Thursday, July 21, 2005

King's Cottage

This is long overdue but we totally need to sing the praises of King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster, PA. We went there in February over President’s Day weekend in a much delay anniversary trip (we were married in January of 2003). I’ll have to admit that we are psychologically well equipped to stay at bed and breakfasts. J is friendly and engaging and I have a prurient curiosity about other people’s lives. Anyway, we came off of a hellish January of work and work-related travel and needed a BREAK. We racked our brains to find bed and breakfast within a sane driving distance with a fun, cute town attached to it. Lancaster and the surrounding Amish communities was the winner. Also, our stay had to include a large, Jacuzzi-style tub and/or an in room fireplace. Our room at King’s Cottage had the requisite tub and a lovely electric fireplace.

What truly clinched the deal for us was that the King’s Cottage website had an extensive listing of restaurants, sights, and activities on their website. We had a sense (which was proven correct) that we would be taken care of during our stay. Given the descriptions of the restaurants on the website, Ann and Janis (the owners) knew their community and actually ate at the places they recommended. King’s Cottage being a Bed and Breakfast, the breakfasts were a delight. They were truly inventive twists on old favorites. For example, our first morning consisted of waffles made with crushed pineapples and coconut milk.

Lancaster country is truly a foodies delight. During the day we went into Intercourse (hee hee) and made a meal out of sampling the five gazillion jams at the jam factory. Along with the gazillion Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants serving hearty Amish fare, Lancaster also has some amazing restaurants. The one standout was Strawberry Hill, a wine bar and new American restaurant. In contrast to the romantic décor (like being in a wine cellar), inventive and well-prepared menu, the owners were refreshingly casual about attire, both for themselves and their patrons. Being a wine bar, the wine was crazy good. I had the merlot and it tasted like merlot when I first started drinking merlot, before merlot became the chardonnay of red wines. Get that? They have an extensieve wine list focusing on California wines. The food was stunningly prepared and presented. I had the pate (as usual) served with garlic stuffed olives, black mission fig marmalade, leek hay, crispy flatbreads. J had the French onion soup that was neither too salty or too oily. It’s nice that they don’t take a dish like French onion soup for granted and actually put some thought into the flavor. Our main courses consisted of seared scallops for J and the spaghetti for me. As in our appetizers, the “gourmet” dish was a standout and the down home dish was thoughtfully prepared. Of course we had dessert. It was our anniversary.

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