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Montana | The Last Best Place

If you’ve been to Montana, then chances are you’ve heard someone refer to our state as the “Last Best Place”—and if you’ve been here you know why. I anticipated that this post would be about convincing you the validity of this description, maybe with some visual proof. But with a little research, I found there was an even better story that would do all the convincing for me. So where did this little adage come from? Well, in 1988 writer and professor at the University of Montana, William Kittredge, joined with Annick Smith to publish an anthology of Montana based writings called, The Last Best Place. Once the title hit the public, it was as if Kittredge had finally summed up in just four words what everyone in Montana had already been thinking and feeling. The slogan began to appear everywhere, even in the state tourism office. However, what had become unanimous coinage for the great state of Montana was challenged by corporate privatization when a Nevada businessman, David E. Lipson, wanted to trademark the phrase “the last best place” for his businesses in 2002. While a trademark does not prevent public use it creates limitations and the possibility of…

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Summer Activities | Big Sky Day Trips Part One: Missouri Headwaters State Park

My aunt is on a mission to experience more of our home state—Montana. Having just lived here short of two years myself, I thought that I might join her pursuit. So we got to plotting, convinced my uncle to come along and decided to start in our own neck of the woods by taking a day trip from Big Sky. The itinerary: Missouri Headwaters State Park, Lewis and Clark Caverns, and Virginia City. We made a big loop, leaving Big Sky headed north through Bozeman and then coming home through West Yellowstone. Thankfully, the Sunday we chose for our adventure started out overcast but quickly turned into one of the few and far between sunny days we’ve had this spring. After the hour and 15 minute drive to Headwaters State Park the clouds had dissipated and we were basking in the sun (if you’re reading this Sun, please come back).  So just what is Headwaters State Park? I actually didn’t find out until we got there. Like so much else in southwest Montana, Headwaters is partially caught up in Lewis and Clark’s expedition. In 1805, they camped on what are now the park grounds. As you explore Headwaters dotted throughout…

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Buck’s T-4 Restaurant Reopens for the Summer: Taste the New Menu

I can’t believe that it’s already June, the off-season over and Buck’s T-4 is reopening its restaurant doors tonight. The weather is still wet and spring like but our reward for enduring all the moisture is our own chlorophyll infused oasis. It’s so green, you’re afraid it might rub off on you. We’ve spent the past week at Buck’s in high gear preparing for what is sure to be an exciting summer season.  From planting flowerbeds to spring cleaning we’re ready to go. The highlight of this week for myself and the rest of the serving staff was definitely the menu tasting. Chef Todd Christensen and Food and Beverage Director Chuck Schommer were busy this spring coming up with a truly exceptional summer menu appealing to a wide variety of tastes and palettes. The new menu holds true to Buck’s T-4’s history of catering to both the wild game and steak enthusiast, as well as those desiring something a bit lighter or just plain good comfort food. Of course, we still have our famous New Zealand Red Deer served with port wine butter sauce (liquid heaven) but we’ve created a summer inspired pheasant dish, added coffee crusted Montana elk, and…

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Events | Summer Menu is Here, Doors Open Tonight

We’re back! Yep, it’s that time again, where we wow you with new summer creations and bring back old favorites that fit the warm weather and long sunny days ahead of us (they’re right around the corner, I’m sure). Back after huge success last year, is our Summer Salad– yellow and red watermelon, fresh arugula, red onion and cotija cheese neatly arrayed with a knockout citrus ginger vinaigrette. A new item that is sure to strike your fancy is Green Eggs and Ham. Yep, we’ve made a breakfast sandwich for dinner and it has to be the dish I am most excited to eat all summer long. With Dr. Seuss as inspiration this killer open face sandwich is made with a slice of thick sourdough bread, house smoked Cajun Tasso ham, melted Swiss, wild baby arugula, sliced tomato and topped off with a pesto friend egg. Please feel free to quote Geisel as you’re enjoying this dish because it’s so good you could eat it on a train, you could it in the rain. Buck’s restaurant is open daily starting tonight from 5pm-10pm. Bar open late and don’t even get me started on the new cocktails Lauren and Anna have…

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Recipes | Russian Cream with Raspberries

I have something new and exciting for you this week. Recipes! Periodically, we will sharing some of our favorite Buck’s T-4 recipes from both past and present. We hope to give you a deeper look into our kitchens, the minds that work the culinary magic and allow you to make at home what you have enjoyed at Buck’s. To start off, I picked one of my favorite T-4 traditions, Russian Cream with Raspberries. To my dismay, I tried this delightful dessert in my first week at Buck’s and since have never really given the other desserts the time of day. I’m not the only one who has suffered from this problem because when I asked Mike, Chuck and Dave when this dish first appeared on the menu, none could quite remember–it was so many years ago. Before Dave’s time, before Chuck’s too and Mike’s best guess, 1980. That was 31 years ago and the most incredible detail is that it has never left the menu. Sometime around 1980 a new pastry chef who’d come from Jackson brought the recipe with them and while many subsequent chefs have tried to contemporize the sweet, they’ve never succeeded. If you’ve tried this dessert…

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Snow Today, Summer Tomorrow

Let’s just ignore the fact that it snowed today because now it’s sunny, the sky is blue and the clouds are big and white, and I want to write about summer. We have had one hell of a winter this year, more snow than we’ve seen in years and the powder junkies came from far and wide to feed on the fruit La Nina bestowed on us in Big Sky, MT. Those of us who had the privilege of spending all winter long enjoying the fruit of La Nina are quite happy to see her go. We want summer and if you have ever had the opportunity to taste the Montana summer then you know exactly why. Our summers are golden. Endless days, fresh mountain air, pristine streams, panoramic vistas to be had in every direction. Ever see the campaign about getting lost in Montana, well summer is definitely an excellent time to do it. I’m addicted to the long days; it’s 8:30pm as I write this and not even close to dark. In another month night won’t come until after ten. One of my families favorite summertime activities is to sit outside by the river, build a fire and sip…

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Prime Rib Every Friday for the Rest of the Summer

By popular demand, Buck’s is featuring prime rib every Friday night. Slow-roasted, juicy and flavorful, we’ll have it until it runs out. Accompanied by hand-smashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and Joe Mama’s famous popovers with honey butter. Hungry yet?

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22 Chefs, 22 Pizzas, 22 Smiling Faces

Recently, we had 22 miniature guest chefs on premises at Buck’s T-4. We had the privilege of hosting a field trip for the second graders from Ophir school in Buck’s kitchen. It was one big pizza party where all the students had the opportunity to create personal pizzas. Doug Starz, Todd’s right hand man in Buck’s pub came up with the idea while reading to his son’s class at Ophir School. He asked if the kids would like to do something different during his reading time in the future and came up with a couple suggestions. The make your own pizza party at Buck’s was a unanimous hit. The children’s teacher, Miss Ellis, found creative ways to incorporate the fieldtrip into her lesson plan. In preparation for the fieldtrip the kids used pizza toppings to practice their multiplication tables. They also learned about steps in a process, just like when you build a pizza from the crust up. And probably the best lesson was the Pizza Pokey, a twist on the classic Hokey Pokey song. It goes something like, “You put some sauce on, you take some sauce off…” Jayne, the hotel manager, heard all the little voices singing from…

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Dirtbag for Parents: Buck’s T-4 Hosts Ophir School 30th Annual Pie Auction

Bon Jovi. Bubbles. Spiked Punch. Disco Balls. Sparkly streamers. And lots and lots of pie. 80s prom? Nope, just the 30th Annual Ophir School Council Pie Auction. On Saturday, February 20th Buck’s T-4 hosted the annual pie auction for the first time since its inaugural year. The event raised a whopping $35,000, despite the current economic times and had over 200 people in attendance. Our community really knows how to rally together, go Big Sky! While the event had all the traditional elements—raffle, silent auction and live pie auction—the organizers also added a high school prom theme. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Montana Room at Buck’s T-4 look so spectacular; what, with all the silver and blue streamers, twinkle lights, sparkling stars, balloons galore, and of course patrons dressed from head to toe in prom regalia. The big three at Buck’s, Mike Scholz, Chuck Schommer and Dave O’Connor were happy to see the event return to their venue and eager to help make the night a huge success. The night before I caught Chuck, Food and Beverage Director at Buck’s, preparing Jell-O shots and testing out different punch recipes (spiked, of course) to be served at the prom.…

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