Never too late for Romance!

You missed Valentine’s Day, you say? You’re in trouble, you say? Well, it’s never too late for romance. It doesn’t have to be just one day of the year.

This weekend we had 40 people at the Inn, taking a break from the everyday rat race to spend some quiet time together. But there are still plenty of opportunities if you weren’t able to make it for Valentine’s Day. A visit to the Oliver Inn can be enhanced with our Double Dark Chocolate Truffles from the South Bend Chocolate Company, a bouquet of roses, or even rose petals scattered around your room waiting to surprise your special someone. We also have dinner packages with Tippecanoe Place (right next door!) and LaSalle Grill, to save you time and money. We make the reservations and take care of all the plans. Give us a call and let us help pick out a fireplace or Jacuzzi suite for your perfect getaway. Don’t forget—you can keep romance alive everyday.

The Life of a Busy Innkeeper

To be an innkeeper is to be busy most of the time. This weekend is especially busy, since it’s Valentine’s Day and a three-day weekend for many people. The inn is almost full. We have a few couples who are celebrating birthdays along with Valentine’s Day. We have another couple who are traveling across the country from New Hampshire to Denver and needed a place to stay along the way. We have a few local couples who are tired of winter and just needed a place to relax and rejuvenate. Then we have a couple from Chicago who decided at the last minute to come to South Bend for a weekend escape and to visit the museums. All of our guests are enjoying homemade chocolate chip cookies, heart-shaped sugar cookies, and in-room fireplaces and jacuzzis.

We try to make the Oliver Inn a respite in a world of craziness. This morning I’m serving Stuffed Grilled Panini French Toast with fresh strawberries, along with grilled ham slices, almond poppy seed bread, and the chocolate chip coffee cake recipe I shared earlier this week. We will also have a variety of fresh fruit and juices.

We have a private tea party here at noon, and then beginning at 3:00, 18 more guests will arrive and we start all over, welcoming both new and old friends.

Here is my recipe for Stuffed Panini French Toast.

1 loaf (about 1 lb.) egg braid (or any good French bread)
cream cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt

Slice the bread, not too thick or thin. Soften the cream cheese and spread a small amount on half the bread slices, then top each with another slice (as if you were making a sandwich).

Mix together remaining ingredients.

Preheat a grill pan or a panini pan and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak each “sandwich” in the batter, then grill both sides until golden. Place grilled sandwiches on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 min. to finish cooking.

Lamb Chops

Today I have a great dinner recipe for you—for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. As much as we love cooking for each other, Tom and I are often too busy to make fancy dinners. But we try at least once a week to make time for an exceptional meal and a few relaxing minutes in our crazy life.

Rack of lamb of is always a treat. This recipe, which I created by combining a couple of ideas, works well with the nice loin lamb chops you often find at the store these days. The marinade is very flavorful and can even be used on a leg of lamb. If you’ve never cooked lamb, try this recipe. Lamb may just become one of your favorite dishes.

Grilled Lamb Chops
4 servings

2 lbs. lamb (either rack or loin lamb chops)
1 cup oil
½ cup minced garlic
2 tblsp. fresh chopped rosemary
2 tblsp. fresh chopped thyme

Mix together all ingredients except the lamb. Marinate the lamb in the mixture for 2–24 hours. Wipe off excess marinade and grill the lamb chops until desired doneness. If using rack of lamb, grill or brown both sides in a skillet, transfer to a roasting pan, and place in the oven at 350° until desired doneness.

ArtsEveryWhere.com

Whether you are a resident or visitor to the South Bend area, you may not be aware of all the wonderful theatre, dance, music and art events there are to choose from. One of my favorite Web sites is ArtsEverywhere.com, the Greater South Bend region’s “ultimate guide to arts and culture.” Not only can you find something happening just about any day of the week, you can also find great deals by clicking on their eSavers link.

This weekend there are several things going on at the Morris Performing Arts Center, such as the South Bend Symphony performing “Broadway Rocks” on Saturday, Feburary 13, at 8:00. Experience the best of Broadway all in one evening! Join the South Bend Symphony and Capathia Jenkins, Julia Murney, and Gary Mauer, three of Broadway’s best singers for great moments from the hit musicals including The Phantom of the Opera, Tommy, Rent, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Jekyll and Hyde, The Wiz, Hairspray, Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Dreamgirls. The background vocals for this concert will be provided by the IU South Bend University Chorus directed by Dr. Marvin Curtis.

Many other events are taking place this week all the way through the weekend. Check it out and treat your special someone to a night on the town. Remember to check back here tomorrow, too. All this week we’ll be offering last-minute ideas and recipes for Valentine’s Day.

February is for Lovers

Well, it’s February and Valentine’s Day is coming, so I thought I’d spend the whole month blogging about food and love. After all, romance can be all year long–not just one day of the year! I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. I’ll share some recipes and fun suggestions about how to put a little more romance into your life every day.

Tom and I have been married for 28 years, and now that we have the Inn, we are together all day, every day. And there’s always more work to be done! It can be hard to make our relationship the priority we want it to be–to take the time to watch a movie together or go for a walk after dinner–and forget about all the “work” around us.

I’m sure that, like me, you can get so busy that it is easy to let days and weeks go by without spending quality time with your sweetheart or your kids. Look for an opportunity this month to stop the madness and focus on your special someone for a few hours. And if you need help getting into the spirit, why not come for a mini getaway here at the Inn? We’ll have fresh cookies waiting!

Thanksgiving Time

We still have rooms left this week for your Thanksgiving travels. This week through the 30th of November, get 20% off your 2nd night. Don’t forget to check out the special Thanksgiving Dinner next door at the Tippecanoe Place.

Mark your calendars, and make reservations early for our first annual Christmas Tea. Saturday Dec 12th 1-3pm. Cost is 24.95 pp, plus tax. Space is limited.

The Wedding Singer

Nominated for five Tony Awards® including Best Musical, The Wedding Singer brings the sweet and funny Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie to heart-warming life as a wonderful new Broadway musical. When the guy who brightens up every wedding can’t find true love himself, fate steps in and lends its musical hand. Three weddings, a bar mitzvah and a wild trip to a Vegas “Chapel of Love” keep things hopping in this affectionate look back at the 80s-big hair and all!
Event times: 9 Oct 2009 (Fri)
8:00 PM

10 Oct 2009 (Sat)
2:00 PM
8:00 PM
Ticket Information:
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Tickets can be purchased at the Morris Box Office or over the phone at 235-9190 or (800) 537-6415. The Morris Box Office is open regular business hours Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Tickets can also be purchased online 24 hours a day at www.MorrisCenter.org. Tickets can be purchased at Morris Ticket Outlet: Super Sounds Catalog Center located within TG Music, 123 South Main Street, Goshen, IN.

Mention that you are coming in for the show and receive 20% off your stay at The Oliver Inn this weekend!

Mystery at The Mansion!! Friday, October 2nd and 9th – Tours start at 5:30

Dillinger’s Dastardly Deeds…Based on the true story of John Dillinger’s robbery of a South Bend bank in 1934, This mystery needs all of your investigative skills to track down a secret accomplice in the heist. Travel back in time to hear accounts from those involved and cast your vote for the person who helped “Public Enemy Number One”. Tickets are limited. Advance tickets are available and strongly recommended to guarantee a place on a tour. The Northern Indiana Center for History. http://www.centerforhistory.org.   Call 574-235-9664, ext. 232 for details. Coming in from out of town? Complete your “mystery” weekend with a stay at The Oliver Inn. Rooms are still available for the weekend of the 9th.