Chicago! Eat Write Retreat 2015: VIP Luncheon with The Golden Door


Golden Door luncheonIsn’t this the cutest kitchen?  A few weeks ago I was treated to lunch here, hosted by The Golden Door Resort and Spa, which is just a few miles from our ranch.  I flew all the way to Chicago to attend the Eat Write Retreat food bloggers’ conference and so did Chef Greg Frey Jr.  from the Golden Door!  He carried  ruby red grapefruit grown on the resort property in California to make those refreshing mocktails you can see on the table!  A busload of food bloggers from all over the United States arrived at a store-front in Chicago, entered a doorway with a long, steep staircase,  and bravely step-step-stepped up to the  top.  Imagine how surprised we all were to discover this charming open kitchen and living space with a culinary staff preparing a beautiful lunch for us!

Golden Door Luncheon

photos by Dottie Foley Photography

Weeks before the conference,  The Golden Door sent packages of artisanal food product samples to Eat Write Retreat attendees who had purchased VIP tickets.  We were all invited to enter a recipe contest using the Golden Door products.  Now we had come to Chicago for the conference, and the VIP luncheon was our opportunity to meet representatives of the Golden Door, sample the cuisine, and learn more about the resort.

Golden Door at EWR15When it was time for lunch we walked down a short hallway and out onto a rooftop terrace where lucite tables and chairs were decorated with white hydrangeas.  The luncheon courses included the recipes chosen by Chef as the contest winners. One winner was the Harari Kale Salad by Kristen McKaffery of Slender Kitchen. 

Harari Kale Salad


Of all the products we were given to try, my favorite was the Blood Orange Marmalade.   The Golden Door grows much of their own produce for the cuisine at the resort, including acres of citrus groves.  To use all their wonderful fruit, they are developing jams and preserves that can be sold.    My friend and fellow San Diego food blogger, Stephanie Weaver made  Blood Orange-Glazed Spicy Grilled Shrimp with the marmalade, which was also one of the recipe contest winners!  I could have made a meal just from those shrimp!


photo by Dottie Foley Photography

Everyone was in heaven when they tasted the dessert, Cardamom Fig Ice Cream served with strawberries. Susan Palmer of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen came up with the recipe.  Chef Greg Frey made the ice cream in Califoria and carried it to Chicago to serve at the luncheon.

fig ice cream

I loved the ginger snap cookie crumbs on top of that creamy fig deliciousness, and the 18 year pomegranate balsamic too!

Golden Door

100% of Golden Door’s profits go to select charities across the U.S. dedicated to transforming the lives of children.  They farm bio-dynamically and harvest seasonal produce every morning.

Although our ranch is just a few miles from The Golden Door , I have never been inside their gates.  They are known as an elite and exclusive spa for wealthy celebrities,  but since learning more about them I would love to experience their program.   Just to spend a whole week concentrating on fitness, mindfulness, and healthfulness could be life-changing.



Later that evening we kicked off the Eat Write Retreat conference…stay tuned for more fun!


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  1. why is my dwarf fuerte avocado just now starting to blossum–Thanks—Don Farrell I’ts 4 years old

    • Don, it is strange that your tree is just blossoming now! It’s in a pot, right? Does it get enough sun? Do you fertilize? Enough water? Sounds like your little tree is confused.

    • Mimi-My dwarf avocado tree has grown many new leaves and limbs,s starting in may —since the end of june and all of july it has grown many many new blossoms and they are starting to bloom.Got any ideas? —Don Farrell

      • Mimi– My dwarf avocado is planted in my back yard in the sun. —Don Farrell

      • Your tree thinks it’s springtime. No wonder since we’ve had some nice cool weather…and all that hot weather earlier in the year. Maybe the bees will pollinate your blooms and set some baby avocados! This is called “off-bloom”. We have some of that too, but not usually in July.

  2. Mimi, thanks so much for the shout-out to my shrimp recipe. You always do such an amazing job of capturing events, and this one is no exception. It was lovely!
    Stephanie Weaver, MPH recently posted..Cookbook review: No-Churn Ice Cream by Leslie BilderbackMy Profile

  3. What a lovely post Mimi! Thanks for sharing, would love to have been there….maybe next year!

  4. Mimi I can’t wait to hear more about your experience! I’ve also always wanted to visit The Golden Door (hint, hint!). I’m hoping to go to this conference next year.
    Lisa @ Whisk & Cleaver recently posted..Freschetta Gluten-Free Pizza GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Loving what you wrote and semi-wishing I thought of fancy recipes like that. I tend to think of traditional American food. I love that they sent you products before the event as well. Being VIP meant having some time to meet other bloggers more one-on-one, what a great idea! I look forward to reading about your avocado farm because I love avocados.

    Also, I look forward to seeing you in Chicago (again) this November for BlogHer Food!
    Tiffany recently posted..Easy Cinnamon RollsMy Profile

    • We eat pretty traditional foods most of the time, but since I’ve been meeting bloggers and learning about new foods and ways of cooking, our repertoire has expanded. It’s fun to be creative! (as long as it tastes good, right?)

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