Checking out the world-class ice sculptures and snowy parades is the big to-do when visiting the McCall Winter Carnival, which starts Jan. 26 and runs through Feb. 4. But warming up inside a restaurant and eating some good food is also high on the list for those who attend this annual wintertime blowout. Plus, you will certainly need a little nourishment if you plan on skiing at Brundage Mountain or snowshoeing in Ponderosa State Park.
Here’s a glance at several establishments in Valley County that can take care of your dining and libation needs.
Rupert’s at Hotel McCall, 1101 N. 3rd St., is one of the most popular dining destinations around these subalpine parts. This may have something to do with the fact that executive chef Gary Kucy was a semifinalist for a prestigious James Beard Award in 2013. It surely doesn’t hurt to get some love from the Oscars of the food world.
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The dinner-only restaurant will be open throughout the Winter Carnival, but keep in mind that Rupert’s is putting on three sold-out winemaker’s dinners on Jan. 29-31, which means you will have to look elsewhere on those nights if you don’t already have a reservation for one of these events. On the nights with no wine dinners, a reservation is highly recommended.
Kucy’s seasonal menus are an amalgam of world flavors that stay rooted in the Northwest. After a long day of frolicking in the snow (keep your fingers crossed for more of the white stuff), go for starters such as Parmesan-herb fries ($7), crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon zest, capers and smoked paprika ($7.50), and grilled local venison meatballs served with juniper-pickled red cabbage and mustard sauce ($9.75)
Make sure to save room for the curry-seared sea scallops ($27.50), citrus-glazed king salmon ($27.50) and a smoked Kurobuta pork chop with chipotle-cherry barbecue sauce ($28.50).
Rupert’s is open 4 to 8:30 p.m. (last seating) nightly during the Winter Carnival. Make reservations at rupertsathotelmccall.com or call 208-634-8108.
The Narrows Steakhouse debuted Jan. 19 in McCall’s iconic Shore Lodge, at 501 W. Lake St.
Situated in the recently renovated Narrows Grill space, this high-end steak and seafood concept (open 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly) replaces The Narrows as the lodge’s fine-dining restaurant.
Start things off with lobster bisque ($12), filet mignon tartare ($18) and pan-seared foie gras with brioche, green apple, fig and hazelnuts ($35).
The restaurant specializes in prime-grade beef and American-style Kobe beef that’s sourced from ranches around the Pacific Northwest. Don’t be surprised to find a baseball-cut sirloin, a bone-in ribeye and other hand-cut steaks — some of which get dry-aged on the premises.
Besides beef, diners can get fresh-as-can-be seafood, American-raised lamb and Kurobuta pork from Idaho’s Snake River Farms. Side dishes include poached asparagus with hollandaise sauce, truffle fries, creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms and silky mashed potatoes with smoked Gouda and bacon.
Make reservations at shorelodge.com.
Take a short drive to Cascade for the globally inspired fare at Remington’s, which debuted last year in the former Chief Restaurant spot at 116 Main St. Small plates here include lomi lomi salmon tacos ($12), goat cheese and Manchego fritters with syrupy fig gastrique ($11) and Venezuelan-style arepas stuffed with chicken-avocado salad ($11). You can currently get entrées such as cedar plank-roasted Idaho trout ($18), grilled ancho chile flank steak ($24), Mexican lasagna ($14) and grilled eggplant Napoleon ($18).
Remington’s is open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday brunch. For reservations, call 208-382-5700.
A new dining and drinking establishment called The Bar recently opened at Shore Lodge in a completely renovated space where The Narrows fine-dining restaurant once resided. The stylish pub concept is a comfy place to hangout while quaffing draft brews and digging into some inventive pub fare that follows the seasons closely.
Small plates include smoked elk and butternut squash empanadas ($14), a roast duck quesadilla with fontina cheese, caramelized onion, fig and chive crema ($12), and a cast iron-seared Dungeness crab cake with a crispy parsnip nest, and mandarin orange and whole-grain mustard cream sauce ($16).
If beer or wine are not to your liking, The Bar also offers specialty cocktails with fun names, including “The Ski Bum and Rum” and “The Ski Bunny,” a concoction made with top-shelf vodka, Baileys Salted Caramel, cream and an ornate chocolate branch.
The Bar is open 3 to 11 p.m. daily.
Salmon River Brewery, 411 Railroad Ave., near Hotel McCall is well known for its selection of handcrafted beers, but the brewpub does a commendable job in the food department as well. Besides burgers, pub-style sandwiches, and fish and chips, you can score fried appetizers that get along well with the brews. Marry a plate of deep-fried dill pickle spears ($4.50) to a pint of Buzz Buzz Coffee Porter. Other good picks include the ale-battered cheese curds ($10) and chicken wings tossed in ginger-wasabi sauce ($14). The brewpub is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The Clubhouse at Jug Mountain Ranch, the sister establishment to Rupert’s at 13834 Farm to Market Road near Lake Fork, will be open on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. during the Winter Carnival. In addition to the set menu of pub favorites, the place is offering a Supper Club menu that bounces around the globe for inspiration. The lineup includes Basque lamb meatballs ($8.50), fried chicken Milanese ($16), Shanghai-style pork ribs glazed with fiery hoisin sauce ($10.50) and a Thai shrimp curry bowl ($15).
Get your eggs on
Head to The Cutwater on Payette Lake at Shore Lodge for hearty breakfasts that get dished up from 7 to 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The menu boasts Idaho-centric standouts such as an egg frittata with smoked trout and foraged mushrooms ($15), pastrami and potato hash ($15), and huckleberry pancakes served with applewood-smoked bacon and sausage ($15). Diners will also find French toast ($14), eggs Benedict ($14) and other breakfast options.
Just about everyone in this neck of the woods files into The Pancake House, 209 N. 3rd St., for big breakfasts, which get served all day at this dining institution on the edge of town. Besides pancakes and omelets galore, the menu has favorites such as biscuits and gravy ($7.95), French toast ($8.25) and “Those Potatoes” ($8.25), a pileup of crispy hash browns, cheddar and bacon. It’s open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday.