A Little History Lesson

August 27, 2008

The oldest part of the Grand Colonial dates back to 1685. While we don’t know much about the earlier years, we do know about the building after 1831. This is when Dr. John Blane purchased the farm with his wife Cornelia and children, son John and daughter Nancy. Dr. Blane was a very respected and loved member of the community; he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Rutgers Medical and he was president of the Medical Society of both Hunterdon County and the State of New Jersey. Dr. Blane was the first to add to the original building with the West Wing in 1843 and the East Wing in 1857.

In 1943, during a remodeling project, a portion of the stone wall in the West Wing collapsed, and found in the debris were two bottles. A handwritten note, placed in the wall by Dr. Blane, was tucked in one of the bottles.

“This wing built in 1843 by John & Cornelia H. Blane. Our children Nancy and John Octavus Blane.

Nancy was born 27th March 1841.

John was born 26 April 1842 & died 24 July, 1843, and lies buried in the family burying ground.

This foundation was dug 1842 by Joseph Rupell, James M. Gloughen who has since died, and Patrick M. Guire then just landed from County Longford in Ireland.

The walls were laid up by James Dean, William Wagoner, Samuel Rounsaville, Peter Hoppock and Patrick M. Guire. The stone was hauled by (Wm.?) A. S. Combs a native of Delaware County in New York State and Patrick Cole a native of Ireland and brother in law to Patrick M. Guire.

At this time Hiram Green live in the basement story, his wife Sarah Crooks. They had 2 children Eldridge and Adaline. The attendants on the Masons are John and Enoch Oaks. The carpenters William Evans who quitting suddenly on account of Sarah Amithorn and his going away was superseded by William hardy and Barnet Andrews Smith.

John Hulsiser just live in the log house, family himself, wife and three children. Patrick M. Guire lives at the Spring House, family wife and one child Andrew and has sent to Ireland for 4 others who are expected daily.

Christopher Young keeps the Brick Tavern.

The weather is uncommonly dry and crops generally much short.

Done at the Blossom Farm, 2nd August 1843 by John Blane.

Physician and Surgeon, and Major General of the 4th Division New Jersey Militia.”

We believe that The Blane Farmstead was actually called Blossom Farm; the basement story mentioned in the letter is the main floor of the restaurant; the log house is no longer a part of the land and we’re not sure where exactly it is located; the Spring House is what we call the School House even though there was an actual school house located on the property. The school is thought to have been at two story building where specialized subjects were studied, the two known teachers, Oliver Huffman and John Bergmer, taught between 1855 and 1862.

“During renovation of the old barns that used to exist on the property, another fascinating page of history was unfolded. It seems that a feud developed between the stage coach line that travelled the Easton-New Brunswick Turnpike and the owners of the Brick Tavern in Perryville which was the official stopping place. To resolve the problem, Dr. Blane turned his house into a stage coach station, and in gratitude the stage coach line gave Dr. Blane a stone mile post marker engraved with ’32 M to B’. (The ‘B’ stood for New Brunswick.) This ironstone marker was discovered buried under accumulation of dirt in the old wagon-house next to the barn. Re-erecting it beside the current parking lot was no simple matter. The marker was actually a massive rough-cut lump of rock, with just the visible top end smoothed off and shaped off for better appearance.”


This Weekend in Pictures

August 25, 2008

Here are some new pictures for everyone to enjoy! We had a nice weekend here, good weather, awesome food – what more can you ask for?

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Brunch… Who Doesn’t Love Brunch?

August 25, 2008

“While common in the United States, according to Punch magazine, the term was introduced in Britain around 1896 by Hunter’s Weekly, then becoming student slang. A possible origin of having Sunday brunch in Victorian England came from giving the servants Sunday as there day off. The servants then early Sunday morning would set out a buffet of cold items that would be self serve for the rest of the house.” (Definition from Wikipedia)

There aren’t that many places around here that host a Sunday Brunch quite like The GC’s. When you first sit down you choose your Entree from the Brunch Menu then the adventure begins! We have our Ice Bar set up with Shrimp Cocktail, freshly shucked Little Neck Clams and Oysters, and either fresh Sushi or Smoked Salmon with Traditional Accompaniments. In our Library Bar we have fresh Bagels, Croissants, and Mini Muffins; Yogurt and Homemade Granola; fresh Salad with Dressings; Tomatoes & Mozzarella with Basil; Pasta Salads; Grain Salads; and Homemade Marinated Olives. In our Grille Room we set up our Carving Station with usually Roasted Turkey Breast and Roast Beef; and a Pasta selection; plus Bacon & Sausage and Roasted Potatoes & Vegetables. There is so much food you won’t know what to do with yourself… and the best part is that it’s all you can eat!

The Dessert is served in a buffet style as well. We always have a hot dessert (usually a Seasonal Fruit Crumble) along with Cookies, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and Mini Creme Brulee. It changes every week but is always delicious!

Brunch is perfect for a little get together or even a small party – Bridal Shower… Baby Shower… Christening… the list goes on and on!

Soon we’ll be putting up a Contest for Brunch for 2 so be sure to check back soon! I will be posting pics of our Brunch next week.

Halloween’s Just Around The Corner….

August 18, 2008

So the Gala will start at 8pm and go on until Midnight. We’re going to have prizes for Costumes, Themed Buffet Stations, a DJ and of course the whole staff will be dressed up.

The price includes the food, DJ, and house wine & beer. Plus our Trick Or Treat table – cause you gotta have candy, it’s Halloween!!

We will reserve tables if you’d like to come with a group (tables of six, eight or ten) otherwise it’s a surprise who you’re with!

Come on out for dinner, dancing and just a good time!

This Past Weekend…

August 18, 2008

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Here are some pictures from this past weekend. The heirloom tomatoes look amazing and are so juicy and delicious – they come with fresh mozzarella and herbed ricotta from The Lebanon Cheese Company. The pork chop is has an Apricot Bourbon glaze and is served with roasted yukon gold potatoes (from Melick’s), vidalia onions and yellow peaches (from Melick’s) and is finished with a calvados sauce. The soft shell crab dish is a summer special (so sometimes it’s not available) and they’re served with artichoke hearts, roasted summer veggies and heirloom tomatoes (also from Melick’s) the dish is finished with basil, garlic and tomato aiolis – such a great summer dish!

This Is Sooo Cheesey

August 13, 2008

Forget beef – cheese is what’s for dinner!

This incredibly delicious substance is made by taking milk (cow, buffalo, goat, sheep) and acidifying it with a bacterial culture and then adding the enzyme rennet which brings you to Little Miss Muffet’s favorite “curds and whey”. The origins of cheese predate recorded history which means there is no conclusive evidence to indicate where the art of cheese making originated. There is a legend about an Arab trader who discovered cheese accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal which resulted in the milk being turned into curd and whey (Little Miss Muffet’s favorite snack). But, whoever invented it – accidentally or otherwise – all I have to say is: I love them. This stuff is amazing! And there is so much to choose from, so many producers, so many flavors!

The GC has a pretty good cheese menu (and I’m not just saying that because I work here). I think that we touch on a number of different categories. We have goat’s milk cheeses , sheep’s milk cheeses, and cow’s milk cheeses and cheeses made from both sheep’s and cow’s milk. Soft, semi-soft, hard, semi-hard.

Within our selection I have two absolute favorite cheeses (my mouth is starting to water just writing about them) and these two are (drumroll) Prima Donna and Robiola Bosina. Now, I’m not saying that our other cheese aren’t good – they are, believe me, I’ve tried them. But “Prima” and “Robiola” are so good everyone I’ve given them to have loved them as well. They’re likeable, kind of like a really funny little kid, or Bob Barker (he seems likeable to me).

Prima Donna

Prima Donna comes from The Netherlands and is made in the style of a Dutch Gouda. It has a slightly rose blush color; sweet and nutty with caramel notes, a bit of a crunchy texture, but still just a subtle flavor. This cheese goes well with Merlot, Cabernet, or Zinfandel – I’ve had it with Yuengling as well and I have to say: not bad. This is the kind of cheese a “newbie” should start with; it’s a good stepping stone from Cracker Barrel Cheddar into the awesomeness of the artisanal cheese world.

Robiola Bosina

Robiola Bosina is made by Caseificio dell’Alta Langa in Bosia, Italy. It’s a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk and is like a little pillow of mouth-watering deliciousness. At first this cheese is a sturdy paste but the rind protects while it ripens into a softer, runnier consistency which brings out more of the sheep’s milk flavor. It’s sweet, smooth and goes well with a wide range of wines and beers.

Check back soon for more information on all of our cheeses!

Quick Note…

August 13, 2008

The staff here is hard at work on a Halloween Gala! It will be Halloween night (Friday, October 31st) starting at 8 pm and going on until Midnight. There will be food, drinks, dancing, costume prizes and my personal favorite “Dead Weight-ers” get it? I’ll put up more information once we’ve finalized all the little details! Check back soon!

Hops To It!

August 13, 2008

Ah, beer. There are so many people who love beer. It’s one of the world’s oldest beverages with evidence of it in all different cultures; it’s basic formula is water, malted barley, and yeast (though most people add other things to make the taste more interesting). And not just beer, there is Ale, Lager, India Pale Ale (IPA), Lambic beers, and Stout. So many to choose from!

If you’ve ever been to The GC you know we have a great bar… if you’ve never been to The GC, where are you? Get  over here! Anyway, we have a great selection of beers on tap. It’s so nice to see that beer has really become such an art form for so many people.

First up is Stoudts Double IPA from Adamstown, PA. Ratebeer.com gives Double IPA a pretty darn good rating, as they should. Here is what the commercial description says:
“Stoudt’s Double IPA is a strong, full-bodied ale with an intense hop character and deep golden color. This unusual brew is characteristic of the newly recognized style of extremely hoppy and malty ales of American origin. The Double IPA is our strongest beer with an alcohol of over 10% abv and bitterness of more than 75 IBU’s. Multiple kettle hop additions and generous dry hopping contribute to the powerful yet smooth and fragrant hop character of this beer.”

Now, Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter. Otter Creek is in MIddlebury, Vermont which is such a great town, if you’ve never been there you should make the trip. It’s a fun little college town (Middlebury College) and you can go to the brewery! So, the Otter Creek website describes Stovepipe: “Stovepipe Porter is made in the traditional porter style, and is a favorite with all porter lovers. Ruby-black in color, Stovepipe Porter has a rich palate and a roasted, hoppy aroma. It is delicious on its own or with a meal, and tastes great with chocolate.”

We also carry Otter Creek’s Wolaver’s Organic IPA which the Otter Creek site describes as: “Made with a generous amount of hops to produce the classic IPA. Crisp and clean, with a delicious hop spiciness and subtle malt balance. A strong beer, great with spicy foods and for those who enjoy a good, full-flavored, well hopped beer.”

So, those are just a few of the beers we have on tap. We’re always looking for something new to try so if you have a suggestion tell us. Now, come on in and enjoy a nice, cold beer with a cheese plate or our Colonial Burger!

Celebration of NJ “The Garden State”

July 8, 2008

We’re parnering with local farms & artisans to bring you the best of NJ! Chef Christine is proud to offer culinary creations featuring products from local farms & artisans!

We’ll have cheeses from Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley – these cheeses are amazing and you can check out the creamery and see how they make the cheese! They have a store, too. Get down there and check it out!

Also, we have fruits, vegetables and herbs from Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick. They’re great and have wonderful produce. They do “Pick Your Own” strawberries, peaches and apples (seasonally, of course) and they have a few farm stands. You can find everything about Melick’s Town Farm here.

One of our most popular dishes on the dinner menu is the Roasted Half Griggstown Chicken – with a parmesan and herb crust, broccoli rabe and rosemary & thyme pan sauce. The chicken is from Griggstown Quail Farm in Princeton. These chickens are free-ranged chickens and they’re great for roasting. Griggstown also has a retail store where you can purchase any of the birds they raise, check out Griggstown Quail Farm.

Our trout comes from Musky Trout Hatchery in Asbury. They’re a great fish hatchery who spawn, hatch and grow the trout at their farm. It’s been around since 1958 and they also have bass, bluegill & catfish. You can stop by Musky and purchase fish and pond plants.

This is a great step for The GC – we’re doing as much as we can to keep it local and help support our food friends. When you dine at The GC make sure you look for items that are printed in GREEN, this is how you know what came from the farms.