Spend a weekend with the experts April 23-25, 2021
As we see the light at the end of the covid tunnel, we’re all getting antsy. But it’s baby steps back to the world of travel.
The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes has put together a dreamy weekend that has so many of the things we’ve been missing, from delectable dining (lots of caviar!) to brand-new experiences like learning how to fly cast or sous vide, or just a chance to gawk at the world’s finest cars and fancy watches. And careful attention to covid social distancing made the weekend more relaxing.
The first Curated Experiences at Grande Lakes weekend was so successful that they’re planning a second, April 23-25, with a different spin on the best of the best. With a discounted rate at the resort, you can check in and be transported a million miles away, sipping mimosas after a morning session of yoga, learning about (and tasting) dry-aged beef, wandering through the rows of veggies at the resort’s Whisper Creek Farm, making pasta or blending wine. You can be laid-back or all in – it’s an easy weekend of high-end fun with more than a dozen sessions throughout the day.
Culinary highlights of the first weekend:
- Food, food, glorious food. Many of the experiences included a taste of this or that, and the welcome reception, lunch and dinner featured creations from the celebrated Grande Lakes culinary team. From short rib pastrami for lunch on the lawn to crispy duck at Whisper Creek Farm, a fancy wine pairing dinner and a caviar Sunday brunch, every bite was an absolute delight.
- Master Sous Vide Cooking with Chef Gerald Sombright at Knife & Spoon. Nothing complicated, just a beginner’s look at the sous vide process – and we got to taste a silky sous vide egg with caviar and a crisp potato chip, and sous vide slices of steak. Other morning experiences included Italian cooking at Primo and BBQ cooking at Highball & Harvest.
- Dry Aging: Perfume and Process with Chef John Tesar, who shared his
brash opinions and gave us a taste of 45-, 150- and “once-in-a-lifetime” 240-day aged beef (at $240 on the menu). (Concurrently, a whiskey tasting and Quintessa wine blending event were happening at the JW Marriott – so hard to choose!)
- Michael Passmore’s amazing caviar – a dollop on a bite of steak or raw oyster, a full course with sturgeon at the Wine Pairing Dinner.
- A trip to Whisper Creek Farm, where many of the vegetables for the resort are harvested, with a late afternoon taste of what’s in season. Or instead, Master Mixology, Bourbon & Bow Ties or Slab Cooking on the patio at Highball & Harvest.
- At sunset on Saturday night, a sumptuous Wine Pairing Dinner and a concert starring Joey Fatone on the Da Vinci Lawn was a lovely ending to the day. Course after course of delights from fois gras mousse to lobster agnolotti and Valrhona chocolate with bourbon caramel ice cream under the stars.
- My favorite dining experience was the Knife & Spoon Caviar Brunch with endless mimosas and Bloody Marys, beautiful fresh seafood and steak sliced to order, with Michael Passmore and his wife Vandy offering caviar from a trolley they rolled throughout the dining room. A lovely, leisurely end to a very special getaway.
$750 per person includes all group events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus four Curated Experiences; $600 per person for all Saturday events (including Wine Pairing Dinner) plus four Curated Experiences; $300 per person for four Curated Experiences only, Saturday morning through afternoon; $300 per person for Wine Pairing Dinner only on Saturday evening. Special overnight rates are also available.