Innkeeper’s Blog

Always Striving to be the Best Little B&B in Ligonier

The “Food Vigilante” visits Campbell House B&B for A Valentine’s Getaway

Filed under: News — condensedkid at 4:00 pm on Thursday, February 19, 2009

Well, for all you guys who planned poorly for Valentine’s Day and ended up with a 10:30pm dinner reservation and a box of chocolates from the local grocery candy aisle, shame, shame. If this is you, read no further, you’ll only end up feeling awful.

I hope your still here because, truth be told, I got very luck with some last minute plans. I had volunteered my girlfriend and I to bar tend for an event hosted by my Aunt who owns Stage Right in Greensburg. (very romantic, huh?) Well, the universe took care of me and it turned out that the bar tending need was dissolved. This, fortunately left us with a free weekend, but put me in a position to make short notice plans. I called around and found out quickly that most every place of worth was booked solid. It was time to pull some strings. I called and old friend in Ligonier, PA who owns a quaint Bed & Breakfast. The Campbell House B&B. Her name is Patti Campbell and she could not have been more accommodating. Not only did she have a room for us, she made dinner reservations, offered some complimentary wine and champagne, snacks and a homemade breakfast out of a storybook.

Patti was a great customer of mine when I had the adventure of owning a restaurant and she has always remembered me and though it has been years since my last stay, she welcomed us like we had just seen each other yesterday. Our room was beautiful. Warm, spotless, comfortable, leaving nothing to be desired. We had a private bath, large claw foot tub, electric blankets, TV, movies, stocked pantry with snacks and beverages, all just perfect.

Our breakfast started with rich coffee and granola cereal with bananas and sweet Chantilly cream. Main course was cherry french toast, seasoned redskin potatoes and Amish sausage. Fresh squeezed juice and filtered water were served as well. Delectable!

Patti has an old fashioned demeanor (no hats at the breakfast table, no sitting on made beds) and an attention to detail that is a lost art. I highly recommend the Campbell House B&B to any one looking for an escape. Patti entertains folks from all across the country and globe and I’m sure she’ll impress you. Ligonier is also full of interesting little shoppes and sights, not far from Lynn Run State Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Seven Springs Resort. Alright, enough, I sound like a commercial. Enjoy!

Remember, I’m not easily impressed…

FV

One Response to “Campbells…mmm mmm good!”

  1. Patti Campbell Says:
    I laughed and cried when I read your review.
    The large chocolate “Kiss” I left on your bed is small in comparison to the “Kiss” I plan to bestow upon you when I see you next. I am humbled by your sentiments.

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The “Food Vigilante” visits The Ivy Cafe for Valentine’s Getaway

Filed under: News — condensedkid at 3:24 pm on Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where did Patti Campbell make reservations for us for Valentine’s Day you ask? The Ivy Cafe. In fact, she didn’t even give me an option, just told me where we were going…thank goodness!

The Ivy Cafe ivycafeis owned by Chef Anthony Hruska and his wife Lisa. He offered a Pre Fixe menu that evening which at first worried me. See, a lot of restaurants in preparation for “amateurs” dining out on holiday’s will ‘dumb down’ the menu to accommodate people and palates who don’t dine out often. Chef Anthony threw caution to the wind and brought out the big culinary guns, no holds barred.

We ordered drinks and explained to the server that we would like to take our time, enjoy a drink and paruse the menu a bit. Our drinks arrived, an amaretto sours and vodka martini. The sours was sweet and plentiful, but the martini was but a drop in the bottom of a large martini glass. Now, my date and I our both from the food biz, and know our way around a cocktail. I don’t even think the glass contained a full ounce of liquid. It may have been spilled on the way or mistakenly under-filled. A start like this can be troublesome. I caught the server and asked about the scant serving. She thought it may be shy because I had asked for it dry, but offered to top it off. The manager/hostess (a lovely woman with a calming english accent) brought the drink back full to just below the rim, problem solved. Very promptly and efficiently.

We started with appetisers of Baked Brie en Croute and the Duck Crepe. The Brie was just warm enough wrapped in a pastry and topped with a berry sauce and served with crackers. The duck crepe was filled with rich sweet meat and drizzled with a garlic cream sauce. Both appetizers were well portioned and absolutely delicious.

We were given the requested time to enjoy our starters and were having some difficulty deciding on an entree. The selection ranged from Chateaubriand to Sea Bass to Four Cheese Ravioli. There was also Swordfish, Red Perch, Salmon and a Cherry stuffed Black Forest Filet. Chef Anthony had set the bar very high. We settled on Chateaubriand and Crab Crusted Sea Bass. I, for one, had an inner battle over sharing my entree with my date. It was only my desire to taste her meal won me over. Both meals were perfectly prepared and presented beautifully. Compliments to the Chef!

The meal ended with Ivy’s Trio of Desserts; a chocolate covered ivy-dining-roomstrawberry, a chocolate cake with a chocolate covered cherry and tiramisu. All very tasty enough to force down even though we were stuffed from our meals. But the tiramisu… this was off the charts. My date initially commented on her general aversion to this often ill-prepared Italian staple. Admittedly, this dessert is over-done and often a pale comparison to the original intent. My lovely acquaintance had only liked this dessert while visiting Italy and trying it homemade in her family’s hometown. Until now. Chef Anthony has captured the essence of the old world and impressed a most biased Italian palate.

Cost. If your reading this Pia, know that this was a splurge, but considering the entire dining experience and my affection for your Niece, a mere $40 per person seemed a fantastically economical dinner.

Ivy’s serves lunch and dinner and is a must if your visiting historic Ligonier!

Bravo Anthony and Lisa!

FV