We have just had the extreme good fortune of enjoying a two week holiday of skiing in America. It was a bit of a last minute thing, we only booked at Christmas because we were really not sure if we could get away. But getting away for a proper break is what everyone really must do. There is never a good time to leave the farm, especially for us in the heat of February, but sometimes you've just got to see the gap and bite the bullet.
We had a week in Telluride and a week in Vail with some friends and just had a ball. We had sun, we had snow, we skied and we ate, and there was even time for a few spoiling massages.
They start skiing early in the States and most of the lifts start to close at 3.30pm so there is a lovely little lull in the afternoon when there is time for a nap or some shopping, or a spa and a sauna before it is time for drinks and dinner. A proper holiday.
So here's some observations:
What America is good at:
- Water. A glass of iced water is placed on the table before the menus are handed over and are filled up constantly. This is a good thing because you need it if you are going to tackle the...
- Cocktails. It's a real American thing, they love their cocktails and we sampled a variety, some could seriously blow your head off. Which leads on to..
- Bloody Marys. One of our travelling companions is a bit of a BM aficionado. A couple we tried were not up to standard, but the best one was in the United domestic terminal at the LA airport. Who would have thought?
- Politeness. They are unfailingly polite, especially in lift queues, where orderly alternating is a unimpeachable code. Although I do have to remind myself that tips are earned by providing good service and I'm fairly sure they don't necessarily care if you "have a nice day".
- Purpose-built ski resorts. They are well planned and organised and pretty in a kind of faux Austrian way and include..
- Heated streets and footpaths. No stomping through snow drifts over there. And they often have a charming ice skating rink
- And a ski valet,..what's not to love about that?
- Service: it's generally excellent. One freezing day there was a lovely man handing out tissues as we walked into a restaurant.
- Food, sometimes. We had some very delicious food. mostly at higher end restaurants.
- Truffle salted french fries. They were everywhere and are pretty bloody good.
- Sunday papers. Loved the book section of the New York Times.
|Charming ice skating rink|
What America is not good at:
- Coffee. If you have a serious coffee addiction go there. You will be cured in a matter of days. We were unable to find decent coffee anywhere.
- Cheese...why is it that weird yellow colour? And for that matter,
- Butter...why is it so white?
- Portion control: the servings are ginormous
- Hot chocolate, which is an essential part of the skiing experience: it's watery and they squirt cream from a can into it. Yuk.
- Healthy eating. It is perfectly acceptable to order a hamburger for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I saw a child having the following breakfast: fruit loops, waffle and maple syrup and a hot chocolate (topped with plastic cream).
- Paying their staff properly. Tipping is just a minefield and Australians hate it.
- Television. I was a bit off colour one day and watched a bit of telly. Every ad, and there were many, were for junk food....all the big names, blatantly targeting children in a much less subtle way than here. It made me feel even sicker.
- Coffee. Did I mention the coffee?
It's lovely to be home though, and it was a relief to find that we'd had an inch of rain while we were away. The garden was not dead as I had been dreading and autumn seems to be beginning, which is my favourite time of year. Happiest of all to see this though:
Sorry no recipe today, there hasn't been much time for cooking but with autumn underway, there will be plenty of activity in the coming weeks: