July 28, 2009

Falling for Snoqualmie

Salish.jpg Snoqualmie%20Falls.jpg

The historic lodge, on a stone ledge overlooking the sacred falls of the Snoqualmie tribe, is one of those grand gabled timber hotels, like a summer resort in the Berkshires or Adirondacks, that's become part of the landscape. Officially known as the Salish, it's a bit too far from Seattle for a casual dinner, but it's always been a terrific weekend getaway (with 89 rooms). Now, with another ambitious restaurant just down the hill (Bruce Dillon's Terra Vista at the Snoqualmie Falls Casino, the Salish is turning the spotlight back on its cuisine. We sent our pal Jacqueline Pruner out for a taste-drive; her verdict: Salishious!

The Salish Lodge & Spa and its Executive Chef Justin Sledge recently hosted a dinner to introduce the world to Chef de Cuisine Jack Strong and Pastry Chef Laurie Pfalzer. ‘Twas a multi-coursed “food orgy.” A fanciful feast. One misfire among the starters: the peas & carrots (think baby food). Overall: innovative, palate-pleasing eye candy.

Highlighted favs – none currently on the menu; but if the culinary gods are smiling they soon will be: over-easy quail egg served on a tiny Russian blueberry pancake, or blini (an awful lot of effort for a breakfast bite, but oh-so worth it); salt cured foie gras torchon, served with a toasted lavender marshmallow – I confess had my doubts about this, but hey, I like foie gras and I like s’mores … the carmelized sugar of the toasted ‘mallow set off the creamy foie gras; and a twist to the ol’ chestnut of cedar planked salmon really worked: native caught Columbia River salmon wrapped in a cedar sheet and topped with morel mushrooms, heirloom spuds, snow peas, leek blossoms, celeriac apple puree, and lemon confit.

Chocolate was the finisher: layered mousse cake with a pistachio gianduja crust, balanced out by crunchy caramel-coated bing cherries (pitted so no chipped teeth), a poached black plum and an apricot salad – a dish destined to convert even the strongest of hearts into a chocoholic, with enough fruit salad to almost make you think you’re eating healthy. And if chocolate is in fact your thing, be sure to order the Chocolatier’s Palate, which is currently on their menu – both diverse and divine!)

Hats off to you both, Jack and Laurie – well done!

P.S. – The Salish also has a new spa menu – more about that later – and will give all its guest rooms a face lift this fall.

PPS: Food snapshots follow.

Salish Lodge & Spa, 6501 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie, Wash. (Exit 25 from I-90), 800-272-5474  Salish Lodge - Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Foie%20Gras.jpg Quail%20Egg%20Blini.jpg Salmon%20Cedar%20Wrap.jpg Chocolate%20Caramel%20Stone%20Fruits.jpg
Photos by Jacqueline Pruner

Posted by Ronald Holden at July 28, 2009 10:40 AM | TrackBack

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