Located less than a half hour from Andy and I is a National Historic Landmark that never ceases to enchant: Mohonk Mountain House. Situated in the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains on the western side of the Hudson River Valley, Mohonk, and its eponymous lake, take your breath away instantly.Designed as a charming Victorian castle, it has been owned and operated by the Smiley family since 1869, when it was first purchased as a ten-room inn on 280 acres. Today, the hotel has expanded to include 266 guest rooms available year-round, three fine dining rooms, and a magnificent new Spa Wing. Besides the hotel itself, the grounds sit on thousands of acres of preserve land on which to hike, horseback ride, rock climb, swim, go boating, play tennis, golf, explore the gardens, and enjoy numerous wintertime activities as well (so far we’ve only been there in the spring- I would love to ice skate there this winter!). But let’s get down to the serious business: the food! Half the enjoyment of a Mohonk visit comes from experiencing their meals: the presentation, the vastness of the dining rooms themselves, the carefully planned menus, and the hospitality are all worth a mention. I’m glad that the way our overnight stay worked out, all three meals came included, each an event unto themselves. Let’s start with breakfast:
This next one is from our first day spent at Mohonk, back in 2008 (a couple cameras ago!). I advise that you watch for any drool on your keyboard and listen for any unexpected tummy rumbles:
And then we have lunch:
What’s next? Why, lunchtime dessert, of course! The first picture at the top of the page shows a delectable peanut butter custard, and here’s some vanilla bean amazingness:
Dinner happened to be our first meal during our June stay, and we already knew what we were eating because we perused the menus online. It turned out that there was just one vegetarian option for that evening. But never mind! The entree wasn’t even the best part of our meal– the bread was! It was crusty, warm, chewy, savory, and kind of mind-blowing. If I say out of this world, would that give you an idea how much we enjoyed it? Ahh, my mouth is watering just thinking back! 🙂
(I would just like to add this fantastic tidbit: the morning after this bread entered our lives, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and struck up a conversation with the dining room captain during breakfast. Turns out my love and adoration came across perfectly, because he went into the kitchen and came out with a fresh loaf of rosemary bread for us to take home with us! Is that service or what?!)
A bit of a story attached to the dinner dessert photos: I was backpacking my in Europe seven years ago, and on the train to Vienna, I received a recommendation to try the world famous Sacher Chocolate Torte at the Sacher Hotel. Despite the fact that I was horribly out of place in my t-shirt and hiking boots, I entered that hotel and bravely ordered the Sacher Torte- oh, how that cake lived up to its reputation! So, when I saw it on the menu at Mohonk, my gut reaction was to order it- Two fancy hotels serving the Sacher Torte, who will win the taste taste? sort of thing.
But, then I noticed the Pot de Creme, and in typical Christy fashion, wavered and waffled and ultimately decided to go for that over the Sacher Torte. Why spoil a perfectly unforgettable European moment, in the city where the cake originated, by having a copycat version? Also, it’s really, really, really hard to go wrong with Pot de Creme (pronounced poh duh KREHM).
Andy chose the apple pie, and that helped to erase the memory of our entree disappointment as well. But that picture didn’t turn out that great, either. No matter! I shall now treat you to a shot that Andy took of us in our fluffy white robes, awaiting our spa appointments in the solarium, back in 2008:And the Spa at Mohonk, my friends, is for a whole other post entirely.
Have you had any exceptional meals at a hotel? What made them so great? What has been your most memorable meal while dining out?
It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate — you know someone’s fingers have been all over it. –Julia Child