Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm going to take a quick break from our B.C. trip, to tell about a fun experience we had over last week-end. My sister-in-law Peggy, mom-in-law Bethel, and I got our heads together and planned a special surprise for my dad-in-law Larry, to celebrate his 88th birthday on Oct. 17. Peggy made reservations at the Hotel in Diamond, Oregon for dinner. Diamond is a very, very, very small community approx. 60 miles southeast of Burns. It is in a valley at the base of the Steens Mtns, and has about 30 ranching families there. The hotel is probably one of three buildings that make up the 'town'. A history of the hotel states that it was there at the turn of the century (the last one), and their sign says it was established in 1898, so it is 111 years old.
We managed to keep it all a secret from Dad until my brother-in-law Cliff along with Peggy drove up to Mom & Dad's to pick us up in their pick-up, so we could all ride together. It took us about an hour, and was a fun and lovely ride. The hotel is a big wooden structure that holds 5 guest rooms and a dinning room. There is also a converted ice house out back that serves as a small cafe during the summer season.

The parking lot was full of cars, and I wondered where all the people came from, and how did they hear about it? The hotel was surrounded on two sides by a big screened in porch. Dad is just going through the door onto the porch above. We noticed that there were deer around, and soon four small bucks were grazing on the front lawn. While we waited for dinner, the insurance man and I sat on the porch and watched the deer. It was actually darker than this photo appears, thanks to flash photography. The sun had set, and it was a peaceful and beautiful evening.

Mom and Dad chose to stay inside and wait where it was a bit warmer....

Our reservations were for 6:30, and quite a large crowd had gathered. I began to ask questions, and found out that our reservations were for a 7-course wine tasting gourmet meal! No wonder so many were there. People had come from Nevada, California, Ontario and Beaverton Oregon. Seating was at large tables, family style.

Our table was just big enough for the six of us...perfect. Dad is sitting at the head, not quite sure what to expect. (We had informed the hosts that we were not drinking, so had only the one goblet at each setting for non alcholic sparkling cider, although a few of us tried a couple of the wines...very interesting. Other place settings had seven goblets at each!)

I am going to give you the menu...so you can see what fun we had. They featured all Oregon foods with many original Danish Scandinavian recipes. They were honoring the matriarch of the family who is of Danish heritage.
First course was the appetizer: Pickled shrimp, Danish Havarti Ball rolled in dill, and a plain Havarti Ball with homemade crackers.
Second course was soup: Winter vegetable squash chowder, served in individual bread bowls (see photo of Cliff and Peg above). Each course took about 20-25 minutes, so we had lots of waiting time to talk and have fun.

Third course was salad: Pear, avocado and tomato on fresh greens with Parmesan Vinaigrette and sprinkled bleu cheese, served with home-made pumpernickel bread. (The bread was delicious!) The family that runs the hotel and restaurant are ranchers that have been ranching there for five generations. It was truly a family affair. There was a large crew cooking, one for dishes, and the granddaughters did the serving. The grandmother is a widow now, and circulated around talking and making sure all needs were met.

While we waited for the next course Dad opened a few birthday cards and a gift from Cliff & Peg. That bag played 'Happy Birthday to You', and we got a kick out of that. Fortunately, it didn't play it too loudly!
The next course was Fish: Salmon and Baby Scallop Nadine ( in a puff pastry with cream cheese) and finished with a sherry mushroom sauce.

This next course was Sorbet: Tomato Jalapeno Sorbet!! Yes, you read that right, a HOT/COLD dish. In the photo above Dad is trying it out. Mom and Dad were both really good sports to try everything.

This is a laugh...we were all laughing by now at the very funny sorbet. Peg likes spicy things so was trying to get it down, but was sweating and wiping the sweat off and trying to take off her jacket. It was really good for laughing, and we had a great time. ME?? I only touched a tiny bit to my tongue (at every one's insistence) and that was enough! I couldn't believe something frozen could be hot?! They did explain that it wasn't that spicy when they froze it, but the flavors intensified (what about Jalapeno did they not know??) and by the time it was discovered it was too late, and they served it anyway. Everyone was laughing in the room by the time for the next course:
Main Course
Roulader- Slow simmered beef rolls A tenderized steak, rolled up around dill pickle slices and cabbage and simmered until tender.
RodKaal- Red Cabbage
New Potatoes with fresh parsley and butter
Most of us were so full by now that getting all this main course down was an impossibility. They passed around to-go boxes.
Our last course was dessert of course:
Kringle (Scandinavian pastry much like Baklava)
Chocolate-Mint Brownies (This was very different, no flour or cookies here. A little patch of dark chocolate mouse, next to a light chocolate mint mouse dollop...yummy!)
Sharp Cheddar triangle, with a dollop of homemade crab apple butter and a mint leaf. Oh so good.
It was a very fun and perfect birthday celebration. We drove home through a moon filled, star studded night, full and happy...(talking to keep each other awake) and got home around midnight.

1 comment:

Peter Jones said...

Ahhh!!! That is awesome!! So, so fun! That jalapeno sorbet is hysterical. Your pictures are great! Grandpa is so funny. You got a good picture of each of the couples. I really enjoyed seeing those. You and dad look so very good! Thanks for posting this right away. It was super fun to find out about it this way. Peter and I carefully read through the menu and enjoyed hearing what all you ate. I LOVE it!!!