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A much-needed date night: Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • By
  • December 15, 2016

 

A perfectly crafted date night

Mount Airy Casino Resort

 

Are you longing for a much-needed date night?

A quiet dining experience at a table for two? A concert? Or both? Date nights don’t happen often enough and setting aside a night out can be a daunting task.

More than two years ago, Vincent Jordan, Vice President of Marketing & Player Development at Mount Airy Casino Resort, introduced me to the first-class accommodations at Mount Airy during a weekend travel assignment. Recently, my husband and I returned as dinner guests and were treated to a full-course, candlelit meal at Bistecca by IL MULINO, followed by a concert featuring jazz saxophonist legend, Kenny G, and a “meet and greet.”

If you crave shellfish, Bistecca’s Market Oysters are a spectacular beginning to your meal.

Date night began at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday evening at a candlelit table for two. If you’ve never been to Mount Airy, Bistecca is located on the second floor and only steps away from the casino and several other dining options. The location is particularly convenient for guests and visitors who plan to try their skills (and luck) at the gaming tables and slot machines or get their taste of nightlife in Gypsies Lounge, one of Mount Airy’s busiest entertainment venues.

Bistecca is the perfect setting to reminisce over a meal that’s expertly prepared and served in a relaxed, casual setting. Celebrate your night together with a cocktail or a selection from an extensive wine selection from around the world.

A succulent appetizer – Octopus with white beans and tomatoes.

Are you wondering about the type of fare you’ll find at Bistecca? The cuisine is a combination of Abruzzo-style and a modern steakhouse. Meats are hand-cut by the executive chef, the pasta is handcrafted, and the seafood and produce are extremely fresh.

The kale salad featured apples, almonds, shaved parmesan cheese and a delightfully light, flavorful dressing.

Most of our meal selections came from the main menu. We selected ORGANIC ROASTED BEETS goat cheese and tomatoes, GRILLED OCTOPUS white beans and tomato, WHOLE GRILLED BRANZINO fennel, arugula, orange, COLORADO LAMB CHOPS, MARKET OYSTERS, TRUFFLE FRIES  and STEAKHOUSE FRIES from the menu. There was more than enough food for two people to share. I wish I could say I favored one dish. They were all seasoned and cooked to perfection. Guaranteed, if you go to Bistecca, you will find something for even the most finicky palette. Before you go, you can view the entire menu here

Colorado Lamb Chop

Reservations are recommended.  Guests who haven’t made a reservation will definitely wait in line for a table on the weekends. Plan to arrive for dinner by 5:30 or 6 p.m. to allow plenty of time to relish every bite.

 

Whole Grilled Branzino with fennel, arugula and orange. I typically order fish when I’m on assignment and I wasn’t disappointed with the Branzino’s citrus aroma and lightly salted skin. 

Concert time

The clock was ticking as we finished our meal. After more than 90 minutes of culinary bliss, we were eager to pick up our Kenny G concert tickets at the box office.

Jazz saxophonist legend, Kenny G is one of the recent headliners to perform at Mount Airy Casino Resort. We met Kenny at a photo op and “meet and greet” held after his concert.

Whether you want to be dazzled by top-name entertainers, dance the night away or laugh until your sides ache, after your meal at Bistecca, your night out isn’t over yet. Stroll across the casino floor after your meal and experience big-name talents on stage at Gypsies lounge. After you’ve nourished your taste buds, it’s time to celebrate the performing arts at one of Mount Airy’s shows.

Book your meal, entertainment and lodging online at mountairycasino.comYou’ll find Mount Airy is always jumping with activity, so why not spend the night.

Here’s a preview of upcoming events at Mount Airy. A complete list can be found mountairycasino.com/play/entertainment/headliners. You must be 21 years or older to enter the nightclub.

 

LOVERBOY

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*Event is for guests 21 years & older.

SATURDAY, APRIL 29 • 8PM • DOORS AT 7PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

EDDIE MONEY

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FRIDAY, MAY 19 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

THE COMMODORES

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SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

CRAIG ROBINSON

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SATURDAY, JUNE 3 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS


Mount Airy Casino Resort, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, is the only full-service casino in Pennsylvania with an AAA Four Diamond Award. This swanky destination getaway is located approximately 90 minutes from New York City on more than 1,000 scenic acres in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

Mount Airy Casino Resort Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui, freelance travel writer and photographer.

Mount Airy Casino Resort, 44 Woodland Rd., Mount Pocono

 

 

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Fernwood Resort: Four seasons of family fun

  • By
  • July 15, 2016

Fernwood Resort: creating year-round family experiences

Gina Bertucci: Focus is on family at Fernwood

Activities=Quality Family Time 

 

 

Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family?

Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.

Gina Bertucci
Gina Bertucci, co-owner, Fernwood Resort

With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.

“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained.

Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.

When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received awards for being green.

According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”

The Pocono TreeVentures and zipline courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.

 

family
The Matsui family receives instruction before beginning the Pocono TreeVentures course. Photo submitted by Fernwood Resort.

 

“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”


Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s something for everyone. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s website for prices and hours of operation.

 

family
Kento Matsui enjoys an afternoon of swimming at Fernwood Resort’s outdoor pool.

 


 

Family
Discover the countryside surrounding Fernwood Resort. You can explore on foot or by horseback at Bushkill Riding Stables. Reserve your horse and saddle by clicking here

Approximately 15 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?

The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.

“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”

 

What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement? 

Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.

 

family
Preservation of our natural scenic wonders is top-priority for Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort, representatives from other businesses and resorts and members of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. Visit Bushkill Falls but please follow the rules as shown above. Observe and appreciate but hands-off plants and wildlife.

family
Bushkill Falls is host to many family adventures, schools and group tours, weddings and is a fantastic photo op. I guarantee you will get your workout while on your trek up and down the steps leading to and from the basin. Grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and then stock-up on keepsakes and souvenirs at the gift shop.

 

 

family
When you need to cool off on a warm summer day, you will appreciate the cool mist of water from the cascading falls and the shady areas provided along the trail leading to the basin.

 Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”


Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?

As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.

“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • By
  • March 12, 2016

Rustic decor, fun dining

at Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen

Mount Airy Casino Resort eateries sure to please

The rustic decor at Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen, Bistecca, By IL Mulino, a combination of steakhouse and Italian cuisines;  Lucky 8 Noodle + Sushi Bar, The Buffet, Red Mango Yogurt Café, Starbucks, and Nostalgia Candy Store all offer distinctive cuisine. You won’t need to walk more than a few feet when hunger pangs set in because the restaurants are situated along the perimeter of the casino floor. Light fare is also available at the Get Wet Pool Bar, a 52,000 square foot, indoor/outdoor, four season pool complex and entertainment venue.

Mount Airy Casino Resort offers its guests an award-winning dining experience. Best Ambiance, Best Service, Most Romantic, Best Special Occasion are among the awards the restaurants at the casino resort have earned. 

Guy Fieri followers might ask, “So, what’s the atmosphere at Guy’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen?”

“Relaxed and fun,” is how Bill Goeke, front of the house manager at the Mt. Pocono kitchen described the atmosphere at the restaurant.

The interior was designed to offer a rustic feel and while the rough-hewn lumber used throughout the restaurant could easily be found in other eateries, there’s simply no denying the decor at Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen is distinctive and has received the thumbs-up from Guy Fieri, the iconic star of the Food Channel’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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Every item on the menu is approved by Guy Fieri and his people, according to Goeke. Chef Devan Gerhart came up with the ideas for the menu selections and then presented them to Fieri and his staff.

Among the new items on the menu are “Hall of Fame” Brisket Tacos that feature house-smoked brisket, topped with citrus slaw, avocado, chipotle creme and pico de gallo on white corn tortillas and the Ultimate Asian Chicken Wrap, filled with minced chicken, Southeast Asian Spring Rolls, Thai Skewers, and paired with three sauces: Chipotle Peanut, Sesame Ponzu, and Sweet Thai Chil served with six crisp lettuce cups. Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen has the largest in-house smoker in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

To view the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, click here.

Customer service is also a priority. The staff makes frequent stops at each table to be sure customers are satisfied and Goeke circulates from table-to-table to be sure customers are pleased with their meals.

He said, “I go around to the tables and ask ‘How’s everything?’ I get feedback and I want to hear about their experience. You can get a burger anywhere, but here, you can get a burger and have a fun time.”

Guy’s restaurant is open 24 hours.


Luxury lodging, a 16,000 square foot spa, and salon, 24-hour exercise facility, lakeside 18-hole golf course, gaming with more than 1,600 slot machines and 70 table games, a variety of restaurants, and nightlife equal a vacation getaway you’ll savor.

Learn more about Mount Airy Casino Resort at www.mountairycasino.com

Click here to read my spa and complete wrap up stories at visitpoconos.com

Congratulations to the Lisa DeNaples, Mount Airy Casino Resort Owner and her staff for yet another AAA Four Diamond Award® Designation. 

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A twist on French cuisine at The French Manor Inn and Spa

  • By
  • March 4, 2016
French cuisine

French cuisine with a twist

lighter flavors and seasonal vegetables

The French Manor Inn and Spa

French cuisine
Adam LaFave, The French Manor Inn and Spa executive chef

Executive chef Adam LaFave’s menus feature French cuisine with a twist.

LaFave recently launched his spring-summer menu and two of his favorite courses on his new menu happen to both be appetizers.

“The French Manor is an atmosphere where you can come in and enjoy the food. Even when you’re coming up the driveway, it feels like you’re in another world. ” Adam LaFave 

“The first one is a foie gras torchon rolled in crushed pistachios, with Brulee peaches and a sweet wine gelee finished with a shallot jam. The second is escargot with beef bone marrow, roasted garlic brioche crostini, grilled oyster mushroom, parsley, lemon powder, onion marmalade and finished with a fig and port wine reduction,” said LaFave.

If your mouth is watering at the thought of decadent French cuisine, read on.

Anyone with a hankering for succulent beef will delight in Chef LaFave’s aged NY strip steak rubbed with a black trumpet mushroom powder and accompanied by a crispy potato rose, sautéed Swiss chard and finished with maître d’ butter as an entree. A roasted Cornish game hen dish accompanied by mushrooms, Boursin Polenta and Glace de Poulet is another addition to the menu.

What’s his first step when he’s planning a new menu?
French cuisine
Chef Adam LaFave put the finishing touch on an appetizer.

Months before, he said, “The first thing I think of when I create a dish is to highlight. If I use halibut, I think about what works well with halibut. I love truffle risotto and I think that compliments the dish. The richness from the risotto and the mushrooms cut well with the little bit of acidity from the Blood Orange Beurre Blanc.”

 

“Experimenting is definitely fun. I get smaller amounts of ingredients and experiment with them. If I like how it goes together, I’ll feature it.” 

LaFave crafted his French cuisine inspired spring-summer menu with lighter flavors and seasonal vegetables and whenever possible, he supports local growers.

“Currently, we are buying oyster mushrooms from a local grower,” LaFave explained.

Herbs grown on the premises will be cut daily and used to flavor and accentuate his dishes.

LaFave began his career at The French Manor as a dishwasher when he was 16-years-old. After two years, he was allowed to do kitchen prep work and soon realized his affinity for the culinary arts.

“I worked with the chef for a while and I went to Marywood University for criminal justice,” he said. “I worked here cooking full time for a year and enrolled in Johnson & Wales culinary arts program in Providence, RI.”

After graduation, he was a chef at several local restaurants before finding his way back to The French Manor. One of the things he loves most about his work at the manor is the laid-back atmosphere.

“It’s not as fast-paced as some restaurants, so there’s more time for making sure the plate looks really appealing and adding more components. We don’t have to hurry to get the food out. I like the artistic side and that’s a lot of fun for me.” 

If you’re in a quandary about what to order, chances are the staff has sampled each item and is eager to answer any questions about ingredients used. Feel free to ask your server for his recommendations.

“The staff will come in two hours earlier than they regularly do to go over the new menu. I explain everything and go back and cook one or two of each dishes so they can try them,” LaFave said.

Even the least adventurous diner will find a palate-pleasing selection because there’s literally something for everyone: meat, poultry, fish, seafood and vegan and vegetarian dishes.  Be sure to let the staff know if you have food allergies or restrictions and LaFave said he’ll come up with a dish based on your dietary needs.

“After you get to the point where you know how to make food taste great, then it’s really fun to experiment and you can do different plating designs to enhance the appearance. We try to find a balance. I try to accommodate everyone.”

Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the historic dining room and Hanna’s Cafe. Visit thefrenchmanor.com/dining for more information.

 

 

French cuisine
The French Manor Inn and Spa, South Sterling, PA Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

The French Manor Inn and Spa is an enchanting full-service, family-owned inn modeled after a chateau in the north of France.

I enjoyed a memorable overnight stay at the inn two months ago and had an opportunity to experience a full course meal prepared by Chef Adam.

French cuisine
Sliced strawberry with feta cheese, candied orange, micro greens, and finished with a 30 year aged balsamic vinegar

On a late winter evening in February, I was seated in a comfortable upholstered chair listening to Frank Sinatra tunes by the fireplace as my server delivered each course of this outrageously delicious meal to me.

  • Sliced strawberry with feta cheese, candied orange, micro greens, and finished with a 30-year aged balsamic vinegar
  • red beet salad with feta, candied pecans, orange supreme, pickled shallots, candied orange slice, and spring mixed tossed in a ginger-citrus vinaigrette
  • apricot sorbet
  • pan seared halibut accompanied with truffle risotto, sautéed black trumpet mushrooms, and shaved truffles finished with a blood orange Beurre blanc
DISCLOSURE:

 I recommend this destination based on my experience and not because my visit was comped. My opinions are my own. 

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