In a sublime setting nestled deep within the Rocky Mountain wilds of Wyoming, luxury guest ranch Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, strives for a beguiling balance of present-day pampering and modern amenities paired with the simpler comforts and pleasures of the past.
Nowhere is that intention more apparent than in the unforgettable homemade meals and gourmet snacks created at Brooks Lake Lodge by Executive Chef Whitney Hall and her talented staff. The culinary team, on a daily basis, serves guests at this iconic Old West destination a staggering variety of creative dishes drawing from an abundance of locally and regionally sourced ingredients and Chef Hall’s formal culinary background, accentuated by her Southern-style upbringing.
In fact, popular travel blogger Rick Howard has raved about the meals at Brooks Lake Lodge, telling Chef Hall during an interview for his heavily trafficked blog Travel with Rick, “You cook up some of the best food I’ve ever had anywhere.”
“Our menu focuses on wild game at its core because I like to highlight what’s readily available and true to the area,” says Chef Hall, a Texas native who received her culinary training at the Art Institute of Dallas. “But I also like to incorporate my Southern roots in our offerings, and so you’ll find things on our lunch menu, which is available to the public during winter, like a buffalo-based Sloppy Joe next to croquettes made from cheesy Gruyère grits.”
And, of course, there’s the always popular deep-fried chocolate chip cookie dough for dessert. “I toyed with taking the fried cookie dough off the menu at one point, but I got so much backlash from the regular guests that I had to keep it,” Chef Hall says. “It’s based on the state fair fried foods of my childhood in Texas, and it’s crispy and gooey — the perfect finale to enjoy in our warm, comfy dining room, with the snow swirling around outside.”
Overnight guests can enjoy evening feasts with a focus on local trout, elk and venison, as well as pork and beef from Idaho’s Snake River Farms and seafood overnighted from Hawaii — all of which is enhanced by inventive side dishes, such as a wedge salad dotted with fresh pomegranate seeds and wasabi-spiced mashed potatoes. New dinner entrees this winter include honey-glazed duck breast with a persimmon and date chutney served with roasted Brussels sprouts and parmesan smashed Peruvian potatoes; roasted buffalo prime rib with a Wyoming Whiskey au jus horseradish whip, cream sautéed haricots verts and loaded mashed potatoes; and a peach wood-smoked brisket with braised seasonal greens and duck confit roasted red potatoes.
Chef Hall has been with Brooks Lake Lodge for 11 years, providing a deep understanding of what guests crave from the resort’s kitchen. Hearty Western breakfasts each morning are a must, as well as filling lunches and an afternoon Governor’s Tea with innovative hors d’oeuvres and freshly made crumpets and shortbread cookies — the baked goods created by a pastry chef in-house and offered as a daily pick-me-up next to a crackling fire.
Immersed in pioneer-era ambience and its peaceful surroundings, the remote Brooks Lake Lodge — accessible in winter only by snow coach, snowmobile or cross-country skis — sits hidden away in Shoshone National Forest, but within easy driving distance to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Nature-rich outdoor activities and sumptuous accommodations combine for an indulgent escape in this easily reachable winter wonderland with an off-the-grid feel.
Winter at Brooks Lake Lodge is indeed particularly inviting, with its endless opportunities for appealing snow adventures from mid-December to mid-March, including snowmobiling on the more than 2 million acres of powder-covered backcountry terrain, with panoramic mountain views. In addition, the secluded and expansive property offers cross-country skiing on groomed trails and in the nearby backcountry, along with snowshoeing, sledding and expert-guided wildlife excursions to see the migratory animals wintering near the lodge, all provided as part of the all-inclusive plan (additional fees apply for snowmobiling).
At the end of a fun-filled, snow-packed day, guests can get right to relaxing. Built in 1922, Brooks Lake Lodge features cozy, quiet, tucked-away cabins sporting wood-burning stoves and inviting sitting and dining areas, some with fireplaces and whirlpool or clawfoot tubs. The captivating rooms have been individually decorated with handcrafted furnishings of lodgepole pine topped with goose-down comforters. To keep things lively, the on-site Cowboy Bar serves up fun and casual nighttime entertainment, along with an extensive selection of spirits, including locally distilled Grand Teton Vodka and Wyoming Whiskey. Meanwhile, for an even more restful stay, the full-service spa features an 11-by-17-foot hot tub overlooking Brooks Lake and the Pinnacle Buttes.