During our stay at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa Doug and I were treated to a meal I won't soon forget. Our final evening at the resort was adults only; the girls were happily playing at Range Riders Kids Club and enjoying their own versions of a perfect meal (which, we found out later was cheeseburger and fries for one and PB&J with a side of fruit for the other).
The menu at 18 Oaks, located in the Club House overlooking two TPC golf courses, prides itself on the freshest food available, most of it grown locally. Our server, John, told us tales of the chefs refusing food because it didn't meet their standards and of incredible edibles simply because “the chefs like to try new things”.
It can be difficult for me to write about food as, often, simple adjectives are not nearly expressive enough to describe our meal. I'm going to share photos of our meal and a few thoughts. I hope I can convey how wonderful the meal was. And please forgive the photos- I took them with my phone.
Fresh Shrimp and Fresh Grated Horseradish
I adore fresh shrimp. And shrimp like these are a bit dear in Iowa, so I savored them. I requested the fresh grated horseradish to accompany them. These were big, meaty shrimp which could have, easily, been a meal unto themselves had Doug not been there to share with me.
Fresh Rolls and Beef Jerky
Shortly after our shrimp arrived this plate of warm rolls came out. The beef jerky had been made in the kitchen- one of those “new things” the chefs like to try. Oh, my, was it good! I told John, our waiter, how much I enjoyed it- and he brought out two small containers for us to take home.
Choose Your Weapon
After we placed our meal order we were given a chance to choose our “weapon”. It was fun to be presented with steak knife options; a bit of pomp and circumstance, if you will.
Beet and Rocket Salad
Before our entrées arrived John was back with this “delight” from the kitchen: beet and rocket salad with goat cheese. Now, I don't normally find beets to be delightful unless my grandmother has pickled them beyond their earthy taste, but these were so nicely marinated and still held a crispiness. Though I could still taste the “beet” I thought they were rather yummy. In case rocket lettuce sounds odd to you… it's arugula. (I just think “rocket” is more fun!)
By this time Doug and I had eaten more than we had planned on. We had gone in planning to eat light as we had been in San Antonio for a week- and Tex Mex is mighty filling! I had actually ordered sea food because we had eaten rather heavily all week.
Grilled Diver Scallops with Jalapeño Honey
There are no words for the pleasure I felt when I tasted this. I adore scallops (which are also very dear to buy in Iowa) and was thrilled to see them on the menu. The sweet glaze with a kick of jalapeño was incredible. And the scallops were huge- I would guess 2 to 3 ounces each!
Doug ordered a steak- which is the proper thing to order in a steak house, after all. The steaks come from a local ranch and are grass fed. It was so tender that Doug really didn't need his awesome steak knife to cut it. The steaks are offered with one of 6 sauces- or, if you ask nicely, all six. After trying them all Doug chose the chimmichurri as his favorite while I deferred to the horseradish.
The side dishes at 18 Oaks, while not traditionally “family style” are large enough to share between two or three people. We had quite a few options and took a few minutes to settle on the Goat Cheese Au Gratin and Truffled Cream Corn.
Now we were full. We had decided not to order dessert as we had plans to take the girls to the evening smores toasting . And then John told us that the chef was sending out a few treats for our pleasure.
One word. Decadent. The Jack Daniels Chocolate Custard with biscotti was thick and rich; the Italian Sweet Breads, which tasted like a grown up version of funnel cakes, were served with three fruit sauces and practically melted in our mouths; and the Sour Cream Torte with Marscarpone cheese… I have no words. I requested the recipe and hope to, one day, serve this in my own home. According to John the chefs are happy to share their recipes if you will leave your request and email.
This was just too much food for us to even attempt to finish. John happily boxed what he could for us and we enjoyed biscotti, Italian Sweet Bread and Sour Cream Torte for breakfast the next morning!
If you have the opportunity to eat at 18 Oaks at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa I highly recommend it! Between the incredible quality of the food and the amazing service you will enjoy a meal you will remember for years.
18 Oaks is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Disclosure: Our meal was provided compliments of the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa. Images and thoughts are my own.