Viva South America! Menu, Venue Update
March 1, 2016
- Viva South America! Menu Returns
- The Purple Potato
- Updates for Above the Valley
Viva South America! Menu Returns
Our Viva South America! menu returns tonight at 5pm! This month, enjoy culinary creations that transport us to warmer climates, although we’ve already gotten a taste of those warm temperatures here in Central Pennsylvania this year! Featuring the unique and exciting cuisines of Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil, the dishes highlight South America’s indigenous ingredients such as corn, potatoes, aji (spicy peppers), lime, and quinoa plus some really nice quality wines..
This menu features two entrees that customers have asked us about year round: Peruvian Red Snapper: pan-fried, cornmeal encrusted red snapper fillet sautéed with red onion, tomato, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, & pisco (Peruvian brandy), and served with Papa a la Huancaína—purple potatoes with a classic yellow aji cheese sauce; and Argentinian Filet Mignon Chimichurri, with its traditional sauce made from garlic, parsley, and olive oil.
Other must-try dishes include the Aji de Gallina, a spicy chicken & rice soup; fresh and citrusy Shrimp & Red Snapper Ceviche; and the Tres Leches Cake locally made by Pleasant Gap’s Sweet Indulgence.
Our Viva South America! menu will be available through the end of March in addition to our full lunch and dinner menus. Platos (entrées) will be available after 4:30pm daily; the rest of the menu will be available all day.
The Purple Potato:
From South America to PA Farmlands to Viva South America
Based on their ubiquity in traditional meals, it’s not surprising that potatoes are the fourth largest food crop in the world (following wheat, rice, and corn). The history of how they rose to become such an edible staple, however, contains some unexpected turns of event.
One might expect that potatoes were always grown in Europe. After all, who can imagine English and Irish cooking without such staples as Shepherd’s Pie or Bangers and Mash, or French cuisine without Gratin Dauphinoise (French-style Gratin Potaotes)? In fact, though, the Inca of Peru were the first people to cultivate potatoes, and they started around 8,000 BC to 5,000 BC, long before the rest of the world caught on.
It wasn’t until the Spanish conquistadors conquered Peru in the early- to mid-1500s that the potato as we know it was introduced to Europe and that its use eventually spread though this continent. Ireland—the country most of us probably associate most strongly with the potato (and the devastating effects of its blight there in the 19th century)—did not begin growing potatoes until 1589, when Sir Walter Raleigh began cultivating them on a 40,000-acre tract of land near Cork. From there, the rest is history.
One particularly exciting type of potato that has made its way from South American to the rest of the world is the purple or blue potato. You’ll know it when you see it—the flesh is an astounding indigo-like hue that challenges our preconceptions of potatoes as a boringly white side dish. It also has a distinct nutty flavor that sets it apart from many other varieties.
Cultivation of the purple potato has recently spread to Pennsylvania farms, and this month we bring you locally grown purple potatoes on our Viva South America! menu. We get ours from Tony at Green Heron Farm, who provides us with much of our other local produce as well. You can enjoy this worldly tuber in our Papa a la Huancaina—a traditional Peruvian potato dish with a deliciously spicy cheese sauce (served with the Red Snapper).
Updated Info About Above the Valley
Above the Valley Special Event Center, an incomparable blend of breathtaking views, ample gathering spaces and award-winning food and beverage, is operated by the owners of highly regarded Harrison's Wine Grill & Catering. Located atop the Mt. Nittany ridge, overlooking the picturesque countryside and adjacent mountains, guests will be surrounded by the historic beauty of scenic Happy Valley while celebrating weddings and special occasions or attending conferences, meetings or virtually any memorable, special event.
Elevation 1809 Room
Located on the entry level, this room opens up from the lobby area and stretches the width of the full building with windows on three sides. It offers seating for 150 to 200+ guests, plus space for dance floor, buffets and bar. This level is handicap accessible and includes the glass porch and easy access to exterior decks and walkways. This room has wooden floors, a fireplace, rectangular tables set with linen and all guests have full advantage of the view. This space is ideal for large groups celebrating special occasions, such as weddings, mitzvahs, holiday parties, business luncheons, and VIP dinners.
This tiered, four-level building has celebration space for as many as 200 seated guests in the Elevation 1809 Room, with an upper level, the Overlook Room for 50-100 guests and the Hillside Room below for 50-75 guests. There are multiple spaces for outdoor viewing, including outdoor decks, railed walkways, and a 400 square foot glassed in porch with sliding windows, perched over the mountainside. Bars and restrooms are located on all three levels. Each level may be reserved separately, with pricing also available for use of multiple levels or the entire facility.
The Overlook Room
Located on the uppermost level, with a full wall of windows overlooking the panoramic view, the Overlook Room is more casual, with a mix of oak tables and black & copper tables and chairs. The space is loft-like with one wall open to the stairs and lobby area. Bathrooms are handicap accessible, but a stairway is required for access. This room may be set with or without linen depending on the formality of the event. This room has a large convenient bar and is ideal for informal events, showers, a wedding ceremony with ease of a cocktail hour afterwards, for large family and friend gatherings, reunions, busloads of culinary tourists and more.
The Hillside Room
Located one floor below entry level, this smaller room is cozy, close to outer decks, conveniently offers a door to the outer walkway and features that fabulous view. The tables and chairs can be used with or without linen depending on the formality of the event. Bathrooms are handicap accessible, but a stairway is required for access. This room also has a large convenient bar and is ideal for meetings and retreats, casual events, showers, smaller wedding receptions, and intimate gatherings.
Food & Beverage
All food and service is provided by Harrison’s Catering. Harrison’s has been voted Best Caterer by the readers of State College Magazine for since 2004.
Stay tuned for even more updates as we continue to prepare the space for events!