Midday Elegance: Hotel MacDonald

Like most quintessential city landmarks, the Hotel MacDonald (10065 100 Street) is a familiar presence appreciated and admired mostly by afar. It’s been a few years since I had dinner in the Harvest Room (refined but stiff), but I relished the opportunity to have lunch in the beautiful Empire Ballroom for my organization’s Annual General Meeting this week.

Empire Ballroom

Unfortunately, my group’s tardiness relegated us to a table in a room normally used for cocktails and receptions only, but as the place setting was the same, there wasn’t too much to complain about, short of not being able to hear or see the speakers up on stage.

There was no menu card at each place setting, so the lunch was essentially a surprise. It has been a while since I’ve been to dinner where so many pieces of cutlery were available on the table, but in such a refined atmosphere and setting, it was only to be expected. What wasn’t expected, however, was the cute little pats of butter with the word “butter” stamped on them! I couldn’t resist taking a picture of that.

Too cute

We started with a salad of wild greens with beets. I am not normally a fan of beets, but there were so sweet and mild that I didn’t mind them at all. The main course (served to ladies first, then men clockwise around), was a “nest” of puff pastry with chicken and mixed vegetables (or, in layman’s terms, chicken pot pie), accompanied by a wild rice pilaf and steamed vegetables. The pie was hot, buttery, and deliciously creamy – it kept me full all day. Dessert was a cake with strawberry coulis, and as it had been placed on the table before we even arrived, this was a sweet ending that could have very possibly been an appetizer for some instead.

Wild greens with beets (up close, the leaves do look like weeds, don’t they?)

Chicken pot pie

Cake with strawberry coulis

All in all, it was a nice break from the office.

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