Surrounded by Beauty and Pride While Dining in Idaho

Our contributor shares her recent experience at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
Red Tail Bar and Grill is one of several restaurants at the Coeur d’Alene Hotel Resort Casino.

I read about the resort’s chef Adam Hegsted from an event he participated in at the James Beard Foundation along with competitions, therefore I wanted to meet him. I heard that he loved to walk around the resort and forage and I was hoping he would take me along during my trip, so I decided this was my location.

I didn’t have exact expectations but I wanted to check out the food, the spa, the golf course, and do a little gambling. 

As my first trip to Idaho, and being a city girl, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. There are so many farms and it is country living, but I was looking forward to the experience ahead. The first thing most people think about are potatoes when talking about Idaho, but I experienced so much more!

I was starving after a long flight, but wanted to freshen up first. Since chef Hegsted knew I was arriving he had lunch ready for me and I was ready to eat!

I went in the Red Tail Bar and Grill and was looking over the menu. The first question he asked me was if I ever had fry bread, which of course I hadn’t — but I wanted to try it. We were quickly served an order, which came with several dipping choices. I went for the sweet and it was good, but chef Hegsted announced that we would be sampling a wide variety of food specialties from the menu. 

Before the food came out I looked around the restaurant a bit. This is a typical bar and grill, but the manager and staff were attentive and friendly. I noticed that many guests were enjoying the Red Tail Reuben; I was hoping we were sampling that sandwich, and we did. After sampling, I can say you need to make sure it is the first dish you try at the Red Tail. 

Next came the Red Tail Fish ‘n Chips, and the cod was cooked to perfection. Then we each enjoyed an individual serving of Man ‘n Cheese — oh boy! That was so yummy! Then we all had a piece of the signature BLT, which I passed on so I could go for more of the Reuben, so I grabbed the last piece on the table. Now, although I was pretty full, chef Hegsted looked over at me and said, "I want you to try the Indian Taco." My eyes came out of my head when it arrived. It is a large piece of fry bread with Montana buffalo chili, shredded lettuce, Cheddar, sour cream, olives, green onions and tomatoes. We all took a slice and I couldn’t’ believe how delicious it was. I had to ask, "How does one person eat this entire dish?" He just smiled and replied, "They do!" We all walked away happy and full.

Next we enjoyed a flight of their local beer. Chef Hegsted explained to me that the Coeur d’Alene Casino is the home of Laughing Dog Breweries Uprooted Amber Ale. This Ale has been specifically brewed for the Coeur d’Alene Casino, and has been a craft beer property favorite for the past two years. I am not a beer drinker, but I did sample each of the beers and they were actually pretty good!

After the amazing lunch, I headed over to the spa for a manicure and pedicure.

I decided to have dinner at the Chinook, which is inside the casino area. We started with a simple yet elegant salad, but only after a few bites a very interesting pan was placed in front of me. The River Rock Seared Beef. At first I was just staring at the thin slices of dry-aged beef in olive oil and our own individual-sized pan with sizzling hot rocks sitting in front of me. I was smiling ear to ear but not really sure what to do so I looked around.  This unique way of cooking beef tableside has you take the beef and place on the hot rocks right on the table.  The beef cooks quickly, and then the chef provided a plate of grilled bread with three small samples of smoked onion jam, sweet hot mustard, and red wine glaze. My favorite was the red wine glaze, but I did sample all of them.

Next was mushroom ravioli with morel mushrooms, which was decadent and it was the first time I ever had a morel mushroom ad it was really tasty. Next came a pasta sampler with three different types of pasta. First I tried the spaghetti carbonara, then baked ziti with sausage, and finally seafood Alfredo. All three were delicious and I enjoyed each of them, but I was starting to get full and if I had a choice to only pick one for an entrée, I would have gone with the baked ziti.

Although I was getting full, the chef had prepared a marvelous dry aged rib-eye steak and a piece of salmon with a huckleberry jam. The combination of these foods were simply incredible.  Chef Hegsted clearly knows how to bring together the flavors of the Northwest. For the finale came a cart with big bowls of the ingredients needed to make specialty ice creams in bowls of frosty nitrogen right at the tableside. It was an incredible sight. The server gave a few choices and I picked Guinness and chocolate. Finally, the server made ice cream tableside. Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite I was anxious to have my ice cream. After four minutes of mixing he topped the ice cream with toasted coconut and praline. If I weren’t in the company of new friends I would have licked the bowl clean!   was more than impressed by the quality of food, the freshness, and the service of the Chinook.

The rest of the evening was spent laughing and winning with the wonderful people I met at the Blackjack table.

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