HEBER, Utah — From panoramic lake views inside and outside to plates made with a skillful flair for flavor balance, dining at The Lakehouse and experiencing chef Tamara Stangers’ unique dishes will leave diners wanting more.
Stanger, the creative force behind The Lakehouse at Deer Creek restaurant, brings history to life in her culinary creations. Using Utah’s native ingredients as inspiration, Stanger creates unique dishes that she calls “Utah heritage cuisine.” Most dishes are crafted from stories of their components, so each bite delivers a uniquely delightful experience.
As a Utah native, Stanger is no stranger to an abundance of rural areas that provide a vast environment to forage ingredients. But, with winter in full swing, she finds herself creating new menu items that speak comfort to diners.
“We simplified it a lot; I feel like most people coming are locals from Heber city [etc.] So I am taking a step back and reintroducing things,” Stanger said. “I want people to get comfortable with the food, make it approachable. Nice, warm, homestyle food that feels good for how cold it is.”
Pioneer Pies have been a staple on the menu since the beginning. Stanger is a genius with homemade crust; fillings are changed daily. One can’t go wrong with the daily offerings with ‘crust’ in the description. Also on the winter menu is Rabbit Bolognese Lasagna. Layers of local cheese and sweet potato create a mildly savory dish topped with farmer’s pesto. The combination of flavors is perfectly satisfying.
“I was raised on rabbit; people think it is gamey, and it really isn’t,” she said. “Our menu is pretty protein-heavy; that is what people want in this area. I love local ingredients and care about the historical stuff, why certain foods are around, the stories around them. My personal favorite, and one that will probably never come off the menu, is the Nixtamalized Squash. It is one of the first uses of chemistry in food. I forage the juniper, burn it down, then mix it with the squash. By doing so, we enrich the nutrients that you can’t get otherwise. There is as much calcium in an ounce of juniper ash as a glass of milk.”
The Duckfat Frybread Scones pay homage to the Native American culture that came through Utah, and the Grass-fed Cowboy Ribeye is the perfect sharable dish. Stanger has mastered the old ‘frontier steak sauce’ as an accompaniment.