Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
5 Golden Spoons
A last-minute hotel booking turned into a culinary adventure. When we visit Chicago, we usually stay at the Waldorf, but this trip we decided to try something new and reserved a room at the Trump. After a day of travel, we arrived at the hotel in the early evening. We were tired and hadn’t made any dinner plans so we decided to stay in and dine at the hotel. There were basically two options for a meal; a snack type small bite menu in the bar or the hotel’s upscale dining experience, Sixteen.
After dropping our bags in our room, we took the elevator down to the sixteenth floor. Just steps after the doors closed, we were warmly greeted by a charming hostess, Sandy, who showed us menus for both restaurants. One option offered burgers, sandwiches, and diner fare while the other was an elaborate fine-dining tasting experience of what appeared to be a rather pretentious prix-fixe with dishes described in over-flowery detail. We opted for the prix-fixe. Sandy called over the Restaurant Manager of Sixteen, Jessica, who said she would check to see if she could find us a table and if the chef was prepared for additional guests. Hmm. I could see that Jessica took her position very seriously and that maybe, just maybe, we had stumbled into something spectacular.
The Falls, Palm Springs, Ca.
1 Golden Spoon
We started our experience in the bar. Dominic pourer our Martinis complete with a panache of dry ice. Very fun and he was charming. We actually became excited about the potential experience based upon his great care. But…then everything went downhill.
We were escorted to a corner table and presented with menus. Atmosphere was fine, but tired. We perused the menu which was a traditional steak house menu but the descriptions were lackluster. This should have been a sign. We opted for The Falls Caesar Salad described only as “Prepared from Scratch Table Side for Two for $20.” Seemed safe.
4 1/2 Golden Spoons
Yes, another 4 1/2 Golden Spoon experience. Your probably thinking that I’m too generous with my reviews, but that really isn’t the case. I’ve just been lucky enough lately to fall into some of the best dining experiences of my life. Cafe Veneto was another amazing find. We were casually walking the streets of Rome when we came upon a charming well dressed gentlemen who was standing in front of an elegant restaurant of about twenty tables housed in a gleaming glass cube directly on Via Vittorio Veneto. He asked us to look at the menu which had a wonderful selection of local delicacies. We weren’t hungry, but we’re so impressed with him and his promise of a great dining experience that we took his business card and vowed to return. In fact, the next evening we did return and he remembered us. We were seated at a elegantly dressed table with bright white linens and gleaming glass and silverware. A live duo was singing with a list of classic romantic american tunes. (more…)
5 Golden Spoons
Cruise ship cuisine often falls short but it is completely the opposite aboard the Windsurf, the world’s largest sailing ship. On our first night at sea just south of Barcelona, we dined at Stella Bistro on the star deck. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a team of service staff who warmly introduced themselves and escorted our party of four to our table. The ambiance was elegant but not pretentious and we had a lovely view of the sparkling coast. We were presented with an extensive menu that would delight even the most experienced foodie.
Honestly, I wanted every dish so making choices was quite a challenge. I opted to start with the house made wild boar pate which arrived on a toasted seasoned baguette chip atop a delightful frisée with a delicate mustard sauce. The pate was sweet and tart, country style with just the right amount of texture. A pure delight that melted in my mouth with a gorgeous vinegary finish. (more…)