My delightful little room welcomed me with a lush garden view.
This week we are all in for a treat. I’m fortunate to be attending The Symposium for Professional Food Writers at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I can see your confused face. But this hotel is a big deal since it has a long history of hosting 26 U.S. Presidents as well as an extensive list of celebrities. This five-day event showcases the best of the best in the world of culinary literature, such as New York Times bestselling authors Dorie Greenspan and Andrew Schloss, David Leite (Leite’s Culinaria), Heidi Swanson (101 Cookbooks) and Joan Nathan (New York Times Food Arts Magazine), among others. But before I get into that, allow me to share my weekend with you.
Friday night we celebrated birthdays with another couple at Petite Maison, a quaint little French bistro nestled behind the hustle and bustle in Oldtown Scottsdale. I’ve been craving French classics since my vacation in France last summer, so couldn’t wait to try this place out.
Airy, light and warm, gougères (Gruyere cheese puffs) arrived with a glass of French sauvignon blanc (mostly made of Bordeaux, I was told).
We started with moules (mussels) complemented by grilled French bread.
The appetizers attracted us the most, leading us to select a cheese plate with Petite Basque, honeycomb, and Marcona almonds.
The chef prepared fois gras to perfection and I loved the pickled cherries and waffle accompaniments.
A runny egg on top of the beef tartare put this dish over the top.
Steve and I shared corn chowder and steak frites for our main course. We wished the corn chowder tasted more of sweet corn, so we only finished half the bowl.
The tender flatiron steak (perhaps the best I’ve ever had) smothered in caramelized onions barely needed a knife. I dipped my fries in mayo.
We made the Grand Marnier soufflé disappear. Heavenly.
On Sunday I checked into The Greenbrier after a long day of travel. What would you say this style is – Southern Belle chic?
Complimentary night light.
Dinner couldn’t come soon enough. The Symposium’s opening reception featured Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine.
I filled three appetizer-sized plates of food and began with one plate of sushi,
vegetable spring rolls.
And these fried bundles of joy called Man Doo.
I served my second plate with a main course of saucy, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and poufy steamed buns (mantou) filled with cucumber cabbage kim chee.
Sausage fried rice.
For dessert I chose one of everything and ate more than half, including a fortune cookie, lime cheesecake, a macaron, and coconut pineapple tapioca pudding.
The evening ended with what’s referred to as “hospitality” in the agenda. Sixty four wineries comprising Napa Valley Vintners contributed their goods to this year’s Symposium. I need to pace myself. I sipped a nice Cakebread Cellars Syrah. But all good things must come to an end.
Have you ever visited West Virginia? Which Southern specialty must I not miss?
Estimated calories: Friday (697 dinner, 200 wine)
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