Wednesday, June 30, 2010
As we left I spied this guy, three kids in tow, running with cart to his SUV. His children all but abandoned, they struggled to keep up with him as he flew across the parking lot (and traffic) without them. I'm pretty sure he was trying to set some kind of land speed record. Perhaps this was a misguided "let's race to the car" challenge. I don't know why Costco has to be such a horrifically bad experience, but I do know why I've been there maybe twice in four years.
Monday, June 28, 2010
With temps 90-100 degrees every single freaking day, pretty much all Lexi and Kirby want to do is sleep. Sure they get all excited when we say it's time to go O-U-T, but after a quick run in the yard they want nothing more than to get back into the cool air and doze.
I can't say I blame them one bit. Now that I'm in my third trimester, my lifelong loathing of summer has reached new heights. I would like nothing more than to sleep (oh per chance to sleep - I can live without the dreaming at this point) for the next ten weeks or so until the little moosh arrives.
Unfortunately, Jac has his hands full moving, fixing, doing around the house to prepare some home repairs which have to be done so we can get our rooms ready for the little moosh. This has left me no choice but to appear useful by doing dishes and tidying up (just a little).
Two hours ago it rained fiercely and the temps dropped from 100 to 76 degrees. Relief? Nope, even though it's 5pm the temperature has climbed again to 86 degrees. Have I mentioned that I hate summer?
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Probably the most emblematic anecdote I have about the splendor of Bedford Springs comes from our post-dinner stroll back to our room on Friday night. As we passed through the Game Room (not pictured here, come on this place has a million rooms I can't be expected to photograph them all I am on vacation.) I overheard a perturbed woman summoning one of the resort staff.
"Do you see this here? This is a Scottie dog," the woman explained, curling over one of the puzzles left out for casual assembly by hotel guests, "but there is clearly no Scottie dog in this puzzle!" She proclaimed this pointing adamantly to a puzzle box top image on the table. I couldn't contain my laughter. In a nearby hall I burst out into unexpected belly laughs. Jac ushered me away from the scene as he noted the woman's husband was keeping a low profile in that very hall.
It was rejuvenating to find my laughter. And its source was such a perfect example of why we found the resort so relaxing and comforting. When faced with perfection in accommodations, amenities, food, entertainment and experience, this woman was forced to adamantly point up the one fault she could find - the presence of a wayward puzzle piece where it clearly did not belong.
Monday, June 07, 2010
We camped out in the Tavern at Bedford Springs to catch a Stanley Cup finals game. As we lingered in the bar area I was blinded by a light. Then there was smoke. When I turned to investigate I learned it was just this smokin' hot rhinestone six-shooter pistol shirt worn by a guy with a handlebar mustache. I think it's especially poetic that the handlebar mustache and the rhinestone pistol shirt exist on the same person.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
The simple act of making a reservation for this dinner with the hotel's front desk had so transported me from my city desk that I'd missed the beginning of a conference call. When the time came to present ourselves for the reservation, we were already well-wooed by the resort's charms. Chef Konrade sent over a taste before our meal, melon and cream with a hint of Midori. (In which I gently induldged.)
Jac devoured the bacon wrapped shrimp atop a horseradish sauce.
For his entree he chose scallops (good thing I can now make them) with grits.
My chicken in a port wine black fig reduction with vegetables and mashed potatoes was extravagant and extraordinary. I queried Jac when we could have possibly had such a good dinner. Prepared to go back years, I was surprised to discover we'd just had a very good meal at Georgia Brown's. But this dinner was really wonderful.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
When people learn that I spent my childhood in Maryland they invariably assume that I'm a huge seafood lover, crab especially. The deep, dark truth is that I can easily recount every time that I have consumed seafood since about age four. I never took to the stuff. To me, of all creatures, those from the sea were the least natural to eat. They were scary and mysterious. They often required strange and excessive tabletop hardware and effort. The only real upside I found to seafood was that it was often served with drawn butter and hush puppies.
But during this getaway to Bedford Springs, I'd set a "course for adventure" and was up for anything. When I learned that a slot was available for a Friday afternoon cooking class with the Chef d'Hotel for $20 I jumped at the chance. No curriculum was available, but I told Jac I just hoped it was something new to me.
And oh boy was it. Our small class of three was greeted with champagne in the hotel lobby. (No thanks, I'm drinking for two.) We were escorted through the recesses of the hotel to the main kitchen where we met the venerable Chef Konrad. He announced our course subject was: Seafood. I was trepidatious about the territory, but delighted that I'd learn a thing or two about a subject my husband holds so dear.
First up: crab cakes. Chef Konrad had us each sample the premium lump crab meat and then set about making his light and savory version of the beachy delicacy. We molded a mixture of crab, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and panko breadcrumbs and cooked it briefly in a pan with olive oil. We made a rich sauce of soy, miso, honey and sesame oil. Then came the ultimate test: my taste. I ate a couple of bites and knew that without my historic aversions to the dish, it was tops in its class.
Next we made a tuna tartar atop a crouton, but what you see here is the cooked tuna presented to me to accommodate my delicate condition. I still only managed a morsel and felt guilty with each taste tossing fresh from the pan samples.
Jac is a big fan of scallops so I knew when this dish was announced that I not only needed to manage a taste, I also needed to pay close attention. The chef unveiled U-10 scallops which I learned were characteristically large. We cooked them with salt, pepper, honey and butter and I managed my taste, though this was the most difficult dish for me encourage my paltry palette to try.
Finally, our third dish was something close to home. I was called to demonstrate our preparation of spaetzle with a mushroom gravy. I have made spaetzle before but today we made it from scratch and used a large commercial sieve to extrude the nubs of pasta into a boiling pot of water. We topped it with a deeply flavorful mushroom sauce and parmesan cheese. Heavenly!
But Chef Konrad had one more surprise waiting for us, dessert. We headed over to the pastry section of the kitchen and found a chef happy to show us how to make chocolate-dipped strawberries with an intricate patten. The magic trick involved patterned pastry transfer paper and the chef showed us a catalog where we could order the supplies. We dipped lush berries into melted dark chocolate, twirled them, and plopped them atop the transfer paper. As we gabbed, the chocolate dried and we were able to pluck the berries from the page, now dressed with a stylish pattern. Even better, we each made a half dozen to take away with us.
It was a great experience and just the sort of diversion I'd sought to start off our weekend.
Friday, June 04, 2010
As I make my way through the parenting books, one thing is clear: to reduce conflict with your child you can give him the choice between two well-selected options. The child can choose easily, feels he controlled his fate, and tranquility is restored. When we stepped outside our room at the Bedford Springs resort this morning we could choose between a sun-bathed outdoor pool with a cluster of posh cabanas or...
an indoor oasis offering all of the splash without the SPF. We chose... both. First I worked in a cabana by the outdoor pool while Jac hit the driving range. It was heavenly to report to work overlooking the pool and mountains, definitely the best telecommuting I've done so far. Later, Jac joined me for a swim in the vintage indoor pool, one of the first in the US. We had the indoor pool to ourselves, an unexpected luxury.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
As the weekend approached, my stress was reaching a fever pitch. Work, life, family, a baby on the way -- Calgon was not going to cut it this time. When Jac told me he'd arranged to take Friday off to sit at home and wait for the windshield repair guy that was my cue to get the heck out of town. Afterall, I could swap cars with him any day and we could put his leave to good use as, you know, leave.
Before I knew it, I'd pulled up an oft-browsed bookmark for the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania. I'd discovered the resort a few months ago while searching for far away-so close getaways. With the heat building in DC, a two-night jaunt to the Pennsylvania mountainside sounded like an escape from the barometric pressure cooker that is DC in the summer.
My vacation state of mind kicked in while I was on the phone with the Reservations Desk. I'd called to see if there were any deals to be finagled for same-night accommodations. As she described the room options I was swept away to our nights of luxury. When she asked if she could make our dinner reservations at one of the hotel's dining rooms I plunged into thoughts of gourmet goodness. Only then did I realize I was late for a conference call and I hastily dismissed her with the confirmation to book that dinner!