Hit the road, n'at
Wanting to wake up in wine country ready to get to some serious tasting, me and the almost-husband (AH) decided to head down to the Laurel Highlands after work on Friday. With our reservation confirmed at the gloriously historic Summit Inn Resort and armed with the news that the dining room closed at 9pm, we planned to hit the road by 7. This gave me enough time to properly pack. For a weekend devoted to wine tasting I reasoned I really only needed five things: sundresses, sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen. Oh, and a swimsuit for the indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzi at the Summit. Fortunately, I decided to throw in some jeans and a sweater at the last minute because sadly the weather did not cooperate with my packing plan. Leaving by 7 allowed me to attend my Friday workout class to prepare for a weekend devoted mostly to eating and drinking.
Although we hit some rain, door-to-door Bloomfield to the Summit Inn remained a quick 90 minute drive. We checked in to our spacious room around 8:30 and headed straight to the dining room. Although the kitchen was closing soon we were not rushed through our meal which was a good thing because any meal where you are sitting in an actual arm chair is impossible to rush. In the spirit of the weekend, we ordered a bottle of Castle Rock Pinot Noir (sadly, the Summit Inn does not stock any local wines). Neither AH or myself would consider ourselves wine connoisseurs, and price point is usually a factor for us. The wine list and menu at the Summit Inn seem a bit overpriced, but the ambiance does balance this out somewhat. We each ordered The Wedge, a hulking triangle of iceburg with blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing. A tomato-red onion relish added an unusual contrast to the dish, but ended up reminding me too much of a salsa. The Summit Inn is known for its crab cakes, which I had eaten on a prior occasion and enjoyed. This evening I wanted something on the lighter side and so I opted for clam linguine. The menu stated I had my choice of white or red wine sauce and I selected white (is that gauche if we are drinking red?). When my pasta arrived it was delicious, but I was surprised to find the white wine sauce to be more akin to a thick alfredo than the light garlicy-wine concoction I was expecting. AH ended up finishing close to half of my food because it was so rich (and I can put back some pasta!). In addition to my leftovers, AH ordered liver (I know!) and onions. He was quite pleased with this dish, particularly with the three slices of cripy bacon topping the liver which he noted added a great texture contrast. His dish was accompanied by mashed potatoes and a portion of steamed vegetables which he deemed decent. The Castle Rock was rich and peppery, and we had only made it through half the bottle by the end of dinner. Too full for dessert, we elected to pay the bill and grab our half-full bottle and glasses and head out to the porch. Even though the night was nippy, the view down into the valley of the towns of Uniontown and Hopwood is spectacular and the large wraparound porch and rocking chairs at the Summit Inn are the perfect venue to drink it all in.