Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

9:15 a.m.

As usual, I’ve been experiencing more than writing, not exactly a bad thing. But I want to take a few minutes to at least recap our schedule so far, so I can go back later in more detail. First, what a fantastic trip (journey). The key thing is our romance.

Okay: 5/23 flew AVL to ABQ;l drove to Santa Fe; checked into Residence Inn, shopped at Albertson’s; supper was steaks, fresh corn, sautéed peppers and onions, cheese and crackers.

5/24 ***Waffles and Berries. Today was our “walk-about” in the plaza area of Santa Fe. Lunch at The Bullring: chicken enchiladas with Christmas sauce (a mix of red and green chile sauce) HOT, but we ate on their outdoor brick patio, and that was fantastic. Shady and cool; appeared we were the only tourists; others were local business and government employees, stains of acoustic Spanish guitar wafting on the breeze, really mellow and so appealing. Street musicians were around, playing wooden flutes, lazy bongo drums, and guitar, but not in such abundance that they interfered with one another or were intrusive. The ubiquitous Indian flute was especially beautiful, a haunting, etherial sound. Walking along sidewalks, wending our way back to the car, I am astonished by the profusion of flowers, especially roses of every type and description. Their fragrance is spicy on the warm air. The adobe homes are pleasing. Drivers are so polite that I think you might have to lay down in the road to get run over. No, that wouldn’t work, either; drivers would stop their vehicles and descend with rescue attempts and offers of help!

Back in the car, we decided to drive over to Canyon Road to check out “The Compound”, a restaurant that appeared to have possibilities. we had no idea that the Canyon Road area is a big deal in terms of ultra high-end art galleries, interspersed with chic eateries and clothing shops.

The Compound is unique for several reasons: it is located right in the middle of the Canyon Road hub, but down a long driveway, which changes the character to up-scale residential. It shares a building separated by a flower bedecked courtyard. There were two identical trees in that courtyard rampant with hanging yellow flowers, the most stunning blooming trees I have ever seen. A small plaque just inside the hall-type entrance reminds guests that they are in a residential area and to keep their voices low entering and leaving the restaurant. Buck and I went inside, met one of the owners (Brett) and got a tour. It was about 3:30 p.m. We returned to the hotel, enjoyed the hot tub and each other and made reservations for 7:30, which turned out to be perfect. Buck wore that ecru dress shirt which I think look so good on him, along with his blue blazer. he just looked fabulous — much more 43 than 63. I wore those wonderful white silk pants and short sleeve white sweater top that Buck gave me as a birthday gift last year (from Talbots). We sat on a patio at a cozy table by a wall, looking out onto the “white” garden.

The sunset colored the sky and clouds. The white azalea-looking flowers were lovely. The food was very good, but it was the setting, service and presentation that really made it ultra-special. We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay and it really was the best Chardonnay I ever tasted. I think it was called Pezzi King 1998, Sonoma County (Healdsburg, California I think). I want to remember to look it up and see it it’s available at the Asheville Wine Market, or direct shipped.

Our first course was a Spring Asparagus Soup with a small morel mushroom flan resting in it garnished with asparagus tips. It had a Japanese attitude about it, a celebration of the season. And it was very pleasing to the eye. The bread was good; one slice was a thick crusted Tuscan style sourdough and the other was also thick-crusted with black olives, moist without being mushy. Buck’s entrée was a slow-roasted salmon fillet and mine was seared sea bass.  They were very pretty, but neither as flavorful as Buck or I were hoping. dessert truly was a treat: Buck had Bailey’s ice cream, and I had a warm liquid chocolate cake, about the size of a small ramekin, accompanied by Bailey’s ice cream and a drizzle of bitter-sweet chocolate sauce.

Our time in Santa Fe went so quickly; how nice that events transpired so that we could return so quickly.

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