Blog Archives

Montana Morels: A Springtime Delicacy

Montana Morels: A Springtime Delicacy

June 21, 2011  |  Eat  |  6 Comments

Foraging for morels is a Montana rite of spring. My five-year-old says it’s even better than an Easter egg hunt. I have to admit; morels sautéed in butter and garlic taste infinitely better than hard-boiled eggs. Over Memorial Day Weekend, my family foraged among cottonwoods at a top-secret spot on the Yellowstone River and was rewarded with a giant bagful of the springtime delicacies.

“People seem to love morels more than anything,” says Mira Trafton, a Livingston mushroom enthusiast who’s foraged since she was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. Mira owns a microscope for taking spore prints, and names like “polypores” and “inky caps” roll off her tongue at regular intervals. “Mushrooms are like aliens to me. There’s no rhyme or reason to them. But with morels, it definitely seems to be a temperature and elevation thing.”

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Harper & Madison

Harper & Madison

June 9, 2011  |  Eat  |  7 Comments

Beneath a striped awning, a constant stream of foot traffic files through the front door of Harper & Madison, a charming new bakery and café tucked inside a former grocery store in a residential section of downtown Billings. Unless you’re local, you won’t stumble upon this North 10th Avenue hideaway. You have to seek it out, but it’s well worth the sleuthing. “It feels French, yet urban,” says owner & pastry chef Joanie Swords, who opened the business this past March, modeling it after the little neighborhood cafes found throughout France. She named it after her daughter and son, who can often be spotted taking orders up front.

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Good People in Badlands

June 9, 2011  |  Eat, Shop, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

Kim Trangmoe, Executive Director of Glendive Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture, shares some local knowledge, taking you hiking in Makoshika State Park, paddlefishing at Intake Fishing Access and into the Beer Jug for Popcorn & Swiss Brauts. Stay tuned for upcoming, in-depth posts on dinosaur digging with Marge & Shanna Baisch, the Charley Montana Bed & Breakfast and Paddlefishing at Intake You can also come along with my husband & our three kids on a rip-roarin’ Badlands Family Vacation. Stay tuned….

Made With Love in Miles City

Made With Love in Miles City

May 23, 2011  |  Eat, Towns  |  11 Comments

One of my favorite Montana coffee houses is a little Basque joint that roasts its beans fresh every morning…uses all organic, fair-trade, shade-grown Arabica beans of single origin…and, get this: it’s in MILES CITY.

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Highway 12 – Roundup to Forsyth

May 17, 2011  |  Drive, Eat, Saloons, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

I felt like since I just did a multimedia piece on The Jersey Lilly Saloon, that I should show what it’s like to get there. If you’re not coming via gravel, you’re going to be traveling on US HWY 12 East coming from either Roundup or Forsyth.

My friend Robert Lewis, a photographer I used to assist, hired me to location scout this 102 mile stretch for John McNeil Studio. Here are some shots from that drive, which I made in September 2009.

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Jersey Lilly Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed

May 11, 2011  |  Do, Eat  |  2 Comments

I love every square inch of Montana. But there are a few places I consider The Best of The Best, and The Jersey Lilly Saloon in Ingomar is one of them. You drive & drive and drive east out of Roundup on HWY 12, passing through towns like Melstone, Musselshell & Sumatra on two lanes surrounded by nothing but sky and sagebrush. Then all of a sudden, you see the town of Ingomar—which has a population of maybe 10–from quite a distance. It’s almost like a mirage. And the Jersey Lilly is very much an oasis.

In 1999, I shot my friend Bill Dutton’s 50th birthday party here. I’d met Bill at a branding on the Bill Brown ranch that spring. At most brandings I’d been to, they fried the nuts up on the spot… but these guys were going to freeze them for Bill’s big party in the fall. In September, Bill called to formally invite me to the party (he’s got such a great voice I pulled the tape from my answering machine & saved it!) and my mom and I drove down. It was amazing! It was my third visit to the Jersey Lilly, and I felt like I was going back in time. I shot it in black and white with my Hasselblad, and Eric O’Keefe, the editor of Cowboys & Indians, ended up running an 8-page feature on it. SEE SPREAD HERE (I have a pdf of it, Mike.)

Last August, Bill called me up and invited me to another oyster feed he and his cousin Dave Dutton and their wives were throwing. I went, and this is it. Though the multimedia piece shows a lot, I recommend viewing the extra images on flickr. I had to make brutal editing choices, leaving some of my favorite images out, and flickr can show you what you missed. What a place!

Mother’s Day in Martinsdale

Mother’s Day in Martinsdale

May 7, 2011  |  Eat  |  No Comments

I always choose going on a road trip to celebrate Mother’s Day, and I usually pick a route that enables us to stop and eat at the Crazy Mountain Inn in Martinsdale. The drive to the historic small town, nestled between the Crazy, Castle and Little Belt Mountains on Highway 294, is picturesque no matter how you get there.

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