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Winemaker's Journal — Kingfisher

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Strip steak
New York strip with wild mushroom gnocchi

Can't decide what you want for a special dinner? The Kingfisher Restaurant and Wine Bar at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort near Leavenworth is a restaurant where you can have it all.

Suppers are served gourmet buffet style with usually three or more entrees selected and prepared by staff under the direction of Executive Chef Joshua Holmes. A trip through the appetizer and salad bar can be purchased with or without the full meal. Wines can also be purchased by the glass at a tapas bar if you're looking for an appetizer and wine evening or afternoon.

Produce and herbs are grown at the resort in Sleeping Lady's two-acre garden and greenhouse or purchased from local farmers when in season. Seafood and meats are sourced from sustainable farms and fisheries.

Nestled among pine and fir forest and granite boulders and bordering Icicle Creek, a visit to the lodge-like restaurant and Sleeping Lady's national park-like grounds is an experience in itself. A shimmering glass fountain among the boulders just outside the Kingfisher was designed by renown glass artist Dale Chihuly.

The resort is much used by businesses and organizations from around the world as a conference center and retreat. The on-grounds Snowy Owl Theater and Icicle Music Center is frequented by artists and music students from throughout the Northwest and much farther. You never know who you might run into while dining at the Kingfisher.

It was a quiet night when our Dream Meal team visited and that was nice too, with a fire crackling in the massive stone fireplace. Our meal included the entire buffet, but we were requested to pay special attention to the butternut squash appetizer, New York strip steak and gnocchi and wild mushroom entree and the chocolate raspberry cake. We loved all of those items, and so much more.

Since our dinner was in October, the salad bar and entree table was rich in fall vegetables and several varieties of wild mushrooms. I returned a few days later to eat again, feasting on just the great salad bar and soup.

Madeleine, our server, showed her wine knowledge by directing us to a delicious and reasonably-priced Magpie Red house blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah made by Maryhill Winery near Goldendale. She threw in a wine trick with our two corks free of charge. We left happy, very full and baffled by that trick.

The full buffet line is spendy, but the food is excellent and walking through the Sleeping Lady grounds is itself a wonderful Cascade experience.

Kingfisher Restaurant and Wine Bar, 7375 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth; reservations suggested 548-6344. Full dinner $45, salad bar only $15, salad and dessert bar $25.


The Dream Meal Team has been at it again. For the second year, our group of three experienced foodies took on the enviable task of dining out once or twice a week at some of the region's finest restaurants for reviews and to pick the best appetizer, salad, entree and dessert for the Foothills magazine's annual Dream Meal. The winners — and there were many — are published in the January-February issue of Foothills, now available at many locations. Reviews of all participating restaurants will appear one each week on the Winemaker's Journal website.

The Dream Meal review team is made up of Annette Pitts, director of the Cascade Loop Association, former caterer and food blogger; Kent Getzin, Wenatchee School District director of food services and member of the National Farm to School Board of Directors; and Rick Steigmeyer, food and wine blogger and Wenatchee World staff writer. Most of the food photos were taken by Kent and his nifty iPhone 5.

All meals were provided by the restaurants, most drinks were purchased. As current or former food service workers, we all want to see local restaurants succeed. Criticisms, if any, are all meant to be constructive.