Our Christmas gift from our son and his wife was to have dinner at the historic Holly Hotel in Holly, Michigan. Originally known as the Hirst Hotel it was built in 1891 to capitalize on the railroad travelers and it became the center of attraction for a large area. Over the years it has had a few owners and a few fires and it has been rebuilt to its old splendor on the outside. It has ceased being a hotel, but has continuously been a restaurant. A series of governors in Michigan have made it a point to dine there and it has also seen the likes of Carrie Nation and President George H.W. Bush. The building is said to be haunted and they do play that up, and they have events that they host during the year as well, from a Titanic evening to nights of comedy, in fact they were having a night of comedy later that evening, the kids went, but we went home, as we almost have to pack a lunch to get there or back.
If and when you go there for dinner, make sure that you are famished, as they think that all of the diners are farmers who toil from sunrise to sunset, as the portions are huge, but more importantly the dishes are well prepared and plated, this is no diner in the sticks. We were kind of excited to see that they had listed on their website that they sometimes serve Foix Gras, but alas not that evening. The kids were going to have the Eight Course Degustation, but my Bride and I were just going to go lighter and we are glad that we did, we would have had to ask for a doggie bag, by the time the entrée arrived, let alone the desserts. We ordered one plate of the Liver Pate and it is good that we only asked for one, as there were two large slabs of the pate which was a mixture of organic chicken and duck livers, served with Brandied Cherries and other garnishes, in fact we had to ask for another plate of crackers to finish off the pate. Our dinners came with either a soup or a salad, my Bride had a Crunchy Thai with spinach, Napa cabbage, carrots, roasted pinenuts and a Thai vinaigrette, while I had an Iceberg Wedge with Gruyere and large chunks of roasted ham and a Caesar dressing. My Bride tried a new fish that none of us had ever encountered and that is Escolar which was seared and served with two grilled prawns, and I might add that they were not jumbo shrimp, but actual prawns with lemon and dill, with potatoes and vegetables. I had the Tournedos of Beef, two four-ounce medallions served perfectly at Medium Rare with a Morel Mushroom demi-glace with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. We did not need a dessert, and the kitchen prided themselves on the quality of the food, as the dinners that the kids had was just excellent.
My Bride and I arrived quite a bit early, because we weren’t sure how long the travel would be, because of the snow and the rush-hour traffic, but we made it there in good time, we would have walked the downtown are, but it was frigid that evening, so we went to the bar at the hotel instead, which worked for me. Naturally I wanted to look at the wine list and my Bride was going to attempt to rein in my zealousness of ordering, even though we were going to pick up the beverage tab as we were the only drinkers at the table. The bartender was telling me, how the owner of the restaurant prided himself on selecting all of the wines on the carte and it was not a cookie cutter grouping, there was a very well thought out selection of twenty-four bottles of wine from around the world and all reasonably priced, but the real surprise was that there was twenty-nine bottles world-wine that were all priced at twenty-one dollars each. Of course, I didn’t tell my Bride and when she heard that I was ordering a bottle of wine, she was ready to send daggers towards me, until I told her, that the bottle of wine that I selected was less than what we sometimes order by the glass. We were having a bottle of Domaine Laroque Cabernet Franc IGP Cite de Carcassonne 2017. The IGP classification replaced the old Vin de Pays to make France align to the other members of the Common Market. The IGP Cite de Carcassonne is a large area in the Languedoc region and encompasses eighteen communes and allows all three colors of wines. We were both happy with the wine, especially from the second glass on, as it opened up. There was not a big nose or any other exciting traits, but just a good honest bottle of wine that even surprised me. Since this is not far for the kids, we will probably be going back there again.