A Presidential Passion

What sort of wine trivia should one write about for the first quarter of the year?  Perhaps Valentine’s Day?  Or maybe Presidents Day?  Or perhaps we could combine those two subjects into a brief discussion of some President’s illicit love affair?  But, as many as there have been, how do you choose which one to write about?  So, I guess I’ll just concentrate on Thomas Jefferson’s deep passion for wines (rather than William Jefferson Clinton’s deep passion for “cigars”).  I believe Thomas Jefferson might be a subject I could broach without offending anyone.  (Well, as long as we leave his offspring out of it, right?)

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Indulging in Winter Warmers

There are many remedies geared towards fighting off Old Man Winter but the ones I hold near and dear come packed with herbs, spices and high alcohol content.  That’s right; I’m referring to winter warmers and wassails.  I can’t say I’m familiar with any published or set guidelines defining exactly what a winter warmer is but if you check the beer displays from most well-stocked stores, you might be surprised at the number of seasonal beers that include this term in the name or elsewhere on the label.  While a winter warmer is typically malty and sweet, wassails usually have spices added to the hearty malt backbone.  Both come in a range of colors from brownish reds to nearly pitch black.
        So let’s get started.

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Ski for Life:

Showdown Montana’s “Ski P.E.” Program

Text by Shane Klippenes  •  Photos provided by Showdown

Would you refer to a ski resort as “An innovator in the field of child health and physical conditioning”? Perhaps it would be appropriate if you were talking about Showdown Montana.

While fighting obesity and disease by encouraging children to put down the IPhone and “go do something” is all the rage these days, Showdown has been leading the charge since 1975, promoting skiing and winter sports to the youth of Central Montana through their Ski P.E. program.

Ski P.E. is a one day program (schools can opt to come multiple times) that includes equipment rental, lift ticket and a two hour class for a significantly reduced rate. This isn’t just an unsupervised day off from school either; students are placed into classes based on their ability level, instructed by long time Ski School folks throughout the morning, and turned loose to ski runs that are appropriate to their skill level after lunch.

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Taking Care of Our Own

Farm in the Dell Rocky Mountain Front

Text by Suzanne Waring

Our society is structured around those self-supporting individuals who can attain an education, grow up to work at a job, and raise a family.  This sequence has naturally evolved because that’s how  a majority of people find fulfillment.  But what happens to those who are unable to matriculate through life in a typical manner?

Steve Lettengarver and his wife, Glena, of Fairfield have asked themselves this question because they have a daughter who is developmentally disabled (DD).  What would give her an opportunity for seeking fulfillment in her own way?  What will happen to her when they are no longer around to guide and to care for her?

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SignatureMT’s Chef Challenge

Cuisine-O Royale

Text by Heather Bode |  Photography by Rhonda Adkins

Intrigue, ticking clocks, ingenuity, and sabotage. Although these may bring to mind the next James Bond movie, instead, this is SignatureMT’s Chef Challenge. The Chefs’ Challenge consists of three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. For each course, chefs receive a time limit and a basket containing four mystery ingredients which must be included in the dish created. Judges taste and critique each course and eliminate chefs until there is just one winner.

First, let’s meet our judges:

Veronica “Eat with your Eyes” Ronnau of Pizazz, Janet “I’ve Never Judged Anyone” Walter of Bert & Ernie’s, Heidi “I Love Food” Reiste of Electric City Coffee, and Rachel “Keep it Basic” Shane of Rikki’s Pizza & Pasta.

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Smaller Plates, Bigger Flavors

Text by Colter Pedersen  |  Photography by Jacqui Smith

Taking on Tapas in a Steak and Potato Town

Black and white pictures, neon signs, a King Kong poster just past a wooden horse, walking through the front door of Bert & Ernie’s presents a kitschy, eclectic combination of keepsakes and Helena history, 40 years in the making.

Then a quick look to the left delivers a different take entirely, upscale, refined, ringed in glassware and borderline bougie. That’s the original wine bar, opened 11 years ago, and the gateway to the restaurant’s deeper dichotomy, two fully functioning operations offering distinctly different, yet completely complementary experiences, all under one roof.

Both recently renovated, each creates its own ambiance, with familiar family fare (pizza, burgers, beer) on one side and a decidedly more experimental menu on the other.

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