The Other Side

Well, I think we’re all pulling through the other side of being sick. None of us are 100% yet, but at least the worse is over and we’re on our way to recovery. It’s strange to be this sick in the summer, but then we’ve been having daily highs in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s. In other words, it feels like winter, so no wonder we’re sick. 🙂

The coming weekend is a busy one. On Saturday we’re going to a birthday party, and then a friend is stopping by in the evening for an hour or so. Today is Raelene’s half birthday, and I have a little surprise planned for her this evening. Hopefully she will like it.

There is a bunch of stuff I’ve been wanting to blog about, but I haven’t had the time. Maybe next week you will see some of it. 😉

Mendocino

Last weekend we used the Mendocino getaway we won at the Mickaboo silent auction, and it was awesome. The house, La Puerta del Mar, is about 20 minutes south of Mendocino on Highway 1. It is on a cliff overlooking the ocean, with a wall of glass doors the accordion out of the way to make the patio and main living area one large space. It also has a hot tub, sauna, and giant tub with a view. It rained most of the weekend, so we were limited in what we could do. But on the last night we were able to lie in bed in the master bedroom and look at the sea and stars.

Corinne spent the weekend sleeping in a bed instead of a crib, and she handled it quite well. One night she was wandering around in the dark and she fell butt first into the space between the bed and the wall, but it scared her more than hurt her. There was also a super cute moment. Early Saturday morning she started calling out, and so I went to check on her. When I got to her room she was adjusting one of the pillows at the head of the bed, then she patted the space next to her. I got into bed and pulled the covers up, and she said, “That’s better.” Heartmelt.

We arrived on Thursday and settled in. Corinne went nuts running around the house, room to room to room through all the countless doorways. We decided to check out town, and for dinner we ate at The Mendocino Cafe. I do not recommend the cafe, the food was expensive and mediocre and the service horrible. I was so disgusted I left a 37-cent tip, which was less than rounding up to the next dollar amount.

Friday we went to the Mendocino Farmers Market and bought some bread, strawberries, mixed greens, and sea salt. We also took Corinne to a toy store and bought a few things. Friday evening my sister arrived, and we had dinner together at the house and relaxed.

The sun almost came out on Sunday, so we spent the morning soaking and the headed into town after lunch. It was a lot of fun, and Raelene and I stayed until it was time for Corinne’s nap. Marcy hung around for a while longer and did some wine tasting and otherwise hung out.

On Saturday evening Raelene and I went to The Ravens for a romantic anniversary dinner while my sister watched Corinne. The food was amazing. We started by splitting the crabless cakes, then Raelene had the mushroom risotto while I had the seaweed strudel with wasabi and plum sauces. For desert Raelene had the lemon tart with a late harvest wine and I had the chocolate torte with a glass of port. Yum!

Sunday was spent lounging, then packing up and leaving. We thought about doing some wine tastings on the way home, but Corinne fell asleep almost immediately and we decided to make the most it. She slept almost the entire way home.

Thanks again to the Mickaboo silent auction and the person who donated the rental. We’ll definitely be bidding again next year.

A salt on your tastebuds

Wayne and I used to buy all the fancy salts we could find, but over the years we keep going back to certain ones.  Using something other than ordinary table salt is fun, and experimentation might reveal a few favorites of your own.

One we really like is pink salt from the Himalayas. It’s a lovely color and light on the tongue.

Our absolute favorite is Fleur de sel from the Camargue.  The texture is exquisite and is delicious with just about anything.  It is perfect on salads and roasted vegetables.  While on our honeymoon on Provence, we found this salt for virtually nothing and we loaded up our suitcases. Sadly, we have less than half a container left and we’ll be stuck paying $10-$15 for it from now on. Either that or we go back to France.

One major consideration when choosing a salt is the size of the grain. We adore the flavor of gray salt, but often the grain is quite large.  This will work well for a limited number of dishes, so it you want something more versatile go for something smaller without being superfine.

Given these fancy salts will definitely cost more than basic table salt, we find they provide the most eating pleasure when used as finishing salts. For cooking, go with the less expensive stuff.

The next on our list to try: smoked salt.  Something tells me we will be hooked.