Part of the scenery in and around the Methow Valley is the spectacular arrangement of mountains and valleys. Looking westward from Sun Mountain Lodge, you can see the steepest peaks in the distance, eroded hillsides in the middle and glacial valleys in the foreground. Millions of years ago, volcanic eruptions covered this entire region with lava and ash. The westernmost area of the North Cascades were lifted higher and over time, water erosion, landslides and glacial action removed the volcanic layers to the south and southeast, leaving behind the smoothed hillsides we see near Winthrop today.
Sharing the same kitchen as the excellent dining room at Sun Mountain Lodge would seem to bode well for Wolf Creek Bar & Grill. But the chef who oversees the fine restaurant likely has nothing to do with the bar & grill. While the food we had here was not terrible, it was pretty much standard tavern fare.
To its credit, there were half a dozen beers on tap, including the fine Icicle Dirtyface Amber and the middling High 5 Hefeweizen.
The Mediterranean Plate (☆☆) was poorly executed, the components gathered together like an afterthought. It doesn’t take much to cut carrot and celery sticks, scoop out a few Kalamata olives from a jar and slice up some pita bread. The stuffed grape leaves (dolmades) were filled with mushy, bland rice. And the hummus was so thick, you could stick a spoon in it without the utensil falling over. That wasn’t all. The hummus had no detectable tahini paste or much lemon juice. I guarantee this would not pass muster on the dining room side.
The Caesar salad (☆☆½) fared better. The dressing only suffered from a light hand with the lemon juice. Otherwise, nice garlic croutons and restrained garlic and anchovy flavors were present.
Crispy chicken wings (☆☆☆½) were clearly the best thing we ordered—a crunchy batter, balanced sweet and savory barbecue sauce, and a tasty cilantro ranch dressing.
We did overhear another waitress informing her customer that the chicken curry soup was a lodge specialty and has been served for over 20 years. Next time.
Our experience and that of many other reviewers seem to indicate that an upgrade in the menu items is in order to equal the rest of the lodge experience. The wait staff, as is true of the entire Sun Mountain Lodge personnel, is very friendly.
While enjoying margaritas and chips & salsa at Carlos 1800 Mexican Grill in Winthrop, we noticed what looked like pine needles sitting in containers of soapy water. Surely the restaurant wasn’t using them for botanical decoration, was it? Our waiter informed us that it was their way of safely controlling the wasp population that had been getting out of hand, going so far as stinging customers. Rather than having harmful chemicals lying about or using bug zappers, they soak these bundles of needles in a solution of 7-Up and detergent. The sweet liquid gets absorbed by the needles and pine pollen. It’s all a wasp can do to avoid eating the pollen to which it is attracted. The deadly solution attacks the nervous system, so the waiter said. The bug either drops into the liquid on the spot and drowns or dies elsewhere if it flies away. Simple and natural. Anyone else here of this?