It snowed today. In April. Not that that is unusual for us here in Rochester, it’s just a little frustrating given the long winter. But…it was also very pretty, and had the nice effect of reminding us of a recent trip to Mirbeau Inn and Spa. One of our fondest memories from Mirbeau is sitting together in the spa with large fluffy snowflakes falling through the open timbers overhead. I hope you get the chance to visit Mirbeau in the snow, but not until next winter.
It’s been cold. (Apparently too cold to do a post since New Years Eve…sorry!) I’m sure everyone is aware that it’s been a cold winter. The polar vortex, or whatever the heck is causing this cold spell, has been all over the news. I feel like this tree.
I want to be warm, walking down the brilliantly sun-lit blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan with my beautiful wife. We would start towards El Asador on Calle de San Francisco. Along the way we would see a picturesque purple balcony and a few cool cats hanging around. When we arrive, we would sit at a table with a view of the street. The awesome bartender, Daniel, would make us mojitos with Don Q Cristal. They would be super refreshing. Daniel would bring our order of ceviche. It would be excellent and flavorful. We would sit, laugh, and enjoy.
What is your warm thought of the day? Cheers!
I wanted to bring y’all back down South to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. It seems like a festive way to end the year!
Jackson Square is right in the heart of the French Quarter. A mounted Andrew Jackson rides in the center, surrounded by lush gardens, grand architecture, haunted restaurants, and lively, talented street musicians. As we walked towards the area, we could hear jazz music echoing off the buildings. A small group had gathered to perform for the passing crowds. They were very entertaining!
After listening (and photographing) a bit, we wandered through the square on our way to dinner. It was a very relaxing area with people scattered about reading on the grass.
Muriel’s is right on a corner overlooking Jackson Square. It was featured on our ghost tour. They set a place for the resident spirit every night.
Have a safe and happy evening and a fabulous new year! Cheers!
This week marks the anniversary of our first date! Last year, we commemorated the occasion with a quick getaway to Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles. With the French countryside and the works of Monet as its inspiration, Mirbeau provides gorgeous accommodations and excellent cuisine in a soothing, romantic environment. When making a reservation, be sure to mention whether you would like to stay in a cottage, allowing you to stroll through the lovely gardens on your way to the main building, or in the main building itself. We prefer the cottages, but have stayed in the main building during the winter to avoid walking outside for the spa and dining options.
As we entered our cottage, classical music was playing softly. We felt any lingering tension start to slip away as we took in the French country décor, complete with a fireplace. The bathroom was like a gorgeous mini-spa with its oversized soaking tub, large walk-in shower, and Mirbeau’s “Essentials” body and hair products.
After settling in, we took a short walk to Spa Mirbeau. Rather than booking a spa treatment, we opted to simply change into our swimsuits, wrap ourselves in thick, soft white robes, and visit the Aqua Terrace. This remarkable outdoor space boasts a large, naturally-shaped Jacuzzi (complete with waterfall and landscaping), a huge stone fireplace, and a small bar. We ordered a lunch of finger sandwiches and wine from the barman, then perched beside the fire to eat. It was a fabulous meal with which to begin our twenty-four hours of indulgence! The sandwiches were delectable, the wine delicious. We lingered by the fire a bit more, then spent a lovely afternoon relaxing in the water.
It was then time to get ready for dinner. Formal attire isn’t required, but I just love any excuse to dress for dinner! We freshened up, changed, and strolled to the Wine Bar. Although we love the Dining Room at Mirbeau, we’d never dined at the Wine Bar, and thought this was an excellent opportunity to do so. The cozy space has its own large fireplace and comfortable seating. You can use the automatic wine machines to sample a variety of vinos, or simply order off the menu. We tried a couple of wines and several small-plate-style appetizers. Everything was delicious, and the atmosphere was enhanced by chatting with our fellow diners at the Wine Bar – Sean and Dee from Buffalo, locals Peggy and Jimmy, and Bill the car guy. Add in the excellent bartenders, Ed and Tim, and it was a lively, fun evening!
The comfortable bed provided for a very good night’s sleep, which was followed by the complimentary European Continental Breakfast. This was so much more than the typical freebie breakfast, both in variety and quality. We particularly loved the almond pastries, so much so that our server obligingly wrapped some up for us for the ride home!
We made the short drive into the charming town of Skaneateles, walking through its downtown area and checking out shops and galleries. Our original thought was to have lunch in town, but we just couldn’t resist one last meal at Mirbeau. So off we went, back to the Dining Room, for a famous Mirbeau Hamburger. This decadent burger is served on a brioche roll with Portobello mushrooms, balsamic red onions, gruyere and spinach, with bistro fries, béarnaise sauce, and bordelaise sauce on the side. It is well deserving of its accolades.
We’d put it off as long as we could; it was time to leave our little sanctuary. With one last longing look at the lovely garden, we tore ourselves away and headed back to reality!
Hi, my name is Heather and I’m a Disney addict. It’s been eight months since my last trip to the World. I was going through some serious withdrawal recently, so Rich helped me out by making us hot dogs in the style of Casey’s Corner, our favorite Magic Kingdom eatery and first-meal-at-Disney tradition.
In addition to the typical dogs and fries, Casey’s Corner offers a few specialty hot dogs. Our favorite is the Barbecue Slaw Dog, which is topped with pulled pork, cole slaw, and barbecue sauce. Casey serves it with fries and a soft drink, but we classed it up a little and had them with brown sugar/bourbon baked beans and gin & tonics. Yeah, that hit the spot.
Here are a few pictures from our last Disney World fix. Enjoy!
For the first post of the new year, I am finally following up on the new years eve post with a must do for all of you traveling to Old San Juan. Heather had done lots of research on where to go for local cuisine, and the first place the hotel concierge mentioned lined up with one of her options. Café Puerto Rico. A few blocks walk from El Convento (more on this wonderful hotel to come), we ended up on the edge of Plaza Colon and entered the cafe. It was crowded and lively and we were told to come back in 38 minutes. Yes 38. Never have we received such an exact return time. We wandered a few doors down to the Parrot Club for a cocktail, and listened to a jazz trio for 36 minutes, then quickly returned.
We were rewarded for our patience with a private table on the balcony overlooking Plaza Colon. I can’t say how lovely a view I, in particular, had without showing you my view.
We ordered mero (grouper) and tiritas de churrascos (skirt steak) mofongos rellenos, and a couple of tropical drinks. This ended up being our favorite meal of the trip!
Here are a few more visual highlights from the evening. More from Old San Juan to follow soon. Cheers!
P.S. If those of you who subscribe (thank you so much for following along!), could let me know if the galleries appear correctly in your e-mail, I’d appreciate it. They look lovely in the on line post, but it showed up in my and Heather’s e-mail all broken and random. I’ve contacted WordPress about it, so hopefully we can get it resolved. Thanks!