Breakfast is the most important meal of the day at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast, and our guests “dine on fine.” What in the world does that mean? I’m sure you’ve heard the term “fine dining.” What does it mean to you? Even without realizing it, I believe we’ve always offered our guests a fine dining experience – for breakfast!
- We are focused on atmosphere. With only two suites and staggered breakfast times based on guest preference, breakfast is usually a private experience. There’s no rush. We serve breakfast in courses in our formal dining room. Whether using the larger dining table or the round table that overlooks the gardens, our guests are served on fine china, crystal glassware, fine linens and silverware. They experience both the meal itself and the fine dining ambiance.
- Truthfully, when guests carry in supper in a paper sack or Styrofoam box with carry-out food, we offer them the table, china, and silverware, just the same. However, I once had an extended “discussion” with one B&B guest about using the dining room to eat something he’d carried in. Henry, my childhood friend that over time was more like a brother, had other plans. After going back and forth for a little while, Henry leaned in, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Look, Fancy…” It cracked me up and settled the argument. He ate in the kitchen. I get it. He and his wife Mary are family guests and Henry is most comfortable in my kitchen. It’s not just that I’m “fancy,” it’s that I recognize that the atmosphere leads to the experience for our typical B&B guests. They can eat in the kitchen at home.
- There’s an artistic component in fine dining. From the arrangement of food on each plate to the place setting, visual appearance is very important. I’ve collected multiple china place settings and our guests could easily be here for a week and not see the same tablescape twice. My assistant, Kelly, is enthusiastic about setting an inviting table, and has developed specific skills in the art of napkin folds. Check out some of our Blessings tablescape videos on YouTube.
- Service is a key component in fine dining. We most often use the Blue-plate service style. Not to be confused with the “Blue Plate Special” at the local diner, Blue-plate service indicates that food is served from the side, or from the kitchen, just as in a restaurant. It is a more elegant style service where one course is served, then removed before the next is served. It extends the dining experience and allows interaction with our guests as various courses are served.
- Presentation is very important to us. Food is arranged planfully and you’ll often see herbs and edible flowers from our garden garnishing the plates. Not only must we serve delicious meals, each plate that leaves the kitchen must be a feast for the eyes. Bless his heart, one of our guests must always eat a lukewarm breakfast. Clint is a photographer and before ever taking a bite, he takes multiple shots of each course as it is served. It’s his choice. I appreciate his determination since he shares Blessings photos on his social networks and I end up with terrific pictures to use. You’ll see him credited throughout this blog.
- Quality is key in the fine dining experience. We seek out the highest quality ingredients. We use fresh, locally sourced food including our breakfast meats, cage-free eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Market. Menus are planned with attention to details like scents, the color, shape, texture, layered flavors and temperature.
- Innovation is important. I test out new recipes in advance and guests have helped me identify favorites that I serve on a rotating schedule. I can prepare potatoes fifteen ways, but people don’t want to eat potatoes every day. I figure that any ingredient that’s a good fit for a Frittata may be considered for a breakfast side. One of my fellow innkeepers questioned using micro greens on breakfast plates and another friend questioned serving asparagus. I always ask in advance if guests prefer things like asparagus, spinach, and mushrooms, but I’ll tell you now, grilled or roasted asparagus is a hit! Guests who’ve always had an aversion to pears like my poached pears with raspberry coulis. They’re much more likely to “try” things here than at home.
- I always like an element of surprise when I’m dining out, something clever that makes my eyes light up. It might be a new preparation that I’ve never experienced, or it may be the way food is served, or it may be a new food I’ve never tasted. Here at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast we’re known for serving our homemade ice cream for breakfast. Waffles are topped with fruit and cream and they’re a hit. Today’s guest said, “I haven’t had a breakfast as good as this one in… ever!” She loved our Chicago style waffles. Ice cream on waffles is both unexpected and satisfying.
- Fine dining is demonstrated in care and attention to detail. Hot food is served hot and cold food is served cold. Needs are fulfilled in a fine dining experience, even those needs the guest has not anticipated or identified. Fine dining provides satisfaction to both the body and the soul.
Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast ~ Jacksonville, Illinois
About Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast
Experience a stay in our award-winning Bed & Breakfast located in a magnificently restored 130-year-old mansion in the heart of the historic district. Pampered luxury is our goal, to delight both business and leisure travelers. We offer two upscale guest suites, each with private sitting rooms and private baths. We provide multi-course gourmet breakfasts, 24/7 family-friendly hot and cold beverages and snacks, and cookies and milk at bedtime. Wi-Fi is available throughout our home and each suite has a digital satellite TV and all-season fireplace. We are located just steps away from Illinois College, the Governor Duncan Mansion and Illinois School for the Deaf and our neighborhood is highlighted on one of Jacksonville’s historic walking tours. Escape the standard hotel room and enjoy your own private suite in the finest Jacksonville area lodging. Book direct for the best rates.