The best thing about the Inn at Castle Rock is not the funky, yet comfortable rooms, nor the rustic café, nor even the view from the balconies. No, not even its history. These are all well & good. But the best thing about the Inn At Castle Rock is Chef Hazel.
You don’t know Chef Hazel? Well neither did I. In fact I found hardly any locals who know about her either … yet. She’s fairly new here. The good word will get around this small, historic town soon enough.
Hazel was an interior designer in a past life, but now she has taken a small area of the hotel and turned it into a fine sitting room and dining area where she serves outstanding meals by reservation only to no more than ten people per evening.
As Cheryl, the Inn’s manager, was giving me the Grand Tour, she introduced me to Hazel.
Long story short: that evening, Hazel prepared the most elegant and delicious dinner for myself and Paul, whom I had never met. Paul is a retired professor of history and English lit who is now a local artist and part-time ESL teacher.
Prior to dinner, Hazel hosted the two of us in her small, but richly appointed, period-furnished drawing room as we sipped a pleasant merlot from California’s North Coast.
Between Hazel & Paul, I had two excellent dining companions. Hazel is from Nicaragua and her cuisine is a fusion of Latin American and Caribbean foods and seasonings.
Hazel’s Table 10 (which can actually accommodate 12) is a long table where, if you don’t reserve the whole, you will likely be sitting across from strangers, fellow travelers on the journey of life. For me, that’s the main reason I stay at small historic inns and B&B’s. I meet the most interesting people that way. And that’s Hazel’s intent too. Here she is both chef & hostess, and she excels in both roles. Hazel is just a joy to be around.
Hazel not only loves cooking, but cooks from the heart. I doubt she could ever prepare two meals exactly alike. She experiments: a little of this, a little of that, until she has created another masterpiece. Two things are highly likely: you will never have tasted anything like it and you will love it … whatever she makes for you. And no, you don’t have to be a guest of the Inn to dine at Table 10.
Hazel’s Table 10 is private dining at its best. But there are conditions. By reservation only (520-366-1921). BYOB. Mondays & Wednesdays: 6:30-9:00 PM; Fridays & Saturdays: 7:00-10:00 PM. Set price. Cash or check; no credit cards.
Hazel’s Table 10: Highly Recommended!