Thursday, March 12, 2015

Diary of the Perfect Birthday ~ Beach House Style

Quick! What do Phil Freeman and Smokey the Bear have in common? Yes, they both love the forest and they pay attention to the “forest fire danger “ sign on the way to Mount Rainier. But, apparently according to a local radio station, they share the same birthday. Who knew?

Phil's birthday started in Seattle in Columbia City at a very cool jazz club called The Royal Room. Live music, wonderful food, a very nice bottle of wine. Convivial. Friendly. Excellent.

As the week progressed, I wanted to continue his celebrations with a dinner party at my house. When I got in touch with Catharine, she said, "Rats! No can do. Have to be at the Beach House to finalize the installation of the solar panels. Why don't you bundle everything up, come here and stay overnight."

Yes! What a grand idea!

So, loading up the wild salmon filet marinating in its special mixture, the cedar shingle, a baggie of large slices of potatoes drizzled with olive oil and a nice mix of spices. a lovely bottle of French wine, some fresh Belgian feta from PFI, a couple of quarts of my famous homemade pickles in vintage farm-style bale wired jars (a present for Phil), and my pillow, my friend Kim and I headed to the Beach House on the Puget Sound, one of the lovely properties owned by Catharine and Phil.

On the way down there, we were listening to the radio and the announcer intoned, "Smokey the Bear's birthday was this week." 

"Wow," I thought. "Nice to have a shared birthday! Phil will get a kick out of that. I must tell him."

Even though we unpacked the car when we arrived, we still cruised along on Easy Street. Never liking to rush into things, first, we opened a bottle of wine, noshed on an assortment of cheese, opened a jar of pickles, grabbed a handful of wasabi roasted almonds and put our feet up while the cedar plank soaked in the sink. Nice!

Now, here's the thing about Catharine and Phil: they are gourmands. They have sophisticated palates without being snobs. From American diner classics to French and Italian cuisine, they know good food and wine and appreciate a beautiful presentation. And, I have it on good authority, they are, in fact, the Washington state sultans of BBQ. They BBQ two to three times a week. So, it was a surprise to me that Phil had not had cedar planked wild salmon at home. In a restaurant, sure, but never at home.

He started the BBQ out on the back deck. I took the cedar plank out of the sink and laid the filet on it. "Don't we need a spatula to turn it over?" said Phil. 

"Nope. We don't turn it over. We just put the whole shootin' match on the grill, close the top and wait for the deliciousness." While the salmon was on the grill, Catharine made a classic Caesar salad complete with anchovies and egg yolk. We popped a baguette in the oven to warm after the potatoes finished roasting.

And, oh, the deliciousness! Many yummy noises around the table. Catharine said, “this is the best salmon I've ever eaten.”

We ended the evening in the living room, with our feet propped up on the table, eating an utterly divine classic cheese cake from Gotti Sweets.

And, what a wonderful slumber party! The next morning, fresh ground coffee, an amazing frittata, and cold, smoked wild salmon still on its plank! Much laughing.  Much talking. Much about Smokey and Phil sharing a birthday!

A perfect birthday getaway! Sooo, here’s my recommendation: if you have a birthday coming up, grab your family or a group of friends and stay in one of Catharine and Phil’s cabins. The perfect combination: Not only the perfect birthday but the perfect getaway, as well.

Connect with those you love. 
Enjoy a celebration vacation.

Oh, Phil and Smokey’s birthday? Shhhh! Apparently, you can’t believe everything you hear on the radio.

Grateful every day for lovely friends to celebrate with.

Reserve Now! The Beach House at Pirates Cove on Puget Sound

KING5 and Evening Magazine ~ Voted Best Cabins 2 years in a row! 

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