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.
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.