Sunday, 14 October 2006
Sunday morning, we hit the breakfast buffet again (complete with the previous night's bottled water), then strolled down to the pro shop for our 8:22 a.m. tee time. Only time for nine holes before lunch and the road home.
David ordered the bento-box special, which that day was pesto chicken in a sun-dried tomato wrap and a cup of beef and barley soup. David doesn't care for barley (he says it's like eating pussy willows), so he requested (and got) the sage-heavy clam chowder again instead. I had the cheeseburger, because it's one of the few places you can still get them cooked medium-rare. It came with lettuce, tomato, onion, topped with aged sharp cheddar, and on the regulation toasted sesame-seed bun (with, on the side, cute little individual glass jars of mayo, dijon mustard, and ketchup), and it was quite good, but it didn't measure up to the late lamented "Loop-'n-cheddar" cheeseburger at the Loop (back before the national salmonella scare), which remains the Platonic ideal.
Then, sigh, it was time to pack up and head back to real life.
After we got back to Tallahassee, I did a little internet research on Jordi Vallčs. It seems we need not fear that he will be discovered; he already has been, long since. He's Spanish and has worked with three of the big four Spanish chefs, including Ferrán Adriŕ (the foam guy), who has been so influential all over the world. This is his second stint with Ritz-Carlton, and he had a couple restaurants in Miami in between. (Just Google him if you want more complete detail.) We ordinarily visit Amelia Island just once a year, in October, but we've decided to go back in the spring this year, in case he should get a better offer. We fervently hope he's into fishing, bird watching, and golf, because if he lives for the late-night club scene, major-league professional baseball, and the opera, Amelia Island will never hold him.
Of course, some credit should also go to sous-chef Richard Gras and pastry chef Sherrin Gotsch (I may have that name wrong, as the photo of that menu page cut it off a little), but the overall level is amazingly higher than it was last year under a different head chef. So if you've ever thought of going over to Amelia Island for a weekend getaway, now's the time, before the better offers start coming and break up the team.