WAC Magazine

November/December 2012

Issue link: http://www.wacmagazine.com/i/90851

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Page 13 of 65

{a la carte} By Robert Bonina, Vice President Food & Beverage A proper taste of ol' England W hen it comes to the holiday season, tradition matters. And when it comes to the WAC, the Victorian Christmas buffet in Torchy's stands at the center of our holiday dining customs. This annual Club event offers a taste of old England. To understand what we're talking about, consider a bit of history. Although it's hard to believe now, Christmas went largely uncelebrated in the English–speaking world until the early to mid–19th century. That began to change when Queen Victoria married the German–born Prince Albert. A widely published drawing of the royal family around a decorated Christmas tree initiated a holiday rite many of us now couldn't imagine missing. As for food, the tradition of a Christmas feast dates to well before the Victorian era. But it was during Queen Victoria's reign that the meal many of us now associate with Christmas began to make its way to the table. Turkey, especially, emerged as a holiday staple during this time. That brings us back to our own Victorian Christmas, Let our Victorian Christmas fill your spirit and hunger for holiday history Torchy's. Indeed, the Victorians used mistletoe as part of their celebration, where kisses were often given … or taken. But we don't stop with mistletoe. Each year, we bring in strolling carolers dressed in period attire. The Dickens Carolers provide our annual dinnertime performance. Their top hats, hooped skirts, and bonnets are almost as beautiful as their voices. Now back to the food. This year, Victorian Dinner patrons in Torchy's will enjoy a variety of holiday offerings. To whet your appetite, consider these buffet items: • Baron of beef au jus • Carved Hempler ham with orange marmalade glaze • Maple-roasted turkey • Wild mushroom and giblet gravy • Buttermilk and chive mashed potatoes Executive Chef Eric Floyd puts together the buffet every where holiday decorations and turkey continue the traditions started more than a century ago. As for the decorations, don't forget to take your sweetheart under the mistletoe in year and always tries to add a new twist. There will also be wild rice with dried cranberries, cherries and toasted almonds; sage and applewood-bacon stuffing; an autumn vegetable medley; and a root vegetable gratin. Not only that, but pastry maestro Roger Rosario will once again bake up a tantalizing selection of desserts, including his famous yule logs. Expect a feast filled with delicious offerings and surrounded by festive decor. And if you can't wait for Christmas—and I hope you can't—then you can also join us for our Thanksgiving buffet, served in the Crystal Ballroom. Citrus- and chili-roasted turkey tops the menu. Other favorites include rum-glazed sweet potatoes; caramelized-onion gravy; and roasted acorn squash with golden raisins, sage and cinnamon butter. Whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, the WAC has a holiday meal—and a fantastic tradition—ready-made for you and yours. We hope to see you at the table. The Dickens Carolers bring a taste of Victorian England to Christmas at the WAC each year. 14 | Washington Athletic Club Magazine | NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2012 BRIAN FRANCIS

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