Weekend Getaway

An Oregon Chef Series Deep in the Cascades

Über-hip Suttle Lodge, north of Sisters, unveils a dinner series with culinary darlings from Portland and beyond.

By Elise Herron January 9, 2017

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A roaring fireplace, a communal table, a drool-worthy dinner, all smack in the middle of a national forest—not a bad way to spend a winter weekend.

Image: AJ Meeker

This past summer, dockside jukeboxes and watermelon margaritas were the stuff of summertime whimsy at newly-(re)opened hipster paradise Suttle Lodge, just north of Sisters. The dock has since iced over, but the travel-hungry—and hungry travelers—need not scrap their Cascade getaway plans. One draw for the snow season: the lodge's just-announced upcoming chef series: eight dinners over four months, starting January 28, from different Portland and Central Oregon chefs. (Among the familiar faces scheduled are Sam Smith of TuskAva Gene's Joshua McFadden, and Nancye Benson of Milk Glass Mrkt.)

The reasonably priced prix fixe dinners will be served family-style in the lodge’s great room (cue perfect Instagram opportunities), with space for up to 58 people. For dinner-goers hoping to make a night of it, onsite cabin/room rentals are discounted—but just how much will vary from dinner to dinner. Expect to pay somewhere between $73 (for a rustic cabin) to $233 (for a more deluxe lakeside cabin), and call ahead. What's actually on the menu is still TBA, though organizers promise the chefs will work within "the cuisine they are best known for," "with an appreciation for the bounty of the Pacific Northwest." 

Here's the line-up and link to tickets.

Chef: Rita You of Lucky Strike, Portland
Dinner at 6 p.m.; $35 per person (drinks from Chehalem Wines and Elk Cove Vineyards not included)
Expect: Lucky Strike classics revitalized—think Szechuan staples like spicy pork-and-shiitake dumplings and dan dan noodles.

Chef: T.R. McCrystal of the Cottonwood Café, Sisters
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $45 per person (drinks not included)
Expect: Copious use of local ingredients—and maybe a few new spins on classic winter veggies—from an established Sisters chef. 

Chef: Will Forbes and Doug McFarland of Scoutpost, Bend
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $40 per person (drinks not included)
Expect: Indian-inspired cuisine from Central Oregon food cart chefs with ties to Portland's now-shuttered Wildwood. The menu will likely start small ("street snacks"), go big (think slow-roasted lamb shoulder), and cap the show with a sweet little bit of the unexpected (say, cardamom almond cake and black pepper frozen yogurt).

Chef: Nancye Benson of Milk Glass Mrkt, Portland
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $40 per person (drinks not included).
Expect: A simple menu—and hopefully some decadent baked goods—from the all-lady rock star crew at North Portland's Milk Glass Mrkt. 

Chef: Parker Vaughan of Jackson’s Corner, Bend
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $40 per person (drinks not included)
Expect: Hearty Italian via Central Oregon farms—meals like local grain arancini, spelt cavatelli, albacore tataki, and grown-up s’mores. (Try to taste the pine between the buckwheat graham crackers, charred mallow, and chocolate.) 

Chef: Bonnie Morales of Kachka, Portland
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $50 per person (includes one flight of vodka)
Expect: To learn something new at a guided Seder feast of traditional Russian fare inspired by Morales’s childhood.

Chef: Sam Smith of Tusk, Portland
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $45 per person (drinks not included)
Expect: "Locally sourced, aggressively seasonal" ingredients—as Tusk’s website puts it—showcased in Moroccan- and Israeli-inspired dishes. (Think "shockingly light" hummus, dukka, and curry. 

Chef: Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s, Portland
Dinner at 7 p.m.; $45 per person (drinks not included)
Expect: Some of the same ‘aggressive’ seasonality as Smith, but in the Roman style for which the perpetually booked-solid Division destination is known. We're hoping that means hand-rolled pasta, mountains of shaved pecorino, and the very finest of first-of-spring greens.

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