Yesterday I went out for a very special dinner at the Salem Cross Inn, established in 1705. At the Fireplace Feast the prime rib is roasted in this giant fireplace that’s big enough to stand in. The meat smelled amazing and tasted even better. I was with a group of 20 friends which made it even more fun. There were lots of other people there as well, enjoying hayrides (which didn’t work quite as advertised since the wagons didn’t have any hay) and glasses of hot mulled wine and cider to warm up after.
After the prime rib was removed from the fireplace, the staff brought out a big iron cauldron filled with the makings for fish chowder. We took turns stirring it (wearing suitably long protective gloves since the fire was HOT), and they added huge clams and fish. It was very tasty as our first course, and I don’t even like chowder. Though I didn’t eat it all because I was saving room for the prime rib.
On the other side of the room from the fireplace, other staff members were making our deep dish apple pie in large batches. Dozens of apples were cored, pared, sliced, sugared and spiced, and topped with pastry. I loved watching the little corer/parer machine thing which was amazingly efficient and fast.
It was a fun evening and I ate everything – mulled wine, cheese and crackers, fish chowder, prime rib, fresh rolls, butternut squash, spinach, herb roasted potatoes, and apple pie with whipped cream (not cool whip) served from the largest bowl of whipped cream I’ve ever seen in my life. It was all wonderful. Definitely not something to do very often – I couldn’t afford the price or the calories – but the setting, the food, and the company were all worth it this weekend.