Scrumptious Indulgences at Hummingbird Lounge
A long, languid visit to Hummingbird Lounge, located in the heart of Old Edwards Inn, is the perfect tonic for quarantine-induced sluggishness. It’s open to the public for lunch daily, from 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. For Old Edwards Inn hotel guests only, light fare is served from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M.; and Dinner 5:00 to 8:00 P.M.
I hope it’s obvious that there’s an undeniable optimism and energy infusing this issue of Laurel.
Page after page of springtime events, the Audubon Report, even Highlands Biological Foundation’s announcement of the arrival of armadillos on Plateau – I can’t help feeling invigorated.
These are good things, and you can’t help but feel a little frisson of excitement.
But part of my sunny disposition is almost certainly the result of a languid lunch at Old Edwards Inn’s Hummingbird Lounge.
I reveled in the sweet indulgence of carefully crafted dishes, wisely chosen adult beverages (from a very clever bar and a deeply stocked wine cellar, and a full catalog of craft beers), and, this is important, quicksilver conversations with friends punctuated with sudden insights and off-kilter laughter.
Every element of this afternoon was precious in these Covid-cramped times.
The salons of Europe understood these essentials. During his exile from France, Voltaire cultivated his Enlightened ideals while indulging in lengthy conversations in the salons of Berlin, Geneva, Strasbourg, and Amsterdam. You can bet that those chat sessions were lively, and the meals were generous and, this being Voltaire, the wine flowed in cascades.
And of course, it’s a certainty that Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and his beloved Mary had long evenings in the taverns of Lake Geneva before inclement weather kept them inside Byron’s estate for a gray weekend of creativity and terror.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s consider the salons and bistros and taverns of Paris that seduced and ensorcelled the Lost Generation in the 1920s.
All of these places at all of these critical times fostered a sense of engagement and the freedom to synthesize new ideas and new artistic and cultural sensibilities.
And that’s what Hummingbird Lounge offers to those who hunger for a bit of lively conversation shared over groaning tables of food and generous pours.
What a precious commodity, and a callback to a more langourous, genteel time.
The place is designed for easy conversation and sophisticated dining. There’s an almost irresistible library setting of overstuffed chairs and a sofa in front of a carefully tended fireplace. Settle in here, and it’ll take a spatula to get you out of your seat and back out into the real world.
If you manage to resist plopping yourself in this easy fireplace vignette, you’ll find yourself in a cozy lounge with tall bistro tables and plush chairs along the perimeter.
This is where we settled in for our opulent salon session.
As I noted above, it was essential to those socially satisfying salons that they offer generous dishes and liberal refreshments. And here again, Hummingbird Lounge follows those venerable traditions.
During the course of our blessedly unhurried conversations, we enjoyed and (safely) shared Smoked Mountain Trout Dip, Hummus, Chicken Potato Soup, an extraordinary Painted Hills Farm Burger, (Sister Restaurant) Madison’s Chicken Salad Sandwich, Southern Fish & Chips, Shrimp & Grits – all of this capped with slices of the startling Butternut Squash Cheesecake and a pair of showstopping servings of Coca Cola Cake.
Our conversations were enhanced with the inclusion of a Bloody Mary; Bären Toddy (Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, Earl Grey Tea, and Lemon Juice); and the bistro-tested Boulevardier (Bulliet Rye Whiskey, Campari, and Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth).
With all of this bounty, you’re probably wondering what grand things will come from this gathering of cultural powerhouses and avant garde activists. A 21st Century Candide? The Plateau version of The Great Gatsby? A bracing reconciliation between Hyperrealism and Postmodern Expressionism?
Well, sadly, our conversations danced between rants about the difficulty of not looking like you’d been held underwater for an extended period of time during a Zoom session; how binge watching can overrun your life; and, of course, stories about exceptional children and grandchildren.
It is, after all, the 21st century.
Hummingbird Lounge is open for every day, and Lunch is served from 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and open to the public. For Old Edwards Inn hotel guests only, light fare is served from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M.; and Dinner 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Beverages are served from 11:30 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.