Dear Foodies,

I’m sure you’ve heard that people who have had a bad experience at a restaurant will tell 100 people — well, just about. Having the privilege of writing this food column has made me … the foodie’s confidant. Serious diners don’t hesitate one bit about raving about their favorite restaurant or placing a complaint with moi about a bad experience they’ve had. I don’t mind . . . sometimes us foodies need to vent.

Now, here’s some positive and delicious news! I know diners don’t think of hotel restaurants as destinations, but I’m ready to change your mind. Remington’s Restaurant inside the Embassy Suites Hotel is a little piece of paradise. Director of Sales Andrea Rodriguez was gracious enough to invite me to the launching of their new “Monday Souper Salad Buffet” ($9.95). I just had to invite my best friend Marie Perez who has become the female version of Jack LaLanne and is truly dedicated about keeping her girlish figure.

Let’s face it, sometimes we need something light for lunch. In most traditional cultures, you eat differently during the week than you do on the weekend — but, unfortunately we (more like me) want to eat the weekend food ALL during the week. Andrea said “Mondays” you can start fresh! I looked over at the colorful rainbow of greens, vegetables, soups and fruit displays and thought to myself … today, I will become my own “salad chef.” Where to begin? There were so many worthy salads to choose from — I’m sure guests will not have any problems deciding which ones are their favorites.

I tried a discreet portion of the tuna salad, taco salad, Asian salad (my favorite), tri-color tortellini salad, and crabmeat primavera salad — they were all very flavorful. Remember Foodies; you can never eat too many greens and raw veggies. Don’t think of the salad bar as being a ho—hum obligation because you think you have to, kind of lunch experience. Does a creamy chicken chipotle salad or a crisp Caesar salad sound good to you? They have it! I was also able to prepare a wonderful salad with baby spinach, sliced onions, fresh citrus and a light vinaigrette.

On my second visit to the salad buffet, I sprinkled some mixed greens onto my plate and added some cherry tomatoes, onions, avocado and bacon bits with a creamy chipotle ranch dressing drizzled on top. Don’t forget to try the Poblano soup, which is gloriously thick and rich, with a nice balancing kick (deep green spice of roasted poblanos), or the traditional Chicken Tortilla soup we all love to enjoy. Their tortilla soup is a filling flavorful meal that sings with an unmistakable Mexican harmony. The softening crunch of tasty corn tortillas and soul—satisfying broth, along with creamy—rich avocado and cheese, puts a smile on my face.

You can also order off their lunch menu, if you so desire. Chef Alvaro Marquez produces plates so visually stunning they compete with the dining room for attention.

Remington’s service is beyond exemplary. The sharp waiters glide through the room with an apparent effortlessness, the sort of thing achieved only with years of experience and dedication to craft. Upon arrival, F&B Director Fernando Rocha acts as though he has been expecting you, and only you — to the final goodbye, always with an edible keepsake, every moment is note perfect. There’s a stylish and cozy atmosphere with seats so generously spaced that ambient conversation rarely rises above a murmur. The Embassy Hotel is a destination!

I would like to acknowledge Andrea Rodriguez for her outstanding attention to detail and genuine kindness that makes everyone feel at home. This article is my way of telling 100 people . . . come by Remington’s and see what all the buzz is about!

Remember . . . the big salad (Seinfeld).

Madame Gourmand

Embassy Suites Hotel / Remington’s, 1800 S. 2nd Street, McAllen. 956-686-3000. Lunch Buffet: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

* Tuesday 2 for 1 gourmet hamburgers

* Friday all-you-can-eat seafood buffet

*Live Music on weekends