Thursday, April 28, 2016

Madonna Inn Goblets Re-Imagined

One of the first things guests marvel at when they sit down in the Copper Cafe or the Steakhouse are our signature, jewel-toned goblets. Available in a rainbow of colors and multiple styles, these ornate chalices have been a mainstay at the Inn since the early days, and were actually custom designed by Mr. Madonna.

It is no secret that our lovely glassware can be purchased in-store or online, however it is perhaps not as well known that our goblets are also available in a wearable form.

Produced exclusively for Madonna Inn, these beautiful pendants, bracelets, and earrings are made from "upcycled" (broken) goblets by Jacqui Smiley of Vintage Revival Jewelry. Jacqui specializes in making jewelry pieces from broken china, tiles, glassware, and even cutlery.

Broken goblets are collected and sent to Jacqui to be made into beautiful, unique statement jewelry.

Keep your Madonna Inn memories close to your heart with one of these signature pieces - each a custom made, one-of-a-kind keepsake!

Photos courtesy of Lauren Chester

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Meet Rob - MI's New Executive Chef

After nearly 15 years of experience in various fast-paced California kitchens, self-taught chef Robert Osborne has found his home on Central Coast to serve as Madonna Inn's Executive Chef. Apart from the years of experience and knowledge that Rob brings to the MI team, his enthusiasm, creativity, and ever-present smile have given new energy and inspiration to our kitchen and menus.

Burger of The Week - The "Casanova"

Green Goddess Avocado Toast

Truffle Fingerling Potatoes
 Rob's culinary journey began as a summer job, bussing tables at a premier French restaurant in Saratoga, California.  Shortly thereafter, he was thrown behind the line and told not to “mess up," despite the fact that he had no prior training! Although this may have at first been daunting, it was indeed the beginning of Rob's affinity for the creative process. Learning, teaching, creating and honing his craft, he quickly fell in love with what it meant to be a chef. 

Rob gained more experience working for well-established Silicon Valley restaurants and clubs - such as Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Palo Alto, where he worked as a sous chef. He also spent time in Monterey as the chef for Cannery Row Brewing Company. A highlight of his early career came when he was chosen to serve as the equipment manager for the 4th and 5th annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival; and the inaugural Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival. During these events, Rob was responsible for the equipment needs of over 100 of the biggest celebrity chefs!

"Hamming" it up in the kitchen. (Pun intended). 
Rob has become an integral part of the Madonna Inn team... but also happens to be a part of the extended Madonna family. As the great-nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Madonna, Rob has many fond childhood memories of holidays and celebrations that included trips to San Luis Obispo and Madonna Inn.

Rob and his cousin Connie at a family birthday celebration.

Rob's decision to take this position has not only been exciting and positive for the Madonna Inn as a whole, but has also been special because it gives even more meaning to our motto, "a family tradition since 1958."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cipi's American Dream

The journey to citizenship for Cipriano Hernandez, a Madonna Inn employee of nearly 25 years, was celebrated last Friday among fellow coworkers, family, friends, and community members.

When Cipi began working at the Madonna Inn he was living in the United States on a temporary visa. After enduring over five arduous years of legal hurdles and setbacks, he was finally granted citizenship in 2007 with the help and support of local legislators and legal professionals - including Lois Capps and her determined staffers, Jim Braebeck of Farm Supply, and the Madonna family.
In light of Congresswoman Capps’s upcoming retirement from office, she wanted to bring together all the people who helped make this happen years ago; and remember the hard work, sacrifice, and faith that it took from all - especially from the Hernandez family. 

Being that Cipi is so highly respected, loved, and important to the Madonna Inn team and local community, it seemed only fitting to celebrate the afternoon with a three-tiered Americana-themed circus cake and champagne. Many members of the Madonna Inn team and Madonna family, along with local community members and friends, came together to share how much Cipi means to them for all he does and everything he’s gone through. 

Cipi's story of determination, hard work, and patience is a beautiful reminder to me that the "American Dream" is alive and well. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Black Forest Muse

While our cakes have certainly been adored by many, this student's description of her divine experience is truly precious! 

Mr. Z's San Gabriel Elementary class was instructed to write about their favorite food and, as one of the best essays in the class, he was happy to share one of those essays with us. 


It makes me happy to know that Madonna Inn can make people so happy, as well as produce desserts that inspire such impressive and creative writing. Keep writing, Ashlyn - you may have a career in food journalism in your future!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love is in the Air

Although every day of the year at Madonna Inn is a sort of celebration - marked by delectable desserts, cherubs, and shades of pink - guests visiting during the month of February will discover a lover's fantasy land. Along with our signature year-round flair, Cupid's influence can be seen in everything from our steakhouse decor to our heart-shaped cakes and flower beds.

Imagine a romantic carriage ride, followed by a Perfect Pairings dinner for two: complete with a "Love Struck" martini and dessert at the Silver Bar... all before cuddling up beside your sweetheart in a plush guest room!


The Valentine's weekend of your dreams is only a click or phone call away!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Winter WonderSLO

Each winter break, I look forward to the return of the Winter WonderSLO ice rink in the Expo Center. The 4,500 square feet of real ice create a frosty, festive atmosphere that make a perfect activity for families, couples, and friends.  And, with part of the proceeds supporting the SLO Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, this holiday activity is not only a fun tradition for locals, but also beneficial for the community.

 This year, the rink is open until January 3rd, so check out the Winter WonderSLO website for skate session times and ticked reservations ASAP! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Holiday Tradition

Decorations at the Madonna Inn have often taken on a life of their own. With each holiday, our creative team spends weeks transforming the Inn into a uniquely whimsical expression of the season; with Winter often requiring the most planning, preparation, and time.  And this careful attention to all things aesthetically fun and festive is certainly nothing new.

  From the time of the Inn's inception, Mr. and Mrs. Madonna (Grandpa and Grandma) would take great pride in making sure the Inn's interior and exterior looked superbly cheerful. In fact, their love for the holiday spirit was actually so strong that the embellishments eventually extended beyond the walls of the hotel and restaurants and all the way to the tippy-top of Cerro San Luis "Madonna" Mountain.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Grandpa would erect a giant lit "tree" for Christmas and a lit cross for Easter at the top of the mountain behind the Inn. This began after he bought the Bianchi ranch property in 1972, and built a road upon the parcel of this ranch that stretched to the top of the mountain.

With 11 strands of red and white glowing lights strung from a 30-foot aluminum mast, the tree lights up the night sky each night of December and through the New Year. In years past, the tree would be lit only for the 12 days of Christmas, however more recently the tree has gone up on December 1st so that the community can enjoy it for a little longer. The tree takes roughly a day to set up and has been rebuilt numerous times throughout the years to withstand the elements. Since the '70s, it has been a tradition for SLOcals to hike to the top of the mountain near dark to enjoy the lights. Even for those who don't make the trek to the top, the tree is a beacon of holiday cheer that reaches for miles.

By the way... in case you've ever wondered, the tree's nightly illumination is not the feat of a timer, remote, or even magic. Rather, every evening - rain or shine - a Madonna Inn employee must travel up to the top of the mountain at dusk to turn on the generator that powers the lights.This year, my younger brother Dalton has been given this important task. So if you see him driving up the mountain in his work truck around sunset, make sure to give him a wave. And if you get too tired of hiking, he might even give you a lift to the top!