Mushroom Ravioli

The Bayshore Diner was the full-service restaurant in the Westin San Francisco Airport when I opened the hotel in 1988. It was a ’50s-themed diner with black and white checked floors, Wurlitzer Jukebox, and hostesses in poodle skirts and roller skates.

The waitresses were all in old-style diner uniforms, and the food reflected the era – burgers and shakes, hot dogs, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. It was a lot of fun creating the meatloaf recipe. Our Executive Chef was from Germany and every meatloaf he made looked like a pâté. We finally had to take control and show him what an American meatloaf looked and tasted like. I think he was horrified.

Westin was still owned by United Airlines when I started with them. I was there for the end of the glory days. They’ve gone through several owners since those fun days, and – like almost every other hotel chain – are now owned by Marriott.

I acquired a case of the Bayshore Diner plates when I was transferred to open the Westin Indianapolis. That was also in 1988. I had 12 – I’m down to 5. After Indianapolis, I was supposed to head off to Disney World and open The Swan – since I didn’t get my transfer to Shanghai that I had already started the State Department application for.

Indianapolis was my hotel swan song, however. I ended up walking out, never to work in a hotel, again. In fact, I have kept a key-ring from the Westin Indianapolis since that fateful day in 1989 when I left to remind me just how horrible the hotel business really is. Westin Key Chain

Today, I can laugh at it. I’m retired. I don’t have to do a damned thing! But there were times when I thought I wanted to get back into it – and a quick reality-check was all it took to keep me away.

I don’t have a lot of hotel souvenirs – a rocks glass from the Hyatt Lake Tahoe, a couple of ashtrays, and a score of name tags – plus several plaques and going-away pictures and the like that just collect dust downstairs in the basement. They’re not going to make the move back west. I’m having way too much fun in the present to keep hauling around my past.

That being said, my Trader Joe’s hand-made apron that Barb made will always be with me!

Trader Joe's apron

It’s awesome!

To think this all started with a plate! Enough waxing nostalgia… Dinner!

My impulse buy at the grocery store today was a package of portobello mushroom raviolis. I had taken the last Martin’s sausage link out of the freezer this morning without a plan – and the ravioli became the plan. Along with a package of assorted mushrooms and an onion, dinner was served!

And it really was that easy! I sautéed the sausage, onions, and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil, and when they looked good, I added a bit of minced garlic. Then I added some white wine and let it cook down.

Once it was pretty much evaporated, I added 2 cups of chicken stock and let it reduce by half. A bit of salt & pepper and a bit of freshly-grated parmesan cheese, and the sauce was done.

I cooked the ravioli, added them to the sauce to soak up a bit of the liquid, and dinner was served!

All of those ravioli were only 270 calories, the sausage another 140. Mushrooms are almost negligible.

If you pay the slightest bit of attention, you can still eat fun food and lose a bit of weight!