Archives

Eagles Mere lodging Lifestyle Pennsylvania Bed & Breakfasts Pennsylvania Family Friendly Inns Pennsylvania Historic Inns Pennsylvania innkeepers Pennsylvania Outdoor Activities The Eagles Mere Inn tours of historic Israel visit Eagles Mere Inn

Eagles Mere Innkeepers Preserve the Past

  • By
  • January 15, 2018
Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

Hospitality at its Finest

Innkeepers Geniality Abound

culinary Eagles Mere Inn
Richard and Tammy Lobach have brought their years of culinary and hospitality experience to their positions as innkeepers at The Eagles Mere Inn. Photos and text by Joan Mead-Matsui, journalist, travel writer, and photographer.

When you walk in the doors of the Eagles Mere Inn, you’ll likely smell a sweet aroma coming from the kitchen. Shortbread cookies, warm cider, and aromatic teas are seasonal treats in the works throughout the year that is available for guests to sample. Consider your first whiff of delightful sweets as an indication of what’s to come during your stay at the inn.

Eagles Mere Inn country retreat
Innkeeper, Tammy Lobach isn’t shy about asking guests to taste test new recipes. In the meantime, while you wait for your “small plate” or entree to arrive, you can dream of what’s cooking in the kitchen. 

Creating a Favorable Experience Is Key

 

Staging allows innkeepers Richard and Tammy Lobach to create an ideal atmosphere for their guests.

“We’re all about the experience. We’re trying to make our guests’ experiences a bit more current. But the house has a history. We’re giving the inn a fresh facelift. We love the history of Eagles Mere and we are incorporating that into this building.” ~ Richard Lobach, Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

 

Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper
Richard Lobach embraces Eagles Mere history and the inn’s collection of memorabilia displayed throughout the inn. The medal he’s shown holding will hang in the Water Carnival Room to represent happenings at Eagles Mere water carnivals held in the 1920s. 

Be Prepared to Embrace History

 

What are guests looking for in a bed and breakfast experience? One guest reserved a room for one night and stayed a week. Richard attributes her change of heart to an abundance of peacefulness and a slowed pace that visitors seek when they choose The Eagles Mere Inn.

Eagles Mere is quiet during the winter months and Richard is candid with guests who seem disappointed to learn the borough doesn’t offer shopping outlets and nightlife.

“I tell prospective guests, If you’re looking to be entertained, you won’t find that in Eagles Mere,” Richard says. 

 

What you will find are an inn and a village brimming with history and activities centered on family.

“We’re bringing the history of the town into the inn,” Richard explained.

He found his way into the hospitality industry as a bellhop right out of high school and has worked for several large hospitality corporations. His positions entailed taking over bankrupted, foreclosed, and underperforming hotels. But the hours were demanding and five years ago, Richard required surgery to repair a back problem and realized he had to change his lifestyle.

“I got a job at a bed & breakfast in New Hope, PA and when the position was eliminated, I (answered an ad and) came to the Eagles Mere Inn.”

Richard and Tammy, Allentown, PA natives, have been married for 32 and have two daughters.

“We went from seeing each other 30 hours a week to seeing, living and working together 24/7. I think with 32 years of marriage, we got that part. We learn from each other and sometimes we are able to listen to each other. Sometimes not,” he quipped.

Richard’s extensive background in hospitality management and Tammy’s many years in food preparation have enabled them to run the inn and stay on top of their evolving business as innkeepers.

Eagles Mere Inn culinary
Tammy has worked on and off in the hospitality industry for years. 

Although they use seasonal chefs, during the off-season, Richard and Tammy assume a variety of roles. Tammy is shown in the recently renovated kitchen at The Eagles Mere Inn. Her day typically begins around 5 a.m.

“I started out in the J.C. Penney restaurant and I cooked my way through college,” Tammy noted.

Breakfast is available bright and early for “first on the scene” guests who are eager to begin their day. Featured breakfasts range from sweet or savory options to a buffet when visitors total 10 or more.

“What kind of things do you like for breakfast?” was one of the first questions Tammy asked upon my arrival at the inn, followed by “Do you prefer sweet or savory?”

Eagles Mere Inn breakfast
“Made to order to your liking” is one of the extraordinary aspects of dining at The Eagles Mere Inn. A fried egg served over strips of crispy bacon and greens is a delightful mix of savory and healthy. Baked peach oatmeal, eggs, and a “Country Bake,” (everybody’s favorite) a gluten-free selection that’s prepared with eggs, potatoes, and cheese are among the breakfast options. 

In addition to her breakfast and dessert contributions, Tammy makes several treks each week to markets to buy fresh produce and other staples.

“I do all of the shopping and I try to buy fresh produce whenever possible. Whatever is in the store that looks really great, that’s what I serve,” Tammy says. “It’s great to have that flexibility because we are not a corporate property. I can go to a farmers’ market and buy vegetables and put them into a dish.”

The Eagles Mere Inn can accommodate up to 140 patrons in its three dining venues: A.C. Little Drinkery, On the Rocks patio and the 1887 Chop House, a more formal dining space.

“The inn is a continuously growing and product improvement plan. Take-outs, eat-in…you can do it all at The Eagles Mere Inn,” ~ Richard Lobach

More interesting facts about The Eagles Mere Inn:

(courtesy of Richard and Tammy Labach)

  • The guest rooms (17) were numbered when they first arrived at the inn but researching historical Eagles Mere documents helped them to assign a name to each room and the dining options.
  • In the Raymond room, they have “Raymond” memorabilia, a teacup that’s stored in a shadow box and pictures to go along with the former Raymond Hotel.
  • Some of the renovations have included new carpeting in 80 percent of the rooms, all new mattresses, water filtration systems, water softeners, air conditioning, remodeled tavern and front porch, and a fresh coat of paint.

 

Don’t miss my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/eagles-mere-inn
1 Comment
all-inclusive resorts Catskill lodging Catskill resorts Fly Fishing in New York State Lifestyle New York State resorts and lodging skiing in the Catskills timeshare in the Catskills

“Hail Caesar” at Villa Roma

  • By
  • September 19, 2017
Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

 Old-World European Charm 

 

Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Resort, 356 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY is a hot spot for Catskill entertainment and lodging. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, photographer, and videographer

Getaway from city life and EXPLORE 

 

Have you arrived at a destination knowing from the get-go you’ll have an extraordinary stay?

My first impression of Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center was “lively.” That’s a characteristic I look for when I first step foot on a resort property.

Upon my arrival, vehicles were lined up, as guests loaded and unloaded their luggage. Even in late winter, a time of the year many resorts refer to as the “slow season,” the lobby was bustling with activity.

Caesar Night – a sight to behold and cherish

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
A group of senior citizens found plenty of time to catch up at “Caesar Night,” an evening dedicated to fine Italian cuisine and culture.

After spending an afternoon reminiscing in the lobby, the seniors reconvened for Caesar Night that evening. As I entered the main dining room, the maitre d’ was leading the crowd in a celebration of Italian cuisine and ancient culture. They chanted, “Hail Caesar,” as I discovered a most of the crowd was decked out in garb straight out of the Roman Empire.

Caesar Night is a Thursday night ritual at Villa Roma, marked by a seven-course feast prepared by Chef Peter Selthafner. An appetizer, choices of soup or pasta, salad, selections of entrée and a variety of scrumptious desserts are extremely popular among guests who want to take the time to relax and truly savor each course. When is the last time you devoted 90 minutes to casual dining and conversation?

The Regal Dining Room (located on the third floor of the resort’s new main building) is a perfect setting for Caesar Night and unhurried meals. You’ll find the decor – shades of rich blue and gold, decorative hand painted wall murals and large ceiling fixtures are the ideal backdrop for an Italian-themed meal.

Breakfast IS a BIG DEAL 

 

Begin your day with breakfast prepared YOUR way. A bowl of fresh fruit arrived at my table, along with a cup of decaf coffee, shortly after I was seated at a table by the window. Service was consistently top-notch during my 24-hour visit to Villa Roma.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Fresh fruit was a sweet beginning to my breakfast.

Villa Roma is ideally situated in New York State’s Catskills’ region. The mountains and countless acres of greenery that surround the resort are a draw for the thousands of guests who visit the Catskills each year in pursuit of hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Abundant activities and a friendly atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year for nearly six decades.

Dining options:

The Main Dining Room, The Beechwoods Restaurant, Beechwoods Grill, Roman Garden Cafe, Dolce’s Ice Cream Parlor, Coffee Bar (new) and Pool Grill

Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
The decor is vibrant, with plenty of space in the common areas for guests to meet.

History 

 

In the fall of 1969, Martin Passante became the sole owner and by 1973, construction of the lobby and “Future” wing was underway. Prior to 1977, the resort was largely still a seasonal escape for guests but by the 1970s, the focus had shifted to year-round activities. Guests could still count on personalized service and made-to-order food but golf and planned activities were an added draw.

You can get your hands on a copy of the entertainment schedule, brochures highlighting upcoming events and special deals when you check in at the registration desk. Additional information is available when you download the “Good Times Newsletter.”

Always plenty to do

 

The Villa Roma guests see today has grown from an old-fashioned guest hotel with 46 rooms, 10 cottages, a pool, and two bocce courts to 24 timeshare buildings and 139 hotel rooms. Yet, the attention to details and outstanding customer service have not been sacrificed to accommodate more than 200,000 guests each year.

Recreational opportunities are plentiful. Golf enthusiasts can play a round at the resort’s 18-Hole PGA Championship golf course or get their tennis fix on the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. You’ll also find racquetball, volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a fun park, fishing pond, Go-Carts, bumper boats, an arcade room, bowling alley, and fitness center. Villa Roma also offers nightly entertainment and three year-round dining outlets.

Regardless of the season or temperature, fishing and fly fishing are year-round sports enjoyed throughout the Catskills, but if fishing isn’t for you, follow this link to find a complete list of activities to pursue near Villa Roma.

Fishing news and the best locations to fish can be found here at dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/pfrnbcalicon.pdf

Accommodations

 

The two-bedroom efficiency can accommodate up to six guests, with plenty of room to move around.

In addition to two large bedrooms, one with a king bed and the second with one queen bed, the living area also offers a pull-out double sofa bed, which is a definite plus for night owls who want to channel surf the flat screen television.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Two-Bedroom guest suites offer a kitchen for guests who choose to dine in their rooms. This suite is ideal for family travel.

A kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stovetop and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher is located adjacent to the living room. The bathroom in this unit is equipped with a separate bathtub and a shower stall, so guests can enjoy a long soak or shower.

Villa Roma also offers a one-bedroom efficiency, one-bedroom suite, deluxe rooms with a private balcony that’s perfect for stargazing or daydreaming; traditional rooms, and lodge rooms located only a short distance from the main building.

Nightlife – Dinner and a show

 

When you’ve finished dinner, where will you find nightlife in the Catskills?

Marty’s Lounge is one of the Villa Roma venues where you can enjoy a late night cocktail, sporting event or a movie on a large screen TV.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Hand-clapping or toe-tapping entertainment at Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Dance the night away with your sweetheart at Villa Roma.
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker’s evening show at Villa Roma is the icing on the cake. His repertoire includes famous Sinatra and Elvis tunes. Be prepared to sing along with Tommy. 
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker is a favorite for guests of all ages.

Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss

 

You can count on being busy when you book your getaway at Villa Roma. Take a look at the following themed weekends planned for September, October, and November.

 

Murder Mystery Weekend

Fri., Sept. 29 to Sun., Oct. 1, 2017

October 27,28, 29, 2017

November 3-5, 2017

Bethel Woods Special

Book your accommodations at Villa Roma and slip away to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a concert.

 

For more information, visit Villa Roma’s website or call 1-800-533-6767. 


My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.

No Comments
Family Destinations Fishing Fishing Destinations fly fishing equipment Fly Fishing Guide Services Fly Fishing instruction Fly Fishing Lodge Historic hotels Historic Pocono Mountains' Lodging learn to cast a fly rod Lifestyle Pocono Mountain Dining Pocono Mountain fly fishing Pocono Mountain Inn Pocono Mountain Resort Pocono Mountain resorts Pocono Mountain Retreats Pocono Mountains Historic Inns Pocono Mountains Lodging Pocono Mountains Tourism Trap Shooting

Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

  • By
  • July 5, 2017
Pocono Manor Sports

Learn new skills at Pocono Manor

 

Trap Shooting and Fishing

 

When you meet Mike Possinger, you’ll understand why the Pocono Manor Resort & Spa  “Cast & Blast” package is so much fun.

Mike Possinger, Manor Sports’ Director, Pocono Manor Resort & Spa, teaches guests to trap shoot. All lessons are centered on gun safety.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa’s consummate manager of Manor Sports delights in introducing folks to trap shooting and fishing. They happen to be two of Possinger’s specialties, but the package can be tailored to beginners or more experienced folks who want to fine-tune their skills.

Cast & Blast is one of an assortment of “Stay & Play” packages available at Pocono Manor, a historic inn located in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.

According to Possinger, the original plan was to offer Cast & Blast as a Father’s Day promotion but his idea soon evolved into an all-day event that’s perfect for families, couples, and groups.

“It took off,” Possinger said. “The opportunity is right here. You’re going to shoot right here and go a half-mile away and fish in another.”

Creating moments that result in smiles and laughter are among his goals and this year marks the first time Pocono Manor formally marketed this “Stay & Play” package to guests and non-guests. Overnight lodging, breakfast, three hours of fishing, and an Intro to Trapshooting rates start at $199 per night. A resort fee and tax are not included and reservations are required.

Pocono Manor Packages
I learned the essentials of trap shooting during my recent stay at Pocono Manor. Photo by Mike Possinger. 

Here’s what Kelly Shannon, Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau PR and social media manager said via email about Pocono Manor’s contributions to the Pocono Mountains’ tourism industry.

“Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is a huge draw to visitors, positively contributing to the tourism in the Pocono Mountains. With so many catered packages and onsite activities like fishing, horseback riding, archery, biking, seasonal events, and in the winter even horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice skating, Pocono Manor has so much to offer for all tastes. The resort’s renowned golf course and its serene spa provide even more entertainment to guests. With so much to do, we find visitors returning to indulge in their other activities season-to-season.”

I recently sampled the trap shooting and fly fishing package during a two-day assignment sponsored by Pocono Manor Resort & Spa. Cast & Blast includes about an hour of trap shooting and two to three hours of fishing, but experienced anglers who want to spend more time on the water can fish at the on-site streams for hours.

Possinger is certified through the National Rifle Association (NRA) for shotgun and pistol handling and will devote as much time as needed to be sure participants are comfortable handling a gun. He provides full instruction, covering topics such as gun safety and proper ways to hold, aim and shoot and he’ll tailor a package to meet the needs of families, small groups or corporate clients. Prices will vary, depending on how much casting and blasting you want to do.

“It’s one of those things you don’t experience every day of your life in your own backyard, so we try to make everyone comfortable. People want to learn how to handle a gun,” Possinger said. 

Participants must be 12 years and older to participate in that particular package, but Possinger said he’ll be happy to “dream up all sorts of games and activities that will keep everyone happy.”

“If that’s all it takes to make them (people) smile, why not do it? I’ve been at Pocono Manor for a long time and I want you to have fun. I’m the ‘bartender” or ‘beauty salon’ out here.”

Possinger joined the Manor in the mid-1970s as a snow-maker when the manor’s ski program was in operation. Following college and years in politics, Possinger learned the Manor Sports director’s position was available.That was 12 years ago.

“I don’t complain about getting up in the morning and going to work. I go and it’s one of those things that happens when you find a once-in-a-lifetime job.”

Since then, he has catered to guests, including countless individuals with special needs and circumstances.

“Years ago, a guest (a lady) had a bucket list. She was terminally ill and in a wheelchair. I built a tripod and made it so I could set it across her wheelchair. I made a holder that set on her wheelchair and she could turn the tripod and just pull the trigger. She told me, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. Situations like that are very special to me.”

I spent my second day at Pocono Manor fly fishing in a stream on the property, along pristine “catch and release” water. The on-site stream is only available to registered Pocono Manor guests. A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required for anyone who plans to take fish from the property.

Pocono Manor Sports
Anglers will find stocked and native trout in streams located on Pocono Manor’s property.

On July 20, 2017, Erin Caulfield, a Pocono Manor spokesperson announced Pocono Manor Resort & Spa has received certification from the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), the largest clay target shooting organization in the world. She also noted the resort has installed five state-of-the-art Pat-Trap machines.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is now the only resort in the Pocono region with the ability to host ATA-member only sanctioned registered shoots.

Caufield said Pocono Manor will host its second registered shoot on September 30, 2017. Participants are eligible for discounted overnight rates.

Save the date

 

Spend Oct. 14 outdoors at Pocono Manor’s Family Field Day with Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters. The day’s activities will include Instruction in shooting .22 rifles, airsoft rifles, shotguns, compound bows and crossbows, fishing, fly-fishing demos, children’s games, and a barbecue menu.  Visit https://www.PoconoManor.com/Events for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at poconomanor.com/manor-sports. 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/inn-pocono-manor-splendor. 

Manor Sports is open Mon. to Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


 

 

 

 

 

 

No Comments
Lifestyle

Bob Dunlop shares stories from the Crescent Lodge

  • By
  • April 3, 2017
Bob Dunlop, Crescent Lodge owner, has dedicated more than 70 years to the hospitality industry. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

Crescent Lodge: a retreat from city life

Peaceful paradise in the heart of the Poconos

In 1947, Jack Dunlop and his wife, Minerva, traveled to the Pocono Mountains and found the perfect spot — a nine-bedroom former boarding house on 28 scenic acres along Route 191 in Paradise Valley.

Bob Dunlop, current Crescent Lodge owner, described his parents as typical “New Yorkers” who discovered their niche in the Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Dunlop was 10-years old and growing up on Long Island, N.Y. when his father purchased the rooming house “in the country” as a retreat from city life. Family and friends gathered there on weekends and summers to play cards and unwind.

The Crescent lodge is located in Cresco, PA in the heart of the Poconos at 5854 Paradise Valley Rd, at a busy thoroughfare that intersects with Route 191. Despite a constant flow of traffic; inside the lodge, guests will find a peaceful reprieve among the antique furniture and memorabilia Dunlop has collected over the years. Don’t miss the wall of photos near the registration desk that feature Dunlop immersed in one of his favorite hobbies – golf.

The Crescent Lodge, Paradise Valley, was a former boarding house. On a mid-summer evening, there wasn’t a seat available in the dining room. My table had a view of the pool and Dunlop’s collection of vintage cottages he and his father built, one by one, over a 70-year span.

As I scribbled notes in my stenographer’s notebook, I heard a male voice ask, “How’s everything?”

I gazed up and found Dunlop standing next to my table. Whenever he’s in town, he makes his evening rounds to each table. greeting dinner patrons and inquiring about their meals. From the brief conversations I overheard, I wasn’t sure if the customers were close acquaintances or new customers, but nonetheless, I heard rave reviews. Dunlop and his son, Wayne, have built their business by carrying on a tradition of personalized service, flavorsome cuisine, and plentiful portions. Part of their success is attributed to a hands-on approach. On that night, Dunlop’s son, Wayne, was the maitre d, but he also serves as the chef, according to Dunlop.

Decades of

As I waited for my French Onion Soup appetizer to arrive, Dunlop gave me his undivided attention as he shared decades of stories about his life in the hospitality business.

“My father bought the property and came up often with his friends on the weekends,” Dunlop commented. “When they started the business, they did not charge guests. The guests felt guilty not paying to stay here.”

Wistful Charm 

Patrons will find a touch of vintage charm, whether they choose to stay in the inn or one of the captivating cottages. Each accommodation at the Crescent Lodge has its own distinctive style and is adorned with ample furnishings covered in soft, comfortable fabrics.

Guests can choose from a room in the inn or in one of the custom-built cottages.

Rather than dress his rooms in the most up-to-date fabrics and colors, Dunlop has chosen to retain a style that’s reminiscent of the late 1940s, intermingled with the amenities guests expect. Private bathrooms with a shower and bathtub, toiletries, hair dryer, ironing board, and iron are some of the comforts provided. Many of the cottages feature a fireplace and sunken jacuzzi built for two.

Dunlop offers his guests the timeless style and elegance they’ve come to expect. 

Dunlop has witnessed first-hand significant changes in the hospitality industry. One way to stay up-to-date with trends is the practical approach he has acquired after nearly 70 years in the business by staying in touch with his customers’ needs.

“I was just a kid when my father began to build the cottages in a semi-cirle,” Dunlop explained, referring to the cottages dressed in cedar shingles. 

Years later, when he was absorbed in his own career, Dunlop, an architect, made a decision to take over the family business, but his design skills and training weren’t wasted. Upkeep often included building and renovation projects. Cedar is a key element in the cottages’ exterior facade and all but one of the bungalows has a fireplace.

“My parents didn’t know what to do with the (Crescent Lodge) business. So, I gave up my business and I took over,” he said.

The Cedar shingles incorporated into the cottage design lend a romantic appeal.  

While being in the hospitality business is at the very least demanding, Dunlop said a dedication to the business is a necessity.

 Anyone who gets into the hospitality business needs to know it’s very time-consuming,” he quipped. “I’m like a doctor. If somebody needs something at three o’clock in the morning, we have to get up and do it, but it’s very rewarding.”

Dunlop draws his dinner clients from a variety of demographics. Folks passing through the Poconos or those with second homes dine with him on a frequent basis and many are faithful followers who have been fans for years. Overnight guests range from honeymooners seeking romance, privacy and outdoor recreational activities to the over 55 crowd, who shop, golf or kick back.

“I have to give my dad credit. He was very progressive for that era. We’ve had a really nice business and we’ve met all sorts of people. You make a lot of people happy. I don’t think we’ve made anybody unhappy,” Dunlop said. 

Visit crescentlodge.com for more information regarding rates, menus, deals and packages. You can also find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Disclosure:

My trip was comped but my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Comments
Dining at Spa Destinations Girlfriends' Weekend Getaway Pocono Mountain Dining Pocono Mountain Retreats Spa Destinations

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. 

1 Comment

advertisement

Copyright © 2017 Joan Matsui . All rights reserved