This event, which some locals term the Redneck Mardi Gras, brings 250,000 people to our little town of 25,000 people. You'd think that would be a boom time for the restaurant business, but counter-intuitively, nobody (including us) has access to the restaurant for our three profitable nights of the week (Thu, Fri, Sat) and so we close and make the proverbial lemonade. I used to be bitter about this. I still am to a certain extent. Getting screwed by your own town is never fun.
But this is a happy story. Back in September when we got married, there was no time for a honeymoon. In fact, I was back at work at 7:30 the next morning, just like every Monday. And so the restaurant life forced us to postpone it until just now. In the meantime, Ann has been busily planning our delayed honeymoon, of which this is the tale. Kudos to her! Of all the things she does well, logistics is tops!
We left Winchester about 10:30pm after dinner service (everybody was hustling to get closed) on Saturday night and arrived at the Dulles Marriott at 11:30pm, a very quick trip to airport, just under an hour. We decided to stay the night at the hotel and leave our car there for the next week; it proved to be cheaper than paying for long term parking. Ann drove, thankfully since I was beat after a long, long dinner service, and that gave me the opportunity to observe the fabulous copper-colored slightly waning moon as we came up Snicker's Gap and crossed the Appalachian Trail and headed down into Loudoun County.
|Trying to Take the Edge Off!|
Our cell phones went off with simultaneous klaxons at 0500. That really startled me; nothing startles me; go figure. In the pre-dawn darkness, we caught the 5:45 am shuttle to terminal. Even that early hour well before sunrise did not stop a male cardinal from proclaiming his turf in the hotel parking lot. As we stepped off the shuttle, quite unexpectedly we met Kenny, the restaurant's front of house/beverage manager and his girlfriend Mel, who were on their way to Sonoma for the week. My sous chef Tony went to San Diego for the week. I guess we all had the West Coast on the brain this year. Anywhere but Winchester.
I was feeling quite hungover from lack of sleep and looking forward to a cup of coffee on the other side of security. Sadly, there was no chance to grab any coffee (yikes!!) or breakfast as we had planned. Getting through security took longer than usual. I guess they've really upped the level since the bombing of the Boston Marathon a couple weeks ago. In comparison though, the security at SFO and PDX seemed to be almost non-existent next to what we went through at Dulles. By the time we got through security, our flight was already boarding when we arrived at the gate, naturally the furthest from the terminal. It had to be that way because I woke up with a bum right knee and a random bone chip floating in my right ankle. Ann was like a speed demon in the terminal leaving me at times trailing 30 yards in her wake.
Halfway through the flight two of the attendants came up to us. Our friend Erik, a United pilot himself who flies international wide-bodies, had let the crew know we were flying with them and that it was our honeymoon. They were very nice and gave us a bottle of random California Cab as a gift. And they were so thoughtful that they included a corkscrew in the wrapping for the bottle. Erik had obviously let them know I am a chef because the whole crew stopped by to talk about it since they are all based out of Loudoun and Clarke counties. And as my PR rep, Ann didn't miss a beat in handing out business cards to the crew. The poor little old Chinese couple on their return trip to Beijing who were sitting beside me didn't know what to make of all the fuss being made over the huge laowai sitting next to them. Ann was really tickled that they made a cabin announcement that it was our honeymoon and then again when the captain did the same. Me, I prefer to fly under the radar.
We were ravenous when we arrived at SFO, having missed breakfast at Dulles. Though I wanted a bowl of noodles for lunch, my bride had been talking about greasy cheeseburgers for the duration of the flight. The noodle and dim sum restaurant was a long, long walk from our departure gate and given our state of famishment and my bum ankle, I let Ann talk me into burgers at Anchor Steam, the closest restaurant to us. The horrible burger at Anchor Steam was almost as bad as the one we had at the Union Jack pub in Winchester the day we got our marriage license. To wash down the second worst burger of my life, I had a Liberty Ale and a Porter. Ann had a Corona and a California Lager. The beer was truly forgettable. Anchor, though a San Francisco institution, and I parted company two decades ago because their beer ceased to be relevant even back then.
Once through the double doors, we stepped up to the counter which was topped with a little set of bins holding the different kinds of sausages. Below that in a refrigerated case were a few kinds of cheeses, pâtés, rillettes, and fresh sausages. And above the counter, wow! Just wow! You see it above in the photo. I don't have words to describe this monument to charcuterie.
|These Sausages are World Class|
|Our First "We're not in Kansas" Moment|
We were parched from traveling and needed water so we were looking for a convenient handy mart on the side of the road where we could grab a couple bottles of water. Pickings are slim out on Highway 26, but we finally spied Jacks Snacks Mart after about 20 minutes. Ann went in while I stayed in the car and figured out the headlight and seat controls. While she was in the store, I noticed a woman coming out who had just purchased a somewhat Victorian-looking lamp with an amazingly garish shade. When Ann came out two bottles of water in hand, she reported that in addition to snacks and water, Jacks had a lovely selection of lamps and hand-blown glass bongs. Ah yes, our second "We're not in Kansas" moment of the trip!
Speaking of bongs and things done differently from here, it seemed like everyone was driving stoned. Where in the world do people drive 50 and 55 mph in 55 zones? These people would get flattened trying to drive in and around DC. Seriously flattened.
|Cannon Beach: From our Window, Ecola Creek Flows into the Pacific|
|Our Dinner "Did Not Suck"|
|Tsunami?!! Our Third "We're not in Kansas" Moment|
|First View of Haystack Rock|