FEED ME: Escape to Headwaters Lodge

By on September 24, 2014
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The scrumptious spinach salad comes with a zesty cilantro vinaigrette dressing. Photo by Geraldine Mishev.

“Like revenge, bad pie is a dish best served cold.” – Derek Stal

When Derek and I checked in for the night at Headwaters Lodge and Cabins – the new name for the Flagg Ranch lodge and cabins revamped by Grand Teton Lodge Company – there was a platter stacked with chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

Ravenous from the 75-minute drive from Jackson, I grabbed one. Combining the best parts of a cookie with those of a brownie, it was delicious and almost the size of my face. It was still somewhat warm.

I had fallen in love with the crownie before Derek and I had even crossed the threshold of Sheffield’s Restaurant and Saloon to begin our dinner.

The crownie was not totally an outlier.

The spinach salad, through small for the price ($10.50), had what has to be one of the world’s best dressings on it, though it was a simple cilantro vinaigrette that allowed the cilantro to really shine through.

The restaurant’s smoky bacon mac and cheese blew me away. It was the star of the meal. Their garlic mashers, one of the other sides available with any entrée, were well above average too.

And the six-ounce filet mignon ($34)? Delicious and cooked perfectly to our order of medium rare. We asked for a side of chimmichurri sauce, which came with the night’s special, with our filet. Without the chimmichurri the filet was wonderfully tender and flavorful. The chimmichurri, which had some ginger and basil in it, made it divine.

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Sheffield’s smoky bacon mac and cheese is one the best side dishes in the valley. Photo by Geraldine Mishev.

Both of us completely stuffed, we should have stopped with the chimmichuri-ed filet. But, because I often suffer for my craft, I felt it my journalistic duty to do dessert. The options? Apple pie ($6.50), blueberry pie ($6.50), ice cream (huckleberry), and New York style cheesecake ($7).

I ordered the blueberry pie. Derek could tell with one look that it wasn’t awesome. Again, for journalistic integrity, I did have to taste it. We were not asked if we wanted it hot or cold. It arrived obviously microwaved.

Our capable and friendly waitress had already alerted us that it was baked in house, but not made in house. Their pies are bought from US Foods. Where it existed, the crust was lethargically anemic. And soggy.

I took a second bite and then asked for a box for the remainder. I had an 8-hour bushwhacking adventure planned for the next day and I figured even bad pie would taste good then.

If I were in charge of Sheffield’s menu, I would ditch the microwaved pies and cheesecake of dubious provenance and offer the crownies (even if, most likely, they are also only baked in house) as dessert. Or offer no dessert at all.

If Headwaters’ cabins were anywhere outside of a national park, they would be half of their $200+ rate. But, if you snag pocketfuls of these check-in crownies and eat them while sitting in a wonderfully comfortable rocking chair on your cabin’s back patio looking out into the park’s thick forests, nearly any price is worth it. Even if the inside cabin walls (and ceilings) are painted with super-shiny paint.

And the leftover blueberry pie? Eaten cold and at 9,000-some feet the next day, it was suddenly quite tasty.

Sheffield’s Restaurant at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch offers breakfast, lunch and dinner daily through October. John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, 307-543-2861, www.gtlc.com/headwaters. Reservations recommended.

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