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Into the Woods {The Dining Room at Salish Lodge}

May 7, 2011

If you were ever a  Twin Peaks fan, this waterfall probably looks familiar to you. I wasn’t, but I had a group of friends who were diehard fans and held Twin Peaks parties every week to watch the show. Despite my relative Twin Peaks ignorance, Snoqualmie Falls is a real sight to behold. The photo really doesn’t do it justice by any stretch of the imagination. It’s absolutely, overwhelmingly large and powerful. And on the cliff, toward the left and just above this photo is Salish Lodge and Spa. I like to think A came to Seattle just to visit me, but I know Salish played a pretty big role too. Friday after our Seattle tourist adventure, A and I made the drive up to Snoqualmie to the lodge.

I do love Salish, but the truth is, there’s really not much to do there. There’s a little hiking (which we did the next morning), a very nice spa, a great restaurant, the waterfall overlook, a gift shop and that’s pretty much it. Maybe I’m exactly the kind of person who should spend more than one night there. It probably takes some time to relax into being there. In any case, with a 4PM check in time and spa appointments that started at 6:30, we didn’t have too much time to test that theory.

Thanks to late spa apppointments, we had dinner reservations at The Dining Room at 9:00. I was seriously about ready to eat my arm by the time we got there. That may be why the six course tasting menu sounded like a good idea. For some reason, “tasting menu” implied that I would only get a bite or two of each (two appetizers, two entrees, a cheese course and dessert). For better or worse, The Dining Room’s idea of a taste is more generous than most. For our first appetizer. I went with the Washington Apple and Chestnut Bisque with parmesan flan, micro celery and Frangelico cream. A had Roasted Beet Salad (Maytag Creamery blue cheese, endive, pears, hazelnuts, Bolivian rose salt and Champagne vinaigrette. I absolutely loved my soup and A proclaimed her salad “the best salad” she’d ever had. Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of A’s salad, but I did borrow one from her Facebook page.

Washington Apple and Chestnut Bisque

Beet Salad

For the rest of the meal, we made the same selections. For our second appetizer, we chose the Fois Gras Smore (chocolate-spiced crostini, lavendar marshmallow, graham cracker crust and Zinfandel-chocloate gastrique). Honestly, it’s not so much that it sounded good as I was curious about it.

Foie Gras S'more

Surprisingly, it was as good as it was interesting. Foie Gras always goes well with a little sweet, but I was a little worried it might be too much sweet. The marshmallow was a nice balance, though. The whole thing was very rich. I definitely couldn’t have eaten any more. That’s ok because we still had a whole menu’s worth of food coming. Next up, entrees. We each had the Scallops with Salish Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt (ruby grapefruit, arugula, cauliflower, melted leeks) and Midwest Corn-fed Tenderloin of Beef (Yukon gold and truffle hot potato salad, foie gras demi glace, haricot vert).

Scallops with Salish Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt

Midwest Corn-Fed Tenderloin of Beef

Yukon Gold and Truffle Hot Potato Salad

Did I mention we also voluntarily ordered a side of foraged mushrooms? We must have lost our minds.

Foraged Mushrooms

You would think after the first two courses, I would have gotten the message that these were not small portions. Everything was so good, though, that I just ignored all the warning signs and kept right on going straight through the scallops (which were great). It wasn’t until one bite into my steak that I realized I was quickly reaching the end. It really is a shame because under normal circumstances, the steak, potatoes and mushrooms would have been my favorite. Sadly, I was so far beyond full at that point that I hardly made a dent. If B and I go back again before they change the menu, I think I’ll skip straight to the steak with a side of mushrooms.

But wait. There’s more. We still had two courses (cheese and dessert left to go).  And this is when we both cried uncle. We asked our very kind server is we could change from the six course menu to the five course. She generously agreed and we were both very grateful. We’d just reached the point when our food was ceasing to be enjoyable. Changing to the five course meant we would be skipping the cheese course and going straight to dessert. We both selected the Chocolate Satin & Olive Oil Ice Cream (sweet tahini mousse, salty sesame brittle, candied olive, olive paper, cajeta leche sauce).

Chocolate Satin and Olive Oil Ice Cream

Sadly, even if I hadn’t already been full almost to the point of feeling ill, the dessert would have been the lowlight of the meal… and I’m a pretty easy sell on desserts. The olive oil ice cream was very good, but there was only a tiny bite of it. I wasn’t a fan of the tahini mousse, the chocolate mousse was ok, but the olive paper may be the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. The whole dessert was just too complicated and it felt like it was trying way too hard to be interesting.

After all was said and eaten, I was left with most of my dessert and half a glass of wine I couldn’t even think about finishing. Overall, I really enjoyed the meal, but after a nice chat with our server about the Royal Wedding (she’d been up since really early morning watching on television), I was glad to call it a night. We headed up to our room and fell asleep almost instantly.

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