Sunday, September 6, 2015

TRIAL RUNS: Part 3, A Spectacular Lunch

Today we dined in Dobyn’s Restaurant in the Keeter Center and to say the lunch was fine dining would be an understatement. 

We arrived a little early for our reservation, it is highly recommend you get a reservation, so we took advantage of the extra time to look around the lobby of the large log cabin that houses the restaurant. 

This unique furniture was in the foyer of the building.

The furniture on in the waiting area was also rustic, but not as nearly ornate as the foyer furniture.  Chances are very good that the furnishings throughout the log cabin were made by various artisans living on campus.

If you don’t know anything about the College of the Ozarks here is a brief synopsis for you.  It is commonly called “Hard Work University” because that is how the students pay for their degrees.  Each student is required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week, with one 40 hour week per semester, on campus.  This is how they pay for their liberal arts degree.  

It is a four year need based Christian college and most students graduate with no student loan debt. If you have a student thinking about college you might really want to see if they meet all the criteria to attend this beautiful campus.

After returning home I learned two of my cousin’s grandchildren had received their degrees from the college.  They both loved the campus and hated to leave.

Back to our meal…

We were seated fairly close to our 12:15 pm reservation.  I was certainly glad we had decided to dress decently instead of shorts and a Disney t-shirt, our normal camping wardrobe.

The greeters were all dressed in nice navy blazers, skirts or slacks with white shirts and our servers were all white jacketed.  

The greeter escorted us into an immense dining room with more rustic furniture, but this furniture had an elegant feel to it.  The long tin tiled ceilinged room was well appointed, immaculate.  If you have ever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World, it reminded us of it in many ways, but more elegant.

The table was set with a complete service of all the proper silverware and a neatly pyramid folded cloth napkin.  Our beverages came in a nice piece of stemware. Each course was delivered in covered serving dishes.

Each course brought out the appropriate additional silverware for that course and all used dishes and silverware were quickly and quietly removed.

Our server was Hannah, if all servers were as attentive as she was we would go broke with the amount of tips we would pay.  We tip based on service, not price.  She deserved the maximum tip for certain.

She was attentive without being cloying.  Made excellent eye contact, never wrote anything down, but our orders came perfect.  She knew the ingredients of everything we and those around us ordered and could answer any allergy queries with no problem.   

She spoke clearly, and in a friendly professional way.  The way you would expect wait staff in a fine dining restaurant to speak.

While we waited on our meals to arrive she brought us a basket that contained two honey wheat rolls, and two cranberry biscuits.  She also brought a small cast iron skillet that contained real butter and some of the best apple butter I have ever eaten.

All these items had been made from products produced there on campus.  The flours were from the grain mill, the butter from their dairy, the apple butter from another part of the campus.  Then of course it was all handmade from scratch there in the restaurant. This was the story behind every item we consumed today.  Oh what a wonderful meal we had.

Dh’s meal was what he declared to be the best chicken and dumplings he had ever had. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a photo of it before he had consumed every drop of it.

I had the Pork Pomodoro. Thin medallions of pork loin resting on some of the finest tasting polenta I have ever eaten, topped with pesto and organic cherry tomatoes.  The taste was out of this world! 

It was also a huge portion.  So huge I took half of it back to the camper with me because I simply had to try their desserts. The photo below is what I took back to the camper.

For dessert Gary ordered their banana cream pie topped with a mountain of whipped cream and drizzled with a salted caramel sauce.

I do believe my dessert was the best I have ever had bar none.  Blueberries and cream bread pudding.  It had a sweetened cream cheese type layer, blueberries and raspberries baked into the bread pudding, then it was topped with a drizzle of lemon curd.  On the side was a mound of sweetened whipped cream in a circle of fresh blueberries and topped with a perfectly pink raspberry.  Truly a fine dining dessert.
This too was way too large a serving for me so half of that returned to the camper with me as well. 

To view their entire menu go here

All my leftovers were carefully packaged up by Hannah.  No trying to put it in a Styrofoam carryout box while juggling a plate awkwardly for me.  No Styrofoam at all in fact.  A very plain brown box was used. Very sturdy and environmental friendly.
Our total meal came to slightly over $50 including a very sizable tip and it was worth every penny of it! This is a statement you won’t hear me make often.

After the meal we located a brochure that had a map of the campus included and headed out the door thinking we would go to the Ralph Foster museum, Lookout Point and other sites on campus.  Instead we found ourselves wandering through a small park there at the log cabin. Taking several photos.

By the time we finished with our photos it was almost 2:30 pm.  The museum is three stories and closes at 4:30pm.  In fact all the various buildings on campus close at 4:30pm.

So instead we drove through the campus getting a lay of the land to go back another day.

The campus is gorgeous, swans and ducks in the lake and everywhere there were students PUSHING lawn mowers, no riding mowers were ever seen, pushing brooms to sweep the streets and sidewalks as well as other maintenance jobs.  Definitely Hardwork U.

We left the campus about 4:00 pm enjoying the fact that thanks to following the Total Money Makeover plan by Dave Ramsey we felt like this was the way we were meant to live.  Fine dining, a relaxing day and moving at our own pace without jumping through anyone’s hoops.

Truly a great middle to our day.  On to the next segment of Trial Runs.

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