Hemingway was here. Or at least that’s what the log interior, taxidermy, roaring fire, and menu of wild game seem to imply. At a time when pig’s ears and calves’ brains are à la mode, such wild game preparations as New Zealand elk tenderloin with brandied cherries and braised buffalo osso buco feel positively tame. Outstanding service (lemon for your water, ma’am?), a bound wine bible that would make Kathie Lee and Hoda blush, and tasting menus that highlight as much flora as fauna keep this canyon hideaway in the realm of destination dining.
X-Factor: The stuffed critters at Saddle Peak Lodge aren’t mere decoration. “Neighbors gave us the buffalo and the badger, one of the ugliest creatures ever,” says owner Ann Ehringer. The coyote in the hat and glasses? His name is Kevin. Nobody’s sure why.