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Monday, May 17, 2010

Days of Wine and... Birds! And Trains!

The Elkhorn Inn's first "West Virginia Wine Dinner Weekend" was a grand (and delicious) success! Chef Dan's Kirkwood Winery ramp-wine-marinated, herb-crusted roast leg of lamb was delectable, and So good with the Watt's Roost Winery Chambourcin! The dry Martin's Mist Dry Creek Blueberry Wine was perfect with the prosciutto & melon appetizer. And the Kakawa chili chocolate caramels  (shown) were AMAZING with the Jones Cabin Run Vineyards Port!  We will happily do another one, so if you and your friends would like to have a "WV Wine Dinner Weekend" at the Inn, send us a message or call us at 1-800-708-2040 or 304-862-2031!
The other exciting thing we had happen this weekend, was that a journalist, visiting the Inn for another story,  came up with a list of some 30 birds he saw at the Inn without even trying! This is REALLY exciting because for 8 years we've woken up and gone to sleep to 100s of different bird calls and song, but neither Dan & I have any real knowledge of birds, nor any fabulous camera equipment, and so besides the really obvious ones like cardinals and finches and swallows, we truly had no clue what they all were! Every once in a while someone will say (or post on a website) something ignorant and snide like "there are no birds in McDowell County- coal mining chased 'em all away!" and while this is laughable and so obviously not true, without some documentation from a "real birder" it's hard to refute. So here's our naturalist journalist's "Quick List" of the birds he saw in one day:
Veery, Cardinal, Tufted Titmous, Chicadee, Wild Turkey, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Crow, Ovenbird, Sparrow, Black-and-White Warbler, American Redstart, Hooded Warbler, Mallard, Wood Thrush, Robin, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Scarlet Tanager, Phoebe, Red-Eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Barn Swallow, Parula Warbler, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Worm-Eating Warbler, Cowbird, Carolina Wren, and Goldfinch!
He explained that the "best" bird he saw was the Veery, that prime spring birding season here is from late April to early June, as well as in the fall, and that "one could probably hear/see 50 to 60 birds over a weekend"! So, all you birders, come on down to the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre, & bring your binoculars & cameras! :-)

We're now getting ready for our second "foodie" event of May, the Elkhorn Inn's May 28-30 (Memorial Day Weekend) "Railfan Gourmet Weekend" with James Porterfield, the railroad historian, author of "From the Dining Car" and "Dining By Rail", and "On The Menu" columnist for Railfan & Railroad, who will be the Inn's Guest Chef that weekend. James Porterfield will be preparing a "Dining Car Dinner" on Friday evening, and Chef Dan will be preparing one on Saturday, and both chefs will be utilizing recipes from James Porterfield's books- and Jim will be signing his books at the Elkhorn Inn, too!

Friday (Chef James Porterfield):
Chicken Mulligatawny Soup - Atlantic Coast Line
Tossed Salad with Special Dressing - Great Northern Railway
Deviled Slice of Roast Beef with Mustard Sauce - Pennsylvania Railroad
Potatoes Romanoff - Illinois Central
Carrots in Mint Sauce - New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad
Hot Strawberry Sundae - Fred Harvey

Saturday (Chef Dan Clark):
Shrimp Gumbo New Orleans Style - Louisville & Nashville Railroad
Cucumber & Red Onion Salad with Mandarin Orange & Toasted Caraway Seeds - American Orient Express
Coast Starlight Chicken Breast Pinot Noir with Dried Cherries - Amtrak West SBU
Steamed Asparagus with sautéed Garlic Cherry Tomatoes - Royal Canadian Pacific
Red Potatoes with Rosemary - Amtrak West SBU
Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce - My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

The special "Dueling Dining-Car Chefs" weekend package is only $499 + tax per couple ($380 + tax for single), and includes two nights at the Elkhorn Inn with Continental Breakfast each morning, the two special "Dining Car Dinners" on Friday and Saturday evenings, and a late check-out on Sunday. Call us at 304-862-2031 or 1-800-708-2040 to book as soon as possible if you wish to join us for this Very special weekend at the Inn!

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