The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

So, how good is the Chalet Suzanne Dining Room Lounge?

Bunny and I arrived at 5:00 pm for our five course dinner. We really didn't have far to go, just outside our room, down some stairs and around the building.

First up, the appetizer. I'm not fond of grapefruit, and a am thoroughly not a fan of chicken livers, so I opted for the Maryland Crab Cakes; Bunny kept with tradition for this course and had the Caramelized Grapefruit and Organic Chicken Liver. The crab cakes were very good, but not quite as excellent as the crab cakes at Cap's Place (which I'm surprised I haven't written about, seeing how getting there involves a boat ride). Bunny loved the Caramelized Grapefruit and Organic Chicken Liver.

Next course, soup, and both of us had the traditional Romaine Soup, which doesn't have any romaine in it (and hasn't had romaine in it since 1957, when the recipe changed so it could be canned and sold). It does however, have spinach and mushrooms. Bunny loved the soup. I didn't care for it. I found it to be a bit heavy in pepper, with a subtle other flavor that I couldn't quite place, but I didn't like. It wasn't repulsive and I could eat it, but for me, the soup that went to the moon could have stayed there with Apollo 15.

Next course, salad, and here, I kept with tradition with the unique Chalet Cæsar Salad, while Bunny bucked tradition and went with Baby Blend Salad. Bunny loved the salad, whereas I … well …

Okay. I have to explain something about my food dislikes. Generally speaking I have a thing about sweet dishes, and I tend to dislike the mixing of savory and sweet. I will admit to not being at all consistent about this (I love bacon and syrup for instance) and I have a larger problem with sweet dishes than I do savory. For instance, don't bother serving me rice pudding as that triggers my gag reflex. I just can't eat rice pudding. But risotto? I love risotto. The thing is, there's no difference in texture (another thing I have—I find some food textures revolting) as both are soupy, but rice pudding is sweet and risotto is savory. Same deal with bread pudding. Instant gag reflex, yet I love the bread in French Onion soup (and Bunny loves pointing out that French Toast is a type of bread pudding, but not in my universe). Again, it's a sweet/savory thing.

Cream cheese—I hate the flavor of it. And the idea of cheese anything in dessert is another thing I find repulsive. Don't get me wrong, I generally like cheese (except for cream cheese), and because I associate “cheese” with “savory,” I don't care for it in desserts.

And finally we get to gelatin. Me, I associate gelatin with dessert. You know, Jell-o. The idea of a sweet dessert-type item in a savory dish I find revolting. And that means aspics. Which reminds me of horrible things from the 70s and …


So the Cæsar Salad sitting before me. The unique Chalet Cæsar Salad. The artichoke in the middle of the salad is unexpected, but okay, I can deal with that. What I couldn't deal with were the two bits of slime on either side of the dish—orange aspic and tomato aspic.


Okay, yes, the non-contaminated portions of the Cæsar Salad were very good; perhaps some of the best Cæsar Salad I've had. But I could not wrap my head around the slimy bits of aspic in the dish. For me, they marred an otherwise excellent salad.

Yes, I'm still emotionally scared over the incident.

Anyway, onto the next course, easily the most problematic portion of our dinner—the entrée.

We both ordered the Grilled Buffalo Ribeye, medium for Bunny, medium rare for me. And not being a fan of winter vegetables, I was able to substitute mushrooms for the zucchini.

The entrées arrived. Mashed sweet potatoes. See above about sweet and savory. My buffalo ribeye was cooked fine, but Bunny's was still a bit too raw for her liking. So they took both dishes back. I to get regular mashed potatoes, and Bunny to have her buffalo ribeye placed on the grill for another couple of minutes. The dishes came back and we started to eat.

“Is your steak tough?” asked Bunny. “Because mine is very tough.”

“It's buffalo,” I said. “It's a game animal.”


“Yes,” I said. “Buffalo.”

“This isn't beef?”

“Nope. Buffalo.”

“I thought ‘buffalo’ meant a type of cut!”


Suffice to say, Bunny did not enjoy the Buffalo Ribeye.

I, on the other hand, found it to be very good.

The mashed potatoes weren't that great (Bunny tried them, liked them, but realized they had cheese. I'm not a fan of cheese in mashed potatoes, prefering a more pure approach of a dash of milk and a bit heavy on the butter).

And the mushrooms … well, let's just say I found the taste I didn't enjoy in the non-romaine Romaine Soup.

Finally, dessert. Bunny had the Crème Brûlée and I the Orange Aspic Pound Cake.

Hey, just because I found the orange aspic on my Cæsar Salad doesn't mean I don't like orange gelatin. It just has to be in the right context—in this case, dessert (yes, I'm weird that way).

And the desserts where very good. But at this point we really couldn't finish them, as we were both stuffed at the end of a five course meal, and passed out in a food coma as soon as we waddled back to our room.

Overall, the food was good; the only major failings were our own expectations on the food (mushrooms and aspic for me; buffalo for Bunny). Was it worth the price we paid? Even had we enjoyed the full meal, I still feel it was too expensive.

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