Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Let's Celebrate Tonight, Honey - At The Hospital

          How many guys can say they took their wife out for a special dinner last evening - - - at a hospital?
          Not the most romantic, or gastronomically exciting, idea, right?
          If you said "right," you haven't been to "Virtues," restaurant at the Summa Health System's Critical Care Center in Akron.
          Tucked into the second floor, just inside the Critical Care Center's entrance, Virtues is no one's typical hospital cafeteria.
          We met Dottie and Jim Steel at the entrance, where a crowd of med. and pharma. types were sipping their way through a private reception.  Dottie's been a staffer since long before quick-swipe ID cards, in the days when it was called Akron City Hospital.
          She had suggested the out-of-place but very "in" restaurant and we jumped at the opportunity to try something new.
          Dottie also arranged for a very private alcove table where we could sip, share and sample from the ample menu.
          Nola started with cream of roasted eggplant soup, which I greeted with skepticism . . . 'till I tried it.  Then I tried to talk her out of the rest of it, but failed.
          I called out a half order of house salad and Cory, our waiter, brought a salad big enough for two.  Yes, we shared and . . . Nola begrudgingly allowed me two more tastes of her sublime soup in exchange.
          She ordered the Ohio Grass-fed Sirloin Burger, which arrived with chipotle mayo and cheddar cheese on a garlic Ciabatta roll.  I love burgers but "Charlie Cholesterol," forbids that I partake so I could have but a nibble.  It more than lived up to its menu hype.
          Nola raved and I envied . . . but all that disappeared into my Grilled Chicken Penne.  It arrived with Arugula, Artichoke hearts and oven dried tomatoes, sweet peppers and mushrooms in a roasted tomato cream sauce.  It couldn't have been better and half an order was more than ample.
          Everyone was already stuffed when the enticing dessert menu came 'round so it will remain a mystery until we return.
          The quiet, unhurried feel in our corner of the restaurant encouraged nearly an hour of gossip and giggling after we had finished our food.  We forgot we were in a hospital.
          Total for our two dinners, with soft drinks, was under $25 so we walked out feeling mellow and pleasantly satisfied with our "discovery."   Reality hit us as we stepped through the huge revolving door beside several medical types still in scrubs and skullcaps.
          The $3 parking fee in the adjacent deck was a mild shock but only because we've become so accustomed to free parking throughout Amish Country that the realities of urban driving had faded from memory.
          The memorable evening with good friends and good food was made even more so by the sight of the big city lights in our rear view mirror.


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