UNWIND at This Primo Peninsula Restaurant

Perched on the south shore of Lake Quinault, The Salmon House isn’t particularly well-known outside the immediate vicinity. But this ‘diamond on the rough’ of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula features a relaxing ambience, cozy fireplaces, friendly service and great food.

Menu

Though limited, The Salmon House menu is adequate. Salmon, steak, chicken and pasta dinners are consistently mouth-watering. Entrees start at $17.95 for rainbow trout (summer only) and go to $28.95 for steak and prawns. Dinners come with veggies and choice of rice pilaf, baked potato or French fries. Pasta dinners include chicken fettuccini, marina primavera, and garden vegetables alfredo.

House Specialty

The house specialty, salmon, can be ordered baked, broiled, blackened or zesty Cajun-style. Topped with a delicate dill sauce and served on a sparkling white platter, the dilled salmon is melt-in-your-mouth divine.

Salads are not included with the entree, but you can add one to your dinner for $5.95. Or load up your plate with a single trip to the salad bar for $8.95. The selection is always garden-fresh and crisp. Several choices of dressings and additional toppings are available. Soups are “made from scratch.”

The chicken dishes are terrific. Try the Chicken Parmesan or Chicken Marsala, a chicken breast lightly floured, sautéed with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and marsala wine demi glace.

For a real treat, try to New York Steak ($21.95). It’s ten ounces of delicious, topped with sauteed garden mushrooms. Absolutely fabulous!

A palate-pleasing selection of wines is also available. If you can’t decide between salmon, steak, chicken or pasta primavera, don’t worry. Whatever your selection, you can count on one thing: you won’t be disappointed.

Lake Quinault from The Salmon House parking lot.

If you’re stuffed to the gills after dinner, check out the dessert menu. Try the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, blackberry pie ala mode or a slice of the chocolate tuxedo cake for a luscious close to a delightful, delicious evening.

From ambience to service to salad, entrée and dessert, the Salmon House is a winner. The restaurant is part of the Rain Forest Resort Village. Its parking lot is small, so arrive early. Come back often and try something new.

A Fave for Over 15 Years

We’ve been going to The Salmon House since 2003. It’s our favorite restaurant in the entire county. It’s also our #1 “go-to” choice for special occasions like Mother’s Days, graduations, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc.

The Salmon House is located at 517 South Shore Road, Quinault. Open nightly from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. Phone: (360) 288-2535. Visit The Salmon House on Facebook.

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Rumor Has It…

Dear Spring:

Rumor has it that you skipped onto the calendar yesterday. I don’t mean to be nit-picky or anything, but um, where? I mean, snow in March? Seriously?

We need to talk.

In case you forgot to bring your seasonal attire, here’s a quick refresher for you:

Get the picture? Good.

Not that I’m tired of waiting for you or anything. And I don’t mean to gripe or be overly critical. But frankly, I’m kind of sick of snow. Icy roads. Hail and sleet and slush. Overnight temperatures that drop like a dive bomber.

So will you kindly get the lead out? Oh, wait. Is that sunshine I see?

About time. Thanks.

Love,

Me

THE FAMILY CIRCUS: The Joys of Camping (sort of): Wenzelisms

Welcome to the first post in our brand category, The Family Circus. Hold on to your hats. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humor. Let’s go!

What are Wenzelisms?

Well. Put those dictionaries away and pay attention.  You’ll never find the above in a dictionary.  That’s because “Wenzelism” not a real word.  At least it shouldn’t be.

Image result for dictionary

Flickr – Creative Commons CC0

You see, words are a sound or a combination of sounds, representations in writing or print that symbolize and (hopefully) communicate meaning.  They may consist of a single morpheme or a combination of morphemes.

First Names

I have no idea what that means, but of this I’m sure: As I said before, you’ll never find the word “Wenzel” in any dictionary.  I know.  I looked.  Speaking of looks, a Wenzel Starwood Three Family Pentadome Tent, with which we are on a first-name basis.

Gargantua!

This affable fog-gray and day-glo orange ogre, lovingly dubbed “Gargantua” by all concerned, includes not one but two mud mats—be still my heart–sleeve and clip suspension frame system, clear view windows in fly, and six windows and mesh roof vents for excellent ventilation and easy roll-up. Impressed?  That’s just for starters.   Gargantua a la Wenzel also features four large Dutch “D” style doors for easy entry/exit and a shock corded fiberglass frame with pin and ring for easy set-up.

‘Himalayan Yak’

I still have no idea what any of this means—you might as well be speaking Himalayan Yak—but I notice something suspicious here.  How many times does the word “easy” appear in conjunction with “tent”?  Look back over the last paragraph.  Count how many times the word “easy” appears.  That’s alright.  I’ll wait.

It’s almost as if all tent manufacturers have colluded into some evil coalition to convince you and me, the hapless saps who purchase these mind-numbing, body torquing contraptions, as to their “ease” of use.  “Easy” entry/exit?  Puh-leeze.  “Easy” roll-up?  Get real.  My favorite Gargantua-ism, however, is “easy” set up.  It goes like…

 

To Be Continued….

Best Roast Beef Ever?

Image result for roast beef

Fresh from Grandma Peggy’s stove, this family favorite is an easy, delicious crowd-pleaser.

This recipe was Mom’s “old faithful” for company or just a fancy, flavorful family meal. In fact, His Favorite Roast Beef has been getting rave reviews for over thirty years. (The gravy is especially delicious on garlic mashed potatoes.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. rolled rump roast
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

Coat roast with flour mixed with seasoning.  Brown well on all sides in oil in Dutch oven.  Remove excess fat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover.  Simmer about 3 hours or until tender.  Remove roast to warm platter; thicken liquid for gravy.  Four to six servings.

Join us next week in Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen for her fabulous Not-Quite Spring Soup. Hearty and delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit – Roast Beef

Mavericks & Me Irish Showing

It only took me about 45 years or so to discover that I’m part Irish. No, really. According to family lore, we’re part Leprechaun on Dad’s side. In fact, there’s a village in County Kildare, Ireland with our surname on it.

How cool is that?

View of Naas, Ireland and the town. Public domain.

Sunny & Chipper

Today being even a bit Irish is especially cool, for obvious reasons. And I’m feeling pretty sunny and chipper.

Another reason for today’s good humor involves a decision I recently made regarding social media. It was just taking up too much of my life. Trying to keep up with The Rules for Facebook Group A. The To Do list for Instagram Group B. Being required to Like and Comment on other posts that I don’t have the slightest interest in.

Cliff’s Notes Version: I can think for myself just fine, thank you very much. If I need help, I’ll ask for it. I don’t need you telling me what to do or how to do it.

Other version: If you’re going to tell me what to do and how to do it, you better have a darn good reason. And some gravitas to back it up.

In other words: I don’t do mind-numbed robot.

Speaking of Robots

Regarding social media, that puppy can devour your whole day if you let it. I found it was taking too much time away from other interests. Like wrapping up my awesome, soon-to-be released book, The Small Things: What ‘The Waltons’ Taught Me About Writing & More.

Maverick

I’ve always had a maverick streak. I don’t have issues with following the rules. Unless The Rules don’t make any sense, or become particularly onerous or odious. Or The Rule Enforcers in voluntary forums go all Dirty Harry on me. Or some “admin” goes all Thou Shalt as if s/he’s carrying around a couple stone tablets from Mount Sinai.

I have an answer for that: Nah. Life’s too short.

Better Things

Frankly, I’ve got better things to do than Like random fashion posts. Or scrape together a sincere comment on topics I don’t have the slightest interest in.

So I unplugged. Pulled back from all things social media for a couple weeks.

Know what? I don’t miss it. Not so much as a single Leprechaun. In fact, my days are calmer. A lot less stressed than when I was trying to keep up with All of the Above.

See the source image

I’m still on certain platforms to some extent. I check in with different on-line groups now and then. But on my terms. That maverick thing again.

Wait. Did I say “maverick”? Scratch that. According to Reference.com, some typical Irish traits include:

Generally speaking, the Irish are gregarious and polite, tending toward a laidback lifestyle with time for friends and family, the latter of which plays a central role in Irish culture. Many Irish, particularly in the Republic of Ireland (as opposed to the United Kingdom’s territory of Northern Ireland), are also passionately nationalists.

This nationalism is often accompanied by a general distaste for bureaucratic authority, and indeed authority of any kind, although the Irish will typically accept it when necessary. (Emphasis added.)

Just me Irish showing.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Image Credit – Kiss Me.

St. Patrick’s Day Image credit.

UNWIND at This Cozy Mountain B&B

Looking for a quaint, cozy place to stay near Mount Rainier National Park that won’t burn a hole in your wallet? Check out Mountain Meadows Inn Chalet Suites. Our #1 favorite near the park, Mountain Meadows B&B is located in Ashford, just a few miles from the Nisqually Entrance to the park.

Mountain Meadows Inn is our favorite place to stay when visiting Mount Rainier, hands down! Quiet and relaxing, this charming B&B is a warm, welcoming place to return to after a cold, soggy day out on the trails – or any time!

You can choose from six suites. We stayed in the Cedar Suite on the second floor. The floor is carpeted. The suite’s two beds (a full and a queen) are comfortable, with lots of extra pillows.

The suite includes an efficiency kitchen with a sink and drain rack + dish soap, cupboards, a table and chairs, basic cutlery and dishes (no pots or pans). The fridge and microwave are small but adequate.

An “FYI” notebook is also on the table. It’s chock-full of FYIs, local restaurant and sight-seeing options and contact info., the Wi-Fi code, and other helpful information.

The suite also has an electric fireplace and a flat screen TV.

The bathroom is tidy and well-stocked with clean towels, with a screened window for ventilation. It has it’s own wall heater. There’s no tub, but the shower has two bench seats and an adjustable sprayer to wash away trail grime. Hot water is plentiful. So is privacy.

Breakfast options are simple but filling. Choices include yogurt, muffins, bagels and cream cheese, breakfast burritos, milk, and fruit juices. Fresh fruit and a couple bags of “munchies” + granola bars await you on the table, which is near a window overlooking the meadow.

The meadow itself is well-maintained and restful. Cross the wooden foot bridge off the parking lot and discover a lovely little cedar grove on the other side of the creek.

We’ve stayed in the Cedar suite on the second floor twice. We’ve also stayed in the Garden suite on the ground floor. Lots of space and plenty of privacy. So darn cute!

This is our favorite place to stay whenever we visit Mount Rainier National Park. The hosts, Ralph and Chris Coleman, go out of their way to make sure your stay is comfortable. Comfortable, cozy, and quiet. Ask about multi-night and/or returning guest discounts. Phone: (360)569-0507 or (360)581-9492

Tip: If you’re not a fan of body wash, BYO bar of bath soap.

And oh yeah. Don’t forget to Spring Forward this weekend!

Catch you next week for more of  Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen, The Family Circus (The Joys of Family Camping – sort of), and another installment of Unwind (hint: Best restaurant on the Olympic Peninsula?).

TTFN!

 

 

Book Nook: ‘Every Last One’

She’s done it again.  In Every Last One (Random House, 2010) best-selling author Anna Quindlen offers yet another poignant mixture of panache and pathos as she traces the effects of seemingly inconsequential choices and actions that turn out to be life-altering.

Every may get off to a slow start, but its gathers steam quickly as we’re introduced to Mary Beth Latham, husband Glen and their three incredibly average teenage kids: popular over-achiever Alex; introverted, morose Max; and independent, free-spirited Ruby.

A Curve Ball

Neck-deep in “the usual” – proms, soccer games, high school angst, sibling rivalries, curfew, family dinners and sibling spats – this “typical” suburban family turns out to be anything but.  Just about the time the reader starts feeling lost in the dull monochrome of what could be the average American family – as in, ‘been there, done that’ – Quindlen tosses us a curve.  A big one.  The pacing is perfect.

Rich & Authentic

The rest of this remarkable book focuses on how Mary Beth and her girlfriends such as no-nonsense Nancy and “English rose” Olivia help her cope with an immense tragedy. We also discover what’s eating Mary Beth’s former friend, Deborah.  Like the consummate storyteller she is, Quindlen weaves a rich tapestry of roles and relationships that are almost excruciatingly authentic.

Besides the carefully crafted plot and three-dimensional characters, the dormant strength of Every Last One – a phrase uttered by a police officer on one tragic New Year’s Eve – lies in its “every person” appeal.  Readers may feel they know the Lathams.  Maybe this ophthalmologist’s family is their neighbor, colleague, coach, or their kids’ favorite hang-out site.  Or maybe it’s them.

This complicated, beautifully drawn story of struggle, survival, unspeakable loss and love is weft as tight as a Persian rug, and is just as exquisite.  I read the LP version (385 pages) cover to cover in a day and a half.

Twists, Turns, & Keepers

Full of unexpected twists and turns, Every Last One is another stellar work of fiction like the kind we’ve come to expect from Quindlen.  Much of its strength lies in its sturdy characters, believable dialogue and its subtle message of hope.

This one’s a keeper.

Share Some Love With Mom’s Luscious Lasagne!

Today kicks off our first post in Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen.

My Mom, aka: “Grandma Peggy.” Age 12. This is her recipe.

Fresh from the oven, this category features down-home cookin’ and great eats and treats. Most recipes are my Mom’s. She passed away in 1984. But she left a rich treasure of wonderful, warm memories. Many include family time around the dinner table. So I’m sharing some of her best recipes here, in Grandma’s Kitchen.

Let’s get this party started with Grandma Peggy’s lasagne recipe. A family favorite! It takes some time, but the effort is mm, mm, good!

Grandma Peggy’s Lasagne

Sauce:

Sauté 1 onion chopped, 3 cloves minced garlic and one pound of ground meat. Add 1 can tomato paste and three (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce. Add about 1-1/2 cups water. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp. oregano, ¼ tsp. basil, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, salt and pepper and simmer for at least one hour.

Cheese Mixture:

Combine 1 pint ricotta cheese, one beaten egg, ½ tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. parsley flakes. Cook one 11-oz. pkg. lasagna noodles in boiling water 15-20 minutes. Drain.

Creative Commons Zero – CC0.

Other ingredients:

½ Parmesan cheese, ¾ lb. Jack cheese

To combine:

Place noodles in a greased baking dish. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and Jack cheese sliced thin, and then spread sauce. Repeat layers. Makes about three layers.

Bake 30 – 45 minutes or until heated through in a 350 degree oven.

Creative Commons Zero – CC0.

See? I told you it’s gonna be a Happy Monday!

Next weeks’ safari into Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen will feature His Favorite Roast Beef. And Grandma’s not kidding

A Face Lift & ‘The Five’

Zuzu’s Petals is about to get a face-lift. The new look will fall somewhere between Pantsing and Planning. Like this:

There are two basic types of writers or bloggers: 1) Pantsers and 2) Planners.

Pantsing or Planning?

Per WritMo:Pantsing” (also known as winging it) is the term Wrimos use refer to writing without a fixed outline (an outline that the writer will force themselves to follow).

Planners are methodical writers from start to finish. They outline and organize every detail of their work before diving in.

I typically deploy a hybrid approach to blogging. I call it Pantnning. It’s a little weird. Cuz I usually plan the stuffing out of everything else. Eons in advance. In triplicate. With all the Is dotted and all the Ts crossed. In triplicate.

Blogging doesn’t really take to the triplicate thing very well. But it’s not necessarily a great platform for pantsing, either.

That’s probably one reason I ran out of stuff to say last week. Well, that and I need to re-up my Ghirardelli’s stash. Nobody’s perfect.

A Couple News

Anyway, I popped over to a favorite writing resource, Writer’s Digest, and looked into blogging tips. Most of them I already knew. But I decided to try a couple I haven’t really put into practice lately. Like an editorial calendar. And the bane of pantsers everywhere: Outlines!

Does that make you want to jump up and run screaming from the room, too?

Give It a Whirl

Well. I’m going to give it a whirl. Frankly, I just don’t have time to do thing the Pantser thing anymore. I’m not necessarily going to dissect every single jot and tittle of every blog post for the next twelve months down to the molecular level. Kinda cramps my style, if you know what I mean. But I decided to bite the keyboard and dive a little deeper into planning.

Guess that makes me a Pantnner. New word I just made up.

The Five

So. Here’s the deal. I’ve decided to organize blog posts into five basic categories:

  • Unwind. These posts will be all about getting away and slowing down. Relaxing. Recharging the ‘ole batteries and unwinding. It may include restaurants, cultural events, hiking trails, lodging, or weekend getaways. It will only include places or events I know first-hand. You’re welcome.
  • Grandma’s Kitchen (recipes from my mom’s collection. She passed away in 1984.)
  • Book Nook. Some seriously awesome reads and recommendations, both old and new. From a lifelong bibliophile and library lover!
  • The Family Circus. The joys of family camping (sort of) is our first series in this category. Hold on to your hats and remember to pack your sense of humor!
  • Short Cuts. Helpful hints and tips to save you time and money in the kitchen and elsewhere.

You can find these posts on my side bar in Categories once they go live, or via link in my top nav bar.

First up next week: Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen.

Anything I missed? Just holler in Comments.

In the ‘Wee, Small Hours…’

I’m baaaack. And Tibet was pretty nice. Now let’s see. Where was I? Oh yeah. Getting in The Zone and blogging inspiration.

It’s the wee hours. I should’ve been in bed like, 100 years ago. But remember what I said earlier about getting in The Zone? Who cares what time it is when you’re in The Zone, right? (Call it hazardous duty. Some day I’m gonna figure out a way to get paid for this.)

Anyway, someone near and dear to my heart is snoring his sweet little furry face off right now. The kids have long since hit the rack. Peace flows through the house like a silent river. Even Ms. Congeniality, my sharp-as-a-tack and twice-as-uplifting Border Collie, Kimber, is asleep. Finally.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and provide feedback. Thanks for liking and sharing my content. Thanks for commenting. And thanks especially for the encouragement and engagement.

I appreciate you more than you know.

Now. I’m going to turn in. Cuz I shoulda done that like, 100 years ago. Meanwhile, do me a favor? Go out and make it a great day, you awesome reader, you! And thanks again!

See you soon!