Sated in Sun Valley
Sun Valley Food and Wine Festival
June 8-10, Sun Valley & Ketchum, ID
Welcome—and thanks!—to this week's guest correspondent, Idaho Statesman restaurant reviewer James Patrick Kelly, who sent in this report:
On Friday, the first day of the festival, I skipped author Jim Harrison’s keynote address to go review a restaurant called Rickshaw in lower downtown Ketchum. My wife and I found refuge from the looming clouds in the restaurant’s stylish Pan-Asian dining room, within view of the sizzling woks and stacked bamboo steamers.
Rickshaw draws inspiration from owner and chef Andreas Heaphy’s trips to Southeast Asia. He emulates the simple food that he eats while in exotic locales like Vietnam and Thailand. It’s essentially street food (served on a plate) with a contemporary attitude. We left happy after munching on colorful interpretations of green papaya salad, star anise-scented pork ribs, and pearl balls (deliciously smoky chicken rolled into sticky rice orbs).
I later heard that Harrison delivered a somewhat dry, sardonic opening address that offered insight into everything from dining abroad to his own bouts with gout—the latter being information I could live without.
Early the next day, after breakfast and a meandering stroll through the incredibly gorgeous Sun Valley Resort, we headed downtown (Ketchum is only one mile away) to start our whirlwind day. We first checked out the Farmer’s Marketplace, a market of local foodstuffs and crafts set up specifically for the festival. This is where I ran into Northwest Palate co-publisher and wine editor Cole Danehower, who was hanging out at Carmela Vineyards’ booth, sadly the only winery from Snake River Valley to appear at the marketplace. I was surprised not to see a showing by Sunny Slope’s Koenig Vineyards, considering that winemaker Greg Koenig grew up in Ketchum.
The rest of the day was spent running between local restaurants, where guest chefs and local chefs put on cooking demonstrations. Celebrity chef Cat Cora showed people how to make Argentinean-style grilled lamb chops (from Lava Lake Lamb in Hailey) with chimichurri sauce and roasted corn on the cob. Cory Schreiber of Portland’s Wildwood Restaurant discussed the nuances of summertime cooking in the Northwest. Cookbook author Katie Chin (above; James Patrick Kelly photo) gave a dissertation on dim sum, making sure everyone in the room left knowing how to make shrimp shumai and other Cantonese-style dumplings.
The bookend to our day was a vintner’s dinner held at Ketchum Grill, where chef Scott Mason prepared a five-course meal paired with wines from Frenchman’s Gulch Winery in Ketchum. Idaho foodstuffs like tangy Rollingstone Chèvre, Golden Reserve beef tenderloin, and locally foraged morels played well with the winery’s unoaked Chardonnay and ripe Merlot.
James Patrick Kelly reviews restaurants for the Idaho Statesman.