There aren’t many places where I would go visit just to eat at one restaurant. Sun Valley, however, is one of them. (Vegas is too for Lotus of Siam.)
CK’s Real Food is worth the drive, even if your only reason for visiting the mountain town is to dine there.
I have been to Sun Valley many, many times and unfortunately didn’t discover this gem until two years ago. Because it’s located in the nearby town of Hailey, Idaho, I had often opted to walk to a place in the town of Ketchum, where I normally stay and there are many good options. Over the years, I have grown fond of Christina’s for brunch, Grumpy’s for an apres bike growler, The Cellar for post-hockey beers and K B’s for burritos. My husband prefers the steaks at The Pioneer and the big, classic breakfast at the Kneadery.
I took a cousin’s trip to Sun Valley two summers ago and made it a point to try CK’s, which I had been hearing about. After discovering that they source many, if not most, of the restaurant’s offerings locally, I was hooked.
But it’s not just that the restaurant is a great example of farm-to-table and seasonal cuisine, the food is excellent.
Over there again recently to watch my husband play hockey with the Moose Hockey team, I made an extra effort to make it to get for dinner and was again impressed by the meal. I had a polenta dish with house-made sun dried tomatoes grown locally last summer, a fish (which they do fly in) on a bed of crispy soba noodles with a miso brown butter sauce and a tuna dish that was perfectly prepared and seasoned.
The owner, who happened to be around, explained how the cooks make their own vinegars, jar all the fruit used in the winter during the ripe summer months, and make tomato sauce all summer long when the tomatoes are at their best. They also have a local source for eggs, turkeys and other meat.
I can’t say enough about the food there. Go try it, its only a 4.5-hour drive and after you eat there is plenty to do for fun!
And if you happen to ski, a local sent our crowd of hungry skiers to The Lookout, which is the best deal I have ever encounter while elevated by lifts. A meager $3 buys you a taco that you are welcome to load with as many of the fresh offerings (about 20) on the taco bar that you would like. It was delicious and I couldn’t come even close to finishing two.