Friday, March 30, 2012

Martini Dinner

When I went to the spa for my birthday, as we entered the restaurant for lunch, there was a large poster advertising a martini dinner.  Mr. Helen looked at me and said, "That sounds like something you'd love to do, maybe with your sister?"  As I was feeling all spa-ish and relaxed, I caved and booked the dinner for us prior to leaving.  Just kidding!  You all know I enjoy my Saturday night martini and I thought it would be lots of fun as I've never actually attended any dinner similar to this, even though I know Kelly has gone to several. (Kelly if you want to visit Connecticut, the next one is going to be a tequila dinner!)

Last night was the dinner and it exceeded all of our expectations. Not only was the atmosphere, food and martinis fabulous, it was so great to have a few hours alone with my sister - it has been way too long since we did anything like this.

Have you heard the saying about martinis? "They're like boobs - 1 is not enough, 2 is just right and 3 is way too many!"  Ha!  My sister and I agreed that unless these were small sample martinis even two would be way too many as one of us had to drive back home. As we drove to the venue, we devised a sipping plan of sharing and drinking lots of water in-between.

When we arrived and checked in we were seated and they immediately poured us two gigantic glasses of water.  Evidently these people are experienced at this!  Then we were led to a gorgeous display of cheeses and crackers.  (Which I forgot to take a photo of).  We each got a plate and sat down and waited for the main festivities to begin.  Around the time we finished the cheeses we were brought a plate of warm, soft, rolls.  My sister looked at me and said, "These people are going to carb and water us up so there is something to absorb the martinis."  Good!

The Executive Chef and the Mixologist came out and spoke to us about how they devised the menu and paired the drinks.  This restaurant is known for using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients and that includes items sourced for the cocktails.

Our first martini was called a Lemon Fizz.  It is made with 2 oz. of Lemoncello, which is an Italian lemon liquor, the juice of one whole lemon shaken over ice.  You pour that into the glass then top the whole shebang with club soda.  This drink was delicious - so refreshing and almost palate cleansing.  It was served with our starter course, Lobster Gnocchi.  We got our first shock of the evening when the courses came out and everything was full-sized.  We were totally expecting "tastings" but the drink was in a large martini glass and the gnocchi was in a soup bowl.  We knew immediately that we were definitely going to get our money's worth from this dinner.

Those are edible flowers on top of the gnocchi.  Do you see the big chunk of lobster just underneath?

The second course was a pork loin chop on the bone.  Underneath the chop was chopped vegetables: beets, chard, portabello mushrooms and sundried tomatoes were some of it.  Served with a veal ragout over creamy polenta.  I thought I'd died and gone straight to heaven!

What goes better with a pork chop than applesauce?  Probably nothing.  This course was paired with an Applesauce Martini which is an original creation of the mixologist at the spa.  It was perfect - very hard to explain how appley, yet not sweet, but clean tasting this was.  The most amazing thing is that there is NO applesauce in this martini.  The applesauce effect was created by whirling apples and ice in a blender then stirred, not shaken, with some apple vodka and a dash of cinnamon schnaps. They top it with a dash of cinnamon.  When it's put in the glass it looks just like applesauce - it's actually a bit thick, almost like you could spoon it out! When I tasted this drink I immediately thought of Lori and her love of apples and cinnamon - you would love this drink Lori.  I also thought this would be a fun drink made "virgin" by subbing some apple juice and cinnamon extract for the liquors.

The last course was dessert.  At this point we were beginning to feel like they would need to wheelbarrow us out of there and both of us were talking about getting to the car to unbutton our pants a little bit LOL!  But, for the sake of the cause, we persevered!

We were presented with a Blueberry Pie Martini and a Blueberry/Apple Cobbler served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from our local dairy cooperative, The Farmer's Cow.  My goodness, this course was bliss and a perfect way to end this fabulous meal!  The martini was made with a blueberry vodka from Nantucket.  They infuse the vodka by straining it through blueberries so it actually turns blue. There were huge, plump blueberries floating in it. It was served in a glass that had been dipped in simple syrup then the rim coated with graham cracker crumbs.  This was the first of our drinks where I could taste the liquor and I also noted they had only given us a "half" portion.  Not that I cared as I was so full I was sure I couldn't drink a full drink anyway.  Sure enough at this point the Mixologist came back out and told us that both the other drinks had been made at half strength and this one was the only one made a full strength as they really didn't want people to get smashed. I have to say I really appreciated that.  It allowed us to enjoy ourselves without worry.  This drink was just like drinking blueberry pie.

Again, the dessert was full size.  We each took a big breath and then about 2 bites of the cobbler, just to have the experience, and the rest went home to Mr. Helen.  He was a happy camper because blueberry cobbler or pie is just about his favorite dessert!

Though it may be a week before I feel like putting one more bite of food into my mouth, this was such a lovely experience, I would definitely do it again.  Totally worth having my Saturday night martini on Thursday.


  1. What a fun dinner! And that you got to spend an evening with your sister is just the icing on the cake.

    I had to laugh at about the boob reference as 3 martinis are too many!

    Happy Friday! :D

  2. Glad you got to spend such a fun evening like that with your sister - sounds like it was just about perfect!

    1. The only way it would have been more perfect would have been to have my BIF with me...

  3. OMG!!! That looks to die for! John doesn't drink martinis, so I think he would disagree that 3 boobs are too many. :D

  4. How fun to go out and totally enjoy the special food and special time with your sister. I'd love to do this sometime. Seems like something we should do when I come east, right?

    1. YES! I kept thinking that last night Debby - all my blogging friends who are finally getting to meet and we have a dinner like this. We'll get the mixologist to do virgin cocktails for those who don't partake and we would have a BLAST!! I swear if it ever happens that a bunch of us are together, I'm going to arrange it!

  5. Sounds great. I'm speechless ;)!

  6. Looks like an amazing dinner Helen. Glad you and your sister were able to go. Have a great Friday!!!!

  7. What an amazing idea!! This looks incredible!! Glad you enjoyed it :-)

  8. I totally want that lemon one!
    What a nice evening for you and your sister. And even better the food and drink was good!


  9. That looks so awesome - everything looks so good!

  10. What a great and fun evening. The Limoncello brings back memories to one of our Italian vacation where we drank way too much of it every night after dinner :)

    Food looks fantastic too.

    You asked if I enjoy having time to myself: I do. It happens twice a year and I enjoy a weekend to myself. The most fun about it is that I cook meals that R. doesn't like but I do.

  11. That looks like a great time! Want to know something? I've NEVER had a martini! Isn't that crazy? And I used to work at a bar when I was in my 20's too!

    Great food!

  12. Sounds like such a great time!