Today was another frustrating start with left over gusty winds from last night. It was a late and staggered opening, as we had to re-groom trails before opening lifts. We finally got the T-bar and two chairs going and the terrain that they serve is now in very good shape. The skies have cleared off and the winds have now dropped off, so we should good to go on all lifts tomorrow. The sun will shine for the next six or seven days. This will be a great week for skiing Saddleback!

When we don’t like the weather, our thoughts turn to good food and beverages. It’s been almost four months now that Saddleback has been open for ski season.  And four months that the Swig n’ Smelt Pub has been open for lunch, après ski and early dinner.  During this time, I have eaten plenty of lunches there and now want to provide you with my top 5 dishes served at the Swig n’ Smelt.

 In no specific order, my favorite dishes are:

Caesar salad with grilled chicken – a hefty bowl of romaine tossed in a lemon Caesar salad dressing served with crunchy croutons and shredded parmesan cheese.  My wife, Lisa complains that this is what I order all the time at lunch, but that’s not true – read on…

Chef Jason Plog’s clam chowder is one of the best I have ever had.  Fragrant with bacon, this creamy concoction has oodles of clams and not too many chunks of potato. I like that it is served in a wide rimmed bowl rather than a cup – a perfect cold weather lunch. 

The person who invented the Reuben sandwich should be commended for his or her creative mix of tart sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island dressing, salty corned beef and nutty Swiss cheese all toasted in marble rye bread – yum.  I know it’s Lisa’s favorite too. 

My fourth favorite dish is Saddleback’s Chili – award winning and another Jason Plog’s specialties.  With large chunks of onion, celery, peppers, ground beef along with a perfect blend of sweet and spice, a bowl of Saddleback’s chili, served with cheese and tortilla chips, is a real treat. 

But what I order more than any other is the turkey Cobb sandwich – a ciabatta roll stuffed with bacon, blue cheese, smoked turkey and tomato then grilled.  A perfect blend of textures and flavors, this and all sandwiches are served with Saddleback’s house-made chunky potato chips – another noteworthy treat to enjoy at the Swig n’ Smelt pub.

Today I made an exception from the favorites list. I ordered the pork tenderloin BBQ sandwich on a ciabatta roll with side salad (pictured here in the blog). This one of the many daily specials offered in addition to the regular menu and can distract me from the above mentioned favorites - it was delicious!

If you would like to contact me, send your thoughts to cklefos@saddlebackmaine.com