Sunday, 9 March 2008

American brunch - the real thing

A few weeks ago, I posted about an American brunch I was making as part of my InterContinental cooking challenge with Lisa from Unique Little Bits. I was quite pleased with the amount of choice I offered my guests, but this has been kicked into touch by the experiences of Munchkin Gramps and Family, at the Don CeSar hotel in St Petersburg, Florida. They went to America at half term, and had already put Sunday brunch there at the top of their itinerary after doing themselves a collective eating injury there last time they visited. I had instructed them to take photos and come back prepared to be interviewed about their experiences. So, when I popped round after my evening out with Dogophile Vegan Nurse (of whom more in the next post) this is what they told me:

The seafood platter

Me: So, tell me about the Don CeSar hotel.

Junior Bro: Well, it was huge on the outside and bright pink, and it overlooked the beach. From inside, the views were spectacular, and the service inside was equally good. We went at twelve, and we all made sure we had good appetites.

Me: Tell me about the choice of drinks

Munchkin Gramps: We got champagne to start (adults only). Granny S nearly got thrown out for letting Junior Sis and Junior Bro have a sip.

JB: We had the usual free water to start and there was an unlimited supply of orange juice and other fruit drinks, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

The crepe toppings - yum, count those vitamins

Me: What did you eat first?

JB: Last time I was at the Don CaSar I liked the pasta best, so I decided to start with that. It was farfalle pasta, with alfredo sauce, black olives and a delicious topping of cheese. They had pasta in a bowl and all these topping and they just put on what you wanted. I had three portions of that. Then I decided to try some of the fruits. I ate a lot of pineapple and a lot of melon. Then we got to the desserts and that was the good bit! I had chocolate mousse to begin with, which was very rich but also very nice. I had four of those [aghast exclamation from Lysy. Munchkin Gramps looks sanguine, since it was all a fixed price]. And then it was time for the crepes, which I had been waiting for. I had nine last time and wanted to beat my record. They had a choice of fillings, which included chocolate, strawberries, a banana thing, and they made up whatever you wanted. I’m not quite sure what the final was at [I suspect calorie-induced amnesia] but I think it was around eleven.

One of Junior Bro's many crepes in preparation

Me: What did you eat, Munchkin Gramps?

MG: [tries to access dim and distant memory and requests a ten minute break] I had salad with salmon, and then pasta with mushrooms and alfredo sauce. Then a cheese omelette garnished with unidentifiable green and orange objects. Then more salmon, and finally a mousse, or possibly two. I tried not to eat too much [other family members start to bring up other things MG may or may not have eaten as well. He looks shifty and denies it all]. And about three glasses of champagne. The most amazing thing was that you had as much as you could eat of this amazingly lavish food and it all came to $44 per head.

Me: Junior Sis, tell me more about the whole experience

Junior Sis: We were all dressed up and all the rooms were very posh. The food was all laid out very extravagantly. I had salmon, scallops, prawns, lobster, mackerel, bread, pasta with mushrooms and alfredo sauce, some mahi mahi

Me: What is that, more sophisticated than me younger sister?

JS: It’s a type of white fish, like barramundi. Very tasty. And a crepe with strawberries, and a chocolate mousse, which was really nice.

MG: How many?

JS: Only one! [MG looks askance, but JS is adamant that she is being maligned]

Me: How about you, Granny S?

Granny S: I had mainly fish, salmon, smoked salmon, scallops, prawns, crab, mahi mahi, lovely salads, nice bread, lots of champagne [goes into reverie], and a chocolate mousse and some cheese and biscuits, though there wasn't such a good choice there.

Me: Who won the big-eater prize?

Everyone, unanimously: Junior Bro!

Me: What was the best thing you all ate?

JB: the scrumptious pasta with the alfredo sauce and cheese has to be the highlight because it was just the perfect amount. [we establish that he means per portion, ‘perfect amount’ seeming to have a life of its own in this restaurant]

MG: Not the eleven mousses?!

JB: Yeah, they were good too

JS: The seafood and scallops.

Me: So it wasn’t an anti climax?

Everyone: not at all, it was as good if not better than last time.

Me: Would I have liked it?

JS: there weren’t many vegetarian things, but there was pasta and salads and eggs.

Me: Sounds good to me, but I would have whinged excessively that I was too full. I think you would have banished me to the beach.

MG: If you can take a train there we’ll take you next time [this is a reference to my no-fly ban].

Me: Did you manage to move afterwards?

JB: Yes, we went for a walk on the beach. It was supposed to be a run, but only I ran.

Me: How on earth did you manage that after all that food?

JB: I’d had a bit of a sit down for a few hours. And we didn't eat again until Wednesday.

Junior Bro realises he has forgotten his credit card

No comments: