Destinations

Feast your eyes on the Rocky Mountains

Vehicles in Idaho boast "Famous Potatoes" on their license plates, and there is good reason why. Idaho's potatoes are monstrous, and you can see for yourself at The Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum.

At this Wild West institution, one potato claims two-thirds of a dinner plate, and once loaded with bacon, chives and sour cream, it's a lot to handle.

Add the Rocky Mountain buffalo burger $15.49 and you've got yourself all the fuel you'll need for the following day of skiing.

Of course, you could opt for one of the cuts of prime rib instead. They come in eight-, 14- and 20-ounce portions. and range in from $23 to $33 in price.

TRAIL CREEK CABIN – SUN VALLEY RESORT, IDAHO

Meatloaf may be daggy in Australia but Americans have reinvented this home staple. They've made it as gamey as possible and you have to try it at least once during your trip.

A great place to do so is at Trail Creek Cabin at Sun Valley Resort.

If you're here in winter, book the sleigh ride to this picturesque log cabin, where you can dine in front of a fireplace while being serenaded by an accordionist.

The Brass Ranch meatloaf is a hearty meal, consisting of buffalo, lamb and apple wood-smoked bacon ($US24). The golden cauliflower custard (like a puree) is a delicious starter ($US10), and the service here is top-notch.

BUCK'S T-4 – BIG SKY, MONTANA

Have you ever heard of duck bacon? Me neither, but it's a specialty at Buck's T-4 at Big Sky.

This place is a low-lying log building that sits roadside and consists of a restaurant, bar and hotel.

It's known for the wild game on the restaurant menu, including the house-cured duck bacon. The red deer with truffle risotto ($US39) is also a popular choice, along with the bison tenderloin ($US39) and bison meatloaf ($US25).

If you want to get really messy, try the house-smoked pork back ribs covered in Jim Beam barbecue sauce ($US27).

If you have any room left, order the skillet-cooked choc chip cookie with ice cream, and don't forget to try the wild huckleberry martini ($US12).

MILLION DOLLAR COWBOY BAR – JACKSON, WYOMING

You can't visit Jackson without calling into the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, or so everyone will tell you.

It lives up to its Wild West reputation, with horse saddle bar stools, knobbled pine decor, a handful of pool tables, and silver dollars in the bar top.

It gets rowdy in the evenings, with live music and swing or country dancing drawing both locals and tourists.

If you call in for lunch, try the buffalo wings ($US12 for a dozen), washed down with hot buttered spiced rum ($US6.25).

THE GRANARY RESTAURANT – JACKSON, WYOMING

For romance in winter and gorgeous views in summer, head to The Granary Restaurant at Spring Creek Ranch.

The Granary is in a beautiful timber building that has views of the Grand Tetons, making it the perfect place for a sophisticated Rockies meal.

The cajun-spiced elk tenderloin ($US41) is a delicious choice, along with the bison ribeye ($US37).

Foie gras is also on the dinner menu, as well as Alaskan salmon ($US29), and a range of pastas, soups and salads.

The waitstaff here are professional and friendly, and if you visit when it's cold, be sure to request the fireside table when booking.

IF YOU GO

GETTING THERE: United Airlines flies a daily direct service from Melbourne and Sydney to San Francisco, from where travellers can get connecting flights on to Sun Valley in Idaho. For more information and to book, call 131 777 or visit united.com/au.

STAYING THERE: For accommodation options and to learn more about each state, go to visitidaho.org, visitmt.com and wyomingtourism.org.

PLAYING THERE: Prices listed on restaurant menus across America don't include state or regional taxes. Tipping is also expected, with 15-20 per cent of the bill the accepted amount.

* The writer travelled as a guest of United Airlines and The Real America



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