Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hotel Charlotte weekly specials 2/28-3/2

Hello Friends,
I have to tell you that the Tapas and Games night was a blast our first try out last Monday with the occasional YAHTZEE hooted out from table 20 throughout the evening. We are really looking forward to more this coming week. Bring some friends and a game, or we can supply either or both! Join the fun whether you dine only or dine and play. See the menu below for details!

We start the week with our Thursday Asian Menu: (tonight) with a big multi-course set menu:
  • Shrimp Cake Appetizer
  • Coconut Chicken Soup
  • Pork Satay with sweet chili sauce
  • Grilled Beef with green curry sauce
  • Stir fried noodles with vegetables
  • Thai iced tea
  • Homemade Coconut ice-cream

All that, $19.95. For those who are not Asainesque diners by nature, we also have items from our regular grill menu and a choice for vegans and vegetarians.

This week we will offer our regular menu on Friday and a limited menu on Saturday. On Sunday we have the first of 2 Cabaret Charlotte performances and will not be open for general seating.
This weeks specials include:

  • Homemade Clam Chowder Soup (Thursday, Friday & Saturday)
  • Jumbo Scallops in a parsley-garlic topenade $18.95 (Friday only)
  • Lamb Shank, slow cooked in red wine & thyme $15.95 (Friday only)
  • Fresh Grilled Salmon with Yogurt-Dill sauce $15.95 (Thursday, Friday & Saturday only)
  • Delicious homemade desserts $5.95 (Thursday, Friday & Saturday

Monday Tapas & Games: · Selections change weekly and we may add new ones before Monday comes around, but are planning on the following:
Choose any three items $9.99

  • Fried Calamari
  • Mini-meatballs
  • Sautéed Mushrooms
  • Egg & Potato Frittata
  • Olives and cheese plate
  • Fried Cheese cubes with marinara
  • Chicken Skewers with peanut sauceSpicy sausage with Cajun dipping sauce
  • Fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce
  • Tomato & Red Onion with garlic vinaigrette dressing

Victor also offers select items from our grill on Mondays for those who prefer a traditional dinner.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Lynn & Victor
Hotel Charlotte
Reservations: 209-962-6455

PS: Enter to win a $25 Hotel Charlotte gift certificate, drawing monthly. Reply with the correct answer to this question: How many courses are included with the Thai menu for the price of $19.95? Bonus question: What is Victor's middle name?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hotel Charlotte weekly specials 2/21, 22 and 24

Hello Friends,
Looks like winter returned this week from a nearly two week spring. That was nice!

We start the week with our Thursday Asian Menu: (tonight)
Thai Cucumber Salad, Tom Yon Poon Soup, Red Chicken Curry, Beef Pad Thai, Sticky Rice, Coconut Ice-cream and Thai iced tea—all this for $19.95. We will also serve items from our grill for non-Thai dining guests.

This weeks specials include:

  • Mussels, half and half them with clams or all by themselves.
    Apetizer: $9.95, Dinner over linguini, $13.95
  • Jumbo Scallops in a parsley-garlic toppenad $17.95 (Friday and Sunday only)
  • Filet of Petrale Sole $15.95 (Friday and Sunday only)
  • Kobe Beef Flat Iron Steak $24.95
  • Delicious homemade desserts $5.95

Saturday evening we are hosting a private party and will not have space for general seating, so please plan on joining us Thursday, Friday or Sunday.

Monday Tapas & Games: What is is? We aren't sure, but are willing to let it grow into whatever you want. I really enjoyed Monday Night Football, not so much for the game, but for the socializing. There is nothing that replaces MNF. So come on down to the Charlotte with a few friends and your favorite games. If you don't have enough folks for a team, we can make introductions and get things started. If you just want to eat, that's fine too! We will serve Tapas, small plates with choices that change every week. This week Victor is planning on mini-meatballs, fritatas, fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce, an olive and cheese plate, spiced sausage with cajun dipping sauce and maybe more! We are going to price this out at pick 3 for $9.99 and see how it goes.

We look forward to welcoming you!
Lynn & Victor
Hotel Charlotte
Reservations: 209-962-6455

PS: We have had a handful of cancellations for the Cabaret on 3/2 and have a few seats open for this previously sold out event. If you haven't seen it yet, (or have) it is a real treat. Rehearsals are going wonderfully and these folks sound like they should cut an album! Victor will be serving a Chicken Franciose, Fresh Wild Salmon or the Charlotte Steak as the entree choices, $49 includes show, dinner, tax and tip.

Enter to win a $25 Hotel Charlotte gift certificate, drawing monthly. Send and email to with the correct answer to this question: Why do you have to join us on Thursday, Friday or Sunday, but not Saturday for this week? Bonus question: What is the name of the new Hotel Dog?

Making a new business

Sometimes what one does turns out so very wonderful that it requires comment. Such is the case with what Bunny has done with merging her quilt shop (Bunny Rose & Co) and what was previously Groveland Mercantile (Critter Corner) into Away in the Woods, directly across the street from us.

While both stores have always been neat to wander through, the marriage of the two is far more powerful than either ever would have been on their own. The new shop is a rainbow of color and lovely fabrics, with interesting trinkets and trip reminders sprinkled about and a pet food nook. This shop has become something special!

It is good to have Bunny on Main Street with new ideas and willing to try new things to get folks to stop and explore Groveland. Good luck Bunny, we all wish you a great deal of success!

8th Grade Career Day

Your's truely speaking to 8th graders about their careers? How ever did this happen?

It started with a call from friend Amanda that went something like this:
"Kelsie would like to interview you" (her 8th grade daughter)
"Then why isn't she calling me?"
"She wants to do it today after school"
"Why does she want to interview me?"
"It's for a school project"
Oh, ego kicks in, me interviewed for a school project? Neat-O!

Three thirtyish rolls around and in come Amanda and Kelsie and we sit down to a very informal interview. I am thinking she will take notes and write up some sort of report on what I say on whatever heady topic an 8th grader would need to learn about from me, a humble innkeeper....Only to learn the interview is to prepare me to speak in front of her whole class on the challenges and education necessary for an innkeeping career. Hmmmmm. Yep, that's right, me speaking to the 8th grade class.
"How about Tuesday?"
"This year Tuesday?"
"hahahaha, it's not like its tomorrow"
"hahahaha, but it is next week Tuesday?

We have fun going through the questions and I am left the sheet to study over the weekend, which much like a student with homework, I do not do.

Tuesday rolls around and I glance at the sheet, take a shower and get as nicely dressed as I dare. Amanda picks me up and off we go. We don't get lost, but I am hoping to.

I have brought proper bribery materials in Hotel Charlotte wrapped candies, which everyone makes a whole lot of noise opening. Good start.

We go through the questions, most of the answers just rolling off the tongue. There are a few where I am halfway through some story or another and have no memory of the question. One I even ask Kelsie and the class what I am talking about. Amanda and the teacher are occassionally laughing. There isn't too much side talking going on so I might have their attention for some of the time. I hope so.

I make a new friend in the front row, directly in front of me that talks along with me. Not sure what all he was saying, but we seem to laugh a lot about the babbling. The students get to ask me questions not on the sheet. There were a few themes:

Do you have a big lawn there?
I take a few minutes to describe our grassy area of 200 feet long by 3 feet wide and tell them that Victor wanted to buy a riding lawn mower to cut this. They think that is funny. My front row friend offers to come over and cut my grass. One of his friends tells me to go for it as he doesn't charge anything. I think this is a good deal.

What happens when you make a mistake?
I pause, scratch my head, pause some more and say I don't know. This too gets a sound laugh.
I then talk about how a mistake is an opportunity to think harder, maybe come up with a new plan or way to do things....

Dress Code, Tatoos and Piercings:
This seems important to the group to know all about:
I tell them if I can't see it, then neither can the customer and that would be their own personal business. If I can see it, then it becomes my business as it reflects on our relationship with the customer. Maybe they will all get hidden tatoos....

The questions they ask are well on topic and good ones: How do you communicate with the travelers that don't speak English? How do you handle an angry customer? Do you have jobs for us for the summer?

Leaving the classroom arena feeling like an answer dancer, Kelsie walks us out with a big thank you, a hug and an aside "I thought you would be funnier."


It was good to meet the next potential members of Team Charlotte.

Silly Goose, Duck Duck Duck Goose and Grey Goose

The dog's name is Goose. That's right, as in Silly, Duck Duck and Grey Goose. We are going to drive to Tahoe and get some pictures of him on the rocks with the lake behind and put a caption:
Grey Goose on the Rocks. Maybe he will hold a lemon in his mouth at the same time....

Goose is with us now 8 days and doing great. We need to get started on some obedience training as he should have pretty much figured his new setting out by now. He doesn't go in the dining room at all, but does try to sneak upstairs. He seems to like getting caught at that. He has a crooked smile and a scratch-pad brillo coat. The vet said she has seen alot of dogs....but never one like this. I think she meant he was really ugly where Bob was just ugly. As Victor's Mom would say, so ugly, they are cute.

But you know what, it seems those little doggie cocktails (you aren't to call them mutts or heintz 57 any more) are just right natured for the important role of hotel dog.

Today was a good day, we didn't kill anyone

Funny things happen around Victor sometimes. Well, maybe not so funny as odd.

This story starts with a call from our guest who is staying at one of the Pine Mountain Lake rental houses. She tell us the rain storm from last night leaked into the kitchen and she used her towels to clean it up, could she get new towels today.

No problem. The team of Victor and Nancy go out mid-morning to see if they can fix this leaking skylight and deliver new towels. Turns out the skylight itself blew off and the house is left with a gaping hole to the heavens. And we thought we just had a leak....So Victor is fixing this when he hears Nancy below in the driveway talking with some of the folks trimming trees. She calls him down from the leaking skylight task..."Hey, where's the van?"

The tree trimmers know! They watched it roll down the driveway, across the street, up the curb and over the manzanita and down the precipice, finally coming to rest in the middle of an empty, steep lot. Excellent!

I am here at the hotel and get the call: "Could you call a tow truck"

"Are you hurt"
"Tell them we need a wench"

I call triple A pretending I have a clue on how this happened and the possition of the truck. I say things like: "...and then it rolled into the hill." Sort of sounds like an upward hill. I did finally say downward sloping. I figure it for a straight shot tow out. She asks if the driveway is blacktopped for traction, yes it is.

The AAA lady tells me I have to be there, Victor being my husband isn't enough. So I pack the new dog into the truck and off we go to Pine Mountain Lake. I can't see the van any where as I drive up. Getting out of the truck I peer over the edge and still can't see the van anywhere. Excellent! They got it out...but I don't think so, he would never have called for a tow if there was even an iota of a chance of getting it out.

I see Nancy coming from the direction of the Country Club.
I ask: "How's it going....."
Meaning: so tell me the story.
Instead I get a big smile and a "fine"
Hmmm, okay, so now I decide to ask point blank: "Where's the van?"
I get a clear "over there" with a finger point to the left, far left, way away from where it should be left.

Oh my. Can tow trucks tow and do a 90 degree turn through trees pulling a van without themselves somehow getting stuck in the mud?

Curiously I ask her how ever in the world did it get way way way over there....and heard something like this "Well, as we were trying to get it out...." I am laughing now as I write this blog.....

I decided the best thing for me to do was to go back to the hotel. I left my id and AAA card with "Team Van Rescue" and wished them well. If the tow fellow really needed me to be there to sign something, I would come right back.

So, the van rolled down the drive, across the street and down the hill, coming to a stop in the middle of an empty muddy steep lot, all with the parking brake on. But like Victor says, its a good day! We didn't kill anyone or crash into any houses or even dent the van. One manzanita isn't as fresh looking as it was before we were there, but it too will revive.

Oh, and our leak really wasn't a leak, just a few screws needing to be reset. An actual leak can be hard to fix! Yes, a good day!

Judy, Judie, Joody

So many ways to say Judy! and nowhere says it better than Groveland.

Can you believe Groveland has a "Judy" club? All the ladies named Judy (about 30 of them) who live in Groveland are members of this group that meets 3x a year for lunch at the Charlotte. They started a few years ago. The idea was just so very funny back then, and now it's become common to us.

"...Oh, the Judy's are coming..." Anywhere else in the world that might raise eyebrows and lead to questions, here in Groveland, everyone knows about the Judy's.

Crossing many strata that tend to separate us: economics, age, careers, family and more.... this group who's only commonality is that they live in Groveland and are named Judy has continued to meet now for 2 years. They look forward to seeing their Judy friends and having Judy themed lunches and an occasional song or two...

Groveland is so special! We just love it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A dog's tale: chapter 3

So we see Jerry and Anne today, first time this year.

Jerry says he almost got a new dog this week. Really? Me too. He says the dog's name is Taylor, down at the Humane Society. Funny hahaha. Same darned dog!

Turns out they ran into Lisa who told them the story. Big Joke!

This dog already has a history and he isn't even here yet.

A dog's tale, chapter 2

Today it dawns on me that my Mom and Dad will leave on Tuesday before I can bring the new dog home. I suggest maybe they want to see him and I too am a bit curious if he is feeling better and more tail waggy than when we met him. So I grab Marge and down we go to see the dog.

It isn't until we are half way there that she says something that makes me realize they aren't leaving until the next week and will surely see the dog, for almost a week!

We go anyway, its a cute idea.

The dog is surely feeling better, his tail is wagging far more often. We walk him up the hill and let him go without a leash in one of the kennel runs. All is good and we are returning the dog to continue our errands and who do you think is coming in?

Why Lisa of course, to visit our dog. How funny is that? We all play with the dog a bit longer and laugh with each other. It's a good chapter in this dog's new life.

I am calling him dog because we don't have a name yet. The Humane Society named him Taylor, but he doesn't know that as his name and we will change it. We will give him some time with us and he will likely name himself. Bob sure did, he is named after an old boss I once had. Funny guy, good time boss but would chew all the heals out of my shoes when I wasn't looking, Bob.

A dog's tale

On our way home yesterday we decided to stop in Jamestown at the Humane Society and see what they had by way of Hotel Dogs. Victor has been looking them up on line, but you really do have to go in person to see the dogs. We found a cute rescue dog that is a wire-haired terrier, actually far more wired than Bob was. This dog makes Bob's coat seem like silk! We walk the dog, think about it, talk to the folks there, get a little history...and put a deposit down to hold him. He can't be released until Tuesday as he just had is surgery the day before.

Okay, so it is set, we will have a new hotel dog on Tuesday or will be out $25.

Getting home Marge, (my mom) gives me the messages needing my attention, inlcuding one from Lisa that she has found me a new dog. Go figure! I don't believe we mentioned we were looking, but I guess a good friend just feels these things. So I leave her a message that we have already found a dog, but would be happy to meet her dog. With my luck on these things, I am now envisioning us with two dogs.

Guess what, same darned dog! Lisa works at the vet that did the surgery on the dog. When she saw him she knew he was just the right dog for us. I hope she is right.I am sure his name will come to us after we have had him for a while, Bob's did.

So, here's what he looks like:

Is fog news?

Yesterday we woke up in Calistoga, (our last little getaway before reopening the restaurant on Valentine's day) and promptly turn on the TV news to the biggest story of the day: Fog hovering over the bay area! Every couple of minutes they would talk about the fog and show a live photo. Do you know what fog looks like on TV over and over again? Not much different from filming a snow storm.