October 2006 - Freehold Country Inn (dt)  
6.69 - 7.5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.5, 6, 5.5 

Nostalgia, premature, we are hoping, made us do it. But, before we did it, the DP8ers convened at the Teator residence, partaking in the spinach dip, cheese and fruit plates, and pretzels and mustard. Deb’s tour of the newly painted rooms, talk of the upcoming DC trip and of next summer’s escapade, pondering the effects of Judy’s retirement, and chatter about the week filled in around the pinot grigio, merlot, Tanqueray and tonic, and a soda. The five minute warning reminded us to head for the Freehold Country Inn, for our 48th monthly meeting. Four years of good company, good food, good company, interesting car trips, good company, and stories to catch up on. Subliminal message?
         The “did it” was the unusual decision, almost last minute, of a group choice for Freehold Country Inn, mostly because FCI recently sold and new ownership takes over mid-month. So, this dinner was one to remember by, hoping that it is not the last good supper, and wishing good luck and smart luck for the new owners. Generally, we have avoided trying Sundays but it was the only October date we could make by the changeover.
        The trip was short, and the weather had mostly cleared from the inch and half downpour overnight and during the day; still, the street lamp light glistened off the drenched road.
        Others may decide otherwise but dessert was the best course. Warm chocolate cake topped with ice cream topped with whipped cream with chocolate drizzled over fresh strawberries (guess who?), a crème brulee (someone licked the bowl clean), a rice pudding, blackberries in English sauce (omygod, says Judy), and chocolate mousse, with fresh fruit (Kriss) gave a fair cross-section of the dessert menu. Two sippers of Sambuca (a new member this night) and one none-Frangelica completed the last course.
        Back to beginning.
        Freehold Country Inn did it again. Past reviews will show why we enjoy FCI, and they held up once more. Dinner rolls arrived soon after we arrived, a contrast to many dinner dates lately. Lemon-sliced glasses of water offer a pleasant first impression, and Jim Davis’ harpistry sets a comfortable tone that befits FCI.
        Our waiter, Todd (a former student for some), exemplifies the competent wait staff, attentive, responsive, watchful and smooth. Thanks, Todd, even if we had the impression a busy night kept the wait staff at a quick pace, perhaps, a bit spread out.
        For a change, everyone chose salad, a mix of lettuces, a few cherry tomatoes, and shreds of carrot and zucchini. Several dressings were chosen, and to their credit, FCI rarely drenches a salad, with just a trace of dressing left upon completion.
         Entrees included the scallops (Deb T’s favorite, and caramelizing done perfectly again), the 12 ounce prime rib, chosen by three (Tom and Kriss, both wanted the end, well done, and got most of it but was pink in parts, but still worthy; Deb K, medium and awesome [the meat, Deb]), the veal special with proscuitto, mushrooms, marsala sauce and chives (Judy and Don enjoyed; a rare veal for Don), the pork tenderloin, with pineapple sauce (Tim; the meat a bit overdone and the gaufrettes were not warm), and wiener schnitzel (Ken; passed on the spaetzle in favor of linguine, or ziti; good quality.).
        All the entrees came with a string bean and carrot side, as well as the usual FCI choice of baked potato, au gratin, or gaufrette.
        Drinks had already been started. Two had a glass of pinot grigio, one a white zinfandel, and the five shared two bottles of red, this night a satisfactory 2004 Mondavi Woodbridge pinot noir.
        Conversation continued about DC: what to see, when, restaurant reservations, the couple left behind; speedos (were the women salivating from the meal?); the Adams’ garage (Judy’s retirement); Catskill’s Main Street; and a host of other small topics that fill an entertaining night. Only once did the conversation descend into “meat.”
        The final bill (which always includes drinks and about a 20% tip) of $96 per couple seemed a value, and we stepped out into an autumn-ish mid-evening.

(FCI changed ownership in Oct 2006, then closed for foreclosure in December 2006)