Post # 298 A Perfect Weekend

October 20, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 298 A Perfect Weekend

I’m writing this at the winding down part of a perfect weekend.  It involved all the things I love and make me feel warm.  There was friendship, laughter, wine, good food, good conversation, good music, small towns, fresh veggies.  It was spectacular.

It started Saturday morning when a dear friend called to say she was on her way and would arrive near noon.  She said, “Let’s go to XYZ small town and walk around!”  In our little area we call home, many small towns are located on islands, and this one was no different.  It sounded like fun.

We wanted to impress her with our culinary prowess, so I put big fat country style pork ribs in the slow cooker with garlic, salt, and pepper, and set it to low.  Then we went to our favorite veggie stand.  We love doing this.  Every time we go in there, we find things that are terrific.  We usually spend around $30 and come home with enough fresh veggies to get us half way through the week.  It’s real farm-to-table kind of stuff, and the difference in flavor from what you get in the store is amazing.  One time, we bought one tomato that was two pounds, red as a cherry, and ripened right on the vine.  It was an odd shape, as though two tomatoes had grown into each other.  When we took it to the counter to pay, the lady remarked about its unusual shape saying that she noticed it when she had picked it that morning.  Picked it that morning!!  So we bought stuff, a bunch of stuff.  When we went to pay, we also put a deposit on our Thanksgiving turkey.  It’ll be fresh, not frozen, and it will be delicious.  As the lady was ringing us up, she noted that the green beans I’d bagged were exactly one pound.  Seemed like a good omen.  The lady running the stand that morning kept plying us with free samples of the Thanksgiving menu.  We tried the stuffing, the cranberry-apple relish, and she wanted us to try the sweet potato biscuits but they were still in the oven.  Good stuff.

At 11:30, my phone rang and our friend said, “What’s your house number?”  I told her and she started laughing.  “I’m in the wrong driveway!  I wondered why the house didn’t look the same.  I’m glad I didn’t knock on the door.”  After greetings, and hugs, and bathroom breaks, we settled down to lunch of BLTs with L and T from the vegetable stand.  Fresh picked that morning.  I considered making homemade mayonnaise to put on the sandwiches, but decided no.  It’s easy enough to do, but it can be temperamental.  Then, as she was sipping a glass of wine, we all discussed the afternoon’s activities with a lot of laughter.

The town was 30 minutes away and was crowded when we got there.  They were having their annual Autumn Festival and the parade had just ended.  Little kids were dressed up in costume, and floats were being dragged away.  The main street was decked out in harvest colors and Halloween scenes.  Parking was a challenge but we managed to find a place near the center of the activity.  And then we walked.  Down one side of the street and up the other.  Or up one side and down the other, depending on your philosophical bent.

One of our stated goals presented itself fairly quickly.  This was a specialty shop that dealt in imported olive oils and vinegars.  The vinegars were all aged balsamic and most were flavored.  They were a thick, dark, viscous concoction and the ones I tried were delicious.  I love vinegars that are fruit infused so I tried pear, cherry, berry, and orange.  I also tried rosemary and garlic, basil, and a few others.  They were all tremendous.  By the time, I was finishing with the vinegars, I had stopped using the bread bits, and was just putting my finger in my sampling cups.  It was faster.  The oils were okay.  I tried one that was bacon infused.  Not a good experience.  Then I tried some of their chocolate!  Whee, what fun.  One piece was called Total Zinger and was hot!  I think it had jalapeno in it.  Certainly some pepper high on the Richter scale.

We wandered further up/down the street with our friend pointing out various sites of interest.  We crossed when it looked like the shops were thinning out and went into a doggy themed store.  By this time, we’d walked nearly a half mile and our friend and my partner/spouse both needed to sit for a while.  So we stopped at an ice cream store that made their product on the premises.  We got me a scoop of chocolate, and her a scoop of peanut butter swirl.  Turned out, it was the most popular shop on the street.  Timing is everything.  There was only one family in the shop when we arrived, but by the time we left (we sat outside) it was overrun.  We stopped at a lot of shops, but the two that stand out in my mind are the kitchen store and the Christmas store.

We went into the kitchen store expecting to find kitchen tools and implements.  We found a kitschy, touristy souvenir shop with kitchen themes.  They had cheese plates with a nautical theme.  They had kitchen towel with a seashore theme.  But they did have a boat load (see what I did there?) of food products, including our favorite barbeque sauce, Bone Suckin’ Sauce! And they had the full range of Bone Suckin’ products.  We bought the rub.  Their specialty was hot sauces.  They had them from all over the world.  As I was wandering, I heard the clerks telling one customer that the sauce he was buying was one of the hottest on the market, and that it used Scotch Bonnets.  I had to grin when they said the only thing hotter was the habanero.  Just a few steps further along the street, we stopped at a Christmas store.  I tend to “Grinch out” on Christmas.  I’m all for the tradition, the family, the feast, etc. but I don’t decorate too much.  I leave that for Partner/Spouse mainly.  But we did find quite a bit that was fun.  And lots of things that were wine themed.  My favorite was a small pillow that said “Save Water, Drink Wine.”  Our friend picked up a hat somewhere along the way.

Beth's Hat

Then came the second stated reason for visiting this town.  We stopped at a local winery for a wine tasting!  It was really only our friend and I since Partner/Spouse was driving.  We concentrated on the dry wines and I found my new favorite.  Of course, it’s nearly $40 per bottle with tax.  I have expensive taste, it seems.  But it was certainly worth it.  A very good oaky Chardonnay.  We also tried their sparkling wine and a couple of others not on the list of dry wines.  By the time we left, we were stumbling just a bit.

A short drive around the town, and a short drive to another island, then the drive home.  The dogs were happy to see us and it was time to relax, fix dinner and drinks, and listen to some music.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  Sunny, warm, with a cool breeze.  Dinner turned out GREAT!!!  The ribs were done perfectly.  I cooked them on low in the slow cooker all day.  I took them out and poured Apple Butter Barbeque sauce on them and put them in the oven to glaze.  While that was happening, I blanched the fresh green beans and sautéed them in olive oil and butter.  I rough chopped fresh-from-the-garden cucumber, onion, and tomato and a radish the size of a baseball.  I poured a homemade vinaigrette made of olive oil, raspberry balsamic vinegar (not from the specialty store), salt, and garlic over the whole thing.  All that plus bread made up the feast.  A couple of hours later, we all had a piece of coconut cream pie.  A few drinks later, much talk and laughter, it was time for bed.

Overnight, it got cold and windy.

Today started out gray, cloudy, windy, and cold, but ended up just windy.

clouds

We had breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and more talk and more laughter.  The dogs were trying to eat off plates and just being generally annoying but lovable.  After our friend left for home, we took care of a couple of errands that wanted doing, then spent the bulk of the day lounging in the warm house with the dogs, and chicken and dumplings cooking on the stove.  It was a wonderful way to spend the weekend.  Good friends, good times, good food.

Enjoy!

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