Weekend Review: Part 1
Happy Monday, friends! Hope your weekend was a good one. Ours was, well, really sort of amazing. It contained so much goodness, in fact, that, instead of giving you the scoop all in one post, I’ve decided to split it up (at Hubs’ suggestion, I might add-a smart one, that man of mine), starting with our Friday night date.
Oh, and what a date it was! When you get to go out as seldom as we do (I mentioned previously this was only our 3rd date in the past 22 1/2 months, ever since becoming parents), you pick your outings wisely. A few weeks ago, I received an email inviting me and a guest to a media-only (i.e. bloggers, print publications, online food websites) Oktoberfest preview dinner at the Red Stag Grill, housed in the lovely Grand Bohemian Hotel. I immediately replied with an enthusiastic “YES”, figuring I’d find a baby sitter come hell or high water (thank you, Mom, for stepping up to the plate for us!).
In my mind, “preview tasting dinner” meant something small, casual, and involving light fare. What I couldn’t have ever imagined, though, was the 4-course feast that came our way. Beginning in the hotel’s foyer, we sampled appetizers and sipped champagne (champagne, ya’ll!) while meeting John, the hotel’s general manager, and the other invited guests (which included Sommer Collier of A Spicy Perspective, Laura Huff of Carolina Epicurean, Ella Hailey of Ella’s Celestial Cakes, Mackensey Lunsford of Scene, Emily Patrick of the Mountain Xpress, and Melissa Smith of WNC Magazine). The Grand Bohemian is one of 13 hotels owned by the Kessler Collection, with this particular hotel being modeled after a Bavarian hunting lodge. Hand-carved millwork and other elaborate artistic detailing abounds.
After a quick tour of the hotel’s art gallery (featuring the work of local, national, and international artists), the upstairs ballroom (that gorgeous piano pictured above was carved from a single piece of rosewood-as a multiple year piano-playing veteran, I can assure you, she was a beautiful site to behold), and one of the rooms (Have. Mercy. Every detail is considered, right down to the tiger marble-topped sink. Ever heard of tiger marble before? Me neither), we headed to the restaurant’s private dining room (private dining room, ya’ll!). And then the real fun started.
I’d imagined we’d be eating just a little something-something, enough to sample, attest to its deliciousness, and then leave hungry with. What I instead discovered was an Oktoberfest feast to end all feasts. The Germans really know how to eat, and the Red Stag’s homage to this culinary love fest would have made any Bavarian proud. Sourced almost entirely from local food growers and producers, Executive Chef Adam Hayes put together one of the most memorable meals I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.
Here’s what went down:
1) 1st Course- Sunburst Trout Schnitzel, over spatzle topped with pickled red cabbage and a mustard caper cream. Paired with Rainer “Pfaffenberg” Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2009.
2) 2nd Course-Smoked Duck Breast, topped with a potato pancake and Blue Ridge Mountain applesauce, served with a Ayinger Dopplebock reduction and parsley puree. Paired with Robert Weil Trocken Reisling, Rheingau 2011.
3) 3rd Course-Chocroute Garnie, with traditional knackwurst, veal Bratwurst, house smoked pork loin, and pork belly, served over sauerkraut and boiled heirloom new potatoes, topped with Lusty Monk Mustard. Paired with both Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Reisling, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2011 & Ayinger Dopplebock “Celebrator” (quite possibly the BEST beer I have ever had the pleasure of imbibing).
4) Dessert Course-German Linzertorte, almond torte filled with Imladris raspberry jam. Paired with Warres 10 year “Otima” Tawny port.
Oh. Goodness. Were we full when we left? Need you ask. The meal was nothing short of expertly executed. I highly, highly recommend it. Chef Hayes goes to great lengths to support and promote N.C. food growers and culinary artisans. He just wrapped up a “Gotta be N.C.” summer food menu. On a side note, as we were leaving and thanking Chef for such an exquisite meal, he told me his wife is a fan of mine (a fan of mine, ya’ll!).
Next time a fancy date night of your own rolls around, if you happen to be in the area, do check out his Oktoberfest menu. And, if you need lodging, the Grand Bohemian would be a gorgeous place to kick up your feet and unload. If it seems out of your budget, know that the hotel offers special deals periodically. Also, my budget-conscious sister-in-law found a score a few years back on Priceline, staying a night at the hotel with my brother for their anniversary. It’s a special occasion sort of place, to be sure, which made our date there that much more memorable.
Thank you so very much to the hotel for hosting us!