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susabelle | Mar 7, 2004 02:14 PM

Went for the first time, in part on the recommendation of posts on this Board. Were not disappointed. Stayed overnight--lovely room, w/ working fireplace, charming, cosy, expensive. And dinner and breakfast were exceptional, the dinner in particular one of the best we've had in a long time. Began w/ a lovely local sparkling wine (don't recall name, sorry). Carrot soup w/ fennel confit--grumbled a bit when I saw it on the menu, generally not crazy about carrot soup--but this was delicious, sweet, creamy, carrot-y, w/ the softly crunchy fennel a lovely counterpoint in taste and texture. Great wholegrain bread and sweet butter. A salad that was briliant in its simplicity--locally gathered watercress, w/ citrus. Duck was the main course, beautifully cooked, tender and crisp w/ a complex, deep sauce. The cheese course was two different blues, one local, one Vermont, stuffed into soft, supple dates, w/ a scattering of not-too-sweet candied walnuts and a trickle of merlot sauce. I loved the milder local blue better, my husband the stronger Vermont. And to finish, a local grape pudding w/ heavy cream sauce. My husband is neither a pudding nor cream person. I adore both in almost every iteration. We both loved it. And somehow although there was plenty of richness (creamy soup, sauce for duck, cheeses, cream sauce for pudding), we didn't feel that leaden feeling you can feel--in part, the portions and intervals between course were just right. We just felt the happiness--almost wrote joy--you feel w/ a great meal. P.S. Breakfast was very good as well--we had the continental delivered to our rooms in wonderful old restaurant service pieces--local cheese, an apple-walnut-celery salad, and a baked sort of bread pudding w/ cream sauce--all nicely prepared and presented. When we checked in, we overheard a somewhat haughty guy order tea for his delivered-to-his-room breakfast the next morning because "the coffee was weak last time." Seemed designed to impress the woman with him whom I judged not his wife. But we ended up echoing his complaint: dinner coffee a little weak, breakfast tea not hot enough, w/ no extra water to add to the pot. Odd to do everything else w/ such care and screw up consistently (in our and the snippy guy's experience) on hot beverages. Like those Amish quilts where the quilters intentionally make a mistake w/ one square because only God is perfect.

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