As I navigated crowds and bumped into friends during the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Palates & Palettes galley walk I heard many fond comments floating about on the evening: “I look forward to this all year, a party on the town square, and one of the highlights of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival.”
The Palates & Palettes gallery walk is an annual tradition during the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival in which local galleries open their doors to the public in an evening celebration of art. The atmosphere is relaxed, gallery staff and artists are on hand to talk with guests about the art on display but also just enjoy a glass of wine and toast to Fall in the Tetons. The multi-gallery open house lasts from 5pm-8pm, but be sure arrive early as popular galleries fill up quickly with food and wine going fast. Live music from local acts rounds out the popular evening. Check out the video for more details, but better yet, check it out yourself at the next Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival.
Jackson Hole restaurants have a lot to offer but dining at Couloir is like dinner and a show.
The whole experience starts in Teton Village at the bottom of the Bridger Gondola when you walk up to the loading station and they greet you as if it’s a hostess stand. The scenic eight-minute ride to the top of the gondola seemed exceptionally peaceful and romantic while wrapped in a silk scarf instead of Gore-Tex®. After a warm greeting from the hostess, an ever-present Dave Eliason -the manager of Couloir, recruited from the Four Seasons and widely respect amongst the Bridger staff- admitted that our tardiness was forgiven because he might not have been able to seat us any sooner. It is impossible to eat and run here; it is an all-encompassing experience combining one of the purest gourmet meals that I have had in Teton County with an awe-inspiring view.
Remembering that this bar is a 5 o’clock destination for many local and semi-local die-hards, we decided to ditch the same old vodka soda and sample one of the flamboyantly titled cocktails. Before we had even ordered our peacockish cocktails, we were presented with a lovely plated taster of duck confit with mango chutney. When the highly anticipated Couloir Margarita and French Kiss cocktails arrived, we giggled to ourselves about the “fruity” drinks that we had ordered. The laugh was on us. We were pleasantly surprised by the natural, real fruit taste of both traditionally sugary drinks.
After a recent summer wine tour through Provence, I dubbed myself qualified to be a duck and/or liver snob. I would like to thank Chef Wes for proving that fine, French-rivaling Pan Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras atop cinnamon toast, garnished with petit pearl onion confit, and licked with anise syrup, can be found at 9,095 feet at the top of a jagged mountain in a charming Jackson Hole restaurant.
Everything else in that phase of my experience that night was perfectly seasonal and scrumptious - with an added kick. The House-Made Lobster ravioli was warm and comforting, but it was the sweet corn with the Yukon Gold potatoes in the tarragon buerre blanc that reminded us of the superior gastronomic creativity that we were getting ourselves into. Just as the unexpected pica in the squash soup that alerted even my own hot spice craving buds did.
Chef John “Wes” Hamilton’s “less is more” approach to fine dining was apparent through the entire meal, but was summed up with the entrees. Both the Grilled Snake River Farm Waygu N.Y. strip and the Sundried Tomato Crusted Halibut were clean and minimally seasoned so that the flavors of the juicy beef, the sweet, flakey fish, and the perfectly vine-ripened vegetables remained unadulterated.
The dining at Couloir is an excellent new addition to the valley and I can’t wait to see what the upcoming winter menu holds.
Jackson Hole Roasters is known for custom coffee roasting right on site in their quaint location in historic Jackson Hole. Owner and chief roaster, Jack, offers a number of blends including organic, fair trade, bird friendly and more that are all roasted fresh daily. Jack prides himself on maintaining an intricate knowledge of the best roasting techniques for each variety, but you can always request a special cup roasted any way you want it. You can order your favorite blends online but the experience of enjoying a fresh cup roasted by Jack is truly unique. Stop in to visit Jackson Hole Roasters newly expanded space right next door and taste the flavor for yourself.
The number one problem with Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Taste of the Tetons event is you never really know where to begin. There are so many booths full of tasty treats, delicious desserts, diverse artistry crafts and not to mention all the people walking around with plates and bowls full of mouth watering ‘tastes.’
After you get your bearings you must first begin with buying your tickets which is the only form of payment at the booths. Make your way over to the ticket booth, where I recommend starting with twenty tickets per person, at one dollar each, and coming back if you need more tickets. A plate at a booth varies in cost from two to five tickets.
With your tickets in hand, pick a circular direction, and check out some booths. Personally, I like to walk around the whole Taste of the Tetons event once and scope out all the culinary samples available. As I was ’scoping’ I overheard two ladies talking about “the best thing at the event” which was a fried green wyomato sandwich from Cascade Restaurant, which is located in Teton Mountain Lodge in Teton Village. I quickly located the popular booth and waited in the long, but fast moving line for my own taste of the ‘best thing.’ Let me tell you I was not let down, the local green wyomatos (from Big Piney) were perfectly matched with baby arugula, paprika aioli, red onions all on a ciabatta bun.
With an empty plate, I began my search for another treat. Before I saw the next booth, I smelled the sweet barbecue sauce and soon saw the delicious ribs grilling. At the Burkes Chop House booth, chefs were grilling off juicy ribs and topping them with generous portions of a homemade BBQ sauce. Moving around the booths, I spotted the historic The Wort Hotel who was serving up their famous corn chowder and even though the day was hot, the chowder was still excellent.
After tasting so many different cuisines, I needed a break and headed straight for the wine tasting tent. The same tickets work here to sample various wines; however, you must buy a glass for five dollars with all proceeds going to the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole. You can pick, swirl and sip from many different bottles as well as participate in the silent auction, which has anything from purses to elk antler knives.
In addition to the restaurant and wine booths, there are also many local artists showcasing their talents. One booth that jumped out to me was a local jewelry artist Jessica Freed. Her jewelry and belts all had intricate metal work designs that were one of a kind. There is also a live band, The Jackson Hole Cowboy Jubilee jamming away for your listening and dancing pleasure to old favorites such as Johnny Cash.
Taste of the Tetons is part of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival which happens in September each year and is an excellent time to visit due to the plethora of events, fall colors changing, and less traffic. This year twenty-two restaurants from Jackson Hole and surrounding areas cooked, grilled, scooped, sauteed, and dressed mouth watering tastes for hungry onlookers. The Fall Arts Festival Taste of the Tetons is truly an exceptional collection of some of Jackson Hole’s finest indulgences: diverse world-class cuisine, unique artists, and a charming small town vibe all amongst the historic town square.