Thursday, September 15, 2011

Juicy Olive, Lake Geneva

Photos and images used in this blog are courtesy of Golden Oaks Mansion's website.  
Occasionally, my foodie ways take me far away from the Waukesha area but I had a wonderful experience here a few weeks back and really want to share it with you. I hope if you end up in the area, you try it out.

A friend had taken advantage of a Groupon offer for The Juicy Olive in the Golden Oaks Mansion in Lake Geneva. Before I go any farther, I need to talk about my love of Groupons. This is probably one of the best inventions (in my mind) to get customers to your venue. I would say that not every industry can be successful with Groupons, but food, drink and entertainment venues do very well. I have purchased quite a few and unfortunately let a few expire, but I'm very happy with the places that I did get them for.

OK - back to The Juicy Olive. The place is situated 2 blocks from the lake in a really cute old mansion turned B&B. There are Greek goddess fountains in the front but it was a little too warm outside to enjoy the outdoors. Upon entering the mansion, you see the great old architecture that has been kept in tact. There are 6 rooms upstairs but I didn't inquire to the rates or occupancy. To the right is OMG Cupcakes, a quaint little boutique that sells tea and cupcakes and little tables in the front windows for which you can enjoy your treats. To the left is the Tea Room with old English style furniture. This can also be the B&B's sitting room.

If you walk through the Tea Room you get into the Juicy Olive. I would imagine that when this business was just a mansion, this would be the sunroom or the sitting room. The bar unfortunately looks like it was put in front of what would have been a beautiful old fireplace. The woodwork and mirror do look really nice behind the bar, but I'm not sure the actual fireplace is back there and may be storage cabinets now. The room only has 4 little tables and the bar, but it does have a cute L-shaped patio with a few more tables and chairs outside. There are full patio doors and large windows that fill the room with tons of great natural light. 

We were the only ones inside when we arrived but the place quickly filled up with other patrons withing 30 minutes. Each table has a dish of their "Soon to be World Famous" pretzel mix. The pretzels were salty with a buttery taste and amongst them m&m's for the sweet tooth. These were endless for us!

The Juicy Olive has a wine menu, martini menu, limited selection of beers and a small bites menu. Our Groupon (which I'm unsure what the cost was) got us 2 cocktails and and one of the small bites. Unfortunately, the website doesn't have the menu that we received, as ours was much more involved and had higher quality dishes.

We decided that because the Groupon already gave us such a good deal, we would order 2 small bites and cocktails. My friend settled just on Blue Moon beer as it was a drive for us. I decided on a Colonel Purple Heart Martini, with chambord, pineapple juice and vodka in it. It was delicious. It took us a bit to wander the menu but we decided on the Tenderloin Skewers and Stuffed Mushrooms.

While waiting for the small bites to come out, we took in the decor and watched the guitarist set up for the evening. Withing 10 minutes of ordering our first dish came out. (I overheard the kitchen brings out the dishes as they get them complete). Set in front of us was a beautiful Tenderloin skewer with red onion, pineapple, green peppers and the most tender tenderloin I have possibly ever had. Under it were a few slices avocado and a Chipotle sauce. The only disappointment was that the menu said "skewers" and we only received one. We both wanted to eat the entire thing upon our first bite. 

About 5 minutes later, the stuffed mushrooms came out. There were 2 large Portabellas on the plate that were cooked down slightly in a worchestershire sauce. On top of the mushrooms was creamy gorgonzola cheese melted and browned perfectly on them. We each got our own of these and it was absolute tastebud heaven - so delicious. Of course we wanted more but then, it wouldn't be a small plate would it? (sorry for the lack of photography)

After that we asked for the bill as we wanted to check out Lake Geneva a bit before heading home. The owner was walking around and talking with the guests and I overheard her say that the "Small Bites" menu and the Groupon were definitely helping to draw in more customers. The table next to us told her it was a great direction to go in by offering the smaller food portions and to keep up the excellent food skills. We agreed and thanked her for her hospitality and we were on our way.

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