Then off we went to Ballston Spa, to the Medberry Inn and Spa, where we had a soothing soak in mineral baths, massages and facials. We browsed the quaint little area of historic Ballston Spa and poked around in some antique shops, after which we headed off to Moocow's true goal for this trip: Mrs. London's Bakery in Saratoga Springs.
I've been here in Albany a year, but I hadn't yet been up to Saratoga Springs. What a difference from Albany! It's a little like Georgetown, and perhaps a little what Bath (in England) might be like - a lively spa town, with interesting shops and restaurants and people there enjoying themselves.
Mrs. London's is, according to Saveur, the best bakery in the country. After reading that bold statement, Moocow just had to come try it. We had the best panini either of us had ever bitten into, and I had the most divine lemon meringue tart. The butter cookie tart crust was perfectly delicate and crumbly, the lemon the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and the meringue light and subtly flavoured. What a treat! Now that I've been there, I will most assuredly be back. Often.
And, just a block away from the bakery, Saratoga Needle Arts! How could I resist? Walls of cubbies, filled with an amazing selection of gorgeous yarns. I came away with 7 skeins of Cascade 220 in a heathery lavender colour, for A Cardigan for Arwen in the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. They were having a Debbie Bliss sale (30%!!!), and I so wanted to try knitting with the Cashmerino Aran called for in the pattern, but they just didn't have enough balls of the colour I liked, so I got the Cascade 220 instead.
We'd had a late lunch at the bakery, and got back late from Saratoga, but we started preparing dinner right away, since we'd decided on shepherd's pie.
First, cooking the rich, stew-like portion of the "pie," with lamb, leeks, peas and carrots (from the farmer's market), and preparing the mashed potatoes that would go on top. Then, the stew goes in the bottom of a casserole dish, it's topped with the mashed potatoes, and browned in the oven. The recipe was taken from Saveur (I'm not sure which issue, but Moocow would know), and turned out beautifully. It got rave reviews from Moocow and my roommate.
And, in case you thought we weren't being healthy, we had spinach salad with lightly sauteed mushrooms and a light, red wine vinegar vinaigrette.
Moocow was to leave Sunday morning, but inclement weather persuaded her to stay an extra day. And what did I have her do in that inclement weather? Go out to buy the sewing table that I had been saving for, and which she had promised she would help me carry up the stairs into the apartment when she came to visit. So, while Moocow did her readings for class the next day, I spent most of the afternoon assembling my sewing table.
Here, you can see how it looks all opened up. The large door swings open to hold up the extension on the side (for a larger work surface), and there is room for thread and other sewing supplies. And the space I created in the laundry room from moving my sewing things? Why, it's filled with all the new yarn I've been purchasing! Yes, I really should stop, and I will. Right after the yarn crawl that's coming this weekend......
And a lovely ending to the day? We watched Stranger Than Fiction, which was unexpectedly meaningful and enjoyable. I think this is a weekend I will treasure and remember with pleasure for a long time, especially when finals roll around.
Wow, that DOES sound like a fantastic weekend! You're really making me want to go to a bakery right now. And a yarn shop. And Bath, England. :)
Good luck with your finals!
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