Monday, March 12, 2018

Feelin' Saucy

After an extended reprieve, our beloved Pick & Shovel Barbecue Sauce is available for purchase once again! 


While our bottled sauce has seen a few different logos throughout the years, our house recipe - created by the late Winnifred, "Winnie" Erwin, one of Madonna Inn's most beloved head chefs - has remained the same for over 50 years.



Look for our bottled Pick & Shovel Barbecue Sauce in our gourmet shop and (coming soon) on our online store. And, of course, make sure to ask your server for a side of this magical stuff the next time you're enjoying some crispy french fries, a hearty Beef Dip sandwich, or succulent fried chicken!  

Friday, February 9, 2018

"I need a writer!"


One of the best parts about enjoying a Madonna Inn cake for a special event is seeing your personal message inscribed beautifully across the top. And, although a skilled cake decorator makes writing in frosting appear effortless, creating these messages (referred to as "writers" in the bakery) takes a lot of skill.





It is actually quite often that the bakery receives requests for writers after our bakery staff has gone home, at which point one is likely to hear "I need a writer!" reverberating through the bakery and kitchen corridors. In such moments it is our hosts and hostesses, wait staff, and even back office staff that are depended on to grab a pastry bag and put their piping skills to the test! Recently, I was able to catch Katie, one of our Copper Cafe hostesses, completing a writer for a special order. As you can see, she was poised and prepared to answer the call.


I have personally gotten to create a last-minute writer and can attest to the difficulty involved in crafting these delicate embellishments. Even as someone who's always been proud of her penmanship, I was quite humbled by my questionable final product. When writing in frosting is harder than it looks, thank goodness for multi-talented staff members with a steady hand and some artistic flair, to boot!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

French Pastries Return


After an extended hiatus, our cream puffs, eclairs, and napoleons are back on our list of regularly-offered bakery items. These indulgent delights are lovingly assembled by hand each day, using flaky pastry dough, fresh Bavarian pastry cream and whipped cream or chocolate pudding, and chocolate or pink vanilla fondant. One bite will surely send you straight to cloud nine!
 



Monday, October 23, 2017

Madonna Memories

We recently received a sweet correspondence from a guest who inherited some of her late grandmother's belongings and felt inclined to share them with us. I never grow tired of learning about people's connections to the Madonna Inn; what makes it special for them. The photos below, from Lisa of Las Vegas, feature a vintage version of Paris Violets, a happy couple (Liz and Bob), and a glimpse of days gone by. 












Thank you for sharing your grandmother's memories with us, Lisa!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Madonna Inn's Biggest Fan


A few weeks ago, I received an email from our reservations office alerting me to the presence of a certain guest that I NEEDED to get in touch with. Not only had this individual been spotted multiple times on property, proudly sporting his handmade Madonna Inn t-shirt, he had also been in contact with various Madonna Inn employees throughout his stay; quizzing them on Madonna Inn trivia, asking for property maps, and chit-chatting about Mrs. Madonna's book. Happily, I reached out with the email provided by our staff, and spent nearly an hour on the phone with this MI super fan just a few days later.






Meet Baron. He is eight years old, going into third grade, and hails from the Washington, DC area. On a recent 20-day vacation to California, he and his family spent three days staying at the Inn and enjoying all that SLO has to offer. Baron, who was essentially his family's personal tour guide during their stay, fell in love with the Inn nearly a year and a half ago when he was assigned a non-fiction book report in school and chose to read My Point of View. After reading Mrs. Madonna's book cover to cover (literally) he began creating digital renderings of Madonna Inn guestrooms and points of interest through his Minecraft gaming software.

Country Gentleman Minecraft rendering

Registration Office Minecraft rendering

Showboat Minecraft rendering

Of all the things Baron loves about the Inn, individually themed rooms, stained glass cupolas, and pink champagne cake were at the top of his list. In our telephone interview he was straightforward, inquisitive, and even helpful - giving some suggestions for possible new bedspread designs, and pointing out that the Copper Cafe and Silver Bar have confusingly similar names! I found myself continually impressed by his MI knowledge and passion. Before we said goodbye I made sure to let him know he could expect gainful employment with Madonna Inn, should he ever decide to move to California.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Celebrating Summer

It's the summer solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the official beginning of Summer, and a magical time to be in San Luis Obispo.


To celebrate, the dogs and I took a nice hike up Cerro San Luis, "Madonna," Mountain to enjoy the scenery and warm weather. I don't often pack my camera up the mountain because I feel like it weighs me down, however, this time I enjoyed the opportunity it gave me to slow down and become more mindful. I found a vivid new world through my viewfinder that would normally get overlooked in my hurried steps.


 When I take the time to really look, it's easy to find beauty all around me - even in the weeds!



Here's to open trails, wildflowers, good dogs, and summer sun. Cheers!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Think Pink

"Pink" has taken many forms at Madonna Inn throughout the years. Decades ago, Mrs. Madonna added extra touches of her signature color via pink bread, beer, and even toilet paper! And while we no longer offer the aforementioned TP, the Madonna Inn is still unmistakably pink.


Various rosy shades can be found in nearly every corner of the property; from the pastel street lamps in the parking lot, to the floral carpeting in the steakhouse, to the Champagne and Apple Spice cakes in the bakery case. The color even finds its way into cups of coffee by way of our signature pink sugar shakers.


Like most aesthetic considerations at Madonna Inn, pink sugar was the brainchild of Mrs. Madonna. After experimenting with pink bread in the mid-1980s, she decided to see what would happen if she added pink food dye to the granulated table sugar. Using large bus tubs, rubber gloves, and a metal spoon, she loving stirred the crystal granules and pink food dye by hand until the perfectly vivid pink hue was achieved. We still make our pink sugar with this method today.

Enjoy a pink sprinkle in your coffee next time you dine in the cafe, or head to our shops to purchase a pink sugar shaker of your very own.