Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the most decadent brunch ever

Mr. Tart whisked me away for a babymoon last weekend to the historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. He had scheduled me for a prenatal massage--lovely, lovely--and then took me to the theatre to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood perform a two-man version of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", where we laughed so hard we actually cried. Sunday morning brought with it the most decadent brunch ever, which the hotel is rightly famous for.

The following list is merely a sampling of each long table's offerings!

Buffet one: Breakfast stuff (waffles, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fresh fruit, omelet/egg station, pastries, cheese plate)

Buffet two: Carving station with various meats, green beans cooked to order, mashed potatoes, rolls, and scallops seared while you watched

Buffet three: Prepared salads, green salad bar, several types of smoked fish, oysters, jumbo peeled shrimp, crab claws, lobster meat, mussels, sushi

Buffet four: Desserts! Hot chocolate made with cream, chocolate fondue, several varieties of cheesecake, several types of petit fours, five kinds of truffles, chocolate souffle, creme de menthe layered chocolate cake, coconut tuile "spoons" with vanilla cream, and so much more....

This is the only buffet I've ever experienced where the quantity was so extensive and yet the quality surpassed the quantity! While some options were familiar and pedestrian, others were gourmet (for example, I didn't recognize all the cheeses) or even Iron Chef-worthy (like the butternut squash mousse--by far the best vegetable I've ever had for dessert--and the white chocolate lavender truffles, which tasted like a bubble bath, in the best possible way). The huge pillowy scallops in a mead sauce made me gasp.

The presentation shone along with the food--the deconstructed caprese salad with jewel-tone roasted red peppers and gorgeous tomatoes and round balls of mozzarella, the creme brulee in espresso cups, the smoked salt on the truffles, the starfruit slices decorating the passionfruit cheesecake. (Ed reminds me that the ice sculpture was a nice touch--but apparently I never even saw the swan towering over the seafood!)

In honor of autumn, the brunch also had a theme going: apples. There was apple coleslaw, apple chicken salad, julienned and sauteed apple under the seared scallops, and a caramel-sauced Granny Smith-Jack Daniels flambe station on the dessert table. (Surprisingly, none of the fresh fruit options included apple slices.)

We especially liked when the three-piece jazz band played "Fly Me to the Moon," the song from the first dance at our wedding. We ended up sitting in the dining room for two hours, willing our stomachs to digest the food and open up some room for another danish, another scallop or two, another shot glass of hot chocolate cream.

I can't wait to get pregnant with baby #2 so we have an excuse to go back to the Brown Palace!

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Blogger tara said...

So scallops are on the pregnancy-approved list? Whee! Filing that info away for future reference.

Also, smoked salt on truffles (of the chocolate variety, I'm guessing? If they were truffles as in fungi, this was a decadent buffet indeed!) - I may have to experiment with my shiny new box of Maldon salt. yum.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yay for scallops! Shellfish is okay when knocked up, but not more than 12 ounces of seafood per week, and no huge fish that reflect decades of mercury consumption (shark, swordfish, marlin, etc.). Also supposed to be careful of tuna.

No, not the fungus truffles (it was pricey enough already without bringing those onto the buffet)! Have fun with your salt, Tara!

9:32 AM  

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