Leisurely morning start, followed by breakfast at an outdoor table. The Four Seasons brought me my New York Times this morning on cue, then followed it up with The Wall Street Journal. Like a regular New York snob or something.
Linda was lusting after steel cut oatmeal, while my simple eggs, potatoes, and bacon were a thing of beauty. Get an idea from these pictures.
We probably lingered at the table 2 hours, well past noon. Linda adjourned to the beach, while I headed up to the room. CORE and golf club business was pressing and backlogged, along with about 20 emails I haven’t answered.
Around 1:30, Linda returned, cleaned up, and then headed down to The Spa. We were scheduled for a long couples massage this afternoon, another celebration of our anniversary. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m always a little bit anxious about massages. Maybe just a guy thing, I dunno. This one was supposed to include something called reflexology. What?
About 2:20 I checked in, and donned a robe and slippers. They ushered me to a waiting room without showing me around, so I just sat without my glasses and looked at magazine pictures for a while. The spa was just about deserted, with ultra-tranquil music playing, you know, that wonderful Navajo flute kind of stuff.
We met our massage technicians, Linda with Catherine and me with Jennifer. We were led into a gorgeously decorated room with side-by-side tables. Jennifer confirmed with me, I was scheduled for an 80 minute massage, and I’d told her to use moderate-to-heavy pressure. Included was a 20 minute foot massage. Foot massage?! What? Who ordered that? Oh man, that’s what reflexology must mean.
My feet have always been sensitive – just ask my mom who used to trim my nails when I was little. Ticklish, yeah, but also cramp-prone. Besides, from cycling and golf, I’m sporting probably the worst tan lines on my feet I’ve ever seen. Looks like I’ve got white socks tatoo’ed.
Oh well, here we go. As soon as the massage started we knew we were in for a treat. How decadent. How indulgent. I’d almost forgotten how great they are. Some early conversation soon turned to silence. My mind went to some other place that I cannot describe.
Flip over, and then midway through the massage, Jennifer started in on my feet. Oh man. Think of an even mixture of TICKLE, PAIN, and elevated GREAT. I had to fend off the tickle response at first, and just go with the flow. In short order it just started to feel amazingly great. Anyone who’s had a professional foot massage knows this I guess, but it was a new experience for me.
The massage finished off with the arms and hands (WOW), and finally a head massage. She did one maneuver I called a “brain pull” – just about finished me off (not much brain to work with).
We both lay in silence afterwards. Linda finally touched my cheek and I spontaneously broke into an uncontrolled grin. Wow, that was really nice. Crazy great. Happy anniversary.
Linda headed up to the room, while I decided to roam around the spa for a while. Heck, I had the whole place to myself. After 15 minutes in the steam room, I finally hit the shower, which Linda had been raving about. It’s a nice setup – an overhead rain with 7 additional sprays from the sides. You just want to stand there for an hour.
We wandered outside to the poolside bar. Drinking alcohol on top of a massage isn’t always a smart thing to do, but hey we’re on vacation. Linda had a couple of tasty prosecco-ginger concoctions. The ginger liquer was from France, called Canton – we will have to remember that. We sat for an hour, watched the ocean, and talked through all the finer points of the massages.
On tonight’s slate: a return to Buccan. Last year we’d had a memorable meal there – particularly an unbelievable beet and goat cheese salad.
The navigation system in our new SUV works but is not at all user friendly. I’m not sure what Lexus was thinking. Instead of programming in Buccan’s location, we called the “Destination Assist” function. On it, a live person talks to you, looks up the address you want, and then uploads it to your car for you. Can you believe that?
Arriving early, we sat at the Buccan bar for a while, then were escorted to our table. Oh man. What a table! Called the “Chef’s Table,” it was one of two extensions directly off the kitchen’s counter with a great unimpeded view of the action.
Our server Joanne brought menus, and then announced that bottles of wine are half price on Monday. We weren’t sure if we could down a bottle, but hey we’re on vacation. We found a delicious French sauvignon blanc called Sancerre.
Our grins got even bigger each time a dish was started and its aromas would assault us. Basil, Garlic, Rosemary, Butter, Seafood, Beef, Woodsmoke. Wave after wave.
We tried to text and send photos of this scene to family and friedns but some of it got lost in translation.
Our first course arrived, a wood-fired grilled octopus salad with fennel, red onion, chorizo, and a Peruvian white bean puree, recommended by Joanne. OMG the pulpit (sorry, that’s an autocorrect version of pulpo).
Linda started turning around every minute to watch as different dishes would go by. Then she started asking the server waiting at the counter, “What is that?” Venus clams, scallops, prime wood-fired burger. An amazing parade. Then she started excitedly asking the chefs themselves. A wood-fired piece of fish really caught her eye. “What is that? What’re you making?” Grilled hamachi collar. Oh my.
At one point Linda really cracked me up. While seated on a tall stool, a napkin slipped off her lap, so she turned around and asked the server, “Would you get my napkin?” Here the guy is, with 15 tables to serve, none of them ours, and Linda is asking him to fetch her napkin. He never missed a beat, put down his orders, ran over to get a fresh napkin, and presented it to her with a smile.
Our second course arrived, yellowtail snapper with oyster mushrooms, farro, spinach, and rock shrimp scampi. You might not think the farro, a barley-like grain, would add much, but it was almost the star of the dish, holding all the other wonderful flavors together. Outstanding.
We’d fully planned to save room for dessert, but sharing just these two dishes was more than enough. We decided to finish our wine for dessert, and finished out our three hours at Buccan talking with Joanne and kidding around with the chefs.
If our first visit to Buccan was great, this second one was crazy great. We’ll be back.