Thursday, July 23, 2015

For the Love of Bread Sticks

My second cousin, Rob, shared a wonderful family throwback with me today after lunch. In it, my Great Aunt Laverne, Great Uncle Bob, Grandma Phyllis, and Grandpa Alex are shown enjoying a meal together. On the back of the photo, " Dinner in San Francisco, 1949," is written in a faded, blue cursive.

At first glance, I was a little shocked by the fact that Grandpa appeared to be smoking. I'd never known him to smoke or drink - apart from a Hot Toddy if he was really, really sick - so to see him holding what appeared to be a cigar was puzzling.

After a closer inspection of the photo, however, I realized the object in his hand was merely... a bread stick! While it was well-known that he abstained from tobacco, drugs, and alcohol throughout the course of his life, Grandpa was a notoriously passionate foodie.

As a true lover of food, myself, I totally get it; and I don't think I would have put down my bread stick for the photo op either.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Truffled Fingerling Potatoes

This heavenly new appetizer is the epitome of savory, gourmet-comfort-food goodness. (Yes, I may have just invented a thing called gourmet-comfort-food.)

Golden fingerling potatoes are baked and smashed, then flash fried in hot oil. Once out of the fryer, they are drizzled in a sumptuous white truffle oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and finished with grated Parmesan and parsley. These potatoes are crisp and crunchy on the outside, yet smooth and creamy on the inside - with the perfect amount of rich truffle essence. One whiff and I feel as though my feet have left the ground!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Madonna Dreamcicle

Our newest drink special is everything I love about a summer cocktail. It's frothy, creamy, tangy, sweet, and bright. One sip and I'm reminded of hot days on the handball courts back in Elementary School, basking in the sun while a melting 50/50 bar ran slowly down my hands and cheeks. Unlike the old days, however, this orange cream dream is strictly for grown ups.

If you can't make it into the Silver Bar for this blended delight, try whipping one up yourself!

Madonna Dreamcicle

- 1 oz Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
- 1.5 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 oz half & half
- 1 handful of ice
- pink sugar and an orange wedge for garnish

Starting with your ice, simply place all your ingredients in a blender and whirl away!

Topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of pink sugar, this delicious little treat will make you feel like a kid again.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Family Recipes

Strawberry season always brings me fond memories of making pies with my Mama. Our baking dates - which still take up the occasional Saturday or Sunday afternoon - are always a good opportunity to relax, laugh, and just have some good quality "Girl Time."

One of the very best parts about being in the kitchen with my mom is listening to her stories of baking with my Grandma Phyllis, Great Grandma "Noni" Naomi (my namesake), and my Great-Great Aunt Mary Gin. Mama loves to tell me the story about when Great Grandma Noni got so mad at her that she actually chased my mom out of the kitchen. Apparently, Mama had been sneakily eating the strawberries (which were supposed to be going into her pie) and after a little while, Grandma Noni realized she was nearly a full cup short! To this day, I still think of that story whenever I sneak a few berries.

I'm fascinated by old recipes - especially ones that have been passed down through families. Grandma Noni's strawberry pie recipe, and the funny little story that goes along with it, is one that I truly cherish because I feel like it's a way to keep our family history alive, honored, and celebrated.

If Grandma Noni were here today, I think she'd be pleased that we still use her handwritten recipe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Perfect as π

If you watched TLC last week, you may have caught Madonna Inn on the channel's new show, Bride By Design. The show follows brides looking to create a custom, one-of-a-kind Heidi Elnora wedding dress for their big day.

Episode four features Theresa, a mathematician from San Diego, who selects a lovely lavender-hued Venetian lace wedding gown for her March 14th, Pi-day (as in the mathematical number 3.14159...) wedding. Even her veil was complete with a tiny embroidered Pi symbol to commemorate the date.

The couple said their vows on the Madonna Inn dance floor and celebrated with champagne toasts, pink champagne cake, and, of course, pie. These stunning photos from Michelle Roller capture the magic, elegance, and fun of this couple's unique and whimsical wedding.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Egg Cakes!

Each year, I know Easter is near when I look to the bakery display and see a rainbow of festive egg cakes sitting cheerfully on the shelves.

The bakery has been turning out these cute little cakes, available in Pink Champagne and Black Forest flavors, for over 20 years. This year, our bakers have made 160 uniquely decorated cakes.

If you're looking for a simple way to spruce up your Easter table this year, look no further than the Madonna Inn Bakery.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Full Bloom

There is just so much to love about Spring; the explosion of color, the light sweet perfume of freshly blossomed flowers, beautiful green grass, chirping baby birds, vibrant blue skies, and tingly-warm sunshine.

Laurel Golling, our head groundskeeper at Madonna Inn, and her skilled team, do an absolutely fabulous job of keeping the Inn's flora lush, healthy, and radiant. My afternoon was spent meandering aimlessly from garden to garden - attempting to capture a mere visual representation of the delightful Springtime gift that Laurel (and Mother Nature) have given us.

This Spring, remember to take time to pause and just enjoy the world around you!