What I did on my summer vacation
What I did on my summer vacation
I know that I have been very neglectful of my food blog. I have really been putting more effort in to my knitting blog, but I am back and ready to be a better food blogger again. Work has taken up so much of my time that at the end of the day all I feel like doing is plunking down in front of the idiot box and knitting my cares away. Knitting has taken the place of standing in front of the refrigerator and eatifood, golden beets, Loews hotel, personal chef, Philadelphia, Strawberry Short cake, USPCA 2007 conferenceng the days trouble and stress away.
I am lucky enough to get to pow wow with the some fabulous people once a year in mass. It's the annual United States Personal Chef Association conference. We go to some place new each year and this year we went to Philadelphia. I have to say that I wasn't exactly thrilled to be going there after having lived pretty close to there years and years ago. I remember it was a pretty dirty and unappealing place for me. Going back there after years of absence, was a real treat. So much has changed and so much has been cleaned up. I was pleasantly surprised and even more so with the food that the city had to offer.
This is the view from the 26th floor of the Loews hotel. At night it was even more impressive. I am a bit leery about high buildings since Sept 11, but it was just fabulous. I want to brag on the Loews hotel for a moment before I start talking about the food we at.
I don't do as much traveling as I used to but when I do travel I always notice customer service. I am not a cranky, bitchy, demanding guest. I want a clean room, clean bathroom and good air conditioning. Being a middle aged female, air conditioning is MOST important. The Loews hotel met all of those criteria and more. I have never had such wonderful customer service from the top to the bottom of the employee chain. This is how great the customer service was. My friend J and I were walking down the hallway and there was a maid vacuuming the hallway. She stopped vacuuming once we started to walk down the hall towards her. I told her that we didn't want to stop her from doing her job and she said she didn't want the noise of the vacuum cleaner to interrupt our conversation. Now who does that?? I was impressed. What can I say. I vacuum here and if you are in my way, I will plow you over to get my work done. Yes, I know I am not in the hotel service industry but it just stuck out in my mind at how much work Loews puts into their customer service. I have numerous impressions (all wonderful) about their customer service. Everyone was eager to please and they did. If you are ever in Philly and want to stay someplace where everyone and I mean everyone is friendly, spend your travel dollars at the Loews hotel. Okay enough of the commercial.
Now on to the food. We ate three lunches at the hotel but I only managed to eat at two of them, but boy were they good! Since I am a meat eater who has some Vegan and Vegetarian clients I eat meatless once a year at conference. I want to see what is out there in the commercial food world that is being massed produced. I sadly did not get a picture of my lunch but it was a roasted vegetable risotto with a garnish of sauteed Swiss Chard. I thought it was pretty good. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture but I have about 80 others of the food we ate. I have to say that hotel food at a more upscale hotel have improved ten fold and they set some pretty mean tables! Even though I didn't get the glamour shot of the Vegetarian entree, I did get a shot of the salad. It was really nice and was really tasty too. There were greens with a nice light dressing of some sort and about three cubes of red beets and then the same with the golden beets. Beets seem to be gaining popularity everywhere in the last few years. I am not a huge beet fan only because I have never gotten over one experience with them as a child. As a chef I have to be more open to foods both for myself and my clients. So I have been trying more and more beets. I have even got a few red beets growing in my garden here at home. Truly the picture does not give the presentation justice but you get the jest of it. Lovely menu tents were posted at every meal. I did get this one but who can read this. If you can from the photo, you have better eyes than mine. The vegetarian entree is at the bottom of the page. Everyone else had fish. But this next shot really had my attention focused. This was Loews version of Strawberry shortcake. It certainly worked for me! It was just sweet enough to satisfy my wicked sweet tooth. The sliding amber colored item on the top of the cream is hand spun sugar. I just love those kinds of little details. They had to make about 300 of them. Not such a small detail when it's your job to make them, but I sure appreciated the person who did because as soon as I got this shot, that baby was being crunched down on!
Over the next few weeks I will post more about what and where I ate in Philly. I could not get some pictures of the food due to lack of lighting, but I did try. So I am back and will try to have more enthusiam about my food blog again. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I had some down time!