Q: What includes twelve hotels, thirty-eight restaurants, pigs
as happy as, well, pigs in Thornton, Iowa, fourteen days, (Lucky) 3200.3
miles, a set of 4H year old twins and two blissful parents?
We had incredible experiences on our adventure that are worth mentioning
here because they impacted us professionally. We believe that, over
time, organizations tend to become internally focused. In
other words, there is a tendency for a team to focus more on its own
experience than the experience of those it serves. We know this tendency,
we fight against it, but it is a strong force. An antidote is to immerse
oneself in the external perspective; in our case, the guests perspective.
Our road trip was one deep immersion (we love understatements). It
gave us a frame of reference that wont wear off for a good while.
At many of the hotels we were greeted in a technically competent, yet
insincere, way, and, often, restaurant staff members were all but rude
to this road-weary family that arrived late. (People who work in restaurants
and hotels ought to be nice to their guests, and if they dont
have it in them to be nice, they ought to move on; how crazy to get
the cold shoulder because you are tired and look it!)
As a result of our trip we are even more dedicated to keeping our promise
of friendly competent service, flavorful food and outstanding accommodations.
If you ever feel any way but 100% welcome in our restaurants or hotel,
we want to know about it. If youre not as happy as a pig in Thornton,
Iowa, (more on that later) let me (Dennis) know. I can be reached at
email@example.com or 336-370-0966 x 322.
Cheers! Dennis & Nancy King Quaintance
P.S. A family reunion took us to the heartland. Here
are some travel hints... In Louisville, Kentucky hit Lynns Paradise
Café, and do visit the glassworks. The architecture in Columbus,
Indiana is breathtaking (really) and the Blennerhasset Hotel in Parkersburg,
West Virginia will exceed your expectations by 200%. The West Virginia
Capital Complex is beautiful and worth visiting. The American Club Hotel
in Kohler, Wisconsin is worth its lofty prices. The Hotel Pattee in
Perry, Iowa is a 10 (the best arts & crafts restoration I have ever
seen, and Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa is amazing (a spring-fed lake,
150 feet deep in the middle of Iowa who would have thunk it).
Dont just visit Oshkosh, Wisconsin during the fly-in,
the aviation museum is fantastic year-round. And, last but not least,
instantly leave a hotel that doesnt smell just right.
Nationally and internationally, the "Slow Food"movement has
been gaining momentum. We are glad because we buy into its principles.
Slow Food USA's (slowfoodusa.org) guiding principles are to "promote
ecologically sound food production the revival of the kitchen
and the table as centers of pleasure, culture and community the
invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions
and to living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life." At
Quaintance-Weaver our mantra is "the nearer the farm to fork the
better the flavor"and our number #1 priority is to provide the
highest quality food and drink at a good value, so you can see the crossover.
During the past few years, weve explored new ways of bringing
the freshest, most flavorful food to our tables while considering the
notion of the "triple bottom line" of profit, environmental
sensitivity and social responsibility. To these ends we're purchasing
some of our meats and seafoods differently, and, of course, we're still
refining our Field Truck initiative to bring more and more local produce
and artisan-made charcuterie and cheeses to our guests.
Where a pig can be a pig...
Plenty of fish to fry (or bake or sauté)...
Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes...
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (carolinafarmstewards.org) and UNCG's Project Green Leaf (greenleaf.uncg.edu) have helped us tremendously with this program. With their help, we believe we can have a positive impact on developing and sustaining sound practices that will meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We're confident that you'll enjoy the flavor advantage we get from using fresh, responsibly farmed foods. Please let us know what you think of our "Slow Food" by contacting Bart Ortiz, our Vice-President of Flavor & Consistency, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-370-0966 x 347.
Great Wine, Great Service
are honored and humbled that our Lucky 32 and Green Valley Grill wine
lists have won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Julia Schiavone,
our Wine Director, is especially proud of the homage for our extensive
wine lists that include thirty-five wines by the glass at L32 and thirty-eight
at GVG. "Its great to get this kind of recognition for our
lists. Its fun to figure out which wines will complement our menus
at the two different restaurants, and it's satisfying to offer our guests
selections that they may not find at other restaurants. Our reserve
lists have some exciting wines on them, and we enjoy serving them, and
hearing what our guests think about the pairings with our recipes,"
May, as part of the crash-course in wine service training that Julia
provides for each of our servers, several of our managers and staff
members took a "field trip" to four North Carolina wineries,
including Hanover Park, RayLen, Shelton and West Bend. (Their wines
are better than you would expect. We predict that the Yadkin Valley
appellation will become highly respected.) Private behind-the-scenes
tours, barrel tastings, a picnic lunch and lots of new information were
packed into one dizzying day. As the group traveled from one winery
to the next, Julia quizzed her "students" about what they
had just learned. At the end of the day, after learning about the history
of grape growing in North Carolina and beyond, as well as the differences
between a Chardonnay and a Shiraz, or a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Grigio,
everyone was confident that they would pass the required Wine Service
Test that each of our staff members take before serving our guests.
So, the next time you're in the mood to relax with a glass of wine, we hope you'll come by Lucky 32 or the Green Valley Grill and let Julia, or one of our well-trained staff members, help you choose the wine that will suit your mood and your meal.
"Suddenly I smiled and seemed to see that
life has no geographical metes and bounds."