Saturday, February 20, 2010

Going Dutch

We spent today in Sarasota among the Amish. I had heard of the Pennsylvania Dutch and learned about the Amish and Mennonites by watching films like Witness and The Devil’s Playground.

Our delving into this culture involved food of course, and I picked Paul’s brain about this group as we dined. (He teaches college level religion courses and has a degree in theology so it seemed like he would be a good source.)

We had an early supper at the Dutch Heritage, chosen because there wasn’t a long wait and the buffet interested us. Me especially since I have been on a salad kick and I really wanted some rabbit food (as my dad calls it.)

This wasn’t my first visit. We had breakfast here a few months back around Christmas time and after we filled ourselves with carb-laden delights we walked it off exploring the gift shop they have upstairs.

But this time the focus was on food. The salad bar had your regular lettuce, tomatoes, cukes and such, but also was a garden of colorful eggs (not just for Easter) and other premade salads full of mayo. The eggs were hardboiled with one soaked in pickled beet juice (I do love pickled beets) and the other glowing yellow from its mustard bath. I didn’t try either since they firstly just didn’t appeal to me and secondly eating them in front of Paul would have made him cringe.

After feeling slightly healthy from all that roughage, I dove into the hot bar. I made some wise choices picking boiled potatoes with butter and parsley over the mashed or fried variety; having brussel sprouts (only a few since they lacked luster) and green beans (which were yummy); and choosing a small piece of salmon paired with a small portion of pot roast as my main course.

Those Amish sure know how to make pot roast. It was tender and succulent and just a wonderful mix of seasonings. If I could make this at home, Sundays would never be the same. I was so full, pushing to the point of taking another bite could be explosive, I didn’t venture to have anymore, though I do think this may be a place I would love to dine at in the future.

I skipped dessert, but Paul sang the praises of the chocolate cake, and it sure did look good. Just a cube of sheet cake, but sometimes simpler is better and these ladies know how to bake. Next time we may just get a pie to go and have that for breakfast.

The food wasn’t only the comforting part of this meal. The staff is very kind without an attitude in sight. Ruth, our waitress, was in her later years, but still moving and shaking it like she was 50 and stopped by not only to check on how we liked the food, but also just to chit chat and ask, “You from around here” I guess they get a lot of tourists, and I can see why.

This really set the tone for the rest of the day, filling our bellies, warming our hearts and putting smiles on our faces. When was the last time a visit to a restaurant did all that for you?

No comments: