My delicious food foray at an amazing hotel
What makes you salivate?
I entered a contest at the Red Lion Inn to win a free stay. They just wanted a story about a previous stay that you had and the topic was about food. Well. Goodness I had A LOT to say about their food. I am always in heaven when I eat there. Obviously I won the contest and they included my story in their bedtime story book! I felt so famous! Here it is for you to enjoy.
Food at the Red Lion Inn
Winning Bedtime Story at The Red Lion Inn
On a bitter cold January night, my boyfriend and I checked into the Red Lion Inn. Once settled into our charming room, we turned on the fireplace and changed into more comfortable clothes. The drive from Connecticut made us weary and we needed a pick me up; we ventured down the creaky stairs in our slippers, to the main dining room. While the decorum might call for something a little classier in the way of clothes, we felt right at home in our cozy pants and favorite sweaters. Sitting down in the dining room was the final confirmation and helped us realize that, yes; we were truly at the Red Lion Inn.
Looking over the menu had a hypnotizing effect on us. We were hungry. We had driven far to reach our destination and we were so excited to finally be there. What should we order? What would be best? The turkey dinner sounds decadent and incredible but so does the filet mignon. What to do? One rule that we make is to never skimp when we are at the Red Lion Inn; no matter the cost. This is the one time that it is worth every penny and I know that it is going towards the quality of the food as well as the preparation.
In the end we both had to choose the turkey dinner. It came complete with turkey, cranberries, potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and stuffing. There is nothing as gluttonous as a turkey dinner and we both were craving comfort foods that wouldn’t make us feel hungry in an hour. This meal did not disappoint.
Turkey can be hard to prepare. It can be easy to overcook and then you are left with tough meat that requires a hearty dousing of gravy. Stuffing can be made from a bag and taste alright but it won’t have the same depth and flavor as when you make it yourself with the giblets and a sliced up apple. Potatoes that don’t have the right amount of butter will not be the same potatoes that you were hoping for. I’m normally not a fan of cranberries with turkey dinner but that must be because I’ve always had it from a can; I ate all of it that evening.
In fact, I ate everything. The turkey was moist and perfect, the potatoes were the kind you’d expect at a high class restaurant in New York City, and the stuffing was better than any stuffing I’ve ever had in my life; even better than my aunt Edna’s.
But the most amazing part of this decadent and soul quenching meal was the sweet potatoes. I’m not sure how the chef did it, but he sprinkled a little bit of heaven on those root vegetables and I couldn’t believe what kind of new emotions I was experiencing. I wanted to shout for joy and tell everyone in the dining room. I wanted to kiss the chef and shake his hand. I wanted to know what the secret ingredients were so that I could recreate it later. I wanted to order more so that they would never end.
While the recipe may be in the Red Lion Inn cookbook, it never seems to come out the way that it is in the dining room. Maybe it is because someone else is making it for me and I don’t have to worry about the dishes. Maybe they do have some secret bottled heaven in the kitchen. Whatever it is, it will help me come back again and again, and experience new heights of ecstasy.
When we were fat and happy, we made our way to the hot tub. The snow swirled around our bath robes as we got in and washed away everything outside of this little town. We were still flushed from our food and hot tub excursion when we decided it was time to check out the tavern.
Here awaited a delicate, quaint table, set like it was done especially for us, lit by candlelight. We each ordered a glass of cognac, neat, and proceeded to toast to the evening, that amazing meal and to finally making it to our favorite place in New England, once again.
Clinking our glasses together, smelling the subtle notes of wood and drinking deep, we realized fully that we were on vacation. It was quiet, there were not many people bustling about and this was the perfect change that we needed in our lives. There were no cellphones, no emails rushing in and no one telling us what to do. Simplicity like this had slowly faded from our lives and I took every opportunity to cherish it while I could. Looking around the tavern, at the thick wooden floor boards and the story inducing items hanging from the ceiling, I remembered the countless meals I’ve had there and the joy from each and every one of them.
One of the main pleasures that I get from the Red Lion Inn is the food. Making a point to eat in the dining room, the tavern and in the Lion’s Den Pub at least once every time I manage to be in the presence of those white walls, fills me with a kind of satisfaction that only really good food can. Perhaps it’s the old air. It could be the atmosphere and the décor. Maybe it is the hospitality and generations of good vibes seeping into my soul, but something about this place instantly calms and comforts me. And eating no longer is something that I have to do to nourish myself; it’s part of the simple joys of life.
While the cognac lingered in our stomachs, we heard music from beneath our feet. Opening the soft wood door that lead to the basement, we ventured downstairs with our glasses and snagged a prime seat next to the fireplace where the embers glowed softly and provided enough warmth without being overbearing. The service was immaculate and within seconds we had dessert menus in front of us, tantalizing all our senses with what could be. I had a soft spot for cookies, while my boyfriend chose the brownie sundae.
I will never forget stealing bites of his sundae. While the cookies were warm, soft in the center and crispy on the outside like the perfect cookie should be, I couldn’t help but fall deeply in love with the brownie to my left. The cold of the ice cream, mixed with the warmth of the just baked brownie and hot fudge deepened my sense of peace and comfort. There are not many pleasures in life as great as warm food on a cold night. I didn’t believe that I could top off the turkey dinner with a dessert that rivaled its decadence; but alas, how easy I forget that this is the Red Lion Inn.
There is something amazing about being able to enjoy something so sweet, while beautiful live music fills your ears and you are next to the ones that you love. Suddenly the people at the table to our left were no longer strangers but friends enjoying the same things that we were. The world that we work so hard for in the name of progress helps us have these creature comforts that can make life so enjoyable. Even though I was so full, I couldn’t wait until the morning, when I could have the best blueberry muffin that exists in all of mankind.
I’ve never had a meal as delicious as the ones I’ve had at the Red Lion Inn. I’ve searched far and wide for something that comes close to it but to no avail. I guess I’ll have to just book another stay.
Simon the cat, lounging.
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- The Red Lion Inn - Stockbridge, Mass.
The historic Red Lion Inn, in the heart of the Berkshires, is one of the few American inns in continuous use since the 18th century. As immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting Main Street, Stockbridge, the Inn epitomizes hospitality and New Englan