Friday, July 19, 2013

F&B Report -- and pouting because we have to leave

After breakfast Thursday, we took our "to go" coffees down to the deck to enjoy some breeze -- some much needed breeze, as it was another muggy, muggy day!  I made absolutely sure to stay in the shelter of the trees, lest my sunburned chest act as a beacon for seaplanes or something dangerous... also, to avoid any more sunburn!

There wasn't time for the morning Food and Beverage report, though, as we had to prepare ourselves for our final spa treat to ourselves -- originally scheduled for later in the afternoon, but bumped to noon, so Cindy could get to a family "do" later in the day.  So we just sat and sipped and enjoyed the breeze.

Our final spa treat was a two-hour appointment.  A cranberry pomegranate scrub for Don, a pear and green apple wrap for me (the idea of a scrub with my sunburn was not tempting...), followed by another couples massage.  Cindy said "awww" when she and Sheryl came in, and insisted on taking a picture -- she may have later regretted it, as it necessitated her getting up on a chair to get the photo.

Then Cindy and Sheryl alternately gooped and scrubbed us, and then wrapped us in our big cocoons to soak it all in and get head massages.  They took a picture of us in our cocoons, too, because our hands weren't free to stop them.  :)

Cocoons of bliss -- Cindy gave Don the pink blanket to tease him

After the cocoons, they sent us into the shower to rinse off the goop, while they re-made the tables for our massages.  Our skin already felt incredible, but there was more to come.  I got gooped with champagne mimosa cream for my massage, and Don got gooped with stone-somethingorother, which had an herb-y, flowery kind of smell to it.  Massages and facial massages and lots of joking around.

We floated out of the massage room, feeling totally blissed out.  They were asking about our music, so after we were done, we gave them a couple of Live Love Dream CDs as a thank you, and promised to see them again in the fall.

Then it was time for ice water -- LOTS of ice water.  It was looking pretty darned threatening outside, so we decided to stay in our room for a bit, under the fan, and read / do the Food & Beverage report.  Good thing, too, because shortly after I started writing, the skies opened up and rain was just pouring.  It gave a bit of relief for a while, but was soon just as muggy again, sigh...

Don, of course, fell asleep.  I read for a while and then was about to ditch him for the air-conditionning, but managed to spill all over myself while stealing a swig from the sleeping guy's melted ice water, so figured I'd wait until I dried off and didn't look like such a klutz.  :)  By the time I was dry again, Don was awake, so we headed down to the pub for a pool re-match.

Happy (?) to report that we're just as lousy at sober pool as we are at drunken pool.  We might even be worse at sober pool, really...  Just to test that theory, we figured a beer and another couple of games would determine it.  Yes, we're totally lousy at both, although it's better to be lousy with an excuse.  :)

And then it was time to shower up for our last dinner.  Claudio was back, and had set up our favourite table for us.  Don't worry, we spared you a photo from our favourite table.  :)  But here's the menu!

Thursday night menu
We opted to do a repeat of the Rhighetti Amarone for our wine.  For starters, Don opted for the Carrot & Orange Soup, Garnished with Grand Marnier & Honey Macerated Orange Segments.  I managed to get a pic in before he finished:

Don's soup
And I went for the Cultivated Mushroom Strudel with Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppers -- divine!  I could probably have had that and dessert, and been a happy mama.
Alyssa's mostly-finished strudel
Which, unfortunately, brings me to one thing that did NOT make me a very happy Mama: lack of variety for vegetarians, even the occasional-fish-eating variety.  Because I still had two leftover boxes of fish in our fridge, I asked what the purely vegetarian option was.  I was told they hadn't discussed it, but would check with the chef.  Chef's offering -- friggin' gnocchi with roast vegetables again.  The same vegetarian option that had been offered every night but one during our visit.  Now don't get me wrong, I love gnocchi, and the first time I had it, it was delicious.  But the next person to offer me gnocchi might be witness to me stabbing my eye out with a fork, just sayin'...

(Contrast this to our first year at Sir Sam's, when the chef was excited to experiment and try out a variety of dishes each night, each one better than the last, inventive, and only once resorting to pasta -- let alone more friggin' gnocchi -- but even that was so far away from your basic pasta, it was easily forgivable.)

Nevertheless, I could face the Gnocchi more easily than I could face another piece of fish, so I went with that.  It was good, but pretty much exactly the same as I'd had the previous time -- and, I suspect, the same as it would have been the other four times it had been offered, making me glad I also eat fish, but wondering what a total vegetarian would do with that fork and her own eyeball if faced with seven days in a row of gnocchi -- minus one pasta.  This is my one and only complaint about the food here, mind you, but it's good to get it off my chest.  :)

More flippin' gnocchi

Don decided to try the Oven Roasted Brest of Duck Magret with a Mango and Ginger Glaze and a Light Mustard Cream.  Apparently it was good, because this is the only photo I was able to grab:

What remained of the Duck Magret

Don, of course, went for the strawberries with whipped cream for dessert, but I was tempted away by the Highland Maple Creme Brûlée, which was decadent (and too much for me to finish, unfortunately).

We headed off to the pub, to enjoy the air conditioning.  Oh yeah, and an 18-year Glenlivet for me and a 16-year Lagavullin for Don.  We watched another family playing pool, and thought they did a much better job than we would have.  :)

And then, in walks Cindy (of massage fame) with her husband Rob.  (She declared many times, "I just KNEW I'd find you here!" -- should we be concerned?)  She had enjoyed listening to "Live Love Dream" so much, she wanted to buy some more CDs!  So Don hopped out to the car to get her a copy of "I Am Myself" (his latest solo CD) and "Dark Waters" (my only solo CD) as well, to help her enjoy her long drive to Windsor on Friday morning.  We celebrated with another round of single malt, since it was our last night of Sir Sam's (but not the end of vacation yet!).

And then it was time to brace ourself for life outside A/C -- we grabbed another round for the room, just to help us survive.  :)  It was, indeed, still pretty darned hot out, and stuffy.  Thank goodness for the fans and the ability to leave our windows and curtains wide open, to get all the air we could.

This morning looked a little stormy, but the weather held out for us -- although was still muggy as heck.  Don took a few last pics from our window before we headed down for breakfast:

Don went for the usual for breakfast, and I chose the mushroom, basil, red pepper and Canadian swiss cheese (?) omelette.  It was too hot for me to have any appetite, unfortunately, so I only managed to get through a little over half of it.  It was good, though!

Then we packed up our stuff, checked out of the room and headed home, briefly, to do laundry and buy wine and get ready to go away again for a dinner party and sleepover, before heading back up for a going-away party Saturday night for a couple of dear friends.  It appears we won't be sleeping in our own beds for a while, yet.  :)  But we will spare our hosts the agony of a food and beverage report, so this is the last you'll hear from us for a while.

We got home to a very stuffy city and very stuffy house, which has now been wooshed away (the stuffiness, not the house) by possible tornadoes, definite thunderstorms, horizontal rain and a couple of power outages.  Hopefully the drama is over now, because we have to hit the highway again in an hour!  C'mon Toto, how bad can it be...?

Hope everyone has enjoyed these reports as much as we've enjoyed being able to make them!  We're planning to head back in the fall for another wine weekend, so do let us know if you want to join us -- as long as it's not our anniversary week, the more the merrier!  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Belated F&B Report

Sorry (not really!) for filing this so late, but we had to re-schedule our wrap and massage to an earlier time today, and I didn't have time to get it done before.

So... back to Wednesday, the true anniversary day.  We headed down to the deck at the waterfront, where I logged the previous day's Food & Beverage report.  Mother Nature decided to provide us with some entertainment.  For some reason -- we're guessing territorial -- a loon was not too impressed that a duck and her 5 almost-grown ducklings were hanging out at the end of the boat dock.  It wound up and TORPEDOED itself into the group, sending one duckling and mother to safety on one side, and the four other ducklings to the other.

Four lost ducklings
Then, of course, they couldn't find each other, because a bunch of boats were in the way and, apparently, ducks are about as smart as sheep.  Or at least this particular family of ducks.

Mama and Bubba duck
After much pathetic quacking, Max, the waterfront guy, decided to try and steer the babies towards the mother -- because the mother was quacking and looking in the complete opposite direction (Darwin in action?).  Apparently the four ducklings are a bit more intelligent than Mama and their one sibling, because once he started them in the right direction, they happily swam, walked, and then swam again to their family -- who were still looking in the opposite direction when they arrived.  These four obviously got Dad Duck's intelligence...

The loon continued to hover for a while, but eventually decided to leave them alone again.

And so, with that little adventure over, Don decided to try another one -- Waterskiing!  As he "warned" Max and I, he hadn't been on waterskis for about 35 years, so he hoped he still remembered how to do it.  Max said he'd go easy on him, and got him all suited up, and asked me into the boat to take pictures and be a spotter.  I mistakenly said yes (more on that later...).

Don getting ready to waterski, Max jumping in the boat
Getting in!
Don wanted to do a dock start, but Max didn't trust the dock to not give slivers where you don't want slivers, so the water start seemed the better choice.

Here he goes!
The sun was so bright, I couldn't see a darned thing through the camera, so just shot a bunch of pictures and hoped Don was somewhere in some of them.  As you can see, he was!

Max was laughing at Don's whole "I wonder if I'll remember how to do it?" statement, and said he was lasting twice as long as guys half his age.  In fact, he used Don as an example of how to do it properly with a young guy he was trying to teach!

After about 5 minutes, he did start to look tired, though and signalled to head back to the dock.  At which he did a perfect "dismount" (or whatever the heck you call it), and the crowd went wild.  :)  Waterski star!!!

What Don *HADN'T* told us before was that he had only been waterskiing THREE TIMES before in his entire life.  What the heck is such a natural-born athlete doing with me?  I have no clue...

Happy Waterskiing Star!!!
He was happy to do it, though, despite feeling a wee bit (!) on the sore side today.  Good thing we had massages booked!  (Cindy admonished him to do more stretching and take care of himself.)

I, on the other hand, didn't fare so well.  But I now have a really great retort for the people who tease me for staying in the sun all day.  Less than ten minutes spent NOT in the shade all day, and this is what happened in those less-than-ten minutes to my damned Celtic skin:

Curse you, Celtic heritage!!!  Less than ten minutes ALL DAY, and this is what happens...

I went back to the damned shade.

Although we had planned to have a nice anniversary Jacuzzi, we just couldn't fathom the idea of adding any more humidity to our already-boiling room (although the housekeeping staff had, unasked, brought us in a second fan -- THANK YOU!!!).  So we decided to hop into the air-conditioned (!) car and head out for an anniversary ice cream cone instead.  Which we ate inside the air-conditioned car, because it started to melt immediately...  (For those of you who would like to compare us to Mayor Ford, let us reassure you that we don't have an SUV, it's a hybrid, and was on eco battery power the whole time, plus... ICE CREAM.)

Back at the Inn, Don presented me with a beautiful blue dress he'd bought as an anniversary present.  And promptly fell asleep, because the waterskiing had completely done him in.  I read a bit, puttered a bit, and then... damn it, I was hot and the pub is air conditioned, so...  I left him a note and went to the pub without him.  :)

It didn't take too long for him to join me -- I guess he has a spidey-sense about beer or something.

And then -- anniversary dinner!

Shelby seated us and brought our water and bread, but Stephanie was our waiter -- in fact, we pretty much had her to ourselves, as the other two tables left pretty quickly after we arrived!  (Pays to eat late...)

We had been starting at a particular bottle of wine all week, and decided to take the splurge for our anniversary.  We joked that the most expensive bottle we bought might turn out to be the one we liked least, but it was definitely worth the splurge!  AND it's a Canadian wine:  The Laughing Stock Vineyard's "Blind Trust" 2010:
Our Blind Trust was well rewarded!

For appetizers, Don got the Mushroom Bisque garnished with Mushroom Croutons.  I forgot to take a picture of it in time, but this is what it looked like when he'd practically licked the bowl, it was that good:

The final remains of the Mushroom Bisque
I opted for the Warm Woolwich Goat Cheese with Sambuca Macerated Strawberries.  I assumed macerated meant mushed up, but it actually means soaked in booze.  I like macerated strawberries.  :)  Did manage to get a better picture of that, because I eat even more slowly than usual when it's too hot outside:

Not-quite-finished goat cheese salad
For main course, we both chose the Bourbon & Pecan Glazed Atlantic Salmon with a Salsa of Peaches & Pickled Cucumbers.  Didn't manage a photo...  I do have a box of leftovers, but I don't think the chef, after all his hard work, would appreciate the presentation in a cardboard box after we'd waddled up the stairs and left in in the fridge all night...

Here's another picture of a beautiful sunset, instead:

The second-last beautiful sunset picture we'll make you look at this trip...

Suffice it to say, the salmon was delicious, and the unbearable weather was the only reason I couldn't finish it all.

That and dessert, of course.  :)

As mentioned, it was unbearably hot, so we asked Stephanie to bring our dessert to us in the (did I mention air-conditioned) pub instead of staying in the dining room.  We had, of course, fresh strawberries and blueberries with whipped cream.  We also brought the remaining wine in with us to sip as we munched.  In air conditioning.  :)

In case you've forgotten what strawberries and blueberries with whipped cream look like, I did remember to take a photo of that...

You can also see my environmentally-friendly take-home box of leftovers.  :)

There's a wall in the pub full of paddles that returning guests have painted and/or decorated -- the top one, you'll see they've been honeymooning / anniversary-ing since 1999, and have a penny from each year embedded in the paddle.  Each one tells a story -- including that red one, with a ski binding, so I'm guessing those folks usually come in winter!

Guest Paddles
For our anniversary, Chris the General Manager (and bartender for the night) treated us to some sparkling wine.  Thanks Chris!  We are definitely spoiled here...

Then we played two of the longest pool games we've ever played...  Dunno what was wrong with us (sparkling wine, perhaps...), but we were alone in the pub, so didn't feel bad.

Better waterskier than pool shark
On our first game, I was pretty darned pleased with myself that I'd sunk all my solids before Don sunk his stripes, but then I was so incapable of getting the damned 8-ball in that he still beat me.  This was before my defeat, just to prove I had a brief moment of glory:

Look!  I'm winning!
In our second game, I managed to sink three in a row, but then my total incompetence returned, and another couple had arrived and seemed to be waiting for the pool table, so we invented a new game that is part pool, part curling, and swept the damned balls into the holes so they could have the table  :)

A couple of single malts to take up to our room, creative positioning of the second fan, prayers that cool air would come through the wide-open windows, and it was time for some shut-eye.

For some crazy reason (probably the heat, really), Don was awake and up by 7am.  Again, how are we together?!?

He opted for the usual for breakfast, while I had a tomato, green onion and sharp cheddar cheese omelette.  I'll let you know about the rest of our day tomorrow!  Still not sure why you folks read this, but thanks for doing so.  :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

F&B Report - and did we mention the Humidex?

It's another hot and muggy day, but we're down by the lake with a wicked breeze and some ice water, so it's a little better than it could be, that's for sure!

So... Tuesday was a very lazy day.  :)  Once the noisy (and hungover) bridal party had left, we sat in the shade on the dock by the lake with our books, and chatted with some of the other guests.  It was a gorgeous day!

Beautiful day

Faint trail of the float plane that went by earlier

The view from our chairs
Just as Max, the waterfront guy, was inviting everyone onto the Lady Hughes for an afternoon cruise, we had to bid adieu to our new friends and head over to our couples massage.  Life is rough...  Don was with Cindy again, but Sheryl had to work elsewhere that afternoon, so I had Cathy instead.  She pretty much worked my shoulders for the whole hour -- and I can almost feel them now!

Here, of course, is a picture of Don blissed out after the massage.

Post-massage Don

We were both pretty pummelled (in a good way!), so had several glasses of ice water in our room, before heading down to the patio for a tasty malt beverage... or two.

Paddleboaters -- too much work for a hot day!
Just sitting on the patio had worked up a sweat, so we were kind and went up to shower before dinner.

Deb was our waiter again, and guess what?  She'd saved us our favourite table!!!  Don't worry, we didn't take more pictures from our favourite table...  But here's the menu.

Tuesday night menu
Actually, we didn't take pictures of our food, either, because we were too busy enjoying eating it!  But we did get a delicious bottle of wine -- again, the best we've had so far.  We looked it up, and it doesn't seem to be available at the LCBO, so we'll have to do some detective work to find it.  It was a delicious 2009 Luigi Righetti Capitel de Roari Amarone.

Wine... very delicious wine!
For appetizers, I had the Village Greek Salad, and Don had the Peaches & Cream Corn Fritter, with Butter Poached Tiger Shrimp and Cold Smoked Salmon.  Both were incredible.

For dinner, Don opted for the Piccata Styled Breast of Free Range Chicken with a Parmesan, Basil & Egg Batter, Sundried Tomato, Eggplant relish and Basil Pesto.  It looked and smelled very good, if you like chicken.  :)  I went for the Pan Seared Duo of West Coast Steelhead & Trout, avoiding the chorizo,  with a Scallop Vinaigrette and Seafood Croquette -- and some added asparagus, to replace the avoided chorizo.  Once again, it was far too much for me -- it's rare I can finish a whole restaurant meal at the best of times, but when I'm that hot, there's just no way.  So I have a nice little boxed lunch for whenever I feel a bit peckish.  :)

Dessert for both of us was a big bowl of strawberries and blueberries.  We headed back up to the room, with the intention of coming back down to the (air-conditionned) bar for a nightcap, but the meal and the wine and the heat had done us in, and we were snoring in no time.

This morning (our actual anniversary), we decided to break with our breakfast tradition and both go for the sweet option -- croissant French toast with a berry compote (Don opted for maple syrup instead, and added some bacon to the deal).  Very decadent!

Now we're down by the lake again, enjoying watching some young folks learn how to windsurf and waterski, loving the wind (thank Dog for the wind, because the humidex is 41 today!), chatting with fellow guests, and visiting with the fauna.  But that's for tomorrow's report.  :)

Hope everyone stays cool, wherever you are!

Lyss & Don

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

F&B report, with a humidex of 2000

It's another day of not doing much.  Although we may spend some of our "not doing much" time in the pub today, as it's the only room (other than our massage rooms) with air-conditioning.  Keep in mind, it's strictly for the air conditioning...  (believe me?  didn't think so!)

Monday was another gorgeous day in paradise.  Sunny and breezy and lovely.  We spent the early part of the day parked in our favourite spot on the front porch, with our books (I've just started a really funny one, called "The 100-year-old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared").

Then the new owner (since April), Ryan, took us out on the Lady Hughes with 6 other guests, for a little boat cruise.  It was a perfect day for it!

Don cruisin' -- and one of the lovely guests from Switzerland (they weren't too impressed with the ski hill...)

Lake view of Sir Sam's
Here's a slightly closer-up picture of the main building of Sir Sam's.   You can see our room -- see the dark awning to the right of the lighter part of the building with the 2-storey window?  The awning is over the screened-in patio, and our room is the two sets of windows above it.

Closer view of the main building.

The water levels are so high this year, the beach area is only a couple of feet.  Those of you who have seen my FaceBook cover picture (skeet shooting on the beach) will know that it was quite a large beach area in November -- the water actually moved the gazebo back several feet in the spring!

After the boat cruise, we went back to our spot on the front porch, grabbed a couple of beers, and Don finished his Stephen King book, while I went in for a swim.  Then I managed to convince him to join me in the Water Spa, and we spent almost an hour blissed-out in there, followed by showers and more naked beer back in our room.

By the time dinner rolled around, it was starting to get mighty humid, so we were especially glad when Shelby showed us to our favourite table for the second night in a row -- right next to the double-doors.  The breeze was definitely necessary!

Are you tired of pictures from our favourite table yet?  Too bad.  :)

Once again, a delicious menu awaited us:

Monday night menu
And we chose another great wine (they just keep getting better!), a Waterstone 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley.
Mmm... wine!

It was great to have so many appetizers to choose from that I could eat!  I chose the Marinated Tomato & Onion Concasse on Fine Herbed Crustini with Black Bean Pesto and Shaved Parmesan -- absolutely delicious, but definitely not date food, as there was no possible way to eat it without getting messy.  :)
Lyssy's appetizer
Don went for the Black Cherry Wood Smoked Pork Belly with a Seafood Cake & Chipotle Creme Fraiche.
Don's appetizer
The phone started using flash, so I didn't take pictures of the main courses, sorry!  Don had the Crackling Breast of Free Range Chicken with Penne Pasta, Lemon, White Wine, Tomato Short Jus and Grilled Vegetables.  I went for the vegetarian alternative, which was basically the same dinner Don had, minus the chicken, and with grilled asparagus and shaved parmesan and some more of that delicious pesto that Dave (the chef) makes.  Turns out, our waiter Deb and Dave the chef are a couple.  He doesn't like to cook at home, though.  Very sad.  :(

We both opted for a dish of fresh blueberries (huge blueberries!) and stawberries for dessert.

Then we headed up to our room, but discovered it felt like a sauna, even with the ceiling fan going.  So we headed down to the pub, which is air conditioned, for a cold beer and some pathetic pool playing.  We played four games, all of which lasted much longer than if people who knew what they were doing were playing, but we had the pub to ourselves, so didn't feel guilty.  Besides, I think Tim (the bar man -- or bar boy, because I probably could have given birth to him) was secretly entertained by our shenanigans.  :)

The three-time champion

Master shot

The one-time champion, and a finger
I did not know Don was taking a video.  He may have gotten in trouble for this afterwards.  :)

Then the drunken bridal party came into the bar, so we decided to save our eardrums and make our escape.  Tim poured us a couple of single malts and we headed upstairs to brave the heat.  We're wondering what might happen if you put ice cubes in a Jacuzzi...

We might have been a little slow-moving this morning, but still made it to breakfast.  Don went for the usual (yawn...) and I had a Roma tomato, green onion and goat cheese frittata.  We also had a lot of orange juice and coffee.

It's 31 degrees today, 37 with the humidex, so we're enjoying the breeze and laying low for now.  Don's now started the Drew Hayden Taylor book I was reading before, so I guess I have to get back to "work" and finish my book so he has something when he's done!

Hard life we lead...