Dinner at the Grand Hotel

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At the end of March 2008, it was opening weekend at the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel is located on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. It is a hotel that strives to keep it like it was back when it was first built in the late 19th century. That means nice afternoon tea, with little tarts and finger sandwiches.
The guests are also required to dress formally in the evening. I, being totally oblivious to the fact that what I was getting dressed up for was just dinner, decided to wear my most elegant, floor length, burgundy dress equipped with train and all…

So my sister’s Girl Scout troop, their mothers, and I descended down the stairs to go to dinner. Once we arrived at the dining hall, I realized that I was completely overdressed. The majority of the women in the large room were wearing plain skirts and blouses, and I, of course, was not. I simply shook off this discovery and decided not to let it ruin my evening.

After we were seated, the waiters and waitresses brought us the extravagant menus for our five course meal. I felt like being adventurous on this particular night. There was a lot to choose from on the laminated page so it was easy to go out of my comfort zone.

For a starter, I decided on a green tea fruit cocktail, while the moms and I discussed the music that the band was playing. It had a sort of jazz feeling that we really liked. Our favorite was the stand-up bass.

My appetizer was better than it sounded. When I had finished, I was sure that papaya was my new favorite fruit, and the green tea was in the form of whipped cream, right of top of three layers of fruit (papaya and watermelon squares). The juice ran over my tongue like a calm, very tasty river. I savored every bite.

My squash and beet soup arrived next. Rather than a liquid type texture, it felt more like baby food as I ate. It wasn’t worth losing my appetite over, so I pushed it away and waited for my next course.

When the salad was set in front of me, I was surprised to see no lush, leafy greens on the plate. The third course consisted of crisp carrots, soft green and yellow beans, baby tomatoes, and thick asparagus, all smothered in a cheesy, creamy dressing. Although it looked odd, I liked it.

The main entrée was my favorite of the four courses that I had already eaten. I had beef, well done, with mashed yams and more green beans. As soon as I sampled the yams, my mouth melted. It was the most evenly textured mashed anything I had ever tasted. It had both a sweet and spicy taste. The meat and beans were good, but nothing could compare to those yams.

Before I got to eat my last course, the mothers and I talked. We talked about good books. I suggested one of my favorites that popped into my mind… a great book about food, of all things!

Finally, after what seemed like eternity, our desserts came. I was astonished. My chocolate martini was presented so well. There was a creamy chocolate mousse lining the bottom, with rich, sweet strawberry whip on the top. There were pieces of tart and strawberry set in a fan pattern, and the finishing touches were a white and milk chocolate striped straw with green sugar lining the edge of the glass. The fluffy mixture was rich enough by itself, so at the end of the meal I wasn’t able to finish it.
That night, despite my wardrobe malfunction, had been the greatest. My meal was the best I have ever had and I will remember it forever.





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