Montana was actually one of my favorite spots on the trip. I know! Who would have thought that. But I liked the mountains, the road that followed alongside a river. It had a nice peaceful feeling to it. Not lonely and creepy like parts of Minnesota or South Dakota or Wyoming. I'm hoping we can do a long weekend here again.
Our stop at Big Sky was kind of like the luxury portion of our trip. We stayed at a lodge called Buck's T4, which, after 2 weeks of Motel 6 and camping, seemed like the most luxurious place in the world. We took Caly for a nice hike at Porcupine Creek down the street, and since it was empty, we let her off leash. She had so much fun chasing little animals around, but we had more fun watching her. She'd run into the deep brush, emerge in the air front paws first, like a dolphin, and disappear back legs last.
Then we came back to the lodge, dropped the pup in the room, and went to the outdoor hot tub. Oh man! We turned on those jetsprays and felt like brand new people. It was as though tiny dirty particles from camping back in Pennsylvania were finally coming loose. Back to the room to dry off, get dressed and go to dinner! Like people do.
The on-site restaurant was supposed to be pretty good, and while it was on the pricey side -- for anywhere, not just Montana -- I'd say it was pretty worth it. We started at the bar with some local beers. No Big Sky Brewing Co beers, which we see all the time over here in Washington. Just small local breweries. I had the Bent Nail IPA from Red Lodge. (Yeah, I'm linking to Beer Advocate, I'm turning into that person, I'm sorry).
Then Dinner! OMG dinner. Take a look at this portion of the menu and tell me you aren't drooling.
We started with this sampler of house cured duck bacon, cherry chutney, Wagyu pastrami, huckleberry grain mustard and a trout cheesecake that was surprisingly delicious. We used up all the sourdough piling this stuff up.
Rob got the duck 3 ways, where the duck bacon made another appearance, along with duck breast and confit. These "gingered baby carrots" were the most memorable for me. I don't know what they did to them to make them so carrot-y. and also, aren't they huge for baby carrots?
This red deer with truffled risotto was one of the best things I've eaten all year. And that's saying a lot! I asked for the deer cooked however the chef recommended, and it was so rare on the inside it was like really good sashimi. I haven't had meat that rare in a long time, and when its safe, its my favorite. It was so super tender and flavorful I feel like I can't even talk about it anymore because the craving will be too much.
Dessert was locally made mint fudge ice cream.
The meal was so heavy that when we got back to the room, I turned around to say something to Rob and he was already passed out.
Buck's T-4, easily the best lodging of our trip!