Weekend Getaway, Part III: Fine Wine, Dine Fine

Formal dinner table setting at The Grand Hotel – tangledpasta.net

Venetian glass chandelier, the Cupola Bar atop The Grand Hotel – tangledpasta.net

The stellar breakfasts and five-course dinners at The Grand Hotel satisfy the most finicky of tastes.  The wine lists and cocktail offerings make for leisurely dining and even quietly rocking on the 660-foot porch satisfying.    A restaurant that serves up divine grits is my kind of place, and The Grand Hotel’s Salon Manger fulfilled my Southern breakfast longing.  We heartily partook of a fresh vegetable omelets, grits, mango juice, tea, and croissants to hold us throughout the day until the magical stroke of six o’clock in the evening.

Veal osso bucco, The Grand Hotel – tangledpasta.net

Each evening at six, The Grand Hotel staff circulate on the mammoth porch and throughout the hotel to remind guests it is time to dress for dinner.  Part of the charm of this hotel is that formal dress is required:  suits for the gents and dresses or skirts, or pantsuits for the ladies.  Even the children dress to the nines for the evening at The Grand Hotel.  It seems to me that everyone stands a bit taller and walks with a more confident air because of the formal attire each evening.  The five-star dining experience is very much worth the effort of “getting done up”.

White chocolate bread pudding, The Grand Hotel – tangledpasta.net

The Grand Hotel’s signature dessert: The Grand Pecan Ball in fudge sauce- tangledpasta.net

Each dinner table holds formal place settings for each patron.  For dinner one evening I chose the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp with Farro Verde and Sweet Chili Sauce as an appetizer; the Wild Mushroom and Onion South with Artichoke Tapenade for the soup selection; the Tuscan Bread Salad with Frisee, Sweet Peppers, Red Onion, Mozzarella and Basil Dressing.  For an entrée I selected the Braised Veal Osso Bucco Milanese with Crispy Grits Cakes and Lemon Parsley Gremolata.  Usually I am a vegan/vegetarian, but I cast it aside when dining at The Grand Hotel.  My carnivorous nature ran free and wild over the tender veal osso bucco.  Just because dessert is the crème of the dinner crème in the Salon Manger, I relished every bite of the Warm White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Crystallized Ginger Sauce.  Naturally, we repaired to the main Salon for a nightcap sherry and to listen to the dulcet tones of the harpist as we contemplated how to go forth into that good night.

The harp musician, The Grand Hotel – tangledpasta.net

Ciao for now.

Salad Days

With the heat soaring to 100 degrees again in the Heartland, salad has been figuring prominently on our table. This afternoon represented our new typical:  We dined on salad at an Italian bakery and restaurant. We felt like wilted Romaine lettuce from the heat walking from the car to the entrance door.  Usually we dine on a Panini in the deli café after purchasing Italian meats, cheese, and pastries.  Today we opted for its restaurant decorated with faux grape arbors, but lovely scenery overlooking voluptuous potted plants on the patio.

Cobb salad, Cafe Bellagio, Las Vegas – tangledpasta

Salad is not the food about which I dream.  Aside from an artfully crafted Caprese Salad with tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes, not those tasteless hothouse ones, fresh mozzarella this side of paradise topped with fresh basil, salads do not figure prominently on my horizon.  Truth be known, I indulge periodically in a refreshing Cobb Salad too.  Fruit, on the other hand, quenches my thirst, and is colorful and delicious when newly plucked.  Upon fruit, I may wax poetic; on salad, not even a limerick emerges.

Kelley, my multi-talented sister-in-law, makes world-class salads that are rhapsodies in themselves. Even though she willingly shares her recipes with me, I seem to lack the salad knack she possesses.  Even my daughter makes salads an event, like her aunt.  My talent, I like to point out, lies elsewhere in the culinary landscape.

Even though I may be left in the salad stems, I plan to continue to partake of salads my family members make, relishing with gusto each bite.

Ciao for now.