The Farm restaurant at The Canyons in Utah

DAY TWO — Forget burgers and chicken fingers, though they certainly are available. At Canyons Resort in Park City, you have your choice of farm to table cuisine at The Farm—I loved the sampler of the grass fed beef onion soup, vegetable soup and Wyoming buffalo chili. Most everything comes from local purveyors within a few hundred miles and in summer, when a weekly farmer’s market is held at Canyons, it isn’t uncommon for the chef to meander down to see what looks good.

The dinner menu features everything from all natural chicken liver mouse to braised rabbit to pork chop, steelhead trout and buffalo osso bucco. (Squash risotto for the vegetarians in the group!)  It’s easy to see why The Farm was voted the best new restaurant in all of Utah in 2012.

Here as well as at neighboring Deer Valley –which led the industry in providing good mountain eats—we’re seeing ever better food with an emphasis on what is locally sourced. 

How about vegetarian couscous or pork tamales at Cloud Dine at The Canyons? Crawfish bisque at   Royal Street Café at Deer Valley where many skiers can’t pass up home-made chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches with hot fudge dipping sauce.

One morning, we start our day with the sumptuous breakfast buffet at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Restaurant (amazing waffles, cappuccino and fresh-squeezed juice!).   I love the tuna nachos at Park City Mountain Resort’s Legends restaurant.

I just wish the kids’ menus would be equally as creative but except for an occasional small steak, they seem to be typical pasta, chicken fingers and burgers. 

I’m invited to Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley for its Sunday brunch which is an institution here. I don’t know how anyone could ski afterward—though many are dining in ski boots—after eating the famous Boar and elk chili, five kinds of salad (I especially liked the couscous and mushroom) crab legs, shrimp, game hens, trout, omelets, waffles, bacon and buffalo that the chef was slicing, assuring me the meat is far more lean than beef.

“Are you doing breakfast or lunch?” one woman asked her companion as they made their way through the buffet, trying to decide between waffles, eggs benedict or game hens,  shell fish and more. “Both!” he said. “Dinner too!”  There was a long array of deserts, of course, including gluten-free cupcakes. 

Gone are the days—at least here anyway—where your choice for lunch on the mountain is a burger or a bowl of chili, dinner a bowl of pasta or a pizza. (Park City boasts more than 100 restaurants, including the excellent Grappa Italian Café  where I loved the house antipasto, wild mushroom soup and osso bucco. (And yes, we finished the meal with glasses of Grappa.)

Canyons now boasts the only kosher restaurant in ski country—Bistro at Canyons  with a resident Rabbi who conducts Shabbat services and a special Friday night sabbath menu and shabbos lunch complete with gefilte fish, chopped liver and smoked turkey.

 Other nights, you can choose from a soup sampling (I loved the roasted tomato),  wild salmon cakes and corndog franks to grilled steaks, smoked duck breast to a pastrami sandwich

Most nights, Rabbi Yosef Kirszenberg , a snow-loving father of nine from Brooklyn, tells me, there are enough men for a  traditional prayer service too.

Last Hanukah the restaurant was packed as it was for the recent Purim celebration. Not only can you get a kosher dinner here, but you can get a kosher lunch on the mountain (and who doesn’t love a pastrami sandwich) and breakfast to take with you after dinner.  “People are so happy to have this,” said the Rabbi . “They love it.”

But our favorite hands down is the Alpine Fireside Dining in the Empire Canyon Lodge right next to the Montage at Deer Valley. We’re told that in the Middle Ages, sheepherders in the Alps accidently discovered that raclette cheese placed on a stone next to an open fire would slowly melt. They enjoyed the cheese with boiled potatoes, pickled onions and hearty bread. By the 19th century, the raclette tradition traveled across the Alps –and now to Utah where we enjoy it as our first of four courses cooked over open fireplaces.

Yum! We pair our cheese with boiled potatoes, cornichons, cured meals, breads and a sprinkling of paprika, all washed down by white wine.

And that is only the beginning. We move on to salad and roasted  root vegetable stew, veal and wild mushroom stew and chicken fricassee served with traditional Swiss Roti—a crisp potato torte.

We’re not done yet! Not when there is fire roasted lamb that has been brushed with fresh herbs, lemon and garlic. We eat that with roasted winter squash.

Did I mention desert? Warm chocolate, caramel and white chocolate Grand Marnier fondue that we eat with fresh strawberries, pineapple, dried apricots, almond biscotti and brownies that have been cooked in a pan over the fire.

Honestly, this meal may be the best bargain in ski country–$56 for adult and $28 for kids.

It’s one we won’t soon forget.   We don’t feel guilty either—not with so many slopes to conquer tomorrow.  Still, I’m glad there isn’t a scale in our room.