Every year the Wood River Valley votes on the best of — the best food, the best drinks, the best place to gather or hike, the list goes on and on. So we figured just as ‘Best of 2015’ is hitting print we would come out with our own best of the valley with a Brass Blossom twist.
Here is our 20-something, female-influenced best of the valley!
best taco — KBs
- famous for their fish tacos, KBs is a Ketchum (and Hailey) staple – the staff is super friendly, the food is fresh, and you can always go for a burrito in a bowl or make your own burrito bowl (add everything minus the meat) which is what taylor always goes for as a healthier option.
best pizza — ENOTECA or WISEGUY
- go for Enoteca for a more specialty gourmet take on pizza — insanely delicious!
- wiseguy is your go-to for take-out, delivery, or a quick slice with friends (they also have gluten-free crust!).
best burger — POWERHOUSE
- we often complain that Powerhouse isn’t in Ketchum…the food is fresh, homemade, and inventive, and the price point is manageable.
- krista loves the classic burger, the chili and the fries, while taylor opts for the oat burger tacos with a large side of truffle fries or two
best cup of coffee — VELOCIO
- the baristas at Velocio are geniuses — you can’t find better espresso or foam designs anywhere else in Ketchum! taylor’s favorite is their chai latte’s minus the cinnamon
- Velocio is also a favorite spot for some studying, work, or blogging — the ambiance is awesome with the big garage door, Baldy views, and contemporary but warm feel.
best locally-sourced dinner — CK’s REAL FOOD
- everything at CK’s seems to melt in your mouth…in the best way possible. their ingredients are as locally sourced as possible and farm fresh daily.
- try the gaucho steak as a great go-to. their gluten free bread is also insane…
best “mom-friendly” brunch — CRISTINA’S
- Krista worked at Cristina’s for 7 years as a hostess, waitress, and “counter girl,” which would be enough to put anyone off of the food of any restaurant for life…not in the case of Cristina’s — the food is just that good. Cristina is a famous cookbook author, chef to the celebs, and quintessential Italian, and her charming salmon colored house is the place of culinary dreams come true…
- try the chicken milanese sandwich, the San Francisco airport salad, the burrata caprese, or the super thin crust pizzas…YUM! sunday brunch brings lots of delicious sweet breads and weekly specials.
best “last night was aggressive” brunch — THE KNEADERY
- at that moment when you realize, “ugh, I went to the casino last night,” you immediately think of breakfast at the Kneadery. the Kneadery is owned by the same family as The Pioneer, and it shows — it is a well oiled machine, which is great when all you need is coffee, water, sprite with a straw, and corned beef hash in your belly asap…
best sandwich — BIGWOOD BREAD
- Bigwood Bread is taking over…in the best sense possible. they have two café locations and ship their delicious breads all over the state of Idaho.
- krista’s favorite is the Cilantro Lime Salad…if gluten was a better friend, it would be a Reuben every time…Taylor opts for the Baldy Power Bowl every time.
best bar — THE CELLAR PUB
- this is the true local watering hole. whether your in the mood for a cold Budweiser or feeling a little classier and hankering for a martini or greyhound, the super freindly and funny staff at The Cellar will take care of you
- they also serve food later than others in town — up until a shocking 9:30 p.m. the Ahi Tuna Salad features the same sushi grade ahi that the owners provide to their other restaurant, Sushi on Second. Taylor loves the Vegetarian Burger as the non-meat options are slim pickings…
best wine selection — WINE COMPANY
- if you’re going for class and want a classy bottle of wine, the Wine Co. is your best friend — sample some for yourself and treat yourself to a delicious antipasto platter. they have a great deck in the Summer or a warm and sunny Winter day and a cozy fireside in the Winter.
best beer — LEFTY’S
- when we first moved back here, the boys could be found at Lefty’s essentially every night. they have the tall glass “big beers,” and you know you’re a local when you get your own Lefty’s mug that hangs on a hook form the ceiling.
- they serve a variety of beers on tap, ciders (Stella’s new cider is a great, gluten-free Summer option), and Omission (the best Gluten Free beer), and check out their monkeys and wings for a great “pairing.”
best cocktail — THE CORNERSTONE
- the Cornerstone is where you go for a cocktail that doubles as a work of art…they use inventive ingredients, and the result is always delicious. Cornerstone is the home of the ginger margarita and the best dirty martini in town…
best caterer — THE HAVEN
- we clearly love The Haven. my god is it delicious! Kellee will elevate any gathering your have with her homey, delicious catering. during a crazy Christmas season last year, Krista’s family enjoyed mac-n-cheese, winter salad with kale, spinach, brussels, squash, goat cheese, and nuts, pigs in a blanket, chicken, the list goes on…you can’t go wrong with some snack from The Haven!
best date night — ENOTECA
- we cannot get enough of Enoteca. it’s always packed, so make a reservation, or try your luck at snagging a couple spots at the bar. the ambiance is amazing — compliments of Jennifer Hoey design and our very own Abbey, and the price point is perfect for a cozy yet affordable date night.
- definitely taste the burrata, the brussels, the duck confit, the mac-n-cheese if you’re pants are feeling loose and any of the pizzas. for dessert, we recommend the affogato. also, we can’t forget about the wine…their friendly and knowledgable staff will help you make the best choice for your dinner and also taste anything you’d like. and top it off with one of their incredible espressos for post-dinner.
best slack special — RICO’S AUTHENTIC ITALIAN
- you may have to ask for the menu and details…but Rico’s has the best slack special in town with a glass of wine or beer, a small salad or cup of soup, and a lasagna, spaghetti, or individual two-topping pizza for just $10. you can’t beat that! definitely the best place for a last minute book club sesh.
best sushi — ZOU 75
- you may not think that sushi and a landlocked state would go well together…but in all honesty, Zou 75 has the best sushi we’ve ever tasted, anywhere.
- try the South Valley roll, “D” style (after our friend Derek, their incredible and inventive executive chef), the tiger rolls, the beef tetaki, and an all-time favorite, the tuna tartar.
best affordable ethnic food — RICKSHAW
- Rickshaw is best enjoyed family style, and they serve a delicious lunch on Fridays as well. go for the house red for a solid, affordable pour, and order away — you can’t go wrong!
- we especially love the bok choy, papaya salad, green curry chicken, dan dan noodles, and …everything else!
best not-so affordable ethnic food — GLOBUS
- globes offers fantastic asian food in a sophisticated setting. their pad thai and curry dish are classics, the brussels are way too good to be true, and their gluten free calamari is soooo yummy. taylor gets the green thai curry every time despite being slightly allergic to eggplant (a non-substitutable ingredient). it’s that good. this is a great place for family style as well, as there are plenty of small plates to share.
best “i’m 20-something & semi-broke” dinner — PIONEER
- the saying is that “if you haven’t been to the Pioneer, then you haven’t been to Ketchum.” we’ll back this up. not only is it a Ketchum establishment, it is an ever-popular and truly delicious steakhouse. the best deal in town is likely the Jim Spud — a fully loaded baked potato with pieces of sirloin inside of it…it’s also about the size of your face.
- their salads are fresh and satisfying, the artichokes are always tender, and we’re still trying to figure out how to replicate that rice recipe. and don’t forget to try a bar marg (which you apparently get a free one with a Magic Lantern Movie Ticket?), and always go for the baked potato! keep an eye out for great discounts like Pio Days and locals specials during slack. it’s always worth the wait!
best “i need something green after a weekend binge” — GLOW or NOURISHME
- we live in a very health-conscious community, and Glow and NourishMe is where the true health freaks flock. while both offer great natural products and vegan fare, we love them for their juices and smoothies.
- NourishMe also carries fresh fava beans, which are Taylor’s go to protein source at the moment.
- Krista loves the veggie toast from Glow as a great lunch go-to.
best “i have to hurry back to work lunch but don’t want something processed or fried” — THE HAVEN FOOD TRUCK
- if you’re looking for a healthy but filling (and crazy delicious!) lunch, head to the Haven food truck at lunch hour. their falafel is to die for (taylor once ate it for a week straight), and their daily specials keep you interested and constantly coming back for more!
best fly-fishing shop — LOST RIVER OUTFITTERS
- both of the boys are former (slash somewhat current) employees at Lost River Outfitters. this shop is a truly local enterprise that offers great inventory and great fly-fishing trips.
best “i need a gift” shop — KETCHUM FLOWER COMPANY or THE GARDENS
- Ketchum Flower Company never disappoints. you can always go in to find a little or big gift for someone. they have great little books, candles, flip flops, bags, jewelry and clothing galore. plus they are located in the most adorable, shuttered, colonial “house”.
- The Gardens is a (somewhat) newer establishment to Ketchum but just so happens to be fantastic. whether you are looking for a “garden” type gift or a gift for a mother, this is the place to go. and not to mention everything smells delicious in there!
best place to buy a present for yourself (affordable) — GIRL FRIDAY
- not only is it the best place to buy a gift for someone else, but Ketchum Flower Company/Girl Friday is the best place to buy an affordable gift for yourself! we have both gotten several clothing items and Taylor recently scored an amazing sale deal on a dress she had been eyeing for months.
best place to buy a present for yourself (may break the bank) — SWAY
- we love Sway and will likely always love Sway despite their price point, which seems to be gradually rising. when it first opened down the block by Velocio we both scored several closet staples…summer dresses, wedding-guest dresses, lace bralets, leather pants, jewelry.
best place to buy something a little special for that someone — MADELINE & OLIVER
- whether it is a little something, something (aka lingerie) for yourself or your special someone or a gift for a bridal shower, this is the place to go. it is like lace heaven…
best place to buy workout gear — SQN
- SQN is definitely hitting higher on everyone’s radars recently and for good reason. they make fairly affordable, workout gear that easily transitions to the Ketchum dress-code of “lifestyle wear.” there “tunic” style shirts and long sleeve shirts are incredibly soft and easy to solely live in.
best home décor store — HUCK & PADDLE
- rustic, Idaho, outdoorsy yet still classy home decor. need we say more?
best “lust-over” home décor store — PICKET FENCE
- and while we want one of everything, our pocket books need to be just a bit deeper for The Picket Fence. but it is still very worthy of some lusting and a splurge every now and then!
best paper store — WILLOW PAPERY
- Willow Papery is paper, ribbon and little gift heaven. we both absolutely adore this store and usually frequent it weekly.
best locally made product — SUN VALLEY MUSTARD
- mustard is where it is at. and Sun Valley Mustard never disappoints. the flavors are spot on and it’s perfect to keep in your cupboard for so many occasions.
best grocery store — ATKINSONS’
- while a majority of our paychecks goes to this fine establishment we really cannot complain. we have one of the finest grocery stores in probably the world and you can literally buy anything and everything you could ever want in one stop. also true to their family values, they have an incredible return policy.
best local company — FIRST LITE
- we debatably lead quite similar lives as the boys now both work at First Lite, after Cha-se recently joined the man crew there. this company is truly outstanding. their product, their service, their dog policy and the way they take care of their employees (and pseudo-families) is something that every company should strive for. we can’t say enough good things about First Lite. also you will likely see us both sporting some new women’s gear!
best place to wash your dog — THE LAUNDROMUTT
- no one likes a dirty dog and they make the deed so much easier (aka no bathtub, mixing bowls and water all over your house involved).
best veterinary clinic — SUN VALLEY ANIMAL CENTER
- another fine family establishment in the Wood River Valley. we cannot give high enough praise to the Sun Valley Animal Center and all of their veterinarians and vet techs. they are like a family and help you through the best and worst of times.
- plus our lovely friend maggie happens to be a badass vet there!
best manicure/pedicure — IN-N-OUT SALON
- there are some things in life that just make you feel better. having your nails done is one of them. they will do a fabulous job and you wont regret it. there are just somethings worth it in life and this salon is one of them.
best place for a facial or massage — ZENERGY SPA
- this picture says it all…
best haircut/highlights — JOANN AT THIRD FLOOR SALON OR DANIELLE AT MANE MUSE
- both of these salons and both of these women are geniuses. neither of us are super fussy about our hair and they manage to wrangle our manes for perfect, everyday hair. and this gives an option in Ketchum & Hailey!
best place to go bare — BARE WAXING BOUTIQUE
- when it comes to hot wax near precious (or not so precious) patches of hair, you want someone you trust. and lea is your woman for hot wax without regrets.
- she just had the most adorable baby but will be back in September and I know we speak for most when we say she cant come back soon enough!
best nonprofit — THE ADVOCATES
- the Advocates mission is to build a community that is free of emotional and physical violence. the organization, the support and annual gala are equally as strong as the mission.
best place to stock up on crafting materials — JANE’S and KING’S
- while we don’t have a “Michael’s” (probably for the best as it would eat us alive), Jane’s and King’s provide pretty much anything you could ever need for crafting! taylor has also pretty much bought out their supply of chalkboard pens. they are game changers!
best photographer — RAY GADD
- ray’s images below speak for themselves. he is an extraordinary lifestyle, outdoors, event and wedding photographer. there is nothing that this man cannot capture!
best pharmacy — THE APOTHECARY
- the ladies (and gentlemen) at the Apothecary will take care of you like you are their own family. this is the place to fill any and every prescription!
best place to get a deal — SUN VALLEY REAL DEALS
- Sun Valley Real Deals is our Idaho version of “Groupon.” it’s fabulous and sends you frequent e-mails with local deals! a must sign up!
best blog — the BRASS BLOSSOM…duh
best annual event — WINE AUCTION, VINE AND DINE
- you pay your entrance to wine and food heaven. about $100 gets you a glass, unlimited pours and a good wine hangover if you so choose. it’s also the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, another incredibly, local organization. Idaho always needs a bit more art and culture…
best live music — SUN VALLEY SUMMER SYMPHONY
- the Symphony is brilliant because it lasts most of the summer and is literally whatever you want to make it. you can simply bring a blanket and go horizontal and zone or you can make it into a picnic, extravaganza. the choice is yours but the music, the atmosphere and the views are always spectacular.
best idaho music — RECKLESS KELLY and MICKY & THE MOTORCARS
- clearly we love Idaho boys (they technically claim Texas but that’s just absurd)…look them up, become a fangirl (or fanboy), stare at them absurdly in local bars. do it.
best aprés ski/any sun valley approved activity spot — APPLE’S
- located at the base of the mountain, Apple’s has it made. after burning all those calories skiing (and let’s be real, having your legs burn like hell), a post-ski beer just hits the spot.
best place to see a movie — MAGIC LANTERN
- pretty much the only place to see a movie but it still is the best! they obviously have great movie theater popcorn and provide strong pours of wine. a winning combo.
best season — SUMMER
- there is no comparison to a Sun Valley Summer – dry heat, sun shine, big thunder-busting rain showers, wildflowers and views like this…
best place to live — KETCHUM
- while neither of us have techincally lived “south,” we still vote Ketchum for best 20-something place to live. super easy access to workouts, bars, restaurants and all those fun things! we will likely feel different in a decade….
best place to instagram — BALDY or VIEWS OF BALDY
- yes, this really is a category and no, you cannot go wrong with a Baldy view. another do it.
best winter activity — SKIING, closely followed by hot-tubbing or eating a baked potato at SEATTLE RIDGE…
- too many amazing winter activities but the good news is that you can literally do them all in one day!
best summer activity — HIKING
- there is no comparison to a Sun Valley Summer and hiking to places like this where you don’t see a soul and are surrounded on all sides by untouched wilderness. it is an experience everyone should experience (like every weekend). hiking definitely keeps us sane and wanderlusting.
best lake scene — REDFISH
- redfish lake was a close runner up for “best place to instagram” as demonstrated below. redfish lake is literally Idaho paradise. there is sun, water, and mountains that rise straight up to the sky. the potential sunburn
best gym — ZENERGY
- Zenergy is likely the nicest gym, spa, pool you will ever go to. and for all you nay sayers, they are really making a good effort to make affordable memberships. another do it. we promise there is nothing about zenergy you will regret.
- they also have amazing classes. from hot yoga that taylor lives for to a barre class with the most lust worthy instructor ever (with a man bun!), you will leave Zenergy feeling like the 50 year old soccer mom just kicked your ass (and that is because she did).
best place to break a sweat — SUN VALLEY CROSSFIT
- in taylor’s opinion there is no better “i have one hour and need to get shit done” workout than Crossfit. literal game changer. #pumped.
best place to swim and catch some sun rays — ZENERGY
- we already raved about Zenergy and this picture proves why. the Zenergy pool is the place to go when you need some vitamin d and self love.
best weekend getaway — STANLEY and REDFISH LAKE
- the Stanley Basin is so close, yet such a different world. it might possibly be the most beautiful (along with coldest) place in the United States. when you need to disconnect and recharge head north.
best tourist activity — GONDOLA TO ROUNDHOUSE
- the Gondola up River Run to Roundhouse is a more recent addition of Sun Valley and it is a good one. not only does if offer the perfect amount of time to get your shit together before skiing but it also offers rides straight up to the iconic Roundhouse if you choose to forgo the skis, and boots, and poles, and helmet, and goggles, and mittens and handwarmers.
- one word: fondue.
best after-work hike — PROCTOR
- Proctor mountain holds a special place in Krista’s heart with a beautiful cairn for her father. the cairn sits at a spot where there is literally no better view of the valley.
- Proctor is also the perfect, quick hike. it takes just over an hour and offers just enough uphill to make you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.
best day hike — PIONEER CABIN
- there was this one time that we were rescued from Taylor’s mother while hiking to Pioneer Cabin from Johnstone Creek but other than that, you literally cannot go wrong with this hike. the pioneers, the cabin and the motto are breathtaking and refreshing.
- make sure to bring a lot of water and maybe leave your doggie friends at home for this hike as there is no water and it is one of those hikes that is all up and then all down. and no, there is no running water in the cabin…
best place to take the dogs for a walk — WARM SPRINGS DOG PARK
- the picture says it all…dog heaven. #reincarnation?
best place to take the dogs for a swim — SUN VALLEY POND
- while we frequent the Hulen Meadows Pond quite often and it offers a different vantage of Baldy, the Sun Valley Pond gets our vote for the best doggie swim spot because it is safe and you know what you are going to get. Sun Valley dogs literally have the best life ever…
best deck — LEFTY’s
- maybe the boy’s are onto something always hanging out on the Lefty’s deck…it wins for the best deck in town with plenty of both sunshine and shade, good drinks and amazing friends – and you can usually find one or two every time you go!