A Carnivore’s Dream with Chef Dave Martin @ Sun Valley HarvestFestival

There’s nothing I like more with a thoughtfully crafted meal with friends while meeting new people.

Wait, check that.

There is something I like more – a thoughtfully crafted meal with good friends and new ones when that meal is prepared by a dynamic personality whose love of cooking oozes out of his pores.

Just like ambiance can make or break a meal, so can the personality of the chef behind the meal.


In the case of the Carnivore’s Dream dinner pre-event for the Sun Valley Harvest Festival - Chef Dave Martin (of Top Chef fame) ratcheted up the evening with his wit, enthusiasm and pure joy for the experience and engagement with the dinner crowd of 70.

Enough of my blathering – let’s get to the true star of the show – the amazing spread prepared by Chef Dave and local Chef Brent Barsotti. Here is the nom-worthy menu, chock full of local meats and produce courtesy Idaho’s Bounty, Snake River Farms, Ballard Cheese, Teton Waters Ranch and Bucksnort Root Beer.


  • Dave’s Ginger POM Martini made with American Harvest Organic Vodka
  • Local Idaho Trout–Gravlax Style, short cured with Idaho Potato Tuile Topped with Local Chevre
  • Bounty of Local Idaho Cheeses from Ballard Cheese, Dried Fruits, Nuts and Idaho Honey

Dinner Menu

Salad of Duck Confit-Idaho Duck, Oven Roasted Pears, Nutmeg Walnuts, Apple Cider Vinaigrette, a sprinkle of Bleu Cheese and a pinch of Frisee


Citrus Marinated Idaho Grass Fed Teton Waters Ranch Skirt Steak over Roasted Corn Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette


Brent’s Famous Fava Bean Tortellini with sauce of Butternut Squash topped with Grana Padano and Fried Sage


Bucksnort Root Beer Braised Snake River Farms Pork atop Wild Cherrywood Bacon & Goat Cheese Grits drizzled with Dave’s Roasted Poblano BBQ Sauce


Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Molasses Cookie and Salted Chantilly Cream

A few observations from this extremely happy foodie:

  • I enjoy eating a confit as much as I enjoy saying the word.
  • Roasted corn salad comes alive when with a light and refreshing vinaigrette and can trump a hella-good skirt steak.
  • Fava beans AREN’T just for the enjoyment of creepy Hannibal Lector. Puree and add in some marscapone cheese and it’s a fab filling.
  • Who knew that root beer was for braising? 
  • Hello! Grits? When you are combined with bacon and silky smooth goat cheese you are elevated to foodgasm status.
  • Salt can pop anything. Forget salted caramels – my new favorite end to a fabulous meal is a kick-ass panna cotta with salted cream to pop that flavor.
  • You always meet entertaining people at group dinners. Case in point – the crew from Sysco Idaho. It was a true pleasure meeting the corporate Chef Randy King and I can’t wait to hear him emcee’ing the Chef Demos.
  • Chef Dave is a gem – and his personal attention to every diner’s happiness made the event.


Here’s to a foodie heaven weekend up in the mountains! The Sun Valley Harvest Festival officially kicks off tonight with a Restaurant Walk and events throughout the entire weekend (p.s. there is still time to come imbibe & indulge!) Check the website and the festival program for more information. 


– Jess Flynn

Save the Date(s) – Foodie & Imbiber Style

I really love when I get to fill up my calendar with fantastic foodie events of the future. And the brief glimpse of warm weather we experienced this weekend has me dreaming of warmer days, late sunsets and foodie events galore.

Here are a few for you to save a spot for on your summer calendar:

Craft Brewers / Eco Brew Fest Festival
A new entrant to the Boise beer scene (which has been getting a lot of attention lately) the Craft Brewer’s festival is being brought to Boise by the same folks behind Boise Beer Fest – Rick Boyd of Brewforia – to celebrate National Craft Brew Week. Though the name and locale have flip-flopped, word is it has landed at the Grove and will feature at least 30 craft brewers from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Utah ??? with more than 100 different brews to sample.  
When: May 14-15
Where: The Grove
Cost: $20 for unlimited samples
Benefits: Breast Cancer Research & Green Works Idaho

Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show (Formerly Boise Beer Fest)
Speaking of brewskies, remember to keep the first weekend in August open for Boise’s big beer festival. Last year, 20,000 turned out and emptied 500+ kegs. 
When: August 6-7
Where: Ann Morrison Park
Cost: Flat fee of ?
Can’t give love to the hops without honoring the grapes. And this is one event I hate to miss. Dozens of Idaho wineries and restaurants are featured – offering up tastings and samples thoughout the day. There’s a cap on tickets so snagging one early is becoming more important than in the past as this event enters its 3rd year.
When: June 12, 2-6pm
Where: Idaho Botanical Gardens
Cost:  $40
I’ll begin right up front on this one with admitting my bias. My folks own the Lakeside Lavender Farm and all of the family chips in every year to pull off the festival which is a celebration of the senses and all that you can do with lavender. The foodie hook comes from a few fronts… 
- the talented Chef Dustan Bristol of Nampa’s Brick 29 Bistro whips up a lavender-inspired catered lunch that sells out each day. This year, word is that he’ll bring out his Brick29 Mobile Foodie Bus for the festival
- the family shares samples of lavender lemonade & tea cookies – giving a hint of all the wonderful ways lavender can infuse your cooking
- cooking classes focused on uses of lavender – from the savory Herbs de Provence to lavender for baking.
When: July 9-10
Where: Lakeside Lavender Farm in Nampa
Cost: FREE to attend (cost for lunches)
More Info: Facebook

Day of Idaho Food
If you didn’t know it was the Year of Idaho Food already – head over to Northwest Food News page dedicated to all things locavore. There are a slew of events throughout the year culminating in the the Day of Idaho Food: On Labor Day, September 5, 2011. Everyone in the state will be encouraged to include at least one food on their plate that is grown by someone they know in their local area. 

One of Idaho’s most beautiful settings plus acclaimed Idaho chefs, nationally renowned chefs and the full bounty of what Idaho has to offer. That’s the gist of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival. The weekend of events will focus on regional sustainable foods, wines, spirits and will feature cooking demonstrations and presentations by local, regional and guest chefs, as well as wine, spirits, and beer tastings, restaurant walk, and harvest dinners.
When: September 23-25
Where: Downtown Sun Valley
Cost: TBD (Will include a full festival pass plus individual event tickets)
(*Disclaimer: my company Red Sky is working with the festival to help spread the word. I’ll be featuring some of the foodie news about them in the coming months on Idaho Foodies)

I had no idea Boise was home to one of the West’s oldest Soul Food festivals, or – that it was one of the nation’s longest running. All I know is that when you talk about comfort food it’s hard to beat soul food. And that makes one more reason to turn out and enjoy this year’s event – the 20th anniversary extravaganza.
When: August 6, 11am-8pm
Where: Julia Davis Park
Cost: Varies
More info: Facebook

ANY foodie event at the Basque Marketparticularly the monthly Sheepherders breakfast on April 10, May 8 or June 12! (It’s received my Must Mangia tag!)