A blog about food
Mick Jagger knew what he was talking about when he wrote, “Time waits for no one and it won’t wait for me.” So, when a certain milestone birthday came along a few days ago, I thought it deserved a milestone celebration. Since I’m not 21 anymore, table dancing at Whiskey’s seemed silly. (Although we did head to the Casino after dinner to continue our celebration.) Instead, I decided to go old-school all the way. No trendy martini bars or reservations at the new, hip spot—we wanted to celebrate in a classic, Sun Valley style. Walking home one evening on Sun Valley Road, Michel’s Christiania beckoned with its sparkling lights and gurgling fountain. The walls of the Christiania are lined with photos of Michel Rudigoz (owner) as coach to the U.S. Women’s Ski Team when local women including Christin Cooper, Abbi Fisher-Gould and Maria Maricich—made it to the Olympics. You feel a sense of history when you walk through the front doors. As it celebrates its 52nd anniversary this year, the “Christi” remains a classic, elegant, French restaurant rich with atmosphere and romance.
Lucky me, my birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so we made reservations at 8:30, still light and bright at this hour, and a perfect time to enjoy the Christiania’s illuminated outdoor terrace.
We sat down at the best table on the deck next to the fountain, only the stars above us, and tall thin Aspen trees surrounding us. The setting was elegant yet comfortable. We began our culinary experience with escargot bourguignon ($13) and carpaccio de boeuf ($12.50) (I love it when they speak French to me!) and paired it with a Vinoce Sauvignon Blanc ($39) from the Napa Valley. The escargot were bubbling hot and dripping in an herb, garlic butter, and we sopped up every last morsel with our French bread. The carpaccio was so pink it was almost blushing and sliced so thin it was nearly transparent. The lemon and capers made the beef come alive, and set atop a crostini, it was an appetizer for the gods (as long as the gods are not vegetarian). Perfectly timed, our main courses arrived a few minutes later. We were never left waiting, wanting or feeling rushed. I opted for a Salad de Laitue ($9.95)—bib lettuce with tarragon vinaigrette, Stilton cheese and caramelized hazelnuts and finished it with a Crepe aux Morilles ($15)—Morel mushrooms with a brandy crème in a crepe. The Morels were round and plump, the sauce was rich and sweet, and in its nest of a crepe—fantastic. Accompanied by a light, fresh salad on the side, this was an excellent meal. Peter opted for an old classic—Poitrine de Poulet sux Morilles ($29.95)—sautéed breast of chicken in a Morel cream sauce.
We shared an order of pomme frites (shoestring potatoes that put American “French” fries to shame) and took our time enjoying the ambience; channeling Hemingway and wondering what his Ketchum life as a regular at the Cristi would have looked like. Something tells me that he and Mick Jagger would have approved of how I spent my birthday.