Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jockeying For Food (Warning: New Look)

So.  Two pieces of news here on Mackinac Island.

One, the big piece: I come home this month (meaning September).  I decided to terminate my contract with the Grand Hotel almost six weeks before I'd originally intended, but frankly, it's time to go home and get on with the decisions that need to be made at home.

And, up until about a week ago, I'd spent four months on the same station, doing the exact same things every day.  Even though I'd asked the chef and sous chef if I might try other jobs.  And...the schedule that went up after I resigned and told the chef had me scheduled for Expediter and Hot Line.  I've got the best of both worlds...I'm leaving early and I'm getting a chance to learn some other kitchen skills.

Two, the slightly smaller but no less important: Thanks to a nice guy who lives two doors down from me, I now have decent internet in my room.  That means my blog should be updated much more regularly and I can actually watch videos on Amazon Prime.  I never never never fully understood how much I appreciated good internet.

As I scan the calendar now, I realize I'm down to two days off left in my stay here on the Island (would have been three, but today's one of 'em).  And there are three restaurants left on the island I want to try before I go.

So, let's begin with the First of The Last Three.

As a Grand Hotel employee, I get a discount on meals at any Grand Hotel-affiliated restaurant, of which there are four or five.  Today's choice was a place called The Jockey Club...which as I see it is not really the "homestyle" vibe of Cawthorne's Village Inn nor the "sporty" vibe of the Gate House (where I work), nor the "fine dining" vibe of the Woods restaurant.  I guess maybe it's going for "casual elegant"?  The decor is horse-related, naturally, and the menu is peppered with items you'll find at other places on the island.

However, The Jockey Club gets my vote for inside arrangement and seating and ambiance.


The picture is crummy, but you'll see this place uses jockey's hats as lampshades.  Lots of somber wood panelling, a stone fireplace, and polished wood tables and chairs could definitely sober up this restaurant's ambiance, but the green hats add a little touch of fun, and I for one liked it.

There is a nice big patio for outdoor seating as well as a semi-outdoor, screened seating area.  I chose, however, to sit inside, where "cozy" is a great word for description.  The inside has a six-person bar area, and maybe sits 75-85.  It's hard to describe, although I'm trying, but it's intimate and close (which might be annoying if it were busy, but it wasn't today, so I found it quaint).

The lunch menu is very short, maybe ten items, mostly wraps and sandwiches.  While I had a pretty straight up roasted turkey wrap, the whitefish sandwich came with a jicama-spinach slaw and a lemon-caper remoulade...and I can appreciate those little twists in menu.  However, I really can't appreciate the price.  $13 for the wrap, and $4 for the Diet Coke I had with it.  Meh.  But, it's the Island.  Prices are high, for the tourists, dontcha know?


That's a spicy ranch dressing there in the ramekin, and I don't know about you, but I'm kinda over spicy ranch, chipotle mayo, herb aioli ad nauseum.  It gets pretensious, really, trying to sell a burger or turkey wrap or ham and cheese croissant by fancifying the condiments that come with it.

To me, a jacked-up ranch dressing or mayo only covers a bland-tasting product.

I suspect this place really shines at dinner time, where the entrees are a bit more creative (and expensive).  Too bad I won't be making there for that.  Ah well, life goes on.

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