Kelly the Culinarian: Food find: Hotel Strasburg

Monday, November 5, 2007

Food find: Hotel Strasburg

I can't say much about the Centurion training as it's confidential. However, I can say that it was an intense weekend that has prepared me for all sorts of hostile environments and first aid scenarios.

What I can tell you is about where we stayed. Located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, we stayed in Strasburg at the Ramada Inn. This was only the second time I've gotten to stay at a hotel by myself, so it was quite nice to have a king-sized bed and a television all to myself. I forgot how much I miss the Food Network! Also, the location was just idyllic. The training grounds are on a dairy farm nestled in a wooded mountain range. With the changing of the leaves and the roaming cattle, it would have been quite the getaway, if it wasn't a training ground for dealing with war zones.

We also ate at the Hotel Strasburg, what my professor described as the finest restaurant in Strasburg. This town was the first settlement in the Valley. The hotel was built as a hospital in 1902 and became a hostel in 1915, charging $35 per month for boarders, which included two meals per day.

The restaurant itself was pretty nice. There were 20 or so Medill students doing the training that weekend, so we got a private room at the hotel for our evening meal. The room was decorated much like a historic living room with paintings and portraits. The furniture was equally homey and the menu had such down home favorites as chicken pot pie, crabcakes and ham with macaroni and cheese. We order a wonderful bottle of Pino Noir and a colleague and I split an appetizer of crab brulee, a cheese spread with crab chunks served over broiled bread. The cheese was pungent but creamy and not enough to overpower the juicy crab meat bits.

I then ordered veal as an entree. Sorry about the photo, the lighting was bad. The veal was supposed to be served in a velvety cheese sauce with vegetable du jour. What I got was veal (I think, I've never had it before) with shrimp on top in an orange-colored sauce that tasted like it had a bit of wine in it. The veggies included roasted potatoes, zucchini, parsnip, green beans and cranberries, of all things. The veal tasted OK -- not particularly tender but tasty. The shrimp were also well cooked but not overdone and the sauce was flavorful. I loved the potatoes, but I've never met one that I didn't like. The veggies were also delicious and the combination was refreshingly different. My friend got the strip steak medium rare au blue, which came topped with blue cheese and a demi glace. I had entree envy, I think.

While I didn't have room for dessert, my colleagues ordered off of a luscious dessert tray with chocolate cake, cheese cake, lemon parfait and all sorts of goodies. The chocolate cake looked like a safe bet and the cheesecake was delicious (I stole a bite from someone else).

Besides Centurion training, Strasburg could be a nice place to have a weekend away and see the fall leaves.


Christina Kim said...

It's always hard to snap pics of food when you are on biz trip or training with others without planting that impression in others' mind you are insane huh?:D

Hope you had fun during the training!

daphne said...

sounds like u had an interesting meeting over there. the plate of food looks yummy and so tempting... too bad u didn't have room for dessert!

Argus Lou said...

Was in Morgantown, West Virginia, many years ago, but didn't see the 'Blue Ridge Mountains' mentioned in John Denver's song.

Sounds like a great trip, Kelly!

People St.Clair said...

crab brulee sounds delicious.

Big Boys Oven said...

looks so yummy

Cynthia said...

So you'd say that you're battle ready?

KellytheCulinarian said...

I can survive all sorts of situations and treat aerterial bleeds, among other ailments.

Swaruchy said...

So how did u like Shenandoah.....We go there regularly every year to camp :-))
I like the drive along Shenandoah......Looks like u enjoyed ur time with the food :-))