Saturday, 1 March 2014

Survival and food in the great wilderness

Come with me, like Mr Peabody, into the way back machine to the early 1800's to discover the story of Col. Ezekiel Moreland, and his daughter Genevieve or Jenny.

You see, the Col. in 1823 set out to explore the USA Pacific Northwest. A war veteran and recently widowed he went looking for a new life. Then he stumbled upon the most beautiful valley, with a small creek running through it and beautiful forest surrounds.  The Col. named this spot Silver Creek Springs.

The Col. and his party decided to remain at Silver Creek Springs for it provided everything he needed - protection from the worst weather, plenty of food and fresh water and beautiful surrounds. Over a two year period the Col. made his fortune in beaver pelts and other furs and soon was settled enough to invite his daughter Jenny to come out and join him.

And with her, she brought a small troop of men to build a permanent lodge - resting place for all the other travellers moving west. 

Jenny built the lodge following the design and style of the great lodges of the north west national parks, particularly Yellowstone and Yosemite. Using lodgepole pine from Oregon, they created a huge 8 story atrium.

They installed a beautiful fireplace, using the local stone that was stratified, just like the Grand Canyon.

The continuous supply of fresh water gave them security and constancy, and made their lodge one of the most popular places to stay.

The success of the lodge allowed them to expand and improve, always drawing inspiration on their local surrounds.

Jenny, also appreciating the beauty of the landscape, invited out an Austrian artist: Frederick Alonzo Gustaf, to both capture the beauty in art himself, and support a visiting artist programme.  Gustaf's favourite place to paint was from a large rocky bluff, where he could get a clear view of the landscape.

Of course, there is a funny story of how one day the earth beneath his feet trembled and Gustof discovered he was standing on a geyser! He and his easel fell backward, but he kept returning to this spot time again to paint more. 

As the lodge become more successful Jenny hired an ex-army sergeant, and opened a formal dining room, named after Gustof, as Artist PointArtist Point still operates today, and in the same way Jenny envisaged. And with Gustof's murals around the walls and ceiling.

(source: walt disney company)

The basis of the menu is locally available and seasonal foods, cooked in a fresh and simple manner to enhance the main ingredient.  You can read the current menu on the restaurant website.  However, there are some dishes for which this restaurant is famous, and guns would be drawn at their withdrawal! Items like the Smokey Portabello & Shiitake Mushroom Soup, Buffalo striploin steak with wild game sausage and Penn Cove mussels.

I enjoyed 3 of their all time favourite dishes:

Mixed field greens, with shaved stone fruits, sunflower seed granola, blue cheese, candied walnuts and ice wine vinagrette

THE signature Cedar plank roasted King Salmon with lemon butter sauce, accompanied with sour dough bread and black sea salt butter
and of course dessert - and, of course, the signature dessert has to be a seasonal fruit cobbler.What else to have in the wild west?

mine was berry with black raspberry ice cream
I admit I entered Artist Point at the end of the Food and Wine Festival and was already in a Mr Creosote state. In fact I started the meal with peppermint tea in an effort to aid my digestion throughout. So I chose a standard meal. It is however possible to go totally Mr Creosote style if you have no restraint - just go read that menu again.  So I will give the restaurant 2 Mr Creosotes for the ability to constrain one's consumed volume.

but for yumminess, and the potential for even MORE yumminess, Artist Point has to have 3 spoonfuls of sugar.

We will be visiting Artist Point for dinner on Saturday, 28 June. If you are coming to Convention and would like to join with us, please contact me asap - preferably via the Mrs. Banks Facebook Group 

If you would like to see more of the dishes available at Artist Point, the Disney Food Blog has two very good reviews, and the Disney Tourist Blog has beautiful photos.


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