Thursday, March 5, 2015

A holiday

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?
  • Bread. 
  • 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, was 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:

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