2014 BEST OF JACKSON HOLE EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARDS
BEST RENAISSANCE MAN: Jayme Feary
I first met Jayme Feary at a previous iteration of the Jackson Hole Hat Company. He was every bit the cowboy, bending the ears of tourists and working hands on the virtues of a Montana Gus over a Cattleman.
I would not have guessed the man who moved to Jackson Hole in 1999 grew up on a farm in Alabama and spent a dozen years as a management consultant and was a sought-after motivational speaker.
I read about Feary sometime after that. He was in the newspaper for a little trip he was planning in 2006 – a run down the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico aboard his horse Concho with Big Mama the mule in tow and Woof the dog for company. He covered 2,200 miles in three months on the expedition and is wrapping up a book, Riding America’s Spine, on the experience. He has three other manuscripts in the works as well.
The next time I read about Feary, I read Feary. He authored an outstanding piece for Western Horseman. I had no idea the cowboy could write like that.
Lately, Feary has been showing off his dog training skills on Facebook, posting the progress he made with a nervous dog that needed a little edge taken off. He patiently puts in the quality time it takes to reach an animal that’s lost its way. A dog that was headed for the gas chamber was more than adoptable when Feary was finished.
And just when I figured I’d seen everything in the bag of tricks that is the jack-of-all-trades, Feary shows up at Start Up Institute’s presentation session in a sharp business suit pitching a high-end pet motel as a start-up venture tailor-made for Jackson Hole. Feary rocked his presentation with a mixture of charisma, folksiness and balance sheet acumen.
I would not be surprised to find out Feary is also a certified deep sea diver, recites Beowulf at Hollywood parties, and shoots a mean game of snooker. This guy has mad skills. – Jake Nichols
BEST BIKE/RUN FOR FAT OLD MEN: West Fork of Game to Snow King
For those of us tired of being passed on the Cache Creek Trail by women runners half our age, tired of haughty glances from mountain bikers, tired of aching knees on the downhill run to the parking area, or for those just plain tired, the West Fork of Game Creek Trail to the Snow King summit bike/run loop provides an invigorating option.
Lock your bike at the base of Snow King then drive to the Game Creek Trail Head or leave the car in town and bike to Game Creek. The bike leg can be done on pathways for ordinary people. Those in gender-confused day-glow tops and bike shorts can ride on the highway paralleling the pathway so motorists can marvel at their willingness to share the road.
After a little more than three miles on the Game Creek Trail, take the West Fork Junction. Trail traffic vanishes and you can stagger and wheeze up the trail in peace.
The West Fork Trail weaves through forest, meadows, open ridges, and remnants from the Little Horsethief Fire with occasional impressive views to the west and north. I have never seen another runner on this trail. The few mountain bikers I have run into look at me as if my independence in trail choices makes me worthy of tolerance, if not respect. The best part of this run is at the end. You can save your knees for another day and ride the chairlift down! Approximately 9 miles of running plus the bike ride with just a little more than 1,600 feet vertical gain. Not enough to impress the hard chicks at the Bagel Shop but plenty to amaze the ladies at the Senior Center. – Mike Bressler
BEST JUDGE OF CHARACTER Judge Tom Jordan
Here comes the judge. There goes the judge. After 26 years as Jackson’s municipal judge, Tom Jordan announced his retirement effective March 10, though he has offered to stay on until his replacement is trained.
So many things make Jordan truly unique. How about starting with the fact he has no law degree? Presiding over violations of town ordinances does not require one, and Jordan never acted like it hampered him any. He learned all he needed to know of law as a police officer in Jackson during the 1970s.
Jordan is also a sought-after wedding officiant. He could probably hum a pitch-perfect version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D on demand. Jordan will continue to marry people in his semi-retirement.
A reception will be held for the judge on March 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Goldpiece Room at the Wort Hotel. – Jake Nichols
BEST QUICKIE CROSS COUNTRY SKI: Cache Creek Trail
You once had to dodge all the dog poop and snowmobiles. Now, Cache Creek has become less smelly and loud, but it’s still the most easily accessible chunk of infinite wilderness adjacent to town. Just minutes from the Town Square, it is easy access to the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the freedom to get out with your dog without the law showing up and giving you a ticket. It starts out hectic and crowded and then thins out into genuine wild peacefulness. You can ski up for 20 minutes, and as you glide back down with Fido by your side, running his little ass off, look up to your left at Snow King Mountain and then at the Tetons and be reminded of how cool it is to live in Jackson Hole. – Judd Grossman
BEST PLACE TO SPOT PARTYING J-HOLERS OTHER THAN SAYULITA: Outdoor Retailer Winter Market — Salt Lake City, Utah
The third week in January marks the annual pilgrimage for Jacksonites involved with the retail sports industry to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. This four-day agoraphobia-inducing behemoth is one of the largest in the United States, ranking just behind the Consumer Electronics Show. It attracts more than 22,000 vendors, buyers, media and PR people who come to showcase, sell and review next season’s winter gear at the iconic Salt Palace. Salt Lake City businesses gird their loins as OR attendees take to the streets for sponsored parties, dinners at trendy restaurants, power-schmoozing events and general mayhem with colleagues and co-workers as they blow up their firm’s expense accounts. Last year, Macklemore headlined one of the coveted sponsor parties.
If attendees plan wisely, they’ll be well taken care of with breakfast, lunch, dinner and booze on someone else’s dime. Yep, you guessed it, I’m jealous. I don’t have an expense account nor did I get a ticket to the Macklemore party. That aside, I do think OR is a great people-watching event. And I love seeing Jackson Hole people during the OR migration. Strolling the streets at night you can spot groups of J-Holers at any of the trendy SLC restaurants, ordering another round and whooping it up. The better behaved can be spotted quietly courting a client over a glass of wine. Next morning, cruise the hipster espresso bars and spot hungover Jackson PR firm employees shaking off the Wolverine party from the night before. You may even spot a few of us at the new City Creek Mall or at Nordstrom Rack. I guess that’s partying, too. – Mary Grossman
Best Politician: Keith Gingery
A lawyer by trade, Keith Gingery appreciates a piece of airtight legislation. Bills he introduces are often follow-ups to existing laws pocked full of loopholes and grey area.
Gingery is also extremely accessible to both the press and the public. Many conversations he has with friends, acquaintances and constituents result in him drafting a bill to address their concerns. This is how our government was designed to work.
This session, Gingery is going after domestic abuse. Each of his three bills written to help prosecute domestic violence cases is steadily moving forward. Domestic Assault and Battery (HB 6), Unlawful Entry into an Occupied Structure (HB 7), and Bodily Injury and Serious Bodily Injury (HB 9) are good examples of how much our House Rep cares.
Gingery is further able to set aside his personal agenda for the good of the legislative body. “Because I am the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, my primary job is to get through my committee sponsored bills and to manage my committee,” he wrote to The Planet in a recent email. “So I have to set aside my own personal bills many times in order to concentrate on my committee bills.” – Jake Nichols
BEST ATHLETE THAT DESERVES SPONSORSHIP: Cache Hill
Think bronc riders aren’t athletes? Think again. Cache Hill absorbed a lifetime of punishment covering rank broomtails night after night at the Jackson Hole Rodeo. The bareback rider outpaced all comers by far, nearly tripling the nearest cowboy’s earnings and walking home with $3,793.40 on the season.
Whether he was covering Socks or Liberty Belle (catch the YouTube at koz-YMNs9C8), Hill marked ‘em out then wore ‘em out. If they wanted to run, Hill coaxed a few points out of them and kept them off the rail. If they wanted to spin and pile-drive, he bucked them out like he was sitting in a rocking chair.
Rodeo takes a backseat to snow-related sports and athletes who shred the pow get all the glory it seems. They wouldn’t last eight seconds doing what Hill would do for the applause. – Jake Nichols
BEST BOARD SHOP WITH LOCAL BITE: The Boardroom
Among trinket shops and touristy T-shirt havens sits The Boardroom, the only skate/shred dedicated store in the town of Jackson. While some board shops play the too-cool-for-school game, when you walk in this black and white urban shred oasis – complete with couches, turntables, and local art adorning its walls – owner Lauri Aittola will flash you a warm smile.
Aittola saved The Boardroom from extinction in October 2010, buying it from original owner Marc Loebe, who opened the valley fixture more than 20 years ago. Showcasing 60 local brands and artists in its Glenwood Avenue location, Aittola places a major emphasis on community. The shop has sponsored a slew of successful local events for all ages, like the Wild West Skate Series in the summer and Wednesday Night Lights rail jams in the winter, just to name a few. The Boardroom also backs the JH Freeride Team, along with seven local skateboarders and three local snowboarders.
“Jackson Hole is not an easy place to make a living,” Aittola admitted. “But the more we collaborate and work together the more viable it is to live in this beautiful place. At the end of the day, it’s not about selling stuff but creating and having lasting relationships, which ultimately creates a stronger community.”
Aittola’s emphasis on local brands means The Boardroom offers a stage and launch pad for Jackson Hole companies. It was the first shop ever to carry Bluebird Wax, a brand headed by local snowboarder Willie McMillon.
The lanky Finn tries to propagate a local message to the folks he works with, too. “I encourage valley brands to source their materials locally,” Aittola said. “All Boardroom merchandise is sourced locally unless it’s not available here and I’m proud of that. – Robyn Vincent
BEST STOGIE: Tobacco Row
Certainly Tobacco Row is a gentlemen’s shop. Has been since 1976. But before you conjure an image of the Republican Party sitting around sipping cognacs and puffing Cubans in their golf slacks, get a clue.
More than 15 billion cigars are smoked every year, worldwide. Consumption is on the upswing and new trends continue to expand the market well beyond the stereotypical stogie chomper.
“Depending on the item, we have anyone from 20 to 70 in here on a daily basis,” general manager Daniel Bussard says. “Swedish snus are very popular now with the younger crowd. It’s mostly males but we do have a lot of female customers.”
Snus is a moist powder tobacco similar to snuff. Tobacco Row does gangbuster business with that and Swedish product in general. Bussard says the Jackson smoke shop tucked into the defunct Teton Theater rates in the Top 10, nationwide, for Swedish Match sales.
Don’t miss the happy hour scene on Fridays at Tobacco Row. You will find a dozen or more fellas hanging around, getting their blunt on. – Jake Nichols
BEST POWER LUNCH: Intencions
Flexing your muscles at power hour fitness classes is always an option for lunch if you don’t want to spend your time eating. But Intencións, a high-vibration gallery in the Harley Davidson building off the Town Square, is offering something different: a hands on healing and meditation session Tuesdays at noon for only $10.
After giving all morning, receive and listen to the soothing sounds of bowls as you lay down and are pampered with lavender eye pillows, aromatherapy mist and flower essence water. Eat at your desk before or after noon and spend your lunch hour with your eyes closed and your mind open to the possibility of absorbing good vibes instead of scarfing down food. Daniela Botur is a natural born healer who will put you in touch with your chakras or energy centers and help you balance your busy life. You will find a quiet and comfortable space to go inward. Maybe even take a nap. Energy crystals and flower essences provide a healing environment. Call ahead as space is limited. Heart based, hands-on healing sessions by Lori Reetz are also available by appointment. – Julie Kling
BEST TOUR BOOK: JACKSON HOLE’S BEST BACKCOUNTRY BY TOM TURIANO
I have the privilege of being friends with Tom Turiano and having grown up in the same hometown — Rochester, NY. I also have the privilege of skiing with him now and then, practicing yoga together and packrafting in the summer. TT has named more peaks than he cares to admit, especially down south in the Snake River Range.
But if I wanted to buy his first book, Teton Skiing: A History and Guide, I would have to pay $672.44 on Amazon because it is out of print. Thank goodness he is writing a new one: Jackson Hole’s Best Backcountry is set to go to print next month. The new atlas and guide will cover adventures from Sylvan Pass to the Caribou Range, and the Big Holes to the northern Wind Rivers.
“With nearly 30 years of guiding backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, rock climbing, mountaineering, day-hiking, packrafting, wilderness trips, and river trips – I have the temperament, experience, skills, passion, and knowledge to help you imagine, plan, and realize safe and extraordinary adventures worldwide,” Turiano says on his website, www.jacksonholebackcountry.com. – Julie Kling
BEST LUXURY GETAWAY: Brooks Lake Lodge
I saw a grizzly bear through binoculars on the deck at Brooks Lake Lodge this fall. Named after Bryant Brooks, the seventh governor of Wyoming, the lodge is deep in the forest off Togwotee Pass, one mile from the Continental Divide. The historic lodge was built in 1922 and is on the National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places. Some people swear by it for some of the best cutthroat trout fishing. Other locals have a tradition of snowmobiling or backcountry skiing there for winter birthdays. The lodge is a beautiful setting for a family reunion or a wedding, with a full service salon, tea room and a cowboy bar. People tend to tell tall tales around the big fireplace and shuffleboard table.
Rates for a double occupancy room are about $225 a night in the winter. Book ahead in summer when rates and Yellowstone traffic increases. Cozy cabins and lodge rooms are in limited supply and are hard to reserve when the Grizwolds are on the road. I had to stay at the Hatchet Resort in Moran, another locally owned hotel down the road. – Julie Kling
BEST AFFORDABLE, QUICK GETAWAY: LAVA HOT SPRINGS
With the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving, Lava Hot Springs is open every day of the year for a less than $10 soak in all natural mineral water. More than 2.5 million gallons of the Portneuf River are diverted every day to keep the springs between 102 and 112 degrees. Less than three hours away by car (130.72 miles according to Mapquest), Lava Hot Springs is far enough to feel like you are on vacation without breaking your gas budget.
There are four pools to choose from and more than a dozen hotels. Book a massage and shop for alpaca and crystals at the trading posts downtown. The hokey Southeast Idaho video promoting it boasts family fun: “Swim, Splash, Slide and dive … at one of the few Olympic diving boards in the region … just 11 miles east of Interstate 15 on exit 47.” Not far from the Pocatello Zoo. They call this Pioneer Country. – Julie Kling
BEST PLACE TO SHAPE YOUR BOOTY: Physique 22
These days you can buy implants for your underwear to round out your buttocks. But you won’t need to if you go to Physique 22 for barre class. “While having toned muscles in your backside and your entire body are one of the many benefits of barre, the practice stems from a history of injury prevention; the low-impact practice incorporates stretching between the strength sets to create long-lean muscle mass and lasting strength,” said owner Danielle Goldyn. Physique 22 takes barre to the next level by offering yoga, fusion, flow and cross training.
Goldyn’s elixir comes from years of training and studying different therapeutic exercise modalities. Classes range from happy hour for $10 to dozens of daily classes with a drop-in rate of $20. Three studios run programs all day long. Fitness challenges, punch cards and memberships are all on the menu, as well as cold-pressed juices.
The new studio in the old Pearl Street Meat and Fish has clean lines and a city slick feel with inspirational quotes, fresh flowers and hip music playing in the lobby. It also boasts some great shopping, with lines from Vimmia, Karma Wear, Splits 59, Stolen Sunday, among others. – Julie Kling
BEST FILM LIBRARY: Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Forget Netflix and Hulu Plus, the real Red Box is right around the corner in Center for the Arts at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The Africa series by David Attenborough is just one of dozens of BBC, Discovery, National Geographic and other titles in the JH festival’s culture-rich library. For $100 a year, you can have access to it all. Nonprofit organizations can rent five hours of film for $50 to host a free, or by donation, best of festival screening in a box. Go online and check out the festival’s film guides from 2013 and 2011. If science is your thing, go to the Science Media Awards for dozens of films that make bears, bugs and buggers like you tick.
The Film Festival celebrates wild things in nature and conservation all over the world. In addition to its competition titles, it holds the rights to the United Nations International Forest Film Festival short film competition. Not to mention One Day in Jackson Hole, the Wildlife Film Festival’s crowd sourced film from 12/12/12.
Stop in and be inspired. The Film Festival staff (including this writer) is friendly, creative and loves ideas worth spreading. After all, this is the place where TEDxJacksonHole began. – Julie Kling
BEST ATTITUDE-FREE BREAKFAST EXPERIENCE: The Hole Bagel
Sure, I’m an idiot. I’ve allowed myself to be treated like dirt by a local barista or breakfast burrito slinger, or two, and I find myself coming back for more abuse. So thank God The Hole Bagel, owned by Kohl Kohlhase, is in my neighborhood and keeps me feeling good about myself. What gives Kohlhase his sunny disposition? “My mother is such a positive person and she always told my brother and me that she didn’t care what we did, as long as we loved what we were doing.”
You’ll have to stand in the cold to order while Albertsons brand paper napkins flap in the wind. So yes, The Hole Bagel is about as unfoofy as it gets. But don’t be fooled: THB can be just as forward-thinking as the rest, offering great tasting gluten-free bagels, really strong locally roasted Snake River Roasting coffee and these fabulous gluten-free instant oatmeal cups, Canyon Oats, made from seed-to-cup in Powell, Wyoming. These little gems are hard to find and are perfect to throw in your backpack for an overnight or snack at work.
But most folks will agree it’s not only that Kohlhase is very happy to toast your bagel, it’s his gooey, buttery and hot utilitarian Super Secret Breakfast bagel sandwich that makes them a fan. The bagels are made locally by E. Leaven Food Co. and when toasted, packed with eggs, bacon or sausage and cheese and steeped a few minutes in its foil wrapper, they are heaven. By the way, the large foil wrapper allows for optimal driving with a bagel on your lap. (Let’s cross our fingers Town Council doesn’t mess with our driving-while-eating-a-bagel rights.)
The Hole Bagel is only open in the winter and closes after the World Championship Hillclimb weekend. – Mary Grossman
BEST WAY TO FEEL LIKE YOU SPLURGED WITHOUT SPLURGING: Snake River Grill Bar
If your parents aren’t in town to treat you to dinner at Snake River Grill – when you might order the filet or elk prime rib or something similarly expensive, of course – you can treat yourself. But you must follow these instructions carefully, or you will blow your bank. 1) Go with at least one friend. 2) Do not order alcohol. 3) Sit at the bar, for both the social aspect and the fact that no reservations are needed. 4) Do not order an entrée listed on the menu. 5) Order a burger, which is available, even if it’s not listed on the menu. 6) Split the burger with your friend. 7) Depending on how modest your budget is, order at least one more starter, first course, or shared plate to split. Our favorites include the steak tartar pizza, Brussels sprouts, and most any of the constantly changing soup and first course pasta options. If there’s anything using house-made lamb sausage, get that. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST SKI SNACK: Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookie from Pearl St. Market
I prefer my cookies to most any other cookie in the world, but sometimes I’m just too lazy to bring out the stand mixer and deal with the resulting clean up. Enter Pearl Street Market’s gourmet chocolate chip cookies. Since discovering this pile of chocolate-y goodness, I’ve been making my own cookies less and less. These even come individually wrapped, ready to be devoured a bite at a time. Go ahead and take your first bite in the parking lot before you even start skiing. Then wrap it back up and stick it in a pocket. (I recommend a chest pocket over a pants pocket.) Take another bite once you’ve gotten to Thunder or Sublette. No matter how much fellow chairlift riders plead with you, DO NOT SHARE. Enjoy more at the top of the Headwall. If you plan to do Granite Canyon, make sure you save enough so you’ve got at least a bite to help you on the way out. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST RENEWED DINNER DESTINATION: The Rose
I’ve been told The Rose is the most happening at about one in the morning. I can see why. The atmosphere is damn sexy, as are the mixologists’ seductive creations. Fortunately, for those of us who can only manage earlier time frames, The Rose starts shaking things up at 5:30 p.m. with various live events and its exquisite lounge environment. The best news is it recently revamped and revitalized its food menu and now serves dinner and late night eats. You MUST order the hanger steak with broccolini and chimi churri. Ditto the truffle fries and roasted cauliflower. Then finish the meal New Orleans style with beignets and vanilla bourbon sauce. C’mon foodies, represent! Give those late night kids some competition on the cool scale. Dine at The Rose and show them those red leather booths are made for more than just making out. – Meg Daly
BEST REASON FOR A DEEP FRYER: Teton Pines Donuts
It might sound like a lot to pay $8.50 for two donuts and a bowl of ice cream. Order them, however, and you will wonder why they’re not twice as much. After these, all other donuts will be dough-NOTS. Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts? Amateur. Same for Chicago’s The Doughnut Vault. Also Seattle’s Mighty-O. Not even Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery (Yountville, CA) can compare.
Teton Pines has managed to do the impossible: create a donut that is both cake-y and raised. Bite into it and the outside crinkles more than the crinkliest cake donut you’ve ever had. And then the inside is softer than the softest raised donut your palate has ever met. Understanding that when your product is exquisite, it is best to keep it simple, The Pines doesn’t do anything to these donuts other than dust them with cinnamon and sugar. Because all of its deep fryers are devoted to savory food during lunch, these donuts are only available after 6 p.m. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST LUNCH: Teton Pines
You could order the grilled tenderloin sliders for lunch at Teton Pines for the rest of your life and be more than satisfied. Grilled rather than ground, these are full-on tenderloin medallions. Not even the Gucci-est, grass fed-est, hormone-free-est hamburger in the world can hold a candle to a palm-sized hunk of tenderloin medallion on a brioche roll. Were they not on a roll, we bet we could cut through them with a fork. What’s more tender than “tender?”
However, as good as the grilled tenderloin sliders are you won’t order them for the rest of your life because the rest of the Pines’ lunch menu is just as good. We’ve slowly worked our way through most of it and have yet to experience anything less than stellar. Even the warm rolls, wrapped in a white linen napkin, that start the meal are delicious. Once, we ate so many of them that by the time our egg salad sammie arrived we were stuffed, though we ate every bite of that, too. This is a lunch worth making yourself uncomfortable for. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST APPETIZER TO LOSE A FINGER OVER: Osteria’s Fromaggio Al Forno
It didn’t take long for Fromaggio Al Forno to earn its endearing nickname, “cheese crack,” as it was dubbed in earnest by certain Osteria staff and guests. The appetizer is a sizzling, gooey concoction of three heady Italian cheeses: fontina, pecorino moliterno (read: truffled pecorino!) and provolone piccante, baked with toasted pine nuts and drizzled with sunflower honey. The dish is served with crostini bread, though this tranquilizing small plate can certainly stand on its own, no bread or crackers necessary.
It’s scary how quickly Fromaggio Al Forno will disappear from your table while you and your companions pretend to joke about who is deserving of the last hit, err, bite.
Osteria Executive Chef Eric Greenwood sounded off on la crack de cheese: “It’s our twist on a fondue of sorts. Chef Roger Freedman and I were messing around one night in the kitchen when I grabbed a bunch of cheese scraps from the cooler that I knew would melt nicely and we started playing with different flavors. Think about it: when it’s cold and snowy outside, what sounds better than warm, melted cheese?”
Amen, Chef Greenwood.
While the cheese crack is a key player at my table every time I dine at Osteria, the Italian eatery boasts a seriously toothsome list of apps that are all contenders for this competitive category. Don’t mess around: also order the Chicken Liver Mousse Bruschetta and Beef Carpaccio. – Robyn Vincent
BEST USE OF PEANUT BUTTER: Peanut Butter Pie at The Bunnery
It’s one of the very few things The Bunnery doesn’t make in-house, and I feel badly for loving it above most everything else at the downtown bakery, but, taste buds want what taste buds want. It’s not that The Bunnery’s other baked options are anything less than delicious – the decades-old restaurant goes through hundreds of pounds of butter a week making its croissant products. It’s just that the Peanut Butter Pie it brings in is the Best Use of Peanut Butter. Ever. Mixed with just the right amounts of powdered sugar and butter, the peanut butter heart of this hefty pie beats rich and smooth. The melted-and-hardened layer of chocolate on the top adds satisfying crunch. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST BREAKFAST FUEL FOR THE BACKCOUNTRY: Pearl Street Bagels’ Sandwiches
It only took Pearl Street Bagels 20-some years: bagel breakfast sandwiches. Sure, a bagel, especially if you get one hot from the oven topped with a hefty wallop of cream cheese, is a tasty breakfast. But without a little protein involved, it’s not really substantial. We’re often hungry within the hour. And that’s just if we’re sitting in the office. But, take a bagel, cut it in half and stuff bacon, egg, and cheddar cheese inside, and you’ve got something that’ll last you to the top of Glory. The only problem? A predetermined quantity is made first thing in the morning and they are often gone by 10 a.m. – Geraldine Mishev
BEST COFFEE CAKE ON THE PLANET: Coffee Cake at The Bunnery
I’m a complete Neanderthal when it comes to eating out. I can’t stand it when the waiter or waitress at a fancy restaurant tells me how my meal has been drizzled, infused, or paired. And if I hear one more time the vapid “enjoy,” as he or she departs the table after delivering my overpriced meal, I think I will go insane. If pretentious, overwrought, overpriced dishes have left you jaded and cynical, get your butt over to The Bunnery and order some coffee cake! It’s a reasonably priced huge square of melt-in-your-mouth smoothness on the inside with soft sugary/salty crumbles on the top. I recommend you order it with lots of butter melted on top. I predict once you have tried it, the coffee cake at The Bunnery will immediately become one of those culinary cravings that restore your faith in eating out. – Judd Grossman
BEST GUILTY PLEASURE: Poutine at Haydens Post
What is poutine? It sounds like something you might catch at a frat party, or worse. But this is something that once you’ve tried, I promise you will be addicted. Well I guess you’ve heard that at a frat party, too.
Poutine is a weapon of mass destruction invented by French-Canadians wherein fatty beef gravy is poured over French fries and topped with cheese. My guess is that many people in Jackson Hole have not said the word poutine, let alone tried it. Hopefully, that ends now.
Haydens Post at Snow King Resort serves absolutely the most decadent and sinful poutine around. Duck fat-fried French fries (yes, really) are used as the foundation for this artery-clogging hot mess. Then comes house-made brisket gravy complete with little bits of brisket left in the pan after roasting. The gravy is so good you will be willing to lick it off the street if you had to. Somehow, a perfect ration of shredded cheese curd is quietly nestled under the gravy.
At first, show that your parents raised you well and use a fork. But then ditch it for your fingers. When you’re done, wipe up the mess, have a sip of wine and feel both good and bad. – Mary Grossman
BEST MARGARITA: The Spur
Oh, margarita, from powder days to summer nights, you always manage to find a place in my liver and a means of draining my wallet. I want you in Teton Village, in town, south of town, in Teton Valley, and whenever I travel to warm locales I must have your salty, agave goodness on my lips. Since I will traverse the ends of the Earth to be with you, it’s important to know where, oh where, you are made the best, outside of the motherland, of course.
Because I like to sip different varieties, made from fresh ingredients – there is decidedly no love in high fructose marg mixes – I am anointing The Spur at Teton Mountain Lodge with this most serious accolade: Best Margarita.
Citrus, blood orange or passion fruit margs are made with jalapeno-infused tequila and fresh fruit. They are spicy, salty and disturbingly easy to ingurgitate. After an arduous day of powder slashing, there is nothing I want more than to kick back in a cozy booth at The Spur and slip into margarita-induced narcosis. – Robyn Vincent
BEST SKI RESORT FOOD DEAL: Kim’s Corner at Snow King Center
What the hell are Pork Triangle Kim-Pops, and why is a Jewish guy writing about how good they are? I’m always careful to be culturally sensitive, so when I ski at Snow King I immerse myself in the cultural milieu, which happens to lean decidedly Korean, and not very kosher. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.
Hyunnam Kim Degman is the foxy and enterprising proprietor of Kim’s Corner located in the Snow King Center. She serves a mix of Korean and American food mostly to rowdy little Jackson Hole Ski Club rippers. And on race days, the place is insane. The Triangle Kim-Pops are a screamin’ deal at $4.25 each. Pork, beef, tuna or veggies with rice wrapped in seaweed. Yummy, filling, and maybe even good for you. Oh, who cares about that?
And to top it off, Kim offers baked goods by The Bunnery, including the heavenly coffee cake muffin.
Get your Korean on at Snow King if you want the best ski resort food deal. – Judd Grossman
BEST CORNER K-POP: Kim’s Corner
More than a few startups and popups have made a go of the crammed retail space at the corner of the Powderhorn Mall. None have stuck it out like Kim’s Corner. Hyunnam Kim Degman, a South Korean, turned the valley on to her native land’s specialty dishes and teas – and we’re hooked.
The enterprising young woman rocked the Farmers Market and has also moved into the old Cougar’s Den space at the Snow King Sports and Event Center. She became an instant hit with the hockey crowd; many Moose fans use the game’s two intermissions to duck out for an alternative to Pinky G’s slices.
Degman keeps the unadventurous happy with the usual bar grub at the Den – chicken fingers and burgers, etc. – but it would be a crime to miss out on a rice bowl with veggies, spicy pork or tuna. And the cure for the crud? Spicy chicken soup, Korean style. It’s orgasmic. – Jake Nichols
BEST UP AND COMING BREWERY: Q Roadhouse Brewing Co.
The Q has scored six medals at various American beer fests, including the Old West Brew Fest where it was honored with the Gold Boot for Best Brewery in 2013. The total medal count includes gold for its Rhombus, Brain Dead and Family Vacation and silver for its Sacred Creed, Brother, and Veil of Composure. All these accolades garnered at Best of Craft Beer Awards.
Of course, no amount of awards is going to make your suds taste better. Q’s head brewmaster Adam Chenault has quickly assembled a large cast of no less than 19 ales and lagers currently on the rotating tap menu. Ask for the flavor-infused Roland. You’ll never go back to Coors Light.
By publication, time will have run out on the Q’s naming contest for its limited edition, small batch American pale ale brewed exclusively for the Fly Fishing Film Tour. – Jake Nichols
BEST RADIO SHOW: Takes One to Know One with Nona Yehia, Friday mornings on KHOL
This is radio worth waking up for. Architect and style maven Nona Yehia regularly makes my Fridays with her mixes of current and old school edgy rock. On any given Friday morning, you will hear the likes of The Knife, The Replacements, Foxygen, The Pixies, Ty Segall, and Laurie Anderson. “When you put them together you can hear many connections between artists who are really willing to experiment,” said Yehia, who named her show after an encounter with the nomadic Ms. Hill outside Whole Grocer: “I was wearing platform combat boots and some ridiculous outfit that no one approaching 40 should be wearing. Ms. Hill, whose fashion sense I have always admired, was outside yelling at her demons. As I passed, she stopped, looked at me with a big smile and said, ‘Takes one to know one, honey. Takes one to know one.’” – Meg Daly
BEST WAY TO BEEF UP YOUR ART COLLECTION: Community Supported Art Jackson Hole
In the same way that farms like Cosmic Apple and Evergreen keep our kitchens overflowing with organic produce all summer long, Community Supported Art offers you fresh, vibrant local art at a ridiculously affordable price. Spearheaded by artist Alissa Davies, CSA Jackson Hole is part of a national trend of communities supporting artists supporting communities. How it works: Go online right now to CSAJacksonHole.com and purchase a share for $350. Nine local artists, including Meleta Buckstaff, Jenny Dowd, Wendell Field, Katy Fox, Hole Dance Films, Andy Kincaid, Cynthia Stoetzer, Aaron Wallis, and Pauline Zeren, are hard at work preparing prints, paintings, ceramics, video and photos for your three summer pick-ups. Party down in June, July, and August when you pick up your share of three items each per month. Need more info? Contact Alissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. – Meg Daly
BEST ALL-WEATHER MOUNTAIN BAND
There are bands, and then there are hardcore bands. I’m not talking the kind that instigates a mosh pit of flying elbows and shoes to the face, but the all-weather mountain hardcore that performs regardless of the cold, wind, rain, sleet, snow, or a combination of it all. Yep, that would be Tram Jam, celebrating its 20th year of “shortening your lift line” by performing at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort every Saturday in trade for lift privileges.
What began as the duo of Peter “Chanman” Chandler and Bradley Parker jamming acoustic guitars for those waiting for the Aerial Tram in 1993 has progressed to a six-piece band at the base of Bridger Gondola. Along with Chanman on guitar/vocals/harmonica, the current band is rounded out by Jeff Eidemiller (guitar), Andy Peterson (drums), John Clark (bass), John Kidwell (trombone), and Powell Miller (trumpet). Of course, props must be given to Tram Jam alumni as well: Vic Ford (drums), Andy Calder (bass), Mark Longfield (keys), Marshall Davis (bass), and Aaron Grutzmacher (guitar).
Chanman broke down some of the history, for me in 2011: “I graduated from divinity school in 1990, and then Tram Jam started in 93 with Bradley and I. We were singer-songwriter partners. Bradley went straight to the VP [at JHMR] and made it happen for the first year. He moved to Salt Lake, and I just fought to keep it going each year. Once the Gondola was built, Tram Jam moved there. I pushed to have one more person so I could have the full band, which was Deep.”
A blend of reggae and rock, Tram Jam’s repertoire blends classic covers with some of Chanman’s own witty, clever, and JH-inspired roots music including “Ski When it’s Time to Ski,” “Coffee Song,” and “Ski, Boots, Poles, Pass.” – Aaron Davis
BEST NEW MUSIC VENUE: Haydens Post
The death of the Shady Lady Saloon at Snow King Resort in 2006 was a heartbreaker for up-and-coming local bands. Shady Lady had not-quite-dive-bar character, cheap drinks, resident dust balls, dark lighting, and hosted bands and DJs at least three days a week. What became of the space for several years afterwards, stalely named The Lounge, flew off the radar for a majority of locals and live music also ceased. Snow King Resort’s new owners – JMI Realty Partners IV, along with resort management outfit Benchmark Hospitality – spent $17 million upgrading the property. The space that once housed Rafferty’s Restaurant (upstairs from the below-grade Shady Lady space) is now home to Haydens Post. The space has quality acoustic character with even more potential for creating an inviting concert experience (like adding a stage, a dedicated dancing area, low back chairs rather than tall chairs closest to the stage, and a permanent, hanging sound system). The large windows that encompass the south and southwest make for an impressive, 180-degree view of the mountain and a straight shot down Snow King Ave. While the drinks are not cheap like the old days, the music and ambience are free. – Aaron Davis
BEST ARTIST IN GLASS AND MIXED MEDIA: Steven Glass
Artist Steven Glass brings urban sensibility to rural environs. Employing mixed media, from his trademark glass to wood, cardboard and canvas, and using graffiti tools such as spray paint and paint markers, Glass’ work is comprised of bright layers that represent his passion for music, words and people.
The self-dubbed art hoarder (probably the most benign category of hoarders?) explains his art material selection: “I still love glass, but actually haven’t bought any in quite some time. When I encounter an object I ask: 1) Is it glass? (Or something that speaks to me and has value in that regard. If I’m not passionate about it what’s the point?) 2) How can I use it? 3) Can I get more of it?”
Glass also has his hands in screen-printing and is making his own hats under the brand name Freshy. A connoisseur of hip-hop culture and a DJ, Glass says getting away from his isolating Teton Valley surroundings aids his creative process. “I was just in NYC and it was like being on another planet. I didn’t need much sleep and I just had all this energy to be out all day and all night, exploring and just walking around. I brought back some of that energy.”
An obsession with music also breathes life into Glass’ work. “As a graphic designer I sit at a desk for 10 hours a day, four days a week, and much of that time I’m listening to music and reading about it,” Glass said. “There are so many amazing stories that go along with the music. I’m a sucker for a good story.”
Finally, it is words and letters, often interwoven into the former college English instructor’s art, that add an additional layer of depth and reflect Glass’ inner workings. “For me nothing really exists until it is written down, so it’s helping me make sense of things,” Glass said. “It’s becoming my big year of weird. I might as well use it in my art.” – Robyn Vincent