Random Appetites: DeFuniak Adventures

Last week I extolled the virtues of Chautauqua Winery, now you get the rest of the story.

Since Chautauqua doesn’t sell through retail outlets and it was only a couple of hours away, a there-and-back trip certainly wasn’t out of the question to restock. But, if it’s only a couple hours away, why not make weekend away (or, as heard in Bridget Jones’ Diary, a mini-break–why is it the British have better names for these things?) out of it, if there’s anything to do in DeFuniak Springs, that is.

Yeah, not really.

It’s a small town with, apparently, some rich history but not really a lot going on any given weekend. I did luck up and find The Hotel DeFuniak which was listed as a Bed & Breakfast. Granted, the website doesn’t inspire 100% confidence and we knew going in that it could be quaint or an absolute disaster. Thankfully it was the former. The only thing that didn’t really jive with me was the idea that a “B&B” only offers Continental Breakfasts on Sundays and Mondays. I get Mondays since Sunday night stay-overs are probably low but Sunday mornings? Really? That’s just not right…

Anyway, that was the only real disappointment. That, and I didn’t realize one of the rooms (Room 8, the Aviary Room) was supposedly haunted because I totally would have booked that room instead!

The lobby and small sitting area was filled with various antiques and knick-knacks that gave the place a rather charming air and even though there was an elevator to the second floor, except for check-in and -out we used the staircase because it really wasn’t that much of a trek. Our room (Room 4, the Art Deco Room) was decorated in shades of sage and peach with high ceilings, a pedestal sink to one side of the bed (odd but we got used to it soon enough) a cubby-sized bathroom with a commode and shower stall and a tiny television w/dvd player hidden in a cabinet/dresser set up. And the king-sized bed was just right. Overall, the effect was charming. Oh, and they still use actual keys! How novel!

Once settled we had some time to kill before our dinner reservation (more on that in a bit). Since we were essentially in the heart of town, we thought we’d do a bit of on-foot exploring. Well, apparently almost everything browse-worthy closes at noon on Saturdays! I suppose it’s quaint, in a way, but it sorta put a damper on our explorations. What was open was a charming (so much of this area is charming, really) shop called The Little Big Store. It’s a general-mercantile type of shop that is just packed floor to ceiling with all sorts of old fashioned this and that and I have to say I was just in heaven and has to be seen to be believed. Totally made up for the other antique shops being closed.

The other thing we did that afternoon was make a pitiful attempt at Letterboxing. The night before we left I had gotten the sudden brainstorm to check for any boxes in the area, just for something to do, and there was one with a riddle to find it. We decifered the clues ahead of time (at least the initial ones); we figured it would be best to be prepared, being in a strange city and all and were surprised to find that there was an airfield in DeFuniak Springs! Unfortunately, the box seemed to missing–either removed or so very overgrown that it was beyond our finding. Too bad, but it did make us curious to find the ones here in town.

Now, dinner, that was a treat! The house restaurant at The Hotel DeFuniak is Bogey’s and features live music on Saturday nights which amounted to a tuxedo-shirted jazz singer with a keyboard but it was very nice. Several people got up and danced and we had ring-side seats to the dancefloor. We ordered the Oysters Rockefeller and the Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip for appetizers and for dinner I had the Catch of the Day, Lorenzo (which means with crab stuffing and bernaise sauce) which was very, very good and Todd had the Veal Restauranteur, of which I had a bit of a nibble and it was very tender and tasty. We split a dessert (something very chocolatey, I only had a couple of bites as I was way too full already) and toddled off to our room, incredibly sated.

You might be saying to yourself, wait, she didn’t mention alcohol once! I’m getting to that, lol. We had ordered the Romantic Package which came with a bottle of house wine. Instead I opted (big surprise!) for the Pinot Noir and we both ordered cocktails. What surprised me, especially considering the reason we were in town, was that their wine list featured not one local wine from the Vineyard down the road. Not a single one. Now what is up with that? The wine was certainly fine (and don’t believe that white wine with fish rule, drink what you like) and so were the cocktails. I ordered a Pomegranate Martini and Todd had the Lemon Drop. The Lemon Drop was better.

What I’ve discovered through a bit of trial and error (despite the fact that I need to read the drink descriptions more carefully) is that cocktails that are 100% alcohol are not the cocktails for me; I need mixer. You see, the Pom-tini had pomegranate liqueur and vodka, that’s it, and while tasty it was very strong. In contrast, the Lemon Drop was made up of Citron Vodka, Grand Marnier and sour mix… and it was the sour mix that made the difference. I think, had they subbed at least some if not all of the pomegranate liqueur for juice, I would have enjoyed the drink a lot more. At least there was no salt, this time!

One drink that I was intriqued by and will try if and when we return (it certainly seems likely, the hotel was so nice and nearby for a mini-break) was teh Pineapple Upside Down Martini. The description called for Vanilla Vodka, Butterscotch Schnapps, Pineapple Juice and a splash of cola. Doesn’t that sound yummy?