view is spectacular.
Every table in the Red Cliffs Dining Room offers an
unobstructed overlook of the dramatic scenery. Ochre cliffs
rise two thousand feet, glowing gold with the evening sun
as the Colorado River winds its way through a spring green
corridor along Whites Rapid, so named in honor of
the White family who originally built the ranch and settled
this rugged Eden. Colin Fryer, current proprietor of the
ranch and lodge, has wisely constructed Red Cliffs Adventure
Lodge to take full advantage of its best feature, the view.
Every room in the lodge includes a furnished patio, the
terraced dining room ensures that every table looks directly
onto the river through immense windows, decks in the restaurant
and the winery offer outdoor dining and a venue for private
wine tastings, weddings and other receptions, and, finally,
the tennis courts convert to an outdoor amphitheatre perfectly
situated at the elbow of the bend in the magnificent river.
There is no bad seat in the house.
spectacular view explains why early settlers and Hollywood
moviemakers have braved the wilderness to use the ranch,
which continues to function as a working cattle ranch. Colin
Fryer explains, Im committed to maintaining
the western tradition. Although he still answers cowboy
when asked about his occupation, his vision has expanded
the White Ranch, which was established in the late 1800s
by original settlers to the Moab area, into an adventure
lodge where visitors can experience the beauty of the West
without having to endure the hardships of its ruggedness.
The dining room and winery are essential parts of this worthy
The decor of the dining room reflects Fryers aim.
Upon entering the room, the visitor is greeted by the spectacular
view ahead. A glass-paneled wall and vaulted ceiling create
the effect of blending the indoors with the outdoors. The
cathedral ceiling is supported by three massive, unfinished
pine pillars and the room is furnished in blond wood, which
all adds to the feel of the outdoors.
The restaurant appropriately features southwestern fare.
Katie Victor, manager of the dining room, describes the
fare as hearty cuisine which comes in large
portions, the type of meal to satisfy a cowhand coming off
a hard days labor at the ranch or exhausted adventure-seekers
after a full day of trail riding and river rafting, which
are among many activities offered at the lodge. The menu
includes a plentiful selection of items that range in taste
from the Mushroom Filo Strudel to the Filet Mignon topped
with a Sauce Bernaise to the Utah Trout. A good opportunity
to sample the food is Sunday, when the restaurant serves
an extensive buffet. The dessert selection is copious, but
the house special, the Almond Tulie, a sweet confection
consisting of a scoop of vanilla ice cream resting in a
caramelized almond and honey shell, is a standout. Another
decadence worth indulging in is the wine list which features
among other options the Castle Creek wines produced from
the lodges own winery. Visitors can enjoy the opportunity
of sipping and sampling the Castle Creek production while
admiring the view and relaxing on the outdoor deck. However,
the winery itself is worth a visit.
Located on the premises, the large wooden structure houses
the largest winery in Utah. Castle Creek invites visitors
to observe the wine-making process at their own convenience
or on a guided tour. The winery also includes a gift shop,
tasting room and large hospitality room with an adjacent
deck sporting the same magnificent view of the Colorado.
Red Cliffs Lodge caters seminars, private tastings and parties
of varying sizes. Although the winery already produces approximately
6,000 gallons of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer a year, the
official grand opening is set for this month.
Another event taking place this month at Red Cliffs is the
Moab Music Festivals presentation entitled America
the Beautiful, marking the first anniversary of September
11. The program will take place in the new amphitheatre
and will include a reading by local celebrity writer Terry
Tempest Williams and a narrated piece entitled Conversations
with Essie, composed by Utah Symphony Associate Concertmaster
Gerald Elias. This composition focuses on Essie White, one
of the original owners of the White Ranch, who has humorously
recorded her story of running the ranch single-handedly
while raising three children. The program celebrates the
unyielding American spirit that supported the early adventurers
who settled the magnificent wilderness of this country.
What better place to celebrate than under the shadow of
the dramatic canyon as the setting sun bathes the spectacular
view in gold.
And the view really is spectacular.
The lodge is located 14 miles up Highway 128, and the restaurant
is open Monday-Saturday from 5:00p.m.-10:00p.m., and a buffet
brunch is offered on Sundays from 11:00a.m.-5:00p.m. The
winery is open for tours and tastings Monday-Saturday. Entrees
range from $10-$22. Discount coupons (10% off) are available
at the Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
For more information or reservations, please call 435-259-2002.
of the Month
Creek Merlot Chocolate Cake
A dark, decadent
chocolate cake with a hint of Merlot (Castle Creek
Merlot is a wonderful rich, deep red wine with the
essence of choke cherries and raspberries.) Use
the best quality and freshest ingredients available.
We use farm fresh eggs and Tahitian vanilla. This
cake is wonderful served warm with a fresh raspberry
sauce poured generously on top while warm and finished
with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup Castle Creek Merlot (you can use half
Merlot and half water for a milder version)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (good quality, preferably
Dutch Process Cocoa)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter, add sugar and
beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, stir
in vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add
to wet mixture in thirds alternately with the Merlot
wine starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until cake top
springs back when touched lightly, approximately
40 minutes. (I also know it is about ready when
the room fills with the aroma of chocolate and raspberry.)
2 to 3 cups of fresh raspberries (you can substitute
with frozen if unavailable). Cook over low heat
to a boil and stir in sugar to taste. Cool, puree
and serve. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Fresh Whipped Cream
Pour 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into a glass
bowl. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and whip on high
for one minute. Add powdered sugar to taste (less
is more when preparing fresh whipped cream to really
appreciate the flavor of the cream). Whip on high
until stiff peaks begin to form.
Courtesy of Red Cliffs
Restaurant Pastry Chef, Theresa Carey.