Mike hale, the grub hunter_ quail lodge changes with the times

A lot has changed since I wore an ill-fitted tuxedo and a goofy grin to my prom dinner at The Covey inside Quail Lodge in May of 1980. Old venice pizza company In the years to follow, fine dining died a tragic death, Quail shuttered The Covey, took on new ownership and turned its cozy, dressed-down 19th hole Edgar’s into its signature restaurant. Venice pizza indiana (And a skinny kid packed on countless pounds due to “culinary research.”)

Late last year, Quail hired as its new executive chef Brian Kearns, just a bobble-headed toddler in upstate New York the day I skidded a saucy lamb chop off my plate and down the front of my cumberbund.

Following the hiring of Kearns, Quail GM Max Schroeder announced that he would allow the new chef to put his signature touch on Quail’s culinary program. Venice pizza london True to his promise, Schroeder has given the former chef at La Bicyclette in Carmel free reign to make some surprising changes — balancing that line between the locals, resort guests and the Quail members who have long voiced strong opinions about what comes out of the kitchen.

“I’ve been receptive to the members, and respect their input, weighing it against other factors — seasonality, availability, price and also what I want,” he said.

Most of these members represent a generation too far down the road to fully embrace change, and the menu reveals their allegiances to old standbys such as sand dabs, calamari and clam chowder. New venice pizza menu At the same time Kearns keeps things playful.

“I’ve tried to keep things interesting, using my style, modern American, with some French and Italian influences,” he said.

Kearns’ grandmother served as chef at her own Italian restaurant in Saratoga, N.Y., with his grandfather the maitre d’. Pizza venice italy He knows old-school food and service, but understands modern culinary concepts.

To wit: There’s a Thursday prime rib night (4-9 p.m.), a decadent, old-fashioned, low-and-slow, meat-and-potatoes dinner. Venice pizza casselberry But that’s balanced by accompanying menu items such as a truffle burger with crispy shallots, or a butternut squash and speck flatbread (an ode to his Bicyclette days).

Where he really shows his playfulness is down a few fairways, out on the newly opened Covey Bar & Deck, overlooking the resort’s tranquil lagoon and site of the once-proud Covey restaurant. Venice pizza brentwood This is where Kearns rolls out the trendy combo of fried chicken and Champagne, duck fat fries, beef sliders, charcuterie and cheese and more.

Kearns’ Bubbles and Birds special checks in at $35. Venice pizza house san diego As the concept grows — plans include installing a pizza oven and rotisserie — look for smaller bites and shareable plates. Best pizza in venice florida The bar offers a wide variety of beverage options including wine flights, wines by the glass or bottle, classic cocktails, and more than 20 beers.

It’s easy to see the Covey Bar & Deck evolving into a prime hangout spot for both the hip and the second-hip set. Gianni’s pizza venice Kearns has a clear vision of bringing fun, contemporary food out of that seldom-used, classic Covey kitchen. Gluten free pizza venice italy And if you squint just so you can almost see a gangly teen trying caviar for the first time and ordering rack of lamb washed down with Dr. Venice pizza bronx Pepper.

There’s been a steady culture change at Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa since they closed the curtain on the stuck-in-time Duck Club six years ago. Venice pizza iup Today Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen stands as a relevant, contemporary option on the local dining scene. Venice italy pizza And its monthly Epicurean Adventures series only solidifies that relevance.

In February Schooners hosted grand French Champagne house Taittinger for a progressive, family-style meal against the beautiful backdrop of the bay. Old venice pizza co The menu featured oysters with hibiscus foam, Champagne crab fritters, caviar on lemon blini, roasted beet salad with pine nuts, wood-fired chateaubriand with foie gras emulsion and roasted vegetables, lobster ravioli and a ginger-almond cake with lemon ice cream.

Mounds of delicious food paired with different vintages of Taittinger … all for $70.

Executive chef James Waller has given his chef de cuisine, Nicole Heaney, control over the menu, and her youthful spirit (she’s just 30) shines through. Pizza of venice menu The next dinner is March 22 and features Morgan wines. Best pizza in venice ca In April they bring on the suds as Anchor Steam comes down from San Francisco. Venice pizza saskatoon These type of dinners have become all too commonplace, but Schooners’ puts the epic in epicurean. Venice pizza tadcaster Highly recommended. Venice pizza pittsburgh Reservations: 372-2628.

“At the end of our lives we all ask: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”

On his worst days, his body ravaged by cancer and forced to speak through a vocalizer following the removal of his larynx, Andre Lengacher could smile and answer yes to all three of the above questions.

Lengacher came to the end of his life with the peace that comes through having no regrets.

Stage 4 cancer would spit out most of us into a dark room where we could wallow in self-pity. Venice best pizza Lengacher handled it quite differently. Venice pizza utica After the diagnosis last fall he went back to work, putting together another Monterey Bay Oktoberfest and running Lugano Swiss Bistro, his fun-food emporium at The Barnyard.

In late September during an interview I conducted on KRML radio, Lengacher showed up to the studio in full smile and full lederhosen, and even managed a warbly yodel over the airwaves. Venice pizza newark “I’ve had a good life,” he said.

His battled ended last week, but he will be remembered as a generous, gregarious man whose energy and fun-loving attitude infected all within his wake. Venice pizza ridley Each holiday season Lengacher set up a meticulously decorated gingerbread house “village” complete with a running model train. Johnny’s pizza venice He spent weeks building the attraction, soley because it brought people joy.

In the end Lengacher’s life and death left us all with a lesson: Our journey is too short to spend it miserable. Venice pizza number Maybe we should all yodel more.

Mike Hale can be reached at thegrubhunter@att.net. Pizza 2000 venice Listen to his weekly radio show “Food Fodder” at noon Wednesdays on KRML, 102.1 FM.

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