Sunday, June 29, 2014

US Hwy 191: Pine Creek Lodge

Ten miles south of Livingston, MT -- and just a half mile up the hill from my campground -- is an unexpected culinary treasure. I was referred to Pine Creek Lodge by my campground hosts when I asked if there was anyplace to eat in the nearby area. At first glance when I pulled up, I figured it was going to be a typical "lodge" with mediocre food and rustic ambiance. I was totally wrong.

It's a small place, with a half-dozen tables inside and a few more on a deck outside for use in warm weather. There's also a small bar with five stools, just the kind of spot I like.

Scott runs a quiet, efficient operation, the kind where it's obvious people know what they're doing.

Katrina is a delightful hostess and server, helpful with suggestions about the menu and perfectly attentive.

The menu is one-page, but surprising in it's breadth of offerings. The food descriptions are simple and concise, but make it clear that there's a real chef in the kitchen, not just a cook.

My dinner was perfectly delicious, an impossibly fresh garden salad followed by the kind of melt-in-your-mouth ribs that can only be accomplished by skill and time. In addition to al dente seasonal vegetables and a tasty potato portion, the plating included a delightfully unexpected black bean and corn garnish. Not your typical "lodge" food by a long shot!

If you're ever in the Livingston area -- for which I reprise my enthusiasm -- be sure to make the short drive down the valley to eat at Pine Creek Lodge. There's no better way to finish off a good day of exploration than by having a great meal at an unexpected culinary treasure!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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