Well, after all of your generous tips with regard to my URGENT,impromptu New England weekend trip, we settled on two days in Lenox. We hit the very charming Norman Rockwell museum on New Year's eve in the mid-afternoon (my toddler loved the arts and crafts downstairs) followed by a lovely lunch at the Tavern at the Red Lion Inn- decent, solid pub fare. The creole fish and chips looked amazing ( I am such a food-envy type of girl), but since we had reservations for a prix fixe at Rouge two hours later, we ordered a Spanish Caesar salad with white anchioves and Manchego, an ale, sausage, and cheddar soup and a burger, then split it all.
By the time we got to our place in Lenox, what with the snow and rain, it was a mere hour before our rezzo at Rouge and we ended up cancelling it (should have had a go at thathuge portion of Creole fish and chips after all...)and staying in town. We ate at a place I'd normally scoff at, Dakotas, but it was actually perfect for us and our two year old- huge and raucous with tons of roaring fireplaces, hordes of people, and a high-quality salad bar that offered us a welcome array of greens after our Italian Christmas eating binge. Filet mignon wasn't the best ever and didn't have that aged taste I love, but was just fine; the side of sauteed mushrooms was excellent. My husband's bbq chicken and ribs was very good and the warm apple crisp and homemade cinnamon ice cream for dessert hit the spot just right. It definitley had that franchise-feel, but was satisfying in a strange way nonetheless. We had considered sitting at the bar at Zinc Bistro as all the tables were sold out, but in the end were glad we had opted for this casual, family-oriented option. We watched the ball drop from our hotel room with hats, noisemakers, a bottle of Prosecco, and cannoli and sfogliatelle we had brought from home. A lovely evening overall.
On New Year's day most places were closed, so we spent the day tubing at Jiminy Peak's Snowy Owl. It was a blast and we were grateful we had made rezzos as they were not taking walk-ins after 1:30 (avoid the chili in the lodge, by the way- a tomato paste nightmare! I wasn't expecting anything good, so I wasn't particularly let down, but it was embarrasingly awful. Hot cider was a much better option) Watching my toddler's enraptured expression and rosy cheeks as we whizzed down the mountain was priceless, and it was a day I won't soon forget.
Few places were open for din-din. The Zinc menu was beautiful and the hostess who gave it to me was welcoming and friendly and could care less that we were in our wet ski attire, but the food offerings were just like the food we eat at home in Any Trendy NYC Place and we were more in the mood for rustic, New England, homey type of stuff. Places the locals kept recommending were Baba Louies for pizza and Railroad Flats (?) in Great Barrington, but neither answered their phones so we presumed they were closed. We ended up with rezzos for the main dining room at Red Lion again (we have never eaten at the same place twice in one weekend on vacation....very weird) and when we realized it was a bit dressier than we actually were, opted to enjoy their menu, but in the Tavern once again. A complimentary fruit platter and candied pecans and goat cheese were in the foyer and we helped ourselves- a lovely touch. New England clam chowder was rich and thick and the frisee salad with gorgonzola and pecans was refreshing. My husband, who was obsessed with the idea of roast venison all weekend, on his mother's suggestion, strayed from his original plan and opted instead for a truly super Prime rib that was seasoned wonderfully assertively. I had a pistachio crusted halibut that was a bit dry, but excellent overall- the cauliflower gratin served beneath it was superb. I convinced our gracious waitress that my son wanted a bowl of the bar snacks
(yeah, right...) and proceeded to pick all the tasty sesame treats from within- I love a good dry snack mix. Apple pie for dessert was wanting unfortunately- a bit mushy with a dry, flavorless crust. The creamy, vanilla ice cream more than made up for it. Not sure if it was Berkshires Creamery or not. A very, very drunk, self-absorbed, pretentious, bejeweled ( there are not enough adjectives, trust me) older woman and her "Larry" were wonderful entertainment. Our two year old was very active, as well, so we got to investigate all three beautifully adorned floors of the Inn whilst we followed him. We'll definitley stay there next time and not be daunted by the idea of sharing a bathroom :)
The new-agey Love Dog Cafe, Chocolate Springs, and Morning Dish (Lenox) were all heartily recommended to us by people we chatted with in the shops although none were opened what with the holiday, and a Tuscan place called Verdura in Great Barrington was raved about by almost everyone we encountered. All places we'll try next time.
We went to Martin's in Great Barrington for breakfast on get-away day and I rather enjoyed my Southern Scramble- a medley of grits, eggs, suasage and cheddar. Martin's was a great b-fast spot and its vibe reminded me a bit of Bonatt's in Yarmouth in Cape Cod. A real locals, regulars type of place. Loved it.
Next time we'll also check out Napa in Lenox whose menu looked excellent. I also noticed an Indian place on the main drag that offered a Thali, but my food-snob husband proclaimed that he only does Indian in "London and NY..." Next time :)
I crave comfort food when I'm up in the mountains- roasts, soups, pot pies, stews, cobblers, crisps etc....There wasn't a whole lot of that though. Everything we did have, however, was first rate for the most part and we welcome the chance to return for more winter fun and a chance to explore what we didn't get to due to the holiday closings.
Thanks for all of your suggestions and a Happy New Year filled with health, love, laughter, and comforting fare,
All Things Delicious,