, join me for wine and food from around the world.
A traditional Argentinian-style Asado.
Imagine running a marathon that takes you up, around, and over the top of scree-encrusted Lone Peak, gaining and losing approximately 10,000 feet in elevation. Now tack on about 5 more miles. That in a nutshell is The Rut 50K-an ultra-marathon on the brink of becoming the biggest deal in Sky Running in the United States and, at least to some extent, the world.
To clarify, an ultra-race is any race longer than marathon length, or 26.2 miles. The shortest established ultrarace is 50 kilometers, or approximately 31 miles, but many ultra-marathons are 100 miles or more. Sky running, in its simplest definition, is running distance plus vertical, or long runs over mountainous terrain. The Rut, organized by The Runners Edge in Missoula, began in 2013 as the brainchild of race directors and international mountain runners, Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe. "The two Mikes" as they are known throughout the circuit, are both members of the North Face Ultra Running Team. Inspired by the steeper, more technical courses they've competed in throughout the European Alps, they wanted to bring that level of world-class racing to the U.S. and more specifically, to their Montana backyard.
On September 14, 2013, when the inaugural Rut 50K and 12K went off like a ski boot at 4:00am at Big Sky Resort, it got the attention of the International Skyrunning Federation. They chose The Rut 50K as the site of the 2014 Skyrunner World Series (SWS) Ultra Final. The SWS is a group of races taking place in the mountains of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, and now the United States. As race organizer Mike Foote explains, "You don't have to run all the races [in the SWS], but since The Rut 50K is the final, you get double the points, so most of the serious competitors will be here. We're expecting a bunch of international elite trail running athletes." One of those much anticipated athletes is Sky Runner Kilian Jornet, whom National Geographic named the 2014
People's Choice Adventurer of the Year.
"The course is one of the biggest draws of the event," says Foote. "The 50K is extremely technical. There's runnable
single track, but there's also lots of knife-edged ridgelines." The most attention-grabbing section takes runners up and over Lone Peak via Bone Crusher Ridge. The climb gains 2,000 feet in elevation in about a mile and a half of highly exposed terrain, to the iconic 11,166 ft. summit.
"It's just unbelievable up there," says Foote. "That part of the course is more than a race. It's an adventure."
The question The Rut asks us all, on some level, is do I have it in me? Do I have that kind of mental game? To put one foot in front of the other, over rocky, mountainous terrain, for 31 miles?
To read more from Ginny on The Rut Ultramarathon check out the next issue of Live Big Magazine now at Big Sky Resort.
The Rut 2013.
The Rut runners head up Lone Peak via Bone Crusher.
I haven't been fishing since I was twelve years old and let's just say I'm close to quadrupling that age now. Living in the mecca for fly fishing, I jumped at the chance when I was invited to go. I really didn't have any gear, only the tackle box my Dad bought me for my twelfth birthday (yes, the same trip that made it my last until now), of course it's now full of art supplies so I decided not to take it. My boyfriend set me up with all the gear I needed and the terminology: indicator (aka bobber), nymph (I remember these being worms), split shot (aka weight), and dry fly (mimic the bugs on top of the water - hate those bugs when swimming). After being quizzed on my new fly fishing vocabulary we arrived at the river, put in the boat, and started some fishing... um, I mean, fly fishing.
Once we were on the water I learned time: 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, don't break the wrist, and drop the fly in the right spot. Easy enough until you're trying to get the weight, I mean split shot, to float through the air. After some tangles and a lot of "I got it, I got it" toward my boyfriend, I truly did get. I had the fishing line and tippit (yes, another new term I learned, but I like to say, "the clear line tied to the yellow line") moving like a pendulum through the air before I cast to the perfect spot. Now, the perfect spot would actually be where my boyfriend told me to place the fly, but I came to soon realize that maybe the perfect spot was where the fly actually landed. Hitting the perfect spot is not easy, believe me, when I got remotely close to where he told me to place the fly he was rather shocked and congratulatory.
Hooking my first fish was, let's say, a miscommunication as I wasn't equipped with the new terminology my boyfriend was excitedly expressing to me. Down. He excitedly said "down", I took my rod (never call it a pole) and pointed it down and lost the fish. I now know in the fly fishing world, "down" actually means "up." Yes, I was supposed to pull up on the rod when the indicator goes down. As the day went on I received some good bites, but I wasn't able to hook the fish. Tired of standing I asked if I could try rowing for a bit. Happily my boyfriend relinquished the oars and took to the front of the boat. Five minutes later he was pulling in a beautiful Rainbow Trout out of the water. Man, I'm a good rower. Put him right where he needed to be.
After a short bit, he gave the fly rod back to me, determined I would catch my first fish in (cough, cough) number of years. I cast out with good 10 and 2 pendulum form trying my best to place the fly in the right spot and mending perfectly (another term for making sure the yellow line is ahead of the clear line. I got pretty good at this). I hear "down" and pull up fast. Fish on! I start pulling line in and reeling in excess fly line. I'm completely out of my head excited. It's not just a fish, but a good-sized fish. I'm all of the sudden a professional fisherwoman calling for the net.
As it gets closer to the boat I ask what kind of fish it is and he says with a sigh, "a Whitefish". How cool is that, my first Whitefish and I moved to Big Sky from Whitefish. I'm just beaming until I look over at the disgust on my boyfriend's face. Each person I've told this story to give the same disgusted look, like Whitefish are rats in the water. No good. I insist he takes a picture.
"But it's a Whitefish, you don't want a picture with a Whitefish," he says.
"Oh, no, brother, I don't care. I caught this fish and I want a picture," I retort back.
He took the picture. A beautiful picture of me and my first fish I've caught since I was twelve and fly fishing to boot. I held it proudly for the camera with the biggest smile on my face and a death grip on this poor Whitefish. As he releases my fish into the water it starts to go belly up. I'm in a panic. I've killed it. This is supposed to be catch and release and I killed the first fish I've caught. I'm devastated. My boyfriend kept chuckling and saying "don't worry, it's just stunned from your death grip." Within a couple of more minutes it begins to wiggle and finally swims away. All smiles again, I crack a beer.
Chet's Bar & Grill serves food that I think is best described as "Americana". I am not sure when the restaurant opened. I chose this dish because I think it represents Chet's better than any other appetizer on the menu. Even though it is shrimp from the ocean, the corn salsa and the BBQ sauce represent the flavors of authentic American cuisine.
Mojave Shrimp Appetizer
Five jumbo bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with jalapenos, slathered with BBQ glaze then served with oven-roasted corn salsa.
For the Corn Salsa:
1 Tb light olive oil
2 cups corn kernels
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 Tb lime juice
1 tsp Cholula hot sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1 fresh jalapeno, minced
Heat oil in a sauté pan and add the corn. Sauté until corn is slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Place in a container and cool. Once cooled, mix remaining ingredients.
For the BBQ sauce:
1 Tb Butter
2 shallots, diced
1 Tb course ground black pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup Coca Cola
2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce
¼ cup maple syrup
In a small sauce pan, heat the butter and add the shallots. Cook over medium to high heat until shallots begin to brown. Add black pepper and stir in, cooking only for a few more seconds. Add vinegar and Coke and reduce by half. Add BBQ sauce and syrup, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
*Optional-strain to remove the chunks of shallots.
5 jumbo shrimp
1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into strips
3 slices of bacon, cut in half
Peel and devein shrimp. Place 1 jalapeno strip in where the vein was. Wrap in bacon. Skewer 5 shrimp on 1 skewer. Brush with BBQ sauce and place on a hot grill. Turn after 2-3 minutes, basting with BBQ sauce. On a plate, spoon corn salsa in the center. When shrimp are finished, brush one more time with BBQ sauce and then remove from skewer on to plate. Drizzle a little more BBQ sauce on shrimp and plate, sprinkle lemon zest on top and voila!
-Chef Tyler Sloan
When all was said and done, and the kegs had been drank, Brewfest was a successful event by event manager and attendee standards, and it was a ton of fun. Here is a quick list (and a lot of photos) about the things I loved at Big Sky Resort's 9th annual Brewfest:
New Belgium Brewing's Peach Porch Lounger (which I never would have sought out without an event like Brewfest)
Bottom of the Barrel.
Roadkill Ghost Choir (what a cool band).
An impromptu dance troupe dancing on moving tables and teaching us a move or two.
Lone Peak Brewery won the People's Choice Award for Best Brewery.
The sleekness of New Belgium Brewing's brand campaign. Oh the colors! (See below).
The people (I saw so many people I hadn't seen in a long time, and met a great couple from North Carolina).
The scenery. A Brewfest at the base of Lone Mountain just doesn't get much better.
Join us at Brewfest next year on July 10-11. See you there!
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