Capturing the essence of elegance in fine dining, I was impressed from the moment I entered the grand foyer of the I. W. Club.  Having enjoyed many wonderful brunches with close friends and family, I was excited to see what Chef Chris Olsen has created for this season’s menu.  Chef Olsen participated in the Crater Lake Chef Challenge, offering some of the most impressive dishes in the competition.  I knew then that I would need to see what else this talented chef has to offer.  I was overwhelmed from start to finish!

My guest and I were seated inside with breath-taking mountain views.  Our server was quick to greet us and make us feel welcome by offering a beverage.  After careful consideration of the menu, we selected a bottle of Pinot Noir from their extensive wine list.  We began with oysters on the half shell, topped with a cool, iced Crater Lake Pepper Vodka “slushy”.  It was not only refreshing, but definitely the best oysters I’ve enjoyed in this valley.  In effort to try a variety of items, we decided to follow these oysters with the Chef’s Tasting Plate, an appetizer including a crab and shrimp cake, gorgonzola stuffed local dates wrapped in bacon and a braised duck taco.  This was perfection.  The duck was tender and moist while the crab cake with shrimp was meaty and full of flavor.

We followed our appetizer by sharing a beet and goat cheese salad that was creamy and left us speechless!  Our server was clearly a professional, knowing when to approach the table and when to let us enjoy each other’s company.  Good service can either make or break a meal and they have found the perfect balance at the I. W. Club.  Just when I thought I could not be more impressed, our entrees arrived.  Their Organic Scottish Salmon, served on a miniature pink Himalayan salt block, served aside a quinoa and edamame “risotto” is certainly the best salmon dish I have ever tasted!  It simply melts in your mouth like butter!  We also enjoyed their Duo of Lamb, offering lamb osso bucco and lamb chops with cous cous.  This was a hit, and beautifully plated!

Chef Olsen was able to visit the table and shared with us that much of their menu caters to those that have digestive issues like Celiac Disease.  This gluten intolerance requires many to omit flour or any kind of wheat from their diet.  Many entrees and desserts are gluten-free and still full of flavor.  We shared two of these desserts.  The Carrot Cake is decadent and rich, topped with crispy sweet organic carrots and you would never guess that the Chocolate Mousse Dome is not only gluten free but sugar free as well!  After this incredible meal, we decided to enjoy our after dinner drinks on their elevated, heated patio.  This was the highlight of our evening and a perfect end to this perfect dining experience!

Lunch and dinner are available seven days each week with lunch service from 11am to 3pm and dinner service from 5pm to 9pm.  Their famous Sunday Brunch is available from 9am to 1pm.  Call for reservations, 760-834-3800, or visit their website at www.iwclub.com.

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