FEED ME: Buffalo Valley bliss
JACKSON, WYO – You can cross-country ski, fat bike and snowmobile at the new Turpin Meadow Ranch at the end of the road in Buffalo Valley. Or you could just relax and eat. Or just eat. It is an hour from my front door to the ranch’s main lodge, where the meals are served and I’ve decided the drive is worth it for the food alone.
After all, the couple behind Turpin Meadow is the same dynamic duo behind The Alpine House, which, if you read this column regularly, you know I think is the cutest breakfast spot in Jackson. If you don’t read this column regularly, know that The Alpine House, a 22-room inn tucked away on Glenwood Street, serves breakfast to non-guests ($15) and it is the cutest and one of the best breakfasts in town.
Turpin Meadow Ranch doesn’t just serve up food for your hunger. Its location in Buffalo Valley is a feast for the eyes. The small community in Buffalo Valley has long known how beautiful their neck of the woods is. Prior to my visit, I had not been to Buffalo for about 12 years. Either I didn’t notice how pretty it was back then or I had forgotten. Also, it’s in the middle of nowhere. The bustle of Jackson is only an hour away, but it feels like another planet.
Come summer, you can take Buffalo Valley Road, which becomes FS30050 at Turpin Meadows Ranch and then 30040 as it approaches Togwotee Mountain Lodge, to the top of Togwotee Pass. Right now, however, Turpin Meadow Ranch is the end of the road. Nothing beyond is maintained, though the Continental Divide snowmobile trail passes right by the ranch and is maintained.
But I digress. This is about food. The ranch only serves breakfast to guests staying the night. The biscuits, so light I ate four and could have eaten four more, alone are worth spending the night. Also spectacular is the frittata with hearth-roasted onions and cheddar, blueberry scones and biscuits with pepper jack cheese and bacon.
Non-guests can get lunch, served Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. Call ahead, however, to make sure they’re open and for dinner be sure to make an advance reservation.
Lunch items range from $6 to $12 and constantly change. The day I was there three soups were on the menu including curried carrot and coconut, split pea and root vegetable, and beef, faro, kale, and vegetable. There’s also ranch chili ($8) served with cornbread. There are usually two sandwich choices with one veggie ($8) and one meat option ($12).
Between meals there is a cookie jar, hot tea and coffee to keep you moving with payment on the honor system. Grab a cookie, put a dollar or two in the nearby jar.
Dinner, not surprisingly, offers the most rewarding meals. The main lodge always has a wonderful, roaring fire going. Arrive for dinner early and you can enjoy a drink in front of the hearth while playing a board game or chatting with friends and guests.
Like lunch, dinner changes from day to day. For starters I enjoyed a roasted beetroot and greens salad with pear, Teton Valley Creamery Sapphire Bleu, and preserved blackberry vinaigrette. The main course was slow-braised beef short rib ragu with potato and rutabaga gnocchi, black kale, and parmagiano. Dessert? A hot chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream.
Turpin Meadow Ranch 307-543-9147; www.turpinmeadowranch.com