since i consider myself a real cooking enthusiast, we choose to eat at home most evenings. in fact, we mostly only dine out when there is a reason. for example, the power is out or we have a dinner event. so, when we do dine out, i love to be inspired with fine food, elegantly prepared, and most often choices that i would not traditionally make at home.
earlier this month, we visited the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for some family celebrations. i love that hotel since it gives me fond memories of the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulfur Springs, WV. the interior decorator of both hotels is the same person. since the Grand Hotel is a summer only hotel, the patterns are bright and fun. each hotel room has a different design, though they are all within the same color scheme and flair.
the hotel is elegant, however; it offers a range of activities for all ages. throughout the day, there are classic “old” hotel events, such as demitasse, pictured above, which is served after dinner in the hotel lobby. guests relax, listening to a lovely harpist, while enjoying small cups of coffee. a silver service is used and the experience is truly relaxing.
there is also a wine bar.
one of the features of the hotel is that a five course dinner and fully served breakfast accompany the hotel stay. men are required to wear coat and tie, and ladies are expected to wear a dress or skirt. i do believe that dress does set a tone for a nicely prepared meal. the dinner menu changes every night, with a three night menu rotation. there are other hotel restaurants to choose for dining, with a credit given if the formal meal is not desired every night. i will say that the meals prepared and served are elegantly plated, designed for visual appeal. we have visited for five years, and i have never had a disappointing selection.
here is an example of the meal, course by course.
appetizer — melon martini, mango espuma, mint
soup — swiss cheese and grilled onion soup, Farmbread croutons
salad — iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, golden beets and Bermuda onions, Jerez sherry dressing
entrée — Jack Daniels glazed Berkshire pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, mustard bacon demi-glace
dessert — raspberry creme brulee, almond crisp with tea
inspiration for cooking and baking is not difficult to find when taking a visit to the Grand Hotel. and, the gardens on the island give equal inspiration.