Eating Like Oprah at Blue Pig Tavern

Blue Pig TavernFrom top, clockwise: Congress Hall (courtesy of caperesorts.com); a breakfast fit for the “Queen of Talk;” exterior of Blue Pig Tavern

Who hasn’t, at one point in their lives, wanted to live like Lady O? (That would be Oprah not First Lady Michelle Obama although her wardrobe is just as enviable.) With all the material baubles in Ms. Winfrey’s possession, how many of us have taken time to think about what’s on her plate? Certainly, there has been much talk over the years about the expansion and shrinking of her waistline, her relationship with food and intense scrutiny about her struggle with weight but have we ever really pondered what really gets O’s culinary juices flowing? I can’t be the only one who wonders if she prefers to snack on a torchon of foie gras and toasted brioche while watching TV with her dogs or is she a raw cookie dough eater like the rest of us commoners. Given the fact that the world has enjoyed an unnatural obsession with the woman’s body size for years, it’s ironic that exactly what she eats is rarely discussed.

I recently got a chance to eat like Oprah in Cape May of all places.

Yes, in New Jersey. That New Jersey.

 

VIRGINIA (HOTEL) IS FOR FOOD LOVERS

Last month I was invited to a Scotch and cigar dinner The Ebbitt Room, a warm, gorgeous farm-to-table restaurant in the venerable Virginia Hotel in the quaint bayside town of Cape May. The handsome dining room, outfitted with hand-selected colonial artwork and rich hardwood floors, is charming and inviting in a way that is befitting of the luxury boutique hotel. Executive Chef Anthony Micari’s dining philosophy shows up in his praiseworthy plates that showcase fresh, local ingredients from the restaurant’s Beach Plum Farm. The dinner was a lovely affair that began with a quartet of deviled eggs, each precariously topped with different ingredients. As the dinner progressed (and more Scotch was poured), the arrival of each dish outdid its predecessor (see menu below), but the real treat was yet to come.

First Course

Poached Pear and Endive Salad

Candied Pecan, Stilton, Bitter Greens, Cranberry Vinaigrette

Paired with Macallan 12yr

Premium Option: Talisker 25yr

Second Course

Cinderella Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pancetta, Glazed Apples, Fine Herbs, Maple Butter

Paired with Talisker 10yr

 Premium Option: Johnny Walker Blue Label King George V

Third Course

Espresso Cured Duck Breast

Glazed Baby Carrots, Cippolini Onion Marmalade, Smoked Shallot Jus

Paired with Lagavulin 16yr

Premium Option: Classic Cast 40yr

Fourth Course

Maple Smoked Pork Loin

Vanilla Parsnip Puree, Root Vegetable Hash, Roasted Bing Cherry Jus

Paired with Highland Park 18yr

Premium Option: Glenmorangie 25yr

Dessert Course

Flourless Chocolate Tart

Smoked Sea Salt Truffle, Blackberry Jam, Candied Orange

Paired with Dalmore 12yr

XXX

THE MORNING AFTER

With the memory of the previous night’s spread still on my palate, it was time to head to nearby resort Congress Hall for my “Oprah Treatment”–an aptly-titled day of pampering that started with breakfast at The Blue Pig Tavern (a perennial favorite of both locals and visitors alike where Winfrey and longtime beau Stedman Graham often dine when visiting the latter’s New Jersey family) and ended with a visit to the tranquil Sea Spa where a salt scrub massage and algae mousse treatment lulled me into the sweetest slumber I’ve enjoyed in years. Those who know me understand my deep love of breakfast and the popular eatery did not disappoint. Executive Chef Jeremy Einhorn, a staunch proponent of the farm-to-table philosophy, crafts a menu of classics with special variations that elevate dishes to another level. Fresh-squeezed juice concoctions (try the refreshing, swoon-worthy beet and pineapple juice), pillowy omelets made with eggs from Cape May’s Beach Plum Farm and a host of tavern specialties (the Benedict is a must) make up the rather extensive breakfast menu.

Just a slice of Oprah’s life and I’m officially hooked. I could definitely get used to this life, so give me a call me Oprah and we’ll do lunch–in Cape May, of course.

About Iris "The Palate Princess" M.

Food writer | Author of Food Lovers' Guide to Philadelphia, Main Squeeze: Juicing Recipes for Your Healthiest Self, and On the Line (coming soon)

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