Things Aren’t Always Rosy

Things Aren’t Always Rosy if you are a farmer trying to raise crops or a gardener who enjoys having a vegetable or flower garden. Even if you are neither a farmer or gardener, you have probably seen in the news that some people have had to deal with drought, fires, floods, hail and even early snow this year. Thankfully while we are not facing any of those kind of troubles, things aren’t rosy here at our New England farm.

New Dawn Rose Climbing Rose

Last Year’s New Dawn Climbing Roses

Over the past years, my husband and I have seen our property and orchard have its ups and downs depending on the weather each year here in New Hampshire. I thought you might be interested in seeing how the past harsh winter, the wet cold spring and a cooler than normal summer have all affected our orchard and garden.

You may understand why the old nursery rhyme “there was a little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead…when she was good, she was very, very good“, has me thinking about Mother Nature. Unfortunately the rest of the rhyme…”when she was bad, she was horrid” has been the way I think Mother Nature has treated us this year.

During the past years, the New Dawn climbing roses have grown up and over the garden shed and along one side of the picket fence around our garden. I love their pale pink color and the sweet and heady fragrance of their old fashioned blossoms.

New Dawn Climbing Rose Bush Growing On Garden Shed And Picket Fence

New Dawn Climbing Rose Bush Growing Up And Over The Garden Shed And Along The Picket Fence

This year, only one of the two plants survived the harsh winter and just barely. As you can perhaps see, there is only a single pink bloom at the very top of one branch near the shed.

New Dawn Climbing Rose Is Barely Alive With One Bloom At The Very Top

The New Dawn Climbing Rose Is Barely Alive With Just One Bloom At The Very Top

In New Hampshire, September starts the fall apple picking season. The season usually runs through October for the later varieties. Once there have been several frosts, the remaining apples on the trees become much sweeter and are perfect for pressing cider.

In A Good Year, Big Juicy Apples Are Ready To Start Picking In September

In A Good Year, Big Juicy Apples In Our Orchard Are Ready For Picking In September

Our back orchard should be a sea of red and yellow apples right now. The trees so loaded with large, juicy apples that many of the heavy laden branches bend down to the ground.

In A Good Year The Trees Are Heavy With Apples

In A Good Year The Trees Are Heavy With Apples

Unfortunately, this year the apple trees are almost empty of fruit and the orchard looks more like a park with its rolling landscape and sea of green, appleless trees.

The Back Orchard Looks Like A Park With No Apples On The Trees

The Back Orchard Looks More Like A Park With No Apples On The Trees

Out of the hundred varieties of mostly heritage apples that we grow in our orchard,  my favorite apple has always been a Mutzu. It is a large green to yellow apple that is juicy, crisp and slightly tart. Cortlands, a very popular apple here in New Hampshire, grow in several rows beside the Mutzu trees near the rock walls that line our farm. Again, in this section of the orchard there are only a handful of either variety of apples to pick.

Cortland And Mutzu Apples In Previous Year

Cortland And Mutzu Apples From A Previous Year

There Will Be No Cortland And Mutzu Apples This Year

There Are Only A Handful Of Cortland And Mutzu Apples This Year

In a good apple season, there are more than enough apples to keep ourselves, our friends and yes, even the deer and other critters happy. The deer still come into the orchard but they will be munching on the leaves and branches of our trees instead of apples this year.

In A Normal Year There Are Plenty Of Apples For Us And The Critters

In A Normal Year There Are Plenty Of Apples For Us And The Deer

The orchard in front of the barn is usually loaded with Gala and Starkrimson apples.

Orchard In Front Of Our Barn Where Gala

The Orchard In Front Of Our Barn Is Where Gala And Starkrimson Apples Usually Grow In Abundance

This season, the front orchard is almost bare of apples as well. If you look hard, you can see one red apple on the front tree of the left row…how sad.

The Trees In The Front Orchard Are Usually  Heavy With Fruit But Not This Year

The Trees In The Front Orchard Are Usually Heavy With Fruit But Not This Year

You might be wondering why there are hardly any apples this season. During this past winter, the deer were out in the deep snow of the orchard eating lots of the tender apple buds. Come springtime when the trees were in bloom, we had rainy, windy days so the bees weren’t out pollinating the blossoms like they usually do. Without bees…no apples.

While it is disappointing to have a season with almost no apples, thankfully we don’t depend on selling them to earn a living as many people do. What does make me very sad is the fact that quite a few of our trees seem to be dying from the stresses of nature. A good part of summer has been very dry and I don’t think the trees will ever recover. Next spring, I think a number of dead trees will have to be removed from the orchard.

Apple Trees Stressed By The Affects Of Nature Seem  To Be Dying

Apple Trees Stressed By The Effects Of Nature Seem To Be Dying

You probably don’t live on a farm and perhaps haven’t given much thought to seasons from one year to the next. One thing is for sure though…we all have to deal with the effects of a bad growing season. Go to your local market and walk down the produce aisle and sometimes you just have to shake your head. Not only might there be a shortage of good fruit and vegetables to purchase but what is in the produce bins may be more expensive than last year. If organic, you can be sure they are expensive. What you may not have thought about is all the money spent by the farmer who doesn’t have a crop this year to harvest. Things aren’t always rosy, especially if you are a farmer and depend on nature.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 188 Comments

Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

A very popular appetizer at parties and restaurants in New England is bacon wrapped sea scallops. While this is a delicious starter, I wanted the same flavors for an evening meal and created Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta. Each bite of crisp, salty smoked bacon, tender sea scallops, and creamy corn polenta is a nice contrast of textures and flavors that is a true taste treat in your mouth.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

Recipe serves two, adjust according

Creamy Corn Polenta

  • corn kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn or about 1 c. if using frozen corn
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter plus an additional Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. half & half or whole milk (do not use reduced fat milk or it will curdle)
  • 1/2 c. polenta
  • 2 c. of liquid (water, chicken or vegetable broth can be used) *
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (if using broth, you may not need the salt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sniped chives for garnish (optional)

*The basic ratio for cooking polenta is 1 part polenta to 4 parts of liquid.

Divide the corn kernels in half. Add the half & half to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add one half of the corn and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend until you have a smooth consistency then set the mixture aside.

Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a small sauté pan until the butter is melted. Cook the remainder of the corn over medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes, then set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the liquid and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta in a fine steady stream to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to simmer and cover with a lid slightly askew to prevent splattering. Stir often with a long handle spoon as it thickens, adding extra liquid if necessary. Cook until the polenta becomes creamy, about 25-30 minutes (the cooking time may be different depending on the polenta you use.)

Add the pureed corn and cook a few minutes more then stir in the sautéed corn kernels, reserving a few for garnish. Stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm. The polenta will thicken as it cools so prepare it as close to serving time as possible. Add more liquid to loosen, if necessary.

Scallops With Bacon Lardons

  • 2 slices of bacon (I used thick sliced applewood smoked bacon)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • sea scallops (I use large U10 dry scallops** and figure 4 or 5 a person)
  • salt and pepper to taste

**Dry scallops are all wild and natural. They are not treated with any chemicals whatsoever and will brown nicely.

Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch slices, place in a nonstick sauté pan and cook until crisp. Remove and place on paper towel. Reserve the bacon drippings.

Dry the sea scallops well and season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil to the bacon drippings. When the oil is shimmering, add the scallops in one layer and cook undisturbed for one and a half to two minutes or until golden. Turn and cook for approximately another minute or two until golden brown. They should be be a little translucent in the center and almost firm to the touch. Do not over cook or the scallops will be tough. ***Be sure to not overcrowd the scallops or they will not brown properly. Cook in two batches, if necessary.

To serve, stir the polenta well (adding a little half & half or liquid if necessary) then spoon a portion in the center of a plate. Top with a portion of sea scallops, sprinkle with the bacon lardons, the reserved corn kernels and garnish with chives.

****

This dish had all the flavors of bacon wrapped scallops that I love as an appetizer but offered so much more for an evening meal. The creamy corn polenta, the succulent scallops and the bacon lardons were a perfect combination of salty, sweet, soft and crispy. I believe this recipe would also make a wonderful first course, serving one or two scallops a person, depending on the size of the scallops.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 220 Comments

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Mango Pineapple Relish

Enjoy the island flavors of tropical fruits, spices, and rum when you prepare  Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Mango Pineapple Relish. Ripe mangos and pineapple, the color of sunshine, are mixed with chilies and a splash of rum to create a sweet and slightly spicy relish or salsa. It is served alongside slices of tender pork with a spice rubbed crust formed by first being seared on the stove top, finished in the oven and then brushed with a rum glaze to help retain all its delicious juices.

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Mango Pineapple Relish

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Mango Pineapple Relish

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Serves 2, adjust the recipe accordingly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  • 3/4 – 1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of all silver skin
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 additional Tbsp. peanut or canola oil
  • Spice rub – See recipe below
  • Rum Glaze – See recipe below

Rub 1 Tbsp. of oil onto the pork tenderloin and then coat with the spice rub. Let the meat marinate for at least 15 minutes (can be covered and refrigerated for several hours or up to 1 day).  Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the pork and sear on all sides. Remove from the stove top and place in the preheated oven (about 15 minutes depending on size) until the pork registers 145 degrees. Remove from the oven, brush with the glaze and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with the mango pineapple relish.

Spice Rub

  • 1/2 tsp. each cumin, allspice, ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and brown sugar

Mix all the seasoning together well. If not using right away, store in a sealed container.

Rum Glaze

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 onion, minced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 c. dark rum
  • juice from 1/2 lime

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the butter and honey. Remove the saucepan from the flame and add the rum and lime juice. Return to the heat and cook until the sauce thickens to a glaze like consistency.

Mango Pineapple Relish

  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed*
  • 3/4 c. fresh pineapple, cubed (canned diced pineapple can also be used)
  • 1/8 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder and ground ginger
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño chili, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. dark rum
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce (honey may be substituted)
  • juice from 1/4 lime

Mix the mango, pineapple, seasonings, cilantro, chili, rum, sweet chili sauce, and lime juice together in a medium bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to develop the flavors.

*Slice off each side of the mango as close to the seed as possible. Score the cut mango flesh in a crisscross pattern down to the skin. Bend the skin backwards so that the cubes pop up and then slice the cubes away from the skin.

****

I served the pork with black beans that had been cooked with fresh tomatoes and peppers from my garden. It would also be good with plantains, sweet potatoes, yuca or buttered white rice. Perhaps the tropical flavors of this dish may remind you of a past visit to Hawaii, Bermuda, the Caribbean islands, or sunny Florida with their sun filled skies and tropical breezes.

Which Way To A Tropical Isand

How Far To A Tropical Island

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 221 Comments

Watermelon Salad With Honey Spiced Pecans And Blue Cheese

If you would like to serve something different to your guests at either lunch or dinner, you might consider preparing a Watermelon Salad With Honey Spiced Pecans and Blue Cheese. Served with a lime mint vinaigrette, it is an unexpected and tasty salad that makes a perfect starter for a summer meal. I have to say that the watermelon salad is very different from the way I grew up eating watermelon in Texas.

When I was a little girl, I remember our family eating a wedge or slice of watermelon sitting at an outdoor picnic table covered with newspapers that would catch the juices as they trickled down our hands and dripped off our elbows while holding the watermelon. Spitting seeds out into the grass was frowned upon…that is what the newspaper was for.

Watermelon Salad With Honey Spiced Pecans And Blue Cheese

Watermelon Salad With Honey Spiced Pecans And Blue Cheese

By the time I was finishing high school, watermelon was often served at summer parties as little melon balls that were piled back into a scooped out watermelon shell. That was a definite step up from just a plain slice of watermelon that was usually eaten in Texas.

Once married and living in Florida, when my husband and I were invited to an adult summer pool party, a popular item found at the outdoor buffet table was a drunken watermelon salad. This salad was often served in a fancily carved watermelon shell that looked like a beautiful basket.  It was composed of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, green and red grapes that had been marinated in vodka and different fruit juices.

The way watermelon is served may change over the years but it is still a summertime favorite no matter how it is eaten. My salad is served on a bed of arugula and mixed baby greens tossed with a lime mint vinaigrette. It has a mix of sweet, salty, bitter and spicy flavors that I believe you and your guests will enjoy. What is nice about this quick and easy salad is that it can all be prepped ahead of time and put together right before serving your guests.

 Watermelon Salad With Honey Spice Pecans And Blue Cheese

Serves 2, adjust the recipe accordingly

  • 2 c. cubed and deseeded watermelon
  • 3 c. baby arugula
  • 3 c. mixed baby greens
  • 1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese or to taste
  • 1/3 c. spiced pecan halves or to taste (use recipe found here made only with pecans)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey, more or less
  • Lime and mint vinaigrette – recipe below

Place the spiced pecans in a small bowl, drizzle with the honey and stir until well coated. Place the arugula and mixed greens in a large salad bowl and toss with a little of the vinaigrette. Divide the greens between two salad plates, top with the watermelon, sprinkle with the blue cheese and top with the honeyed pecans. Drizzle the salad with the remainder of the vinaigrette and serve.

Lime and Mint Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. honey, more or less
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients of the vinaigrette together to emulsify. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and set aside.

****

There are many variables to the watermelon salad. You could substitute gorgonzola, feta or goat cheese for the blue cheese. The nuts give a nice contrast of textures in the salad but if you don’t care for pecans, you could substitute them with spiced walnuts, cashews or other nuts of your choice. Serve this watermelon salad on a pretty plate and surprise you guests with a summer dish that they may not have experienced before.  With the honey spiced pecans and the blue cheese crumbles, I’m sure they will love this unusual and different combination.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 187 Comments

How Does Your Garden Grow

How Does Your Garden Grow? Perhaps you are like Mary in the old nursery rhyme and have a flower garden with “silver bells all in a row” or perhaps you are more like me and have a vegetable garden with tomato plants growing all in a row . It’s a nice day so let’s go outside and I will show you my garden of tomatoes, peppers, shallots and herbs…everything you might need to make a delicious summer meal featuring garden fresh ingredients.

How Does Your Garden Grow…With Tomatoes All In A Row

How Does Your Garden Grow…With Tomato Plants All In A Row

I’m reminded of the old nursery rhyme when I look to see how my garden is growing. There are no silver bells like Mary had in hers but I do have beautiful lilies growing outside the picket fence surrounding the vegetable garden.

Beautiful Lilies, The Color Of Sunshine

Beautiful Lilies, The Color Of Sunshine

Soft Pink Lily With Drops Of Morning Dew

Soft Pink Lily With Drops Of Morning Dew Still Clinging To The Petals

Once inside the gate, you will see that my garden is planted in four neat rows.

Inside The Garden Are Four Rows Planted With Tomatoes, Peppers And Shallots

Inside The Garden Are Four Rows Planted With Tomatoes, Peppers And Shallots

The first row of the garden is planted with four Italian frying pepper plants and shallots on either side of them.  You may notice in the photo above that the shallots on the right side have remained small as has one of the pepper plants. Something must be lacking in the soil on that end even though all the plants have been fertilized equally. There is always a mystery when growing plants…some do well and others don’t even when grown under the same conditions.

Italian Frying Pepper Plants And Shallots

Italian Frying Pepper Plants And Shallots

The three other rows are dedicated to five varieties of large heirloom slicing tomatoes and three varieties of cherry tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomatoes Starting To Ripen In The Warm Summer Sun

Heirloom Tomatoes Starting To Ripen In The Warm Summer Sun

In New Hampshire, it is suggested to plant a vegetable garden around the 30th of May after all threat of frost has passed. In the 70 days since the garden was planted, it has been interesting to watch the plants grow from tiny seedlings that I raised in my potting shed until now.  For the first few weeks of the growing season, we had morning and evening  temperatures that hovered in the high 40’s and low 50’s which can sometimes stunt a plant. Even with being fertilized with lobster compost this year, the tomato and pepper plants have remained smaller than in past years. While the cherry tomato plants tower over me, the heirloom tomato plants have barely grown over their four foot cages. That is much smaller than the six feet they have grown to in years past.

The Tomato Plants Differ In Size, The Cherries Over Six Feet While The Heirlooms Are Barely Four Feet Tall

The Tomato Plants Differ In Size, The Cherries Are Over Six Feet While The Heirlooms Are Barely Four Feet Tall

One problem that has occurred with the tomato plants throughout this growing season has been persistent leaf curl. You may have noticed it in the photos above and can see it more clearly below. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to affect the tomatoes that are ripening.

Leaf Curl On The Heirloom Tomato Plant

Leaf Curl On The Heirloom Tomato Plant

While the branches have been kept at least a foot off the ground, a recent development has been some spotting of the leaves. Those are being cut off with scissors that I dip into a jar of water mixed with bleach as I don’t want any problems to spread from one plant to the next if I can prevent it.

Leaves That Develop Spots Are Cut Off To Help Prevent Spreading Of Disease

Leaves That Develop Spots Are Cut Off To Help Prevent The Spreading Of Disease

Even with a few problems, there is a nice crop of tomatoes on each plant. The cherry varieties have ripened first. We are patiently waiting for the large slicing tomatoes to follow suit, it shouldn’t be much longer.

Black Cherry Tomatoes

Black Cherry Tomatoes

Patiently Waiting For Tomatoes To Ripen

Patiently Waiting For Tomatoes To Ripen

Off to one side of the garden, I also have a four foot square raised box where I grow parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and basil. A day doesn’t go by that I’m not out in the early evening cutting fresh herbs for that night’s dinner.

Herb Box Planted With Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon And Basil

Herb Box Planted With Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon And Basil

The crop will be smaller than usual this year but there will certainly be enough tomatoes for the two of us to enjoy in our daily meals. While we are waiting for the large tomatoes to fully ripen, we are using the cherry tomatoes in many dishes. One of my favorites is Spaghetti alla Portofino, you can find the recipe here.

Spaghetti Alla Portofino

Spaghetti Alla Portofino

Now that you have seen how my garden grows, I’d love to know what you are growing if you have a garden. Do you have vegetables or a cutting garden so that you can have fresh flowers in your home…perhaps you are even like Mary and have “silver bells all in a row”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 194 Comments

Margherita Frittata

Margherita Frittata, which is called Frittata di Pasta alla Margherita in Italian, is a typical Neapolitan dish which uses leftover pasta. The idea of not throwing away food that can be recycled into a new meal has been passed down for years  from Italian grandmothers and great grandmothers to each new generation. Sometimes the simplest of meals can be the best and this is one of them.

If you cook a large quantity of spaghetti and have a little left over, never throw it away…save it. The frittata is so good that you may want to cook extra pasta just so you can prepare this recipe. Having some leftover pasta aglio e olio from the previous evening’s dinner, I knew I had to make this well know Italian egg dish. All I needed to do was go out to the garden and pick some ripe cherry tomatoes and basil.

Margherita Frittata

Margherita Frittata

This is not really a recipe but rather a technique that allows you to make a meal with what you find in your refrigerator and pantry. I’m giving you approximate amounts that will serve 2 people for a main course or 4 for an appetizer. Since you will be using leftover pasta and whatever you may have on hand, your quantities may be different.

 Margherita Frittata – Frittata di Pasta alla Margherita

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  • 4 – 5 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder or however much you like to use
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of flour, I used Wondra* (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 – 2 c. of leftover spaghetti that is cooked al dente**
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered, (I used Sweet 100’s and Sun Gold) seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 of a small ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • chopped basil or parsley for garnish

* I read that the trick to fluffy eggs is to sprinkle in a little flour before cooking.

** If you are one of those people who never have leftover pasta, you can cook spaghetti specifically for this dish then toss it with a little olive oil and let it cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs with the seasonings, grated cheese and the flour until well blended. Heat the olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, swirling to coat the sides. When hot, add the egg mixture and rotate the pan to form a bottom. Add the pasta, top with the tomatoes, basil and cubed mozzarella. Place in the oven for approximately 5 – 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. (This depends on how many eggs and how much pasta you are using.) You can check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the middle. Remove the frittata from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and then serve.

****

Marcella Hazen, a wonderful authority on Italian food, had a recipe for a delicious spaghetti frittata in one of her cookbooks that she prepared with a larger ratio of pasta to egg and was much thicker. Her classic dish was just made with pasta, eggs and cheese.

There are many options when preparing what might be called an Italian omelet. If you prefer, you can cook the frittata covered on the stove top and finished under the broiler. Whether you want a thin frittata like I prepared or a thick one that is mostly pasta like Marcella’s, your options are wide open as to what you put in your frittata. Remember, Italian grandmothers made this dish to feed their families with bits of food that were leftover from a previous meal.

My Margherita frittata can be served either hot or cold as an appetizer, served with a mixed green salad for a light lunch or dinner, or even stuffed into crusty bread to take along on a picnic. I’ve been talking about how good this frittata was for days. Try it, I believe you will like it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 205 Comments

The Biltmore Hotel

The lovely Biltmore Hotel in The City Beautiful, as Coral Gables, Florida is fondly called, is a prominent national historic landmark. It is not hard to spot the imposing tower of the hotel which was inspired by the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain as you drive down the beautiful boulevards lined with tropical foliage, majestic oaks, banyan trees and Mediterranean revival-style homes.

The Biltmore Hotel, A Historic Landmark In Coral Gables, Florida

The Biltmore Hotel, A National Historic Landmark In Coral Gables, Florida

On a recent trip to south Florida, my husband and I returned to the cosmopolitan city of Coral Gables where we lived before moving to New England. The Biltmore Hotel was a large part of our social life as the hotel is not only one of the most famous landmarks in the city but it is also a wonderful supporter of the arts, civic and charitable events. We decided to stay once again at the hotel, reliving nice memories and enjoying all the great facilities the hotel offers before flying back home to New Hampshire.

I believe you would enjoy this beautiful hotel that has welcomed royalty, heads of state and Hollywood celebrities since the 1920’s.  It is very convenient to not only the Miami International Airport but also the Port of Miami as they are both just a few miles away. Let me share my photos from our stay with you and I think you will agree with me that the hotel is a wonderful place to do as little or as much as you would like.

The View Of The Pool And Golf Course From The 7th Floor Of The Biltmore Hotel

The View Of The Pool And Golf Course From The 7th Floor Of The Biltmore Hotel

Our room was on the 7th floor where the hotel’s 12,000 sq. ft. full service spa is located. We arrived just after a rainstorm ended and the sun broke through the clouds. The windows were still covered with raindrops but the view of the pool and the 18 hole championship golf course was still wonderful.

Our Room Had A Sitting Area And King Sized Bed Separated By A Room Divider With TV's, Mini Bar, Drawers And Desk Space

Jr. Suite With A Sitting Area, Room Divider With 2 TV’s, Mini Bar, Drawers And Desk Space And King Size Bed

Biltmore Hotel Kingsize Bedroom

Biltmore Hotel King Size Feather Bed

As you can see, the room we had was as nice as the view. The Jr. Suite which has a nice sitting area was divided by a double sided bookcase with two flat screen TV’s, drawers, desk and minibar. The small bathroom had a great massage shower in the tub, thick, soft towels, and Frette bath robes.   The feather bed and pillows were covered with the softest Egyptian sheets you can imagine.

The Fountained Courtyard Of The Biltmore's Fontana Restaurant

The Fountain Courtyard Of The Biltmore’s Fontana Restaurant

After admiring the view, we went downstairs for a bite to eat and a cocktail. The hotel has four restaurants…the Palme d’Or (award-winning French), the Fontana (Italian) with its beautiful fountain courtyard, the 19th Hole Sports Bar, and the Cascade located at the edge of the largest pool in the continental U.S.

The Cascade Restaurant At The Edge Of The Biltmore Hotels Pool…The Largest In The Continental U.S.

The Cascade Restaurant At The Edge Of The Biltmore Hotel’s Pool…The Largest In The Continental U.S.

We didn’t want to spoil our evening meal so we enjoyed a couple of small plates of tapas while sitting in the shade at the Cascade restaurant which is next to the large pool.

The Palme d'Or Gourmet French Restaurant With Windows Looking Out At The Pool

The Palme d’Or Gourmet French Restaurant With Windows Looking Out At The Pool

Dinner was enjoyed at Palme d’Or, the Biltmore’s  gourmet restaurant. The room has a wall of windows looking out to the pool and is decorated with large mirrors to reflect the soft light and large black and white photos of some of the famous guests who have stayed at the Biltmore.

Light As Air Amuse Bouche

Light As Air Amuse Bouche

Marinated Langoustine, 24 ct. Gold Covered Osetra Caviar, Passion Fruit  Tapioca, And Vodka Gelee

Marinated Langoustine, 24 ct. Gold Covered Osetra Caviar, Passion Fruit Tapioca, And Vodka Gelee

Foie Gras Terrine, Cherries And Five Peppers Toast

Foie Gras Terrine, Cherries And Five Peppers Toast

Maine Lobster, Corn And Sour Cream Sauce, Corn Bavarois, And Fresh Corn

Maine Lobster, Corn And Sour Cream Sauce, Corn Bavarois, And Fresh Corn

Royal Sea Urchin, Bay Scallops, Fennel Confit, Kefir Lime Sauce

Royal Sea Urchin, Bay Scallops, Fennel Confit, Kefir Lime Sauce

Black Cod, Potato Tasting, Brandade, Squid Ink Sauce

Black Cod, Potato Tasting, Brandade, Squid Ink Sauce

Wild Caught Trout, Purple Artichokes, Cilantro Sauce

Wild Caught Trout, Purple Artichokes, Cilantro Sauce

Buffalo Tenderloin, Rosemary Panisses, Nicoise Ratatouille, Buffalo Mozzarella

Buffalo Tenderloin, Rosemary Panisses, Nicoise Ratatouille, Buffalo Mozzarella

Chef Gregory Pugin created a seven course meal that featured an exceptional level of quality ingredients that were presented beautifully. With an amuse bouche, pre dessert, and post dessert courses added to the seven courses, the meal would make any foodie happy. After saying “goodbye” to chef Pugin, we headed to our room full but not overly stuffed as each course of the meal was just the right size.  It was a truly memorable meal.

Nine Foot Tall Mahogany And Brass Birdcages In The Biltmore Lobby With Beautiful Painted Vaulted Ceiling

Nine Foot Tall Mahogany And Brass Birdcages In The Biltmore Lobby With Beautiful Painted Vaulted Ceiling

Early the next morning, we paused to listen to the birds singing in the two nine foot tall mahogany and brass birdcages in the lobby with its beautiful vaulted ceilings one last time before heading to the airport. It is amazing how nice even one day at the Biltmore can be. There is a saying that you can’t go back home but as far as the Biltmore Hotel is concerned, I could return time and time again. The people who work at the hotel may change over the years but the experience will always be wonderful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 166 Comments