A Chef-Curated Garden Dinner at The Poconos' Lodge at Woodloch

Contributor
Chef John Tomson is bringing the table to the farm
Chef John Tomson

The Lodge at Woodloch

Chef Tomson collects ingredients from his garden. 

The Lodge at Woodloch, a luxurious destination spa nestled in the Lake Region of the Pocono Mountains, embodies the philosophy that food that is good for you can also be creative, artfully presented and graciously served. Executive Chef Josh Tomson and his team hand select naturally-raised meats and fish along with organic, locally grown vegetables. With three functioning gardens on the property, guests are assured that the fresh flavors created by nature are highlighted. Because the gardens aren't quite robust enough to supply all of The Lodge’s produce needs, the culinary team searches high and low to find like-minded local farms to help supplement the seasonal menus.

During his Chef-Curated Garden Dinners, held Thursday nights on the deck of the garden shed (weather permitting), Tomson artfully prepares a culinary feast of land and sea. Tomson switches up the typical “farm to table” dinner by instead bringing the table to the farm.

This intimate dinner, which seats a dozen people, is led by Tomson as he selects the harvest focus for the evening. Not only does Tomson prepare the meal, but he also discusses the dinner that is paired with a Sommelier-selected wine. It’s a night of both education and enjoyment while providing an opportunity to meet new friends. This is much more than your typical dinner, but is actually an event in and of itself. The five course meal lasts about two hours.

During a recent visit, the first course consisted of smoked burrata featuring the Lodge’s home-grown heirloom tomatoes, Genovese basil, aged balsamic and organic olive oil. It was perfectly paired with a Villa Sandi il Fresco rose. This was followed by a Blackmore vegetable salad with duck bacon lardons, Japanese market turnips, pickled carrots, tarragon feta vinaigrette, and a wine pairing of Oberon sauvignon blanc.

Next came a delicate grilled dorade royale (a small fish with very tender white flesh and a shimmering silver skin ) served over toasted green wheat tabouleh, pickled corn relish, and cilantro lime butter. When grilled or braised, dorade offers a rich, succulent, meaty flavor, similar to that of Pompano or Red Snapper. After tasting the combination of flavors, everyone at the table applauded Tomson for his culinary creativity. The recommended wine was a Hangtime pinot noir.

The entrée, a grapefruit and tamari marinated Lancaster County ribeye deckle, provided a buttery texture that burst with flavor. The meat was adorned with fingerling potatoes, shaved baby carrots, local zucchini, and white miso aioli. An Emblem cabernet sauvignon complemented the entrée. To complete this special evening, Tomson served a local strawberry parfait for the dessert course. It included a biscuit crumble and blueberry mousse along with an excellent wine pairing of Spellbound petite sirah.

Elevated amongst the tree tops with glimpses of the lake, TREE Restaurant and Bar at The Lodge at Woodloch offers a diverse menu that is anything but the ordinary spa cuisine. In addition to fabulous food served within an exquisite setting, the attentive, friendly service was a highlight of the night. One self-described “foodie” at the dinner remarked, “I travel for good food first and foremost, and this was certainly worth the trip.”

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