Come Cook with Brooke Williamson at The Resort at Paws Up

Chef Brooke Williamson

Say hello to Chef Brooke Williamson, a fearless and unstoppable Southern Californian who’s become a bit of a regular at The Resort at Paws Up. We love hosting her, because she brings energy and fresh local ingredients to everything she does.

You might know her from Top Chef. She’s currently reappearing to compete in Season 14: Charleston, South Carolina, airing right now on Bravo. In Season 10, Williamson was the runner-up and a favorite among the show’s fans.

When she’s not on TV, she’s busy running the four smash-hit restaurants she owns with her husband. The newest opened just this past October—a fast- casual Hawaiian concept named Da Kikokiko in Playa Vista, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

What does she do for fun? She comes to The Resort at Paws Up, of course. In 2017, she’ll be a featured chef at no fewer than three culinary events: WinterFest on January 19– 22, WildFlavor on April 20–23 and Bounty on the Blackfoot on August 19. So we asked her to tell us about her experiences here.

What’s the first thing you like to do when you arrive at Paws Up?
 I like to grab a drink at Tank and head straight to my cabin to chill on the porch. The sounds of wilderness that surround those cabins are the perfect way to decompress after a day of travel.

What do you look forward to most when you visit? 
Because of the fact that I get to experience the ranch at different times of year, the things I look forward to in terms of activities vary greatly. Between pristine snow and cattle drives, I could stay entertained forever.

But the one thing that I can always count on, no matter what time of year, is the staff. I do a lot of events, all over the country, but never do I travel to a place and feel so welcomed and at home as I do at Paws Up.

What’s a dish you’ve made just for Paws Up guests that was especially wonderful? 
Seafood salad, cucumber and tomato water, compressed melons. I made this dish for an event last summer, and although I would normally gravitate toward mentioning a dish that feels more “Montana,” I actually loved this dish not only because of the setting and weather that it was served in, but mostly because I got to use some of the best local watermelon I’ve ever tasted.

How does cooking in Montana differ from cooking in LA? Cooking in Montana makes you realize how important and special cooking “local” can be. I come from California, where we have beautiful seasons for produce, and an enormous variety of pretty much anything you want.

But Montana helps me realize how specific seasons can actually be based on climate and accessibility. From elk to buffalo to huckleberries and specific mushrooms, it’s especially fun to find new ways to highlight ingredients that I don’t come across every day in Los Angeles.

Curling Comes to The Resort at Paws Up

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Once again, during WinterFest 2017, the Missoula Curling Club (MCC) will join us at Paws Up to demonstrate and teach the enigmatic sport known as curling. Like last year, the club and Paws Up guests will get a chance to play at The Resort’s “official” curling court (otherwise known as the Paws Up Ice Rink).

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The sport involves two teams sliding (and guiding through the sweeping of brooms) 40-pound hunks of granite down a “sheet,” or playing field, of ice. The team that repeatedly gets its so-called stones closest to the center of a target at each end of the sheet eventually wins a curling match. The sport, which gained medal status in the Winter Olympics in 1998, is often misunderstood but actually easy to learn and fun to play, according to most curling enthusiasts.

The nonprofit Missoula Curling Club was formed in 2010. “We have 130 members playing on 28 teams in the Competitive and Recreational League. We began in Fall 2010 after the February 2010 Olympic games— which got a few folks in Missoula saying ‘we can do that,’ so a club was born,” says MCC President Barry Bollenbacher. He estimates that about 20,000 people in the United States play the sport of curling. But in Canada, the sport is huge, with about 2.1 million active curlers. The sport is hard to excel at, but easy to enjoy, says Bollenbacher, and the fact that you can enjoy a beverage during a match adds to the fun.

He recommends coming out early to the Paws Up “sheet” this year to experience curling for yourself. Lessons will take place at WinterFest on Friday, January 20, from 3 to 5 p.m., so you’ll be well prepared to take part in the exhibition game later that night, from 8:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Be sure to check out the amazing chefs, distillery, brewer and musicians at WinterFest 2017!

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6 Reasons Why to Visit The Resort at Paws Up This Winter

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Every season at The Resort at Paws Up brings change and wonder. Until just this winter, however, few got to witness The Resort under its sparkling white blanket. But that’s about to change. Starting in 2017, The Resort at Paws Up will be open to guests for all 365 days of the year.

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WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
 To start with, it’s quieter here during the colder months. Snow under your feet cushions each step. Wildlife comes out from hiding. The mountaintops glisten. Even the hot chocolate just seems sweeter. In a word, it is spectacular.

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Day or night, you can sit back and take in the incredible snow-covered scenery. And every one of our luxury vacation homes is equipped with an outdoor hot tub, which can turn a cold snap into an inviting retreat, especially under a starlit sky.

NO TIME FOR CABIN FEVER.
 Now more guests than ever can enjoy all the winter activities that we love so much: horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, cross-country skiing, horseback riding through frosted pines, dogsledding, tubing, high- velocity snowmobiling, sporting clay shooting, private indoor equestrian lessons, hiking, archery, snowshoeing and, of course, sitting in front of a relaxing fire.

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THRILLING SKI ADVENTURES. Paws Up will also take you on excursions to some some wonderful downhill ski and snowboarding areas. Naturally, we can outfit you with whatever cold-weather gear you need at the Wilderness Outpost retail store.

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FOR THE YOUNGER SET. 
The Kids Corps of Discovery has a full schedule of exciting activities, from tubing, luge-style sledding and hockey to craft making, pony rides and broomball. We’ll keep the kids busy and active all day long. Or you can teach them the science behind snow fort building yourself, just outside your private vacation home.

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THE SPA: A GOOD MOVE.
 As much as we love Spa Town in the warmer months, the brisk, fresh winter air didn’t seem right for a relaxing massage. So in wintertime, the secluded Morris Ranch House serves as the warm, cozy location for spa treatments. Located adjacent to the picturesque Elk Creek, this historic luxury home is a perfect setting for rejuvenating spa services and a chance to let our talented staff pamper you and your family.

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COLD-WEATHER CUISINE. Dining at Paws Up is always a treat, but for those looking for something truly phenomenal, come for WinterFest, January 19–22, our signature culinary event of the season. It’s three and a half days of intimate cooking classes and demonstrations, wine and spirits tastings, wilderness adventures, live entertainment (Missoula musician John Floridis and singer- songwriter Brian Pounds from TV’s The Voice) and, of course, hearty gourmet feasts—complete with thoughtful wine pairings—created by our award-winning guest chefs.

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There’s no shortage of exiting ways to enjoy the drop in temperatures in Montana. And yes, seasonal rates do apply. It’s no wonder we’re already seeing a blizzard of reservations for our first full winter.

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Get Cozy with Red Wine and Hot Chocolate at The Resort at Paws Up

Red Wine and Hot Chocolate

Move over Irish coffee. Have you heard the buzz about the latest trending winter beverage, Red Wine and Hot Chocolate? The bartenders at The Resort at Paws Up have, and they’re already serving it up this season. Red Wine and Hot Chocolate is easy to make. All you need is milk, red wine, your favorite dark chocolate and cinnamon. Our staff tops the beverage off with whipped cream and ground cinnamon.

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This warming drink is simply hot chocolate spiked with red wine. It is similar to mulled wine but rich and chocolaty! Use three parts hot chocolate to one part red wine. We used Rombauer Merlot. The Rombauer family members are big fans of this varietal’s rich, silky textures and supple tannins, as well as its versatility with food. It is medium-bodied and ripe and plush, with flavors of plums, cherries and figs. It makes a perfect pairing with melted dark chocolate.

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After a day of cross-country skiing, horseback riding, or snow tubing at Paws Up, take a sip of Red Wine and Hot Chocolate, and you’ll be feeling warm and cozy in no time. We love drinking it fireside. So if you’re visiting us this season, come by Tank and try one (or two). Otherwise, make one at home, and let us know how you liked it.

From Farm to Table, the Old-Fashioned Way

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Fresh and delicious seasonal dishes don’t happen by accident. So for our rich bounty of vegetables, breads and meats, Paws Up has been turning to local experts with a long history in these parts: the Cool Springs Hutterite Colony, the Hillside Colony and other Hutterite farmers. Over the years, Paws Up Executive Chef Ben Jones has found that these communities produce some of the best-tasting foodstuffs in the country—by using natural, time-tested techniques, similar to those used by Amish and Mennonite farmers.

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Hutterites have been living and working in Montana since first forming colonies in the Dakotas in the 1800s and Canada in the 1900s. The Hutterites also eventually formed colonies in Montana in which they practiced a religious-based communal lifestyle where each individual in a colony was responsible for a specific task. That tradition and culture have not changed much since the early days for Hutterites in Montana, according to current Cool Springs colony resident Jake Waldner.

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Waldner says that Paws Up is the colony’s number-one customer as a purchaser of the bacon, chickens, bread and vegetables that the colony produces. The Hutterites are able to directly deliver and sell goods to customers like Paws Up from their farms, as opposed to selling to stores and then having goods sit on shelves for days or even weeks at a time. But most colonies do not produce goods solely to sell to restaurants and resorts. The livestock and other goods are instead grown and produced for a colony’s use first. Then, when a surplus is generated, those excess goods are made available to outside customers.

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For a resort like Paws Up that specializes in farm-to-table freshness, the goods are always cherished, and our guests can taste the difference between these foods and those that are shipped in. The relationship between Hutterite farmers and the culinary artists at Paws Up adds a delicious, honest, homegrown flavor to every dish we prepare.

The Resort at Paws Up Takes Bitters to the Next Level

paws-up-bittersBitters are the spice rack of the cocktail world. Some bartenders will even tell you that a drink isn’t a cocktail without them. While we don’t take that notion too seriously at The Resort at Paws Up, we are excited about the possibilities of our brand-new, made-from-scratch bitters program. Our bartenders and food and beverage manager raided Chef Ben Jones’s pantry and took advantage of Montana’s natural floral bounty to produce a cache of infusions with unique flavor profiles.

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One of The Resort’s concoctions uses caraway seeds and powdered mace to enhance the characteristics of a locally made Aquavit. Another includes spruce tips that are grown here on the ranch (they pair well with gin). See our cocktail recipe for The Spruce Moose below.

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“The options are truly endless, and our infusion library is expanding right along with our imaginations. We aim to create drink experiences that are unexpected, adventurous and gratifying. It’s the Montana way,” says Paws Up bartender Derick Smith.

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The Spruce Moose Cocktail

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1/4 ounce spruce-infused housemade bitters

1/2 ounce bitters

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce honey

Garnish: Maldon sea salt

1. In each of four old-fashioned glasses, combine gin, vodka, bitters, lemon juice and honey. Garnish each glass with Maldon sea salt.

How 10 Paws Up Horses Got Their Names

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Have you ever wondered how horses get their names? Here’s an inside look on the names choices of ten horses at The Resort at Paws Up.

The Resort at Paws Up Horses

  1. Traveller was named after General Robert E. Lee’s famous horse that he rode during several battles in the Civil War. Traveller was a tall grey horse, but he wasn’t a draft horse like our Traveller is. Lee’s Traveller actually outlived Lee by several months before the horse died as well.
  1. Little Joe was named after the old country song “Little Joe the Wrangler.” The song is one of the most iconic cowboy songs of all time. It was first recorded in the 1900s and has been covered by such famous Western singers as Chris LeDoux and Marty Robbins.
  1. Rojo means “red” in Spanish, so our horse Rojo was named for his beautiful copper red coloring. Wranglers refer to this type of horse as a sorrel horse. Horses come in all shapes sizes and colors, and wranglers have a different name for almost every type of horse.
  2. Kodiak was named after the Kodiak bear. That type of bear and Kodiak have the same coloring. However, Kodiak has a much better temperament than most bears. He is a sweetheart and loves anyone who gives him a good ear rub!
  1. Biscuit has kind of a silly name. He was born a twin, and rumor has it that his twin’s name is Gravy. We don’t own Gravy, however, so we can neither confirm or deny this fun story.
  1. Tuffy is an old ranch horse who is one of the most mellow and kind horses we’ve ever met—right up until you get him around cows. Then, he remembers the old days, and every now and then he will try to teach the cows a lesson or two.
  1. Spook was raised and trained by our very own ranch manager Kyle Kelly. Spook has a little ghost on his forehead. He is one of our best horses, and we use him as our go-to kids’ horse!
  1. Cherokee was named after the American Indian tribe. He is a black-and-white paint horse with a proud face. At the time that horses were brought to the Americas by Europeans and through until the mid-20th century, paint horses and Appaloosas were considered to be of a lesser quality and not desirable by most prominent horse owners. Thus, horses like Cherokee would have been sent or sold to outlying settlements or traded to the natives much more readily than a solid colored horse. The horse tribes of the Western plains especially took a liking to these “paints” and prized them as mounts.
  1. Doc is another of our cow horses from the Angus ranch days of Paws Up, like Tuffy and Spook. Most horses, being herd animals, are prone to get attached to a particular group of horses. Doc is not. Like his namesake, Doc Holliday, Doc is more of a maverick. He’s just as happy on his own miles from the herd as he is in a pasture with other horses.
  1. Cactus is another of our fantastic kids’ horses. He was named Cactus because of his compact size—he’s obviously not a Saguaro—and the C-shaped white marking on his forehead.

Bison Tenderloin with Cherry Demi-Glace

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The Resort at Paws Up is hosting its first-ever Thanksgiving celebration with plenty of options to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Bison Tenderloin with Cherry Demi-Glace is just one of our main course options. Of course, there will be plenty of turkey and an amazing crab-stuffed rainbow trout option, plus an array of sides, desserts and, of course, wine and spirits. Enjoy the recipe for our bison tenderloin, and feel free to pass it along to your family and friends.

Bison Tenderloin with Cherry Demi-Glace

If you can’t find fresh cherries, purchase cherries in the freezer section of your grocery store. Thaw before using.

Ingredients

1 pound bison tenderloin, sliced into 4-ounce portions

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces ruby red port

4 ounces fresh cherries, pitted (*see note above)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, sear tenderloin in hot oil over medium-high heat. Season bison with salt and pepper; cook until medium-rare, turning bison on its sides to keep the cooking even, about 7 to 8 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
  1. Simmer the port and cherries 45 minutes to 1 hour over medium-low heat, until the port and cherry sauce takes on a syrupy consistency. (Don’t overcook as the sauce can scorch very quickly.) Serve bison and demi-glace over roasted asparagus and potatoes, if desired. This recipe serves four.

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From a petting zoo with pony rides and family game nights to owl watching, hayrides and concerts, plus football and parade watching, there are plenty of options to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Take a hike, horseback ride, ATV ride or enjoy a spa treatment.

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Here’s our schedule for November 23—27th:

Wednesday November 23, 2016

  • Cookie decorating in homes
  • Petting zoo visits and pony rides
  • Lighter, leaner lunch options available
  • Game night in the Bull Barn
  • Fireside s’mores on The Yard at the Cook Shack

Thursday, November 24, 2016

  • Extended breakfast hours
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade watching in the Village
  • NFL game watching with snacks in Tank
  • Petting zoo visits and pony rides
  • Owl Prowl bird watching excursion to Jones’ Pond
  • Hayrides through the Wilderness Estates
  • Lighter, leaner lunch options available
  • Thanksgiving Day Festival with apple bobbing, sack races, archery and more on The Yard at the Cook Shack
  • A grand and glittering Thanksgiving Dinner at Pomp or a private feast delivered to your home and whisked away afterwards
  • Cookie decorating awards ceremony
  • Family movie night and wildlife presentation in the Bull Barn
  • Fireside s’mores on The Yard at the Cook Shack

Friday, November 25, 2016

  • Resort tour, with visits to the Morris Ranch House, Blackfoot River Lodge, Elk Creek and Cliffside Camp
  • Petting zoo visits and pony rides
  • Hayrides through the Wilderness Estates
  • Tie-dying T-shirts on the Bull Barn patio
  • Lighter, leaner lunch options available
  • Black Friday sale at the Wilderness Outpost
  • Happy hour and whiskey tasting and demonstration with the Rattlesnake Creek Distillery
  • A special dessert menu including pumpkin pie flambé, an ice cream station with toppings such as flambéed cherries, Bananas Foster and house-made goat cheese pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pajama party and movie night in the Great Angus Hall
  • Live musical performance from the Beargrass Bluegrass Band in Tank
  • Fireside s’mores on The Yard at the Cook Shack

Saturday, November 26, 2016

  • Resort tour, with visits to the Morris Ranch House, Blackfoot River Lodge, Elk Creek and Cliffside Camp
  • Petting zoo visits and pony rides
  • Owl Prowl bird watching excursion to Jones’ Pond
  • Kids crafts and photo center family fun projects
  • Lighter, leaner lunch options available
  • Sale at the Wilderness Outpost
  • Happy hour and hard cider tasting and demonstration with Brewmaster Lee McAlpine at the Wilderness Outpost
  • Mini Rodeo at the Equestrian Center
  • Appetizers and cocktails in the Saddle Club
  • Show in the Arena
  • Campfire music jamboree and s’mores on The Yard at the Cook Shack

Sunday, November 27, 2016

  • NFL game watching with snacks in Tank
  • Lighter, leaner lunch options available
  • Family movie night in the Bull Barn

To make reservations for Thanksgiving, please call 877-758-8644 or chat with us.

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Where to Experience the Most Epic Halloween Ever

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This month the Blackfoot River Valley is more exciting and spellbinding than ever. That’s because, for the first time ever, Paws Up will be hosting a celebration for outlaws, ghosts, goblins and, of course, witches. We’ll have you hunting down zombies with paint guns, hiking through haunted forests, sitting down to spooky yet sumptuous dinners and disguising yourself in the ultimate costume showdown. You won’t be able to escape craft brews, s’mores or live music, either (sounds tough, right?)

Paws Up Halloween Cocktails

Enjoy 37,000 acres of pristine wilderness while getting the bejeebies scared out of you.

Halloween Lineup

Friday, October 28, 2016

  • 6:00pm–9:00 pm Dinner in Pomp—a la carte, please RSVP in advance.
  • 6:30pm Meet at the Wilderness Outpost for your choice of activity.
  • 7:00pm Option 1: Zombie Paintball Hunt
    The zombie apocalypse has held all of us captive on shows like The Walking Dead, but here at The Resort at Paws Up, it has come to life. You and a team of other zombie hunters will embark on a wagon ride through the sinister woods of our 37,000-acre property. Zombies will limp after you as you hunt them with paintball guns. You had better be accurate or you might become their prey.
  • 7:00pm Option 2: Haunted Hike
    The woods are spooky, dark and deep, and it’s time to cowboy up. Let your imagination run wild as you tromp through the forest. Did you see a ghost? Or was that a headless horseman? Who can be sure? Hopefully you make it back to the Outpost alive.
  • 8:00pm–Midnight: Music in Tank plus craft beer flight tasting, a bonfire and s’mores.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

  • 8:00am–10:00am Breakfast at your leisure.
  • 9:00am Meet at the Wilderness Outpost for your choice of activity.
  • 9:30pm Option 1: Zombie Paintball Hunt
    The zombie apocalypse has held all of us captive on shows like The Walking Dead, but here at The Resort at Paws Up, it has come to life. You and a team of other zombie hunters will embark on a wagon ride through the sinister woods of our 37,000-acre property. Zombies will limp after you as you hunt them with paintball guns. You had better be accurate or you might become their prey.
  • 9:30am Option 2: Haunted Hike
    The woods are spooky, dark and deep, and it’s time to cowboy up. Let your imagination run wild as you tromp through the forest. Did you see a ghost? Or was that a headless horseman? Who can be sure? Hopefully you make it back to the Outpost alive.
  • 11:30am–2:30pm Lunch at your leisure.
  • 1:00pm–4:00pm Free time: (Wilderness activities and spa services will be priced at reduced rates.)
  • 6:00pm–9:00pm Outlaws and Bandits Dinner (a la carte) and Costume Contest
    Come dressed as your favorite outlaw or bandit and win your dinner! If you receive first prize in the costume contest, your dinner and drinks will be on the house.
  • 8:00pm–Midnight Tank open plus craft beer flight tasting

Sunday, October 30, 2016

  • 8:00am–10:00am Breakfast at your leisure
  • 11:00am Departure
  • All-day shopping available in the Wilderness Outpost
Paws Up Halloween

To make reservations for Halloween, please call 877-758-8644 or chat with us.

10 Things Fans Love about The Resort at Paws Up

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Last week on our Facebook page, we asked fans what they love about our ranch. Whether you have had the opportunity to visit our 37,000-acre ranch or not, there are many things to love—come see for yourself, and let us know what you adore about Paws Up. We have the perfect opportunity for you to schedule a trip, too: We are thrilled to announce that this is the first year the ranch is open 365 days a year! Read on for 10 things fans love about The Resort at Paws Up.

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Guest from Atlanta Watching the sun rise through the trees over a blanket of fresh snow. The outdoor hot tub while it’s snowing, the food, the snowmobile tour through the ghost town. My list could go on and on!

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Guest from California: It’s not just the natural beauty, which is stunning, but also the way you have of making me feel like you’ve just been holding your breath waiting for me to arrive! You made everything so special. From the horseback riding to the couples massage to a visit from Santa. Christmas in Montana at Paws Up was nothing short of magical!

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Guest from Washington: The people! We just got back this week, and everybody was so nice. The scenery was beautiful and the resort is unbelievable, but the staff made it such an amazing experience!

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Guest from Oklahoma: The relaxing experience at the riverside camps. From the time we got up in the mornings to drink the awaiting hot coffee and watch the mist coming off the river until sunset with a glass of wine while watching deer come down for a refreshing drink of river water, it was the most relaxed we’ve been in a very long time!

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Colorado Fan: We haven’t officially met in person. It looks like the best of the West, from horseback riding to dinners on the hillside, fly fishing, activities for kids and spa treatments. And don’t get me started on those glamping tents, especially the ones right on the river that boast one amazing Montana backdrop. I would love to meet you, Paws Up—and bring my children, too!

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North Carolina Fan: Well I’ve daydreamed about it and envisioned its serene beauty from the photos posted and shared by the lucky ones who have made it their destination—I will wait for my time.

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Guest from Nevada: I love the setting of The Resort at Paws Up because it’s in the middle of nature at its best. Whether it’s taking a horseback ride, the Ropes Course, dinner on the lawn or a spa experience, it’s blended perfectly so that you can enjoy the beauty of nature and the experience of what you are doing!

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Guest from Texas Do you have a year? It’s beautiful, looks so relaxing and peaceful. I could go on and on and on!

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Guest from California My favorite memory was having huckleberry oatmeal by the fire each morning. Four years later, and we still order huckleberries.

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Pirnie Art Showroom We love Paws Up because they capture the generous spirit of Montana! Thank you for your incredible donation to the local University of Montana Rodeo Team. (So many of our clients rave about the relaxation and luxury they enjoy while at Paws Up!)