1200 Anastasia Avenue
www.biltmorehotel.com The first thing you might ask yourself in the event of being stuck somewhere with a savage, life-threatening hurricane raging outside is this: How are the rations? At Palme d'Or they're about as good as you're ever going to hope to get. Imagine your post-storm diary: Day one: Supped on pumpkin soup with smoked duck breast, Maine lobster, crme frache cappuccino, and Hudson Valley foie gras with fruit chutney and toasted brioche. Crisp plum tart with pink peppercorn ice cream for dessert. They put us up in quite a pleasant room! Day two: Storm continues unabated. After apologies from kitchen for having run out of sevruga caviar spoons with potato mousseline, we made do with beef tenderloin tartare with basil oil and main course of "braised seven-hour beef" -- we all had a good laugh at the table when I told the waiter: "Why not make it fourteen; we've got plenty of time!" Day three: Chef Philipe Ruiz regretfully announced that the only menu items left for dinner would be ahi tuna tartare, seared lamb rack with vegetable ragout, and a light dessert of tomato confit and fennel salad with basil-lime sorbet -- only so much dry ice in the house, he said. Water has seeped through the glass doors overlooking the famous Biltmore pool and onto the polished Brazilian cherry-wood floors. Gee, they just refurbished the place too. Crystal chandeliers and ceiling frescoes don't appear to be in any danger. Will the rains never cease? Day four: Food rations are gone. To the wine cellar! To the wine cellar! Day five: Hurricane is over. Tremendous tragedy, they say. But it was the best damn vacation of my life!