It’s where I spent a hilarious weekend, and once I was detained there for a half hour one hot summer day during some road construction. That was all.
The rural Valley County city has a population of around 150, give or take a few. It’s 4,865 feet above sea level and on the northeast shore of Lake Cascade, nestled between Cascade and McCall. I’ve never expected to find anything phenomenal there, but the tweeting BuffaloSous chef Jake Totter got my attention with his lure of the tasty dishes to be had at Buffalo Gal in none other than Donnelly, Idaho. Curiosity was piqued. Since Donnelly’s not exactly a part of my driving routine, this was a destination mini-vacation. A two hour and twenty-three minute jaunt. In other words; road trip. Winding mountain roads, rustic cabins, and frothy water tumbling over boulders along the way are what the drive up offers, accompanied by pine-scented air and a stunning sunset if you go in the evening like we did.
Why? I was soon to find out. In time, owner Julie stopped by our table and introduced herself. She was the woman behind the former Buffalo Gal produce. Years prior, the closest tomato to be bought was in McCall, several miles down the road. Julie not only brought fresh tomatoes to the area, she also brought things like persimmons and other fruits and vegetables that had been unheard of before Julie's arrival. Now she and Tom did the same thing, but with prepared dishes. During the season’s slack times (the months of May and November), the couple re-charges with travel and eats food without any type of agenda.
“Those are sweet potato fries,” she said, “They’re ridiculous. It’s a good thing I don’t have much access to those things; they’re out-STANDING.”
“It was that good. I knew I needed to work here,” he said with a smile. He auditioned with his Chicken Satay, which is now on the menu.
“We don’t believe in subtle flavors,” Tom told us.