Saturday, November 9, 2013

Restaurant Review: Lumina Family Resort

This review covers the restaurant that we, as a family, dined during our summer vacation. The review of the resort is here but since this is largely a food and beer blog, I felt the dining experience needed its own post.

The process of seating and ordering was an interesting one. Each family was assigned a place to sit and given a menu where they were to identify by check or circle what they wanted. Breakfast and supper were included in the inclusive part of the vacation. There was very little need for lunch given the portions served at breakfast and supper. Always available at lunch were snacks and light lunch from the onsite snack bar.


Breakfasts were three courses. There was always some muffins on the table to take the edge off. These were mostly good with a touch of sweetness, never to veer off into Starbuck sugar coma territory. Of the four that we had, there was only miss due to an overabundance of fruit and a caramelly brown sugar undertone.

The Second course being a choice between being some variant on cold cereal, warm cereal or fruit. The choices of cold cereal were of those variety packs put out by Kellogg’s with such greats as Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, etc. 

The third course on the breakfast included a standard type protein rich option whether it be egg muffin, an egg with toast and hash browns, or sausages with pancakes, or waffles or French toast depending on the day. Breakfast was definitely fuel for the day ahead.


Suppers were a little more interesting. Remembering that this was a family resort, there was always a kid friendly option, which our kids only partook once, being they were seriously low on their pizza quotient for the week. There was also a nightly vegetarian option that looked as if it was added for the burgeoning teenage vegetarian. It was often some variant form of cheese pasta and sauce.

The menus tended to be carbohydrate and meat heavy. I overheard more than one person complain about the amount of bread being served, especially at breakfast. These menus looked as if they were slightly out of touch with the current trends and fads in restaurants. This is not always a bad thing. It is a shame though as some of the best bites we had were vegetables. But then again, vegetables done right are a treat.

Nightly Menus

On our first night, the buffet had sad cabbage rolls, roast beef, lentil bean side dish, over cooked large shrimp that were poorly cleaned, strawberries, blueberries, Caesar salad, a dessert bar with various cakes, and cheesecakes.  

Night 2: the first course had the salad or an excuse for a salad. Little thought was taken with the slice or two of cucumber with a few leaves of romaine, the odd bit and bite of tomato and dressed like a trollop. This was a vegetable crime. Second course trout with lemon sauce and snap peas and rice. 

Night 3: BBQ night that was spoiled by the barbeque being broken. Still, on went the show with grilled steak that was cooked medium, baked potatoes with fixings, corn (that was the vegetable), and the ‘Lumina’ baked beans that tasted as if a can opener had been involved.

Night 4: I had some chicken parm type thing with capers while my wife and kids had red snapper. It was cooked better than the lake trout. Broccoli was on the side, and barely cooked. This is the danger of vegetable cooking, and I suppose with meat as well. Either cook it just until it is done or cook the shit out of it. Mine was raw and unyielding to the knife while my wife’s worked fine. The kids had pizza. Consistent with other kids entrees, it lacked interest. A small round with tomato sauce and cheese. I suppose we are lucky that are children had adult meals all through the week, as they normally eat what we are having minus the salad. My one kid had a real like for arugula lately, and will eat salad containing it. The other child, will eat most salads, as long as there is fruit to mellow the harsh bitterness of greens. The dessert of the night was a Muskoka butter tart. I am not sure what made it a Muskoka butter tart but it may have been made locally at the butter tart ‘factory’ as the tart was cool. My wife’s had a bit of run to it while mine had none. There were raisins but the filling seemed to lack the robust rich flavour of butter.

On Friday night, we were told there was a buffet that required dressing up. ‘Hope you brought your best powder blue suit. I’m serious.’ quipped one of the regulars, who had been coming to the resort for the last eleven years. We missed that. I’m not sure that the blue suit reference was due to the fact that the food seemed to live in the perpetual high school of the late 70’s or a reference to the clientele of being of a certain age and social location where the best suit we would own would be that dusty prom suit. Just for the record, I own three suits. One being a modern Sean Paul suit, a 1990's era tuxedo, and a vintage re-tailored 1950's  blue pinstripe worn for my wedding and still stylish and serviceable for today as it has come back around into fashion or so I like to believe.

It may seem that I didn't enjoy the food or alternatively, hated it but it wasn't that. The food seemed stuck in a time. In that time, it would have been somewhere in the middle of the pack. I suppose I would feel the same way if I went to a Ponderosa or the Old Spaghetti Factory some time this week. A bit of nostalgia, surprise at the odd good dish that should come back and a sense of how food culture changes over time with fads and diets. Are we eating better now? I think so, but I am sure that someone will look back on this time and wonder at why we ate the way we eat now.

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