Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And The Food is Wonderful!

I've talked before here how my favourite part of being a sound system designer is the commissioning or tuning of the system. Even when my jobsite looks like war zone meets construction site and my cable management motors are fouled because of circumstances beyond my installer's control, I still got a chill up my spine when I turned this bad boy on last night!

Sun Valley Pavilion Clusters in the Air

I know it looks like hell but by the end of the evening, I had a nice base line to start from today. The trick is going to get more than a two hour at a time stretch where I can get the construction noise to stop so I can finish the tuning before the first scheduled concert is held here on Sunday. Even then, the show is going to be the ultimate "hard hat" concert. Owing to the condition of the project, the name of the game now is to just get them through the shows with a functional system and then come back and button it up when construction is finished.

When I'm on a project like this, I like to stay in extended stay hotels because I have access to a kitchen and more than one room to call home. I'm fortunate that this project is at a very nice resort, Sun Valley. Sun Valley is a top ski destination so summer is considered their "off season", even though there is plenty to do during the summer too.

Because it is off season, I was actually able to get a room here. When I booked my room I was expecting a basic room with a bed, coffee maker, wifi, and a hair dryer. So imagine my surprise and delight when I walked into my room to find this

Fireplace in My Sun Valley Apartment

and, more importantly, this!

Sun Valley Apartment Kitchen

Yup, that would be a completely tricked out kitchen full of top of the line stainless GE Monogram appliances including my dream oven. Talk about feeling like I was walking into my own private Top Chef kitchen. The really sad thing about having a kitchen like this at my fingertips is I can't actually spend any time taking all these lovely appliances out for a spin; especially the convection and proof function on the oven.

Oven Controls from my Sun Valley Apartment

I have been able to test the beverage storage rack and special "wine" setting for the fridge though!

This kitchen is laid out the way when I imagine a new kitchen for myself I would want it, except with a bit more counter space. I'm using these pictures to show the designer exactly what I want when I get to a new permanent home versus the small apartment I am currently renting. I'm also replacing the electric cooktop with this bad boy!

I think I'm going to have to come back to Sun Valley when I'm not working and really take the kitchen for an extended test drive. I mean if you are going to spend thousands of dollars you want longer than twenty minutes with the appliance in the show room right? I'm told that between the spring skiing and the first of the summer here it is pretty dead.

I'm going to book myself back in this room then and come prepared to spend a week cooking and baking. I owe a few people at the resort a return of favour so I won't have to worry about the food going to waste. Besides, considering my job schedule between now and then, I'm going to need a nice long get out of town vaca!

Something that my previous trips to Sun Valley had taught me is the food here is quite good and in some cases down right fantastic. For example, I'm a huge fan of their Baldy Burger from the Inn Lobby Lounge. I already knew that was what I was having for lunch when I arrived at the resort on Sunday and as soon as I was settled into my castle...um room, I headed straight there for a medium burger topped with swiss only. The crab cakes at the Inn are very nice as well.

Since the Inn is closer to the music pavilion than the Lodge is, that is where I have almost always had lunch and frankly, with the exception of the chicken sandwich which just wasn't to my taste, I haven't had a bad meal there. Monday however, I found that I wasn't needed on site until early evening, meaning that I had a bit of free time to rest my back, answer some emails, and the go find a bit of lunch. I ended up at Gretchen's in the Lodge.

I sat outside and got a chance to watch the pro figure skaters practice for the ice show (Brian Boitano can still land jumps like nobody else; rock solid and not a miss. I'm pretty sure he could wipe the ice with any of the little snots doing quads these days). Since I knew it was going to be a long evening with takeaway food delivered to the site, I wanted something light and healthy for lunch. I had a fantastic server who suggested that I have the Goat Cheese Salad with Shrimp with a side of fresh fruit. She said it was her favourite thing on the menu. It is mine now too because look at this lovely salad!

Gretchen's Fried Goat Cheese Salad

I'm telling you the shrimp was cooked perfectly and the baked goat cheese was lightly dusted with panko bread crumbs and baked until it was melty inside. There are pears and strawberries mixed into the salad and the salad is drizzled with a balsamic reduction; a favourite pairing of mine with berries.

I wasn't going to order dessert but after that wonderful salad and looking at the dessert menu I asked my server for a suggestion. She said the chef had suggested that I might enjoy the Bailey's Mud Pie.

Gretchen's Baileys Mud Pie
And I did, especially the oreo crust. I think I have a new favourite meal here. Sorry Baldy Burger but the Goat Cheese Salad wins hands down.

Wish me luck the next few days on the job, I'm going to need it but don't feel too bad for me. After all, at least the food is wonderful! And, if you ever find yourself out in this neck of Idaho, you owe it to yourself to at least come have lunch here at Sun Valley. Order the salad, have a glass of wine and look at the lovely scenery both on and off the ice.