Fishing and Great Food
My brother, Jim, is an avid fly fisherman. Since my husband also enjoys this pastime he asked Jim for suggestions of a new place to try. Jim suggested Soaring Eagle Lodge, owned and operated by Jeff Massey, and situated on the San Juan River in Blanco, New Mexico.
Shortly thereafter we were planning a visit to our daughter and family in Little Rock, Arkansas, and decided to take a side trip to New Mexico for a day of fishing. My husband made the calls and arranged for a 2 night, 1 day of fishing, stay. I have heard stories about other fishing lodges where my husband has stayed so my expectations were not high. I just prayed for cleanliness. Imagine my surprise when we were pointed to our cabin and found it both spacious and spotless. Definitely set up for fishermen (3 comfy beds in the one bedroom) but family friendly with a kitchenette including frig, microwave, and coffeepot. The view of the San Juan River outside our front door was spectacular. Finn and I enjoyed walking and relaxing while David fished.
There was an on-site restaurant of which I was also skeptical. The menu was fixed and meals were served at 7 am (breakfast) and 7 pm (dinner) sharp! Any other restaurants seemed to be located in Farmington, NM, a 40 minute drive away. We decided to go with the flow and put ourselves outside the restaurant door promptly at 7 pm (The door remained locked until that time when someone came out and rang the dinner bell).
The dining room had individual tables set with the names of each group of guests. We liked that as, while we like meeting new people, we are not great at dinner small talk with them. Dinner began with a lovely, fresh salad and warm bread assortment. This was followed by our entree of Prime Rib au Jus with Horseradish (a grand portion), Idaho Baked Potato with Butter and Sour Cream (I so love this all-time standard), and Maple Glazed Carrots (Yum)! We thoroughly enjoyed this wonderfully satisfying meal. Not to be forgotten…dessert! A mouth-watering brownie was topped with amazing ice cream, decadent chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Oh my, what an unexpectedly grand meal! Our next evening meal of Baked Yellowtail Snapper with Lobster Sauce, Basmati Rice, and Garden Squash Sauté was equally delicious.
My husband asked Hapie Hunter, our server and chef’s helper, if we might compliment the chef. Soon Michael WIlliams appeared at our table for a short chat. I asked for a photo and he invited me to the kitchen after they had finished serving all the guests. Chef Williams is a lovely, friendly man, willing to pass on some valuable cooking tips, and committed to the pursuit of great food, He has raised Soaring Eagle from a great fishing retreat to a go-to culinary destination.
Chef Michael Williams in his kitchen.
We would highly recommend Soaring Eagle Lodge.