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Vacating, the second half. - Elf M. Sternberg
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Vacating, the second half.

Manressa Castle
The second half of our vacation in Port Townsend was as mixed a bag as the first. We went to dinner that night at the Key, the restaurant inside Manresa Castle (there's something about the word "Manresa" that will not stick in my brain, and I have to think around the world, reconstructing it each time I want to write it down. Does it start with an 'R'? It has the word 'man' in it, I think, oh yes...). The steak I had was excellent, perfectly cooked with a delightfully savory wine and peppercorn sauce on top that did not attempt to hide the meat within. Omaha had the salmon with raspberry glaze and, sad to say, she thought it was overwhelmingly sweet. The same was true of the rice pilaf she'd ordered, so she had my baked potato instead.

The band was tragically bad. A two-person unit performing "jazz," it was more like one fellow with a nine-string guitar tuned in a way only a new ager could enjoy, with two very deep-bass strings and very jarring harmonics all the way up that muddied everything he played, and a female vocalist who also operated a drum machine far too loudly and sang with a tongue too lazy for the high pitch she maintained throughout the night. Definitely not worth the $8 cover charge. Fortunately, hotel guests were comped, but the room was mostly deserted.

After that, Omaha and I got drinks from the bar, then retreated into the plush and beautiful lobby for a night of writing. I managed to get some words out, finally figuring out that if you're going to have a stranger come to town, the best thing you can do is have the townspeople at least all know each other.

Sleep was a challenge. The bed is hard, the baseboard heater excessively primitive. At 3am we awoke to find the room subtropical in temperature and humidity. While it's always nice to see Omaha sleeping naked, the circumstances were less than ideal.

In the morning, I awoke with an aching back, grimy eyes, and a haggard expression to my face. But we still awoke, went downstairs and had breakfast again, and prepared to leave. It was a satisfactory experience.

We were told there were ghosts in the castle, but if there were, they had long since departed. The staff seemed to run the place as a lark, rather than a business, but maybe it was the off-season, because they had in their hearts only some private joke. They were pleasant-- excellent, actually-- but disengaged from the tourists.

The weather was beautiful but cold as we drove out to Fort Worden. We discovered that a day pass was $10, and as we had less than half an hour, not at all worth it. It struck me as I stood there that the Fort was laid out in much the same pattern as my high school. A coincidence, I'm sure.

The drive home was pleasant enough, and the ferry ride was lovely. We'd run into solarbird on the way into Port Townsend, but not on the way back. Twice would have been coincidence...

Two links, both food related: onion rings from Cooking Light (I wonder how these would work with a second dip is egg and panko?) and a cardamom ice cream that Omaha found at the Elevated Ice Cream Company which was fabulous, and we will research making in the home ice creamer we don't use often enough.

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Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

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Comments
irismoonlight From: irismoonlight Date: November 21st, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I made a pear cardamon ice cream this summer -- actually I think it was a sorbet -- and can dig the recipe out if you want. it's a nice combo.

I did a google search thinking that it had been an internet recipe and found a ton of them at first blush, so you might want to peruse those first to find the one that best approximates what you tasted.

ooo. Here's one with coconut milk.... That might be much more interesting...

*wanders off toward the kitchen*
shunra From: shunra Date: November 23rd, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Perhaps the ghosts were playing with the thermostat

I think you're exactly right about the staff attitude at Manresa (we can handle it for Sunday brunches, if and only iff there's someone we want to impress.) The rather lackadaisical attitude is somewhat typical of the town - the unofficial "or whatever" in opening hours of many establishments are part of what makes me want to move to an actual city already.

Sorry you missed out on Fort Worden! The bunkers there are quite delightful and the walking spectacular; next time you're in/near here, let's plan for that. Bring daughters - and a recording device; there is something about the echo-chamberiness of the bunkers that inspires close harmonies.

And about that cardamom: I came across a cardamom-turmeric cake a couple of years ago. After dying and going to heaven at each mouthful (OMG, nobody told me you could do that with turmeric!) I've been testing its contribution to many different things. Cranberry-orange sauce; ice cream; tomato soup - yes, yes, and yea. Coffee (which is a standard match for it in Yemen, whence it hit the very Yemeni city I grew up in)? Not for me, thanks. Additional formulations pending research. Hot tip: combined with turmeric it rocks.
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