Making a Splash in McCall, Idaho
By James Patrick Kelly
From the July/August 2010 issue
McCall is a popular destination for Boiseans, who make the 100-mile trip north to this resort town for weekend recreational fun. During the winter months there’s exceptional skiing and snowboarding at Brundage Mountain, but summertime is when McCall heats up with a splash riot of water sports on Payette Lake—and all that wakeboarding, canoeing, and river rafting makes one hungry.
The local dining scene shines brightly with a trio of new places to enjoy a leisurely bite before jumping back in the lake.
Chef Gary Kucy, formerly of Tamarack Resort in nearby Donnelly, heads up the kitchen at Rupert’s at Hotel McCall. Here he melds Southwest influences with seasonal Northwest ingredients to create intriguing regional fusion cuisine.
The dining room boasts expansive views of the lake and surrounding mountains, making this the perfect place to sit back and sip from the best wine list in town. A bevy of boutique Northwest wines, like vintages from Sleight of Hand and Andrew Will, play well with Kucy’s inventive fare.
Dine al fresco on the shady garden patio with summer dishes such as chimichurri prawn cocktail, pan-roasted duck breast with ancho chile-yam purée, and a mixed grill of local elk with huckleberry-red onion jam.
Across the street from Rupert’s, Northwest Passage is turning out global comfort food with a Northwest spin. The spacious deck is a great place to people watch while enjoying a glass of wine and house-smoked salmon on Yukon Gold potato chips, or crispy phyllo triangles filled with locally foraged morels, cèpes, and smoked Gouda.
Larger plates range from pork tonkatsu with spicy plum sauce to Tournedos Martini, a playful twist on the popular cocktail, pairing beef tenderloin medallions with vodka-spiked espagnole sauce, Spanish olives, and vermouth béchamel. Cap off the meal with a bubbling crock of huckleberry bread pudding, crowned with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Summer and artisanal beer go hand in hand, and the owners of Salmon River Brewery opened their funky brewpub in 2009 to resounding applause. Brewmaster Matt Ganz and business partner Matt Hurlbutt share the brewing responsibilities, turning out seasonal suds such as Salmon River Quiver IPA and a pale ale named PFD, an acronym for personal flotation device.
Barbecue is the focal point of the kitchen. Try the stout-marinated bratwursts, applewood-smoked pork spare ribs, and black-and-blue elk burger. The menu has an Asian flair too, meaning diners can find rice bowls, teriyaki smoked salmon, and maki rolls.
Things to Do
A Taste of McCall
Chefs from McCall restaurants will serve their specialties alongside fine wines and premium microbrews. Other highlights include live music, door prizes, a raffle and silent auction with all proceeds benefiting the McCall-Donnelly Education Foundation. For more information, call 208-634-4304 or email email@example.com.
Sand and Stemware
Take an 81-mile journey down the Main Salmon River in the heart of Central Idaho. This six-day, five-night, rafting and camping adventure is filled with world-class whitewater and unspoiled wilderness, accompanied by a menu designed by Blue Moon Outfitters and wines presented by Boise’s Grape Escape. For more information, visit canyonsinc.com or call 888-634-2600.
Where to Eat
317 E. Lake St.
Rupert’s at Hotel McCall
1101 North Third St.
Salmon River Brewery
300 Colorado St.