dining poconos vacations

~Shared by J. Ranner

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  

Understood. I’m a writer, and not a chef. I will leave that work to the professionals. Which is good, considering the Woodloch culinary team is among the best in the Poconos. 

The dining experience at Woodloch has been a big part of our identity since we opened our doors back in 1958.  Early visitors enjoyed many German and Italian dishes along with traditional comfort foods.  And of course, our seafood smorgasbord… jumbo shrimp, crab legs and everything else one could ask for attractively displayed and simply begging to be enjoyed. Flash forward to 2015- while we still enjoy many of those classic dishes, as tastes evolve and trends shift, so must we! Menus at our resort, Grille Room, the Boat House Restaurant and TREE at The Lodge at Woodloch are constantly working to up their game and give guests the best possible dining experience.

So we thought we’d have a little fun with them. 

We held a special “Foodie Weekend” April 17th – 19th, featuring wine classes, chocolate making, special cooking demonstrations and the marquee event, our “Battle of the Kitchens.”

“We decided to pit all 5 of our kitchens against each other for a little friendly competition… after all, that is what Woodloch is ALL about!” says Bobby Kiesendahl, head of food service here at Woodloch. “We decided to have each kitchen prepare a signature soup, pasta and dessert. The best dish- as chosen by our guests, will be featured on our new summer menus.

After a little bit of coaxing (i.e. opening our Night Club doors), well over a hundred “taste-testers” set out to sample, assess, and ultimately vote on their favorite dishes. Executive Chef Stevan Sundberg kept a watchful eye over both kitchens and diners alike. “This is great. A friendly contest like this really sparks culinary creativity and rivalry- needless to say, everyone wins.”



When all was said and done, results were as follows:

BEST SOUP: “Country Potato Soup” by THE MAIN KITCHEN. It was a creamy soup with a Ramp Pesto Garnish. Simple, but a homerun nonetheless. 

BEST PASTA: “Shrimply Devine” also by THE MAIN KITCHEN. Campanelli with sauteed shrimp, garlic, spinach and basil. Not surprising that a pasta with shrimp flair takes the gold at Woodloch! 

BEST DESSERT: “Cafe Mocha Mousse” by THE GRILLE ROOM at Woodloch Springs. Homemade cappuccino mousse with fresh whipped cream, cocoa powder and chocolate grafate’. Coffee and chocolate? That’s the stuff DREAMS are made of. 

BEST OVERALL: THE MAIN KITCHEN. Woodloch’s oldest kitchen holds off the “youngsters” for this year… but they’ve got a bullseye on their backs now. “Our chefs are just as competitive as our guests,” says Steve. “You know next year, the other kitchens will pull out all of the stops in order to take the trophy home. There’s nothing quite like bragging rights.” 


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