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Harmony House Bed and Breakfast

March 6, 2010

Bed and Breakfast’s have kind of creeped me out, at least historically speaking. The thought of staying in someone else’s home whose name isn’t Howard Johnson always brought to mind recollections of The Shining. But this past weekend, since it was Chris’ last in CT, we decided to splurge and book a last minute trip to the Catskill Mountains. After numerous phone calls, we landed reservations in Saugerties, NY at Harmony House Bed and Breakfast. The room was $160 for the night (like I said, this was a splurge), but well worth it. Harmony B&B was quaint, not in a creepy way, homey and our two hosts Jacquie and Eva were wonderful.

Since this website isn’t TripAdvisor, you may be thinking why I brought this up. Well, while we did review our accommodations on TripAdvisor, I wanted to review the food on our website. Now, breakfast after a night away in a hotel usually bring up memories of stale bagels, cream cheese that has been out of the fridge for way to long, and those miniature-sized boxes of Frosted Flakes cereal. At this B&B, I couldn’t have been more off base with my predictions. Keep in mind; this was my first stay at a B&B, so forgive me if those thoughts were ludicrous to those who frequent these establishments. In any case; the meal was absolutely delicious. I felt like I was at a fancy restaurant, one where I’m the only customer (and in a good way). Jacquie acted as chef, while Eva shuffled back and forth from the kitchen delivering our food and drinks.

We started off with a plate of fresh fruit, including strawberries, blueberries, grapes, blackberries and melons. Eva warned us to eat the melon last since it was so sweet, the other fruits would seem much to tart in comparison, and she was absolutely right. I must admit, as much as I resisted my mom’s advise to eat fruit growing up and usually eat it for dessert now, starting off a breakfast with it really convinced me that that was where its place also lied. I say that not only because its healthy and getting in one of my five servings a day right off the bat is mentally an accomplishment, it also did wonders for my palate. After a long night of wine drinking and Italian food eating, I was feeling heavy and even after some minty tooth paste, my taste buds felt muted (also keep in mind this was at 8:30 in the morning, a time of day I am rarely conscious for with my late nights in retail). But the fruit opened everything up, made me feel fresh and prepared to enjoy a savory or sweet breakfast. Additionally, I enjoyed some Green tea, which also awakened my senses.

After clearing up my palate, we indulged in an asparagus, proscuitto, and melted brie omelet, with roasted baby red potatoes and whole wheat toast on the side. Being that brie was involved, I had been inclined to choose this menu option over two others, though I was nervous about the asparagus for two reasons. For one, as far as veggies go, they are one of my least favorites, with their stringy texture and bitter aftertaste. And secondly, I was concerned because marrying asparagus to other ingredients, at least for me, also presents a challenge. They’re even hard to pair with wine. But, I have to hand it to Jacquie; this really worked. The asparagus mixed in nicely with the creamy, richer tasting brie, salty and fresh proscuitto, and the egg, with its protein and calcium, made the meal complete. The potatoes on the side brought a wonderful sweetness to the dish, which gave it a little more zing for me. The whole wheat toast, was, well, exactly how its sounds, but it provided a nice crunch the rest of the ensemble was lacking. All around, a surprising success!

Dessert after breakfast may sound weird, even Eva admitted, but she gleefully served us one nevertheless. A Zucchini, cinnamon, and nutmeg bread with an agave-cream sauce arrived under our noses after the meal. Chris was thrilled since his mom had traditionally fed him this bread for many years, all homemade. I, on the other hand, hadn’t had much experience with it, mostly because I liked bread, but not so much veggies growing up. This surprising combination worked well for me. The agave sauce was sweet enough to offset some savory aspects of the bread, but the combination was not overpoweringly sweet. This, I felt, was a wise choice, since you don’t want a heavy, overly sugar powered dessert to start off your day. The amuse-bousche sized piece also worked well after a full breakfast.

As we enjoyed our last bites of breakfast, we were joined by another couple, Roy and his wife. We had seen them briefly on our way into the parking lot in their little red Porsche. We enjoyed a few pleasant exchanges. Roy shared that he was from Kingston and was retired, etc. But as silence fell over the table after a couple minutes, Roy started telling jokes, blonde jokes. Needless to say Chris and I didn’t really quite know what to do with ourselves. Not only were we disappointed in ourselves for not being better raconteurs that it would come to this, but the jokes weren’t really funny. The awkward laughs emerging from our mouths were painful to omit. We excused ourselves very uncomfortably from the table, with a knowing smile from Eva that eased our tension.

From now on, thanks to our wonderful host Eva and our chef Jacquie, I’m definitely not ruling B&B stays anymore. Unless Roy is there…with his really bad jokes.

-Ren

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