Memorial Day signals the start of summer in the Northwest. The sun starts shining on Lake Coeur d’Alene, reminding us that there are a few months each year without snow. Every year, those of us from the north try to find some way to mark the start of summer on Memorial Day weekend — we break out the grill, dust off our flip flops and plan ways to soak in the sun.
This year, I’m opting for a new Memorial Day weekend tradition — the second annual SOLD OUT Coeur d’Alene Clambake on the Lake. Trust me, it’s even more delicious than it sounds!
The Clambake takes place Sunday, May 28 at The Hagadone Event Center at the Resort Golf Course, the perfect place to soak in some rays and see the most beautiful view of Lake Coeur d’Alene! The Resort Chefs are cooking up something special for this year’s bake! Enjoy great food, music by local band “Nobody Famous Unplugged,” and amazing views as the sun finally starts shining.
I sat down with Bill Hill, Executive Banquet Chef for The Coeur d’Alene Resort, to talk about The Clambake. Between teaching students and preparing for his next big event, Bill made time to answer three questions about this year’s Clambake on the Lake.
So Bill, I’ve heard about some of the basics of it, but tell me about this year’s menu, and the highlights.
Well I know we call it a “clambake,” but we do way more than the name suggests. In addition to clams, we have wild Alaskan crab, lobsters, mussels, shrimp — it’s a whole seafood smorgasbord.
With dinner, we’re also planning Rainbow Potatoes, Smoked Andouille Sausage, and a Piaya Dish that’s about, probably 3 feet in diameter that will be all steamy and hot.
For dessert — yes, we have more! For dessert, we’re planning a pie table with tons of personal-sized pies, carved to order. They’re all handmade in the Resort Bakery, and we’re planning tons of flavors — strawberry, blueberry, apple — and it’ll all be served with homemade ice cream.
Wow, that sounds like a lot of delicious food! Where do you come up with the menu? What’s your inspiration?
Have you ever been to Seattle and seen the way the Native Americans cook over a fire? That’s where the idea came from, especially for the Fire-Roasted Potlatch Salmon.
One of our staff members actually built a fire roaster for us for last year, and it was amazing. We soak alder boards overnight for flavor, and actually have the salmon on these bamboo skews. There are notes of apple, cherry… It’s really awesome.
BL: So, what’s your favorite part about this? What’s the thing you look forward to most about this whole event?
Oh my, it’s just going to be so fun. There’s entertainment for the whole party, and I’ve heard they’re really good. It’s just a chance to enjoy something different from the norm. This is not something we have all the time at The Resort, the whole seafood-inspired menu and bake, so it’s a treat. The whole thing is going to be awesome.
Bill has been the Executive Banquet Chef at the Resort for 30 years and 2 months — he’s very proud that he knows the exact day he started! He said he has a blast working to create unique menus and signature events for the Resort, and is beyond excited that The Clambake will be a Memorial Day tradition for years to come.
Bill told me that The Resort sold out at a whopping 300 tickets this year; the event was so popular last year, it grew by leaps and bounds this time around!
Are you yourself venturing to Coeur d’Alene for this exclusive event? If so, be sure to make a weekend of it and spend some time exploring beautiful downtown while you’re here! The Resort is offering great packages that include all-inclusive dining, activities and amenities. Don’t worry about burning the burgers this year — all of The Resort chefs can whip up something even more delicious with no hassle!
Seafood lovers unite!