As the new Innkeepers at Good Medicine Lodge Bed & Breakfast in Whitefish, Montana we are finding ourselves learning a whole lot in the ways of food service. With that comes the art of building the perfect breakfast menu. It is not as easy as it looks.
For one thing, you need to consider what ingredients who have to work with. We took over this Bed and Breakfast in November, so the fresh fruits and vegetables we were used to back in California were a little more difficult to find at the local grocers. Northern Montana surprisingly has a lot of choice when it comes to local and organic selections, but the ripeness and quality of the product might be a little more difficult to sort through especially when not in Summer or Fall. At Good Medicine Lodge, we always serve a fruit side dish with our entrée. As the Winter season cruised along, we noticed organic strawberries were sometimes super juicy and other times pretty blah. We found that fresh mint was hard to find and inconsistent. And that fruit is not always ready to eat. So planning for food to sit for a few days or planning to use substitutions is key to successful menu planning.
Along those lines, we are having to shop at several stores for the week, which is pretty time consuming. The large box stores are great for their bulk prices but you won’t find things like fresh herbs in small batches. The smaller stores are great for finding odd items like coconut sugar and crème fraiche, but are not easy on the wallet. The food delivery companies that come to you typically have a quite a large price minimum and don’t have exactly the prefect quality you want. The goal is to build a menu that helps you optimize your time by choosing items that you can find at one or two locations, because you just don’t have a lot of free time to spend shopping when you are an Innkeeper.
Then there are your guest diets and allergies you have to consider when planning the meals. Each day we try to include a healthy option and a richer option for breakfasts. They are asked to sign up with their selection and time they would like to eat on the night before. We always bake fresh made pastries so we only offer some sweet entrée choices. The goal is to provide as much balance to every meal as possible. We know that every guest will come with their own taste. Some people want to splurge while on vacation, while others want the chance to order something healthy. It’s a tough call to make on which of the recipes to choose for the week.
The previous owners of Good Medicine Lodge left us their incredible cookbooks and there is so much good stuff to choose from in them. We are also wanting to include a few more modern options into the menu to put our own spin on things.
In the off season, we offer two menu options. We have one option that is gluten-free (sometimes also vegetarian and dairy free) and the other is not. That way if someone is coming to stay with us and they didn’t mention their food restrictions ahead of time, we can usually make that one meal option work in their favor. The last thing we would want is for one of our guests to not be fed one of our many impressive entrees.
During our very busy Summer season, we add a third menu option. For Summer 2020, we are thinking about introducing as one of our third options, pancakes with huckleberry syrup (locally made of course), served with bison sausage and fruit on the side. We really want to provide our guests with something that says “Montana!”
Some of our other menu choices are: Dutch Babies served with Fresh Lemon Syrup, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tostada with a Over Easy Egg and Avocado Crema, Classic Eggs Benedict (but we serve ours with spinach), French Toast Strata, Quinoa Sweet Potato Bowl, Grits and Greens, Sauteed Mushrooms on Toast with Hardboiled Eggs and Truffle Salt and the list goes on.
We will be changing the menu up for Summer as the produce options change and grow more abundant. We really love trying new things so we are excited to work on our new menu. Our wonderful staff have been having fun learning all the fabulous ways of cooking eggs and baking the yummy pastries. They have really impressed me with in their short time working with us.
Good Medicine Lodge is also pretty famous for it’s homemade cookies, which are the size of softballs, no joke. Everyone that comes in who has tried them loves them and can’t get enough. We even do appetizers to go with our wine/beer service in the evening. We have such incredible opportunities to learn and grow through the making of all of our food. Currently, we are enrolled at the local city college learning how to decorate cakes. When we have completed the course, myself and two of our employees will have received an official Wilton Cake Decorating Certificate. It’s been so much fun so far.
With all our new skills, I can’t wait to see where we will be a year or five years or even ten from now.
When I imagined being an Innkeeper, I didn’t really put too much emphasis on the cooking and baking part of the job. (That may sound crazy but I was just thinking we would learn as we go.) But this place and all the amazing recipes left here by Betsy and Woody Cox, the previous owners, has really inspired our whole team. I cannot wait to share our creations with you all!
Tell us what recipes are your favorite or let us know if there is a recipe you just totally love. We are always looking for new ideas and our guests provide us with some of the best feedback.
Thank you for reading!!