Rittenhouse Home Cooking on Christmas Eve

Christmas Dinner at Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield, WIOur little Innkeeping family here at the Rittenhouse Inn is very excited for Christmas Eve this year. We have given most of the staff the weekend off to be with friends and family, so our family is cooking and serving dinner this Saturday. For this special meal, we’ll prepare favorite dishes from our 35 years. In a nod to our long tradition of verbally recited menus, we decided to describe the meal in this blog entry much the way we would describe it at your table, so here goes:

We’ll start with a few delicious soups to choose from. First is Chicken Amandine, a sweet and rich cream and chicken stock with tender cubes of chicken breast, steamed wild rice, slivered almonds and a splash of Amaretto. The other choice is a long-time favorite, the Mushroom Burgundy. Here we begin with a rich beef and veal stock, adding fresh herbs, button and shiitake mushrooms, and burgundy wine. It is a clear soup served piping hot and rich with flavor.

For the salad course, the first choice is a spicy mixed greens salad lightly seasoned and tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and dressed with goat cheese, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries. The other choice is a classic spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, hard boiled egg, purple onion, and crumbled bacon.

The sorbet course is still up in the air as of this writing, but we are leaning toward a fresh pomegranite sorbet with champagne float.

Christmas Dinner with Prok at Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield, WIThe entrée course features five selections to choose from. First, our Roast Pork Loin with Apple Cider Glaze is slow roasted till fork tender, and is one of our long-time favorites. Poulet au Fromage is another: a white breast of hen stuffed with a trio of artisan cheeses, cream cheese, fresh herbs, and spinach. We also offer one of owner Jerry Phillips’ specialties: tender braised short ribs with a red wine and herb pan reduction, roast garlic mashers, gingered cranberries, and squash soufflé. From Lake Superior, we offer our lake trout and whitefish braids, dusted with mild cajun reddening, baked, and served with lemon vinaigrete and savory wild rice. Finally, we offer our classic Steak Bercy, a pan seared filet mignon with a sauce of garlic, shallots, veal demi glacé and red wine reduction.

Desserts include our inimitable sundaes: Hot Fudge, Rum, and Turtle. We’re also baking fresh Cherry pies and Black Bottom Bourbon pies, as well as our molten chocolate truffle cake.

Top all that off with your favorite wines and spirits, and you have a Christmas Eve Dinner to remember at Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant.

Your hosts for the evening are the Phillips family. Jerry will act as head chef for the evening, with his son Mark serving as sous chef. The meal will be served by Julie and Wendy, and founder and co-owner Mary will also be on hand to ensure that everything comes out just right.

If you are in the Bayfield/Washburn/Ashland Wisconsin area over the holidays, we hope you’ll consider making reservations. Seating is from 5-7:30pm on Saturday, December 24. Cost is $55/person plus beverages, tax and gratuity.


We are so pleased to offer our favorite recipes from the Rittenhouse Inn and Landmark restaurant, and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.