Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche – http://www.alpineavalanche.com
Father’s Day brunch at the beautiful Holland Hotel
Last Sunday, my husband decided he wanted to try out the Father’s Day Barbecue Brunch at the Holland Hotel’s Century Bar & Grill in Alpine. When confirming our reservations, the person made sure we knew it was not the regular Sunday brunch but an all-you-can-eat barbecue with all the fixins. Yessir, that’s what we wanted. Having someone else barbecue was a great idea, especially on Father’s Day.
The Holland Hotel was built in the late 1920s and revitalized in 2011. The lobby looks as though you’ve taken a time machine ride about a hundred years back to upscale West Texas with a Spanish influence and all the amenities of modern living. According to the website, “Everybody in town has been here for something special – honeymoons, birthdays, Quinceañeras, art auctions, banquets, election rallies, poker games, recitals, church services, and our favorite – weddings.” I agree, it’s a special place. We’d been to the Century Bar for drinks a couple times and meandered around the gorgeous old hotel and courtyard, but we’d never eaten there and were looking forward to the experience.
We sat in the lovely courtyard, next to the fountain. Having only ever peeked at the courtyard before, we wanted to enjoy the ambiance of outdoor dining surrounded by plants in the heart of the hotel. As pleasant as it was during lunch time, I imagine it’s even better at night with the string-lights lit and fireplace burning. We’ll definitely be back.
The buffet was in the courtyard. Our first trip through the line, we filled our salad plates with delicate field greens and a German-style potato salad, while assessing the anything-but-regular-ol’ barbecue buffet offerings. Burgers grilled in front of you, ham and prime rib carved to your preference. Prime rib at a barbecue? Seriously? Slabs of baby back ribs slathered with barbecue sauce. Fresh pineapple and watermelon slices chilled, or grilled while you wait. Grilled corn on the cob still in the husks. All you can eat.
Executive Chef Marcus van Winden, from the Netherlands, was very friendly and attentive and came to our table to make sure our dining needs were met. It’s always so nice when the chef visits tables – that tells me that he has his kitchen under control and wants feedback from his patrons. His staff were smiling and appeared to be enjoying their tasks – whether bringing out plates, serving drinks, cooking on the grill or carving that melt-in-your-mouth prime rib – they were busy and professional.
Frankie Hartnett, the Sous Chef who was working the grill, looked very familiar so I struck up a conversation while he grilled my pineapple rings and watermelon slices (yes, grilled watermelon slices are delicious). Turns out, we met a couple years ago when he was on a barbecue team with his father at a cabrito cook-off in Fort Davis. I love the small world that is West Texas.
The Century Bar & Grill is open for lunch and dinner, and recently rolled out weekday lunch specials, with brunch offered on Saturday and Sunday.
I indulged on prime rib and only ate one of my husband’s delicious baby back ribs, so here’s a recipe for oven-baked, fall-off-the-bone-tender baby back ribs. Enjoy.
Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs
(inspired by the Century Bar & Grill’s delectable ribs)
1 rack pork baby back ribs
3-4 tablespoons Rib Rub
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and lightly grease foil. Lay ribs onto baking sheet. Score tough membranes closest to the bony side of the ribs. Generously rub the ribs with with seasoning. Cover with more foil and crimp edges of bottom piece with top piece. Bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until thoroughly cooked and tender. Remove from oven, slather one side with barbecue sauce. Broil 3 minutes or until sauce starts to brown. Flip rack, slather other side and broil again. Remove from oven, add more sauce as needed, slice into pieces and serve.
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder