For the second adventure in a row plans fell apart, through no fault of our own of course. Peg picked up two young teenagers (a granddaughter, Bailee, and a friend, Makela) while I picked up another granddaughter as the students in her school were dismissed. Daron and I drove to the B&B near Old Town in Tacoma to find a film crew waiting to shoot exterior location shots of the old mansion. Phone calls and knocking resulted in a full voice mail box and no answer. Peg arrived and with suitcases in hand we tried the door to find it unlocked. We entered to find our rooms not ready and no one to greet us. We waited half and hour and then drove home.
Normally, I would have called for reservations in a nearby downtown hotel, but it was Friday night and I knew there would be no vacancies. Plus, we had theater tickets and needed dinner for everyone before we visited "will call" and took our seats for the play. The girls left their bags in our guest bedroom and Peg took our bags to our bedroom and we all piled once more into the Durango and headed back to Old Town and Café Divino.
The week before we had dinner with granddaughter Vanessa in Seattle. Vanessa was a much more adventuresome diner than our three charges this night. We thought Café Divino's menu would suit them. On the way there I told them we were taking them to a wine bar. It was a little white lie. Café Divino is a wine bar and restaurant . . . and both the bar and the restaurant have nice selections.
Almost every time Peg and I dine at Café Divino I choose the seared ahi appetizer. Friday was no different. Daron tried a piece of the ahi. I don't think it scored well, but at least she tried it. Bailee and Makela declined a sample. Peg and I like the ahi, which has an almost beef-like texture. The wasabi and lime drizzle offers some nice flavors, while not being too spicey.
Daron ordered the cannelloni, which she really enjoyed. Bailee and Makela had sausage and mushroom quesadillas . . . and several fork fulls of Daron's cannelloni. Peg and I had the smoked salmon quesadillas (with sour cream and capers) and shared a Caesar salad. There was lots of sharing going on.
There were three dessert options. Chocolate cake with a strawberry puree, tiramisu, and caramel apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Bailee and Mekela shared the chocolate cake, without the puree. Daron had the apple pie, while Peg and I had the tiramisu and apple pie. Peg and I really enjoyed the apple pie and ice cream.
The tiramisu was a little too sweet for both of us. It was a fairly good size piece, but it did not go to waste. Daron (mostly), Bailee and Makela easily finished it off.
One of the best kept secrets in Tacoma is the world of the University of Puget Sound. Although they provide all kinds of entertaining and thought provoking programs for their students, the general public is almost always welcome. From athletics to art shows and concerts, U.P.S. has enough events going on to fill many calendars; however, the information concerning events, shows, and other activities doesn't always produce blips on the public radar.
This year the School of Music Opera and their production of The Pirates of Penzance must have made the leap from U.P.S. to the public at large. The five of us arrived a few minutes before seven to retrieve our "will call" tickets and then took our seats. We chose seats in the fifth row of the center section. The rake of the floor let us see over most of the orchestra and we were close enough to hear most of the actors. By about fifteen minutes prior to curtain time, people were scrambling to find any seats open. As you can imagine, most of those found were individual seats in the middle of rows where half the row had to stand to allow newcomers to squeeze by and sit down, so, sections of the audience looked like mini-waves at a Husky football game. A mini-wave at a U.P.S. "Logger" game is one person standing and sitting.
Peg and I met and fell in love while attending the University of Puget Sound. I was a fine arts major and she was studying German and literature. Art, books, and music have always bound us together.
The U.P.S. production of The Pirates of Penzance was outstanding. From the entrance of the conductor in his bandanna and tri-corner hat I was hooked. The overture was fantastic. The School of Music showed off its talent with two sets of leads for some of the major parts. Frederic and the major general were played both nights by the same two young men. Sam Faustine (Frederic) and Brian Ernst (Major-General Stanley) were fun to watch. They are both in an a cappella group called Garden Level. Faustine had a touch of a cold on Saturday evening, but actually improved his delivery from the night before.
Nineteen young women played the daughters of the major general. They all danced and moved well AND each had some nice pieces of business to amuse the audience. I missed where one girl kept wiping her nose on her sister's sleeve, but I got a kick out of the shortest sister who launched herself onto the shoulder of a pirate in a scene of mayhem near the end of act one.
Peg had forgotten that our older son and two of his young daughters were staying at our place for the night. Since originally we were going to be away for the weekend, this posed no problem . . . until we weren't away for the weekend. We made do. Del and his two youngest slept in the guest room, while Daron (his oldest daughter), Bailee and Makela slept on the couch and in sleeping bags in the living room.
When we arrived home after the play, Del and the little girls were sound asleep. The newly arrived threesome silently gathered their bags and a supply of DVDs and trouped upstairs to the living room. I think it became an adventure. I don't know how many movies they watched or when they finally went to sleep, but when I went upstairs the next morning around eight they were just beginning to stir.
I had asked Daron and Bailee where we should eat breakfast on Saturday and the overwhelming response was "The Spar," a granddaughter favorite. So, instead of five us for breakfast we just invited everyone and ended up with eight for breakfast at The Spar. Del and the girls left sometime after the rest of us drove to Old Town. We checked with them via the phone to find out what everyone wanted, and we ordered while they were on their way.
While we waited for the food to be cooked and delivered to the table, Mekela, Bailee and Daron played games. They used both high tech and low tech. The low tech was a greasy, well-worn deck of Uno cards that belong to The Spar. The high tech was Bailee's phone.
The food and the rest or our family arrived about the same time. When we placed the order we made sure we had enough sides of bacon and sausage to appease everyone.
You can't go wrong at The Spar. When you order juice they just keep refilling your glass, not like other restaurants that charge you for each glass. They also have "serve yourself" coffee and they have my favorite little packets of raw sugar in addition to half-and-half. It's just like heaven. To make it complete I had biscuits and gravy with hashbrowns and wonderful sausage links.
By the end of the meal, there were two "to go" containers filled with French toast, hashbrowns, pancakes, bacon, and sausage that went home for lunch or dinner . . . or Del's breakfast on Monday morning.
After breakfast we made our first of two trips to Half-Price Books by the Tacoma Mall. Each of the three girls were given ten dollars to buy books. They all found treasures. Peg was busy prospecting, also. She found a CD featuring original cast selections from the Broadway shows of Guys and Dolls and Wonderful Town (two family favorites).
After we dropped off Daron and were close to dropping off Mekela I made the mistake of telling Peg that I had seen a set of Firefly DVDs, which was the entire collection from the Sci-Fi TV series. I mentioned the DVDs just in case she wanted to buy me the set for Valentine's Day. She did, but she was slightly miffed that I hadn't told her about the DVDs while we were at Half-Price Books. Slightly miffed means I didn't have to actually protect my throat.
After we dropped off Mekela and Bailee, we returned to Half-Price Books and Peg went inside by herself. I may be wrong, but I could be getting a Valentine surprise from my little lovey.
When I mention to my table buddies at Rotary about The Pirates of Penzance two of them pricked up their ears. Paul Hunter and his wife sat behind us a couple of rows on Friday night and Jeff and Betsy Gellert joined us and a small bunch of friends for dinner and the play on Saturday.
Dinner was at the Silk Thai on Sixth Avenue. We arrived a little before five-fifteen although our original reservations were for five-thirty. I moved up our arrival time fifteen minutes after I saw how tight the seating was on Friday evening. Seating was also a little tight at the restaurant on Saturday evening. But everything worked out well.
The Silk Thai accommodated us by moving tables, getting our orders taken, and delivering the food in a timely manner, so we could get to Schneebeck Concert Hall in time to pick up our tickets and find seats.
Everyone seemed to like their food. Peg had her normal pot stickers AND she found a new appetizer she liked, Seafood Cigars. They were tight little shrimp and scallop egg rolls sticking up out of a wine glass, with a plum and peanut sauce in the bottom of the glass. They were good.
I really enjoyed my order, also. I love Pad Thai and usually order it with pork and tofu, but this time I spied the crab version, so I ordered the Pad Thai Crab. It was perfect, although a little too spicey for Peg. I will have it, again. For $12.95 it was a great deal.
The play was even better on the second night. The second act went faster. Our group seemed to really enjoy the performance. Afterward a few people in our group crawled home while some of us went to the home of Donn and Debbie Irwin.
The week before Peg and I had a great adventure in Everett. We went shopping at a restaurant supply store and bought every bottle of passion fruit Margarita mix they had. When we had stayed with the Irwins in Hawaii in November we had often had passion fruit Margaritas while cooking dinner. When Peg and I saw the newly shelved bottles, we bought everyone they had and began giving them to our Hawaii vacation friends over the rest of the week.
Donn and Debbie mixed the Margaritas and six of us had a late night drink before going home.
The decision is still out on the mix. Some thought it was too sweet. I thought it was too thick, which means it could be cut with a little soda water or shaved ice. The decision might have to go several rounds before being made. The drink was gold and beautiful, however. We also enjoyed passion fruit cheesecake, while we were on the Big Island, but haven't see that available over here, yet. We'll have to keep on looking.
As we slowly climbed into bed Peg and I talked about the fun we had with the three girls. We'll have to do that again in future. We have to watch out though, some of the younger grandkids are wanting to go on our adventures and stay at hotels and bed and breakfasts . . . even though the girls on this adventure didn't get to experience the B&B treatment, I think we'll try it again. Peg mentioned that one of her favorite plays is being staged at the University of Puget Sound in March. I think the play is strictly for adults, however. Perhaps, we'll have to sneak in.