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FEED ME!: Pines’ delectable donuts
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – How had I forgotten about Teton Pines?
More years ago than I care to share I frequented the Pines a couple of times a month. Not as a lady-who-lunches, but as an employee of the Grand Teton Music Festival, whose administrative offices are nearby. Back in those days, before there was any artisan butchery at the Aspens and before there was an Elevated Grounds, Teton Pines was pretty much the only place to eat nearby. Back then, I went to the Pines out of necessity.
Now I’m going to the Pines – for lunch, dinner and dessert – because it’s one of the best restaurants in the valley and because going there makes me feel young. Really, really young.
I’ll start with lunch, which until Christmas Eve is all Teton Pines offers. There are really only three words you need to know about the Pines’ lunch: Grilled. Tenderloin. Sliders.
Notice that the first of these three words is “grilled” and not “ground.” That’s right. The Pines’ take on sliders is a full-on tenderloin medallion on a brioche roll.
You know you have always wanted to pick up an inch-thick hunk of tenderloin and gnaw on it. At the Pines, you can.
Of course, this could be disastrous. You could bite into your tenderloin medallion topped with shaved red onions and lemon caper aioli and get stuck, your incisors outmatched by gristle, but don’t count on it. The Pines’ tenderloin must come from virgin bovines born under a super perigee moon on the day the sun moved into Capricorn. It barely has to be chewed.
You get two sliders for your $17, and they will be the two best sliders you have ever eaten.
Also delicious on the lunch menu is the warm turkey and brie ($14.50) and Teton Pines Bison Chili ($6.50). My most recent version of the sliced turkey breast with melted brie, sprouts, sliced apples and cranberry-cherry chutney on toasted pumpernickel (because pumpernickel sucks I subbed in brioche) did arrive cold. That was the first lapse in awesomeness I have experienced at the Pines, however. I chalk it up to dining with a group of 12.
Still, the sandwich, with its medley of fruit and wonderful excess of brie is now among my favorite sandwiches in the valley.
I didn’t sample the bison chili myself, but a discerning palate to my left did. “Chili made with bison is so much better than regular chili,” she said. “There isn’t enough of it in this valley.”
Also receiving high marks from fellow diners: the egg salad sandwich ($12), the grilled salmon salad ($17), and the crispy shrimp po’ boy ($16).
There is one thing about the Pines’ lunch that sucks: they don’t serve their housemade donuts. Teton Pines Coffee and Donuts ($8.50) are only available at dinner. Teton Pines’ donuts are the best things ever made by mankind. I had them for the first time in early October.
My boyfriend had long sung their praises. He’s a serious donut lover, and when he talks about the Pines’ donuts, his eyes get this ravenous look I wish was reserved for me.
He had talked them up so much, when they arrived at our table, I was certain there was no way they could live up to his hype. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar and freshly fried, they exceeded expectations. Some magical, mystical hybrid of a cake and a raised donut, they are simultaneously soft and substantial. And, because they are made-to-order, they are also warm.
All other donuts are now dead to me.
Teton Pines is open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunch. Dinner (and donuts) start December 24. Reservations recommended for dinner, served from 5:30 to 9 p.m. 307-733-1005. Not feeling the formality of the dining room? The bar offers the entire dinner menu.
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