A “Four-Paw” Event

April 17 and 18, Jr. Dog hosted our 1st Annual Wine and Bitch event: a dog-themed weekend featuring Mutt Lynch Winery and their dog-themed wines, Kevin Salem, the Dog Prodigy and Nicholas Sveslosky, Editor in Chief from Fido Friendly Magazine.

The weekend kicked off with a Mutt Lynch wine social meet-n-greet for the humans, and a mutt mix-n-mingle (and at times, tangle) for the dogs.  What fun it was to watch our guests become fast friends, and the dogs become pooch pals!

Guests came with their favorite canines from California to Canada, and there were 21 dogs representing 15 breeds – everything from U-Turn the Min Pin to Sadie the St. Bernard!

While the pooches were being entertained at Doggie Daycare, Chef Wes carried the dog theme out in creative style with a Mutt Lynch wine paring dinner in Pomp.  There were Salmon Corn Dogs, Reconstituted French Onion Soup served in a stainless steel dog bowl; and the crowd favorite….. a “hotdog” for dessert which was made up of an almond “bun” with strawberry ice cream in the shape of a hot dog that was topped with pistachio “relish” all served up on a Frisbee!  Chef even prepared deluxe, gourmet “doggie bags” for the pooches which contained a bit of cheese, a pig’s ear and a bone!

Saturday many guests enjoyed a dog-themed geo-cache hike with doggie treats hidden in the caches; hayrides, and nearly all the dogs were treated to a complimentary doggie massage at the spa!

Saturday night’s entertainment featured Missoulian Vicki Lee and her dogs demonstrating BASIC agility, rally-obedience, and free style, along with Laura McArthur of Smakwater and Sprezzatura Kennels with her sporting dogs demonstrating training techniques.

Following the demonstration, the pooches (and their dog parents) all posed for photos in a western themed photo booth complete with hay bales, saddle, steer head, bandanas, ropes and cowboy hats and also shopped for new treats and goodies at the retail booth set up by our favorite local pet shop, Go Fetch!

Chef treated all to a gourmet buffet with features Paw Paw Salad, Smoked Trout Bark-ettes, Chicken Paw-piettes, BBQ Ribs, Cattle Dog Stew, Elk Steamship, Catfish, Chihuahua Mac-n-Cheese, Hound Dog Hash, Coyote Squash and Peanut Butter Crème’ Caramel.

Kevin Salem, The Dog Prodigy was a weekend highlight and guests enjoyed his feedback and pointers on everything from doggie aggression…..and depression, to hyperactivity….. and humping!

Each night at turndown the pooches enjoyed surprise turn-down treats on their Paws Up beds from MaSnax and Grandma Lucy’s.

To Cinder, Simon, Sadie, Pepper Thomas, Winston, Sage, Dory, Tasha, U-Turn, Frankie, Johnnie, Marlee, Phoebe, Hannah, Sampson, Joey and Gobie, thanks for coming to “sip, stay and play” with us and we’ll look forward to hosting you all back next year!

-Tracie Mardock

Walla Walla in Montana

We hosted our first annual Walla Walla in Montana event earlier this month and it was an amazing time.  Representing the Walla Walla valley were Casey & Vicki McClellan, owners and winemaker for Seven Hills Winery.   If you haven’t had an opportunity to try the wines from Seven Hills, do yourself a favor and pick some up at your favorite bottle shop.  Casey makes fabulous wines that are extremely food friendly, a great value and are certainly worth seeking out.  Here in western Montana we consider Walla Walla our “local” wine region and are big fans and supporters of their wines.  Seven Hills was the 5th winery established in the Walla Walla valley which now boasts over 100.

Chef Coffel worked directly with Casey and the pairings for the dinner were amazing.  We started with the Alaskan King Crab with a Green Apple Gelee, Compressed Celery, Cilantro Mint Butter which paired brilliantly with the 2007 Riesling, Columbia Valley, followed by a Marcona Almond Crusted Snook (my favorite course of the evening) with Toasted Cous Cous, Marcona Almond Butter, Jicama Salad paired with the 2007 Pinot Gris; Slow Roasted Goose Breast with Seared Foie Gras, Pomegranate Glaze, Chocolate, Candied Black Trumpet Mushrooms with the 2006 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley; Grilled Elk Loin with Red Currant Stuffing, Smoked Turnip, Kale, Black Pepper Demi Glace paired with Seven Hill’s flagship- 2005 Pentad Vintage Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley; Bison Prime Rib with Risotto, Midnight Moon Goat Cheese, Sautéed Ramps Crispy Fiddlehead Fern with the 2006 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Vintage Red Wine, Red Mountain and finally, Strawberry Clafouti with White Peach, Pistachio, Fennel Syrup paired with the 1st course wine,  the 2007 Riesling, Columbia Valley.

In addition to the great dinner wines, we also got the opportunity to taste Seven Hills 2008 Talcott Vineyard Viognier at the Friday night reception.  It was the first time it had been tasted outside of the winery and it was a big hit.

All in all, a great weekend – we welcomed back old friends, meet new friends and all of us had a great weekend of fine wine, gourmet food, wilderness adventures, and complete relaxation – not a bad way to open the season.

-Jim Nielsen