Saturday, October 14, 2006

Celebrations : A night at the Abner Adams House and dinner at the Holloway House

The Abner Adams House B & B, located in Bloomfield, NY.

Shane's birthday and my birthday are just a day apart (October 12 and 11, respectively) and our anniversary is on Shane's birthday. So October is always festive for us and this year, we chose to celebrate our "banniversary" (Shane's invention, which is a little too much like TomKat, Brangelina, or Bennifer for my tastes...) with a night at the Abner Adams House B&B. Its website, though nice, doesn't begin to do it justice. The owners/hosts, Lynda and Bob Dobberson, are so gracious, kind, and friendly, we felt comfortable and at ease the moment we stepped through the door.

The house is comfortably decorated -- gorgeous but not stuffy or formal. Everything is cozy and charming; it's the perfect place to unwind.

We stayed in Nana's Nook (scroll down) which has a lovely four post bed, "fire"place (it's electric but somehow manages to remain romantic and warm), pine floors, and a nice sized bathroom with a "champagne" tub (it shoots air into the bath water, creating an effervescent experience). Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a bath, but the water pressure for my shower was amazing.

Shane (very thoughtfully) booked the romantic night away package, so our lovely room came replete with a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, and a $50 certificate to a local restaurant.

Happily, the certificate was for The Holloway House, which I'd been wanting to try since I found out about it (this was only after moving to our new house).

The Holloway House

I like it more than it probably deserves. The food was good (some of it was exceptional) but the service was slow and the decor -- well, let me put it this way: if a restaurant has drop ceilings and 20+ year old carpeting, I find it hard to enjoy the meal.

The restaurant is set in a former residence. After walking in and hanging up our coats, we were left to wonder for a good five minutes whom we should speak to about our reservations -- no greeters were to be found. With a bit of trepidation, we wandered down a hall and ran into the hostess. (I think she was one of the owners.) She crossed our names off in a little spiral-bound notebook, and we were seated.

Lynda (of the Abner Adams House) had raved about The Holloway House's Friday night seafood buffet and there it was, a mere 15 feet from our table. I was ready to dive in. Unfortunately, it took another 10 (maybe 15 minutes) for our waitress to even come over and take our drink order. Slow service proceeded throughout the meal.

I opted for the buffet while Shane ordered the Flat Iron Steak ("
pan-seard [sic] with anchovy-parsley butter, best cooked medium rare to medium"). We were brought soup (lobster bisque for Shane, carrot ginger for me), bread (Sally Lunn, lightly sweet orange rolls, and a pear quick bread -- the latter two I thought were exceptional) and Shane received salad.

It was only when Shane got his entree that I realized the waitress wasn't going to bring me a plate for the buffet -- they were all up near the food. Maybe that seems like common sense, but every place is different -- and the Holloway house has waitresses that serve you the buffet items -- and none of this was explicit. If I had known that I could have gone to the buffet earlier, I certainly would have.

The buffet had a large selection of items and, oddly enough for a seafood buffet, the best offering was a chicken and apple in curry sauce. It was PHENOMINAL! Why isn't that on the regular menu?

I wasn't impressed by the seafood offerings. Maybe I'm biased; I grew up on Long Island and good, fresh seafood was always readily available so I'm rather picky with fish. I liked the Newberg sauce but the shrimp in it were miniscule, a big disappointment. (And damned if I could find a langoustino in it. Scallops, yes; Langoustinos, no.) The seafood creole had the same problem and the Alaskan King Crab legs -- a favorite of mine -- were dry. Shane liked his steak, but he didn't light up the way he does when eating really exceptional food.

By dessert (we had filled up on bread and soup) we were stuffed, though I did nab a chocolate chip cookie from the buffet. It was amazing: good chocolate, quality nuts, and a light, crunchy texture. Delicious.

After our meal, the other owner chatted with us for a bit. He's a curmudgeon, though he said he was happy we'd come in and hoped we'd dine there again.

We will -- it's worth another try. But I can't rave about it right now. (Other than the curry, the breads, and the cookies.)

After dinner, we headed back to the Abner Adams House and happily collapsed on our extremely comfortable bed. This morning, we had breakfast in the dining room with another couple who were in town to visit their grandson at RIT. Lynda served hefty portions of quiche (stuffed with cheddar cheese, asparagus, mushrooms, and bacon) along with a fruit plate, toasted baguette rounds, and a sweet cinnamon swirl quick bread. (There were also maple flavored blondies studded with chocolate chips on the table. I didn't have one for breakfast but had sampled them the night before. Yum.) We ate and chatted with the other couple -- married 54 years this coming December -- and Lynda and Bob. Bob is a retired Earth Science teacher, so we talked a bit about geology (which I find a lot more interesting now than I did in eight grade) and then went on tour of the grounds.

It was really a lovely experience, and I'm sorry it had to end so quickly. Having said that, Shane as already promised another trip there soon!

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