It was our 10-year anniversary (of making ‘googly eyes, as J. likes to say) and we decided to visit Ashland. Always a favorite, and also the first vacation we took together all those years ago. Continue reading
Our last night in Ashland was dinner at Amuse.
It was heavenly.
We began with grilled asparagus and wood-smoked prawns. J. then had the pork chop, while I went for the pan-seared sturgeon. We finished with beignets.
Another great night of sleep, and a lovely breakfast at the Inn.
Today we had orange-banana smoothies, followed by a melon cup with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. The main course was a light salad of spring greens, toasted cheese bread and a souffle of asparagus, bacon and blue cheese. Quite tasty. We chatted with the innkeeper about restaurants and got into a cheerful debate about the plays we’d seen.
Then I scooted off to my spa pampering session across the street at the Blue Giraffe Day Spa. I began my day with a Kamani body wrap, which left my skin smooth smooth SMOOTH. Then upstairs for a manicure and pedicure, all of which was accompanied by massages. I feel quite pampered now, thank you.
I’m home for a few hours while J. sees another play (Well), and then its off to dinner at Amuse. We’ve been told its the best restaurant in Ashland, and we’re going to test that out.
We began with another lovely breakfast here at the Inn. Today it was a berry smoothies, followed by grilled pineapple with a vanilla creme, baked french toast with cranberry-orange sauce and pork sausage. Yum.
Then we headed across the street to the Blue Giraffe, site of our annual ‘couples massage’. This year we didn’t do a side by side (since I can’t lie on my tummy for any length of time, nor on my left side); instead J. had a full body (swedish) massage and I had a reflexology massage. It was heaven. And absolutely no surprise that the only ‘OUCH’ spot on my feet was linked to my ‘chest area’.
Sasha, btw, has destroyed her new crate. We didn’t like her usual, metal sided, crate because it is heavy and awkward to travel with, so I went and got a large canvas, folding one instead. We liked traveling with it, and she was fine in it on the first day. Last night she met us at the door, having ripped open the side. SIGH. So now when we leave the room we have to put her into the bathroom. She hates it, but we can’t trust her on her own.
This mostly means that the ‘alone time’ we had scheduled is now nonexistent. (Or nearly so.)
So, we headed back to the room to get her and then up to Pasta Piatti for lunch. They have tables outside, so we tied her to my chair and ordered a very nice lunch. We began with their calamari — always a favorite. They have a new salad, Caldo Balsamico — spinach with warm sauteed pears, toasted walnuts, carmelized baby onion, bacon, ricotta salata, and a balsamic vinaigrette. Both were incredibly good, although the calamari (for once) was good, not great (it needed about 30 seconds more in the cooking, I think). The salad was perfect.
For our main, J. had the meatball sandwich and I tried the crab ravioli. The sandwich was very good, J. tells me, but the ravioli was only ok. Lots of things in the bowl, so the crab flavor really didn’t come through. Worse, when I just ate a ravioli, it still didn’t come through. The essence was there, but it was more like a cheese ravioli than I felt was acceptable. That’s surprising, because PP has been a favorite for years. Its still on our recommended list.
J. went to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, while I went back to the room for a relaxing afternoon. He’s out getting dinner, and running Sasha at the dog park. Then he went to see Pride and Prejudice while I continued to relax. All in all, a lovely day.
We drove in a straight shot yesterday, leaving around noon and ending up in our room by 7:30 — which is incredibly good time for stopping three times for food, gas, and/or liquids. (Sasha, of course, went for a walk at each stop.)
I’d made a torta from our leftovers, and it made a nummy meal. (That’s another post.)
The Ashland Creek Inn is simply lovely. We’re in the Sienna room — a high-ceilinged suite with tall doors opening onto a deck overlooking the river, with another set of doors opening onto the street (which would make for a delightful breeze in the summer). There is a 2-person bathtub, TV & DVD player, and a gas fireplace behind a sweet set of cast iron doors. The bed is king-sized and has a reasonable amount of pillows on it, with a good mattress. The room gets a lot of natural light.
The downside is the light (for those of us who are crepuscular) and that the tub is not in an enclosed room — so you don’t get the steamy effect of a good hot bath. It’s also difficult to eat inside, there are only a couple of ‘tray’ tables.
Breakfast is included, but they don’t start serving until 9am. We were up at 6am, so after J. took Sasha for a walk, he went out to get a couple of muffins from The Ashland Bakery & Cafe — a longtime favorite. SADNESS! The ABC has closed down, replaced by a pizza place. Not wanting to return empty-handed, J. went to Mix, which specializes in desserts, but has a nice selection of pastries.
Ugh. My cheese danish was mealy, the pastry ok but (of all things) over-buttery (as in: greasy). The mini lemon poundcake was overly sweet in a weird kind of way and also greasy. J. had a chocolate croissant, but put it down after a single bite. His comment? “Thoroughly disappointing.”
Thank goodness for breakfast. Today it was a ‘tropical’ smoothie, fruit cup (grapes, apples, pears, mandarin orange sections, and pineapple) spinach-egg cup (layers of spinach, scrambled egg, and cheese — Gruyere? — in a custard cup, baked with a bit of breadcrumbs toasted on top). Accompanied by strong (very!) coffee, a chicken-apple sausage, an English muffin and marionberry preserves to slather on top, this was a well-presented and very tasty way to start the day. I also appreciated the innkeepers and chef stopping to talk with everyone.
We took Sasha with us and ran an errand, parking in downtown around 10:30am. We walked the eponymous main street and looked to see what was new, and what hadn’t changed. I bought myself two hats (separate post) and we enjoyed our window shopping.
(As a side note, Sasha grins, almost all of the time, and its amusing to see how nearly everyone smiles back at her as we walk along.)
Lunch was take out from Sesame. I had tempura-battered cod with sweet potato fries and coleslaw; J. had cashew chicken and rice. We shared an order of coconut calamari. Very good, quite tasty. Recommended and we will eat here again.
Tonight: Dinner at The Wine Bar, with the premiere of Hamlet to follow.