The first thing we noticed was that the car was moving across the highway on it's own, the winds were unbelieveably strong! The second thing that couldn't go unnoticed were the pine trees laying across a lane or two on the New Jersey Parkway, and there were several of these trees laying on their sides. Weaving and avoiding them and keeping the car on the road was challenging to say the least. We stopped at a rest stop (FHFB actually got out of the car to get me a frozen chocolate yogurt - I was stressed and needed something sweet - what a wonderful guy!). After trying to figure out what to do - we were too far from Atlantic City at that point to head back to the Water Club, we decided to stay at the hotel that the Friday conference was held at, it looked pretty nice and was on the way home, a few miles up the parkway. So, we called from the car, they had a room available, and we booked it.
Arrival went easily, the staff at the front desk were lovely, and as luck would have it we were on the Concierge level on the 6th floor and the lounge on that level was just ready to open with cocktails and complimentary appetizers - YUM! We headed to our room, settled in for about 2 minutes (FHFB needed a drink after the drive he just experienced), so we headed to the lounge. Angelina was the waitress for the night, and she was lovely as she poured our wine and helped us select some munchies. Upon arrival to the lounge, we noticed a pretty loud group of adults at a large table, but they seemed friendly and we just maneuvered over to a comfortable area around the other side of the room. We had our own TV, comfortable sofas, a front row seat to watch the wind and rain outside the large picture window to our left, appys and wine. About 10 minutes into this very lovely and peaceful setting, the lights went out, and they stayed out. FHFB went to our room to get our bottle of wine since we figured we'd be sitting there for awhile, at least there were emergency lights on and our room had no lights whatsoever. So, we sat, drank wine and got to know a few of the very nice loud group of adults at the large table - they actually had more friends that joined us all, along with about twenty-five 13-year-old boys - they were all participating in a basketball tournament that weekend.
The hotel staff then passed out those Halloween glow sticks to everyone - I guess they thought that the glow sticks would be enough light to help guide everyone back to their rooms - NOT. Fast forwarding to the next morning, the power never came back and the hotel charged FHFB $1.50 for a barely warm cup of coffee - can you believe it! We actually did get a good night's sleep and the hotel manager gave us a free night's stay for the future, which I hope I will remember to use at next year's conference. We made it home safe, rounded up our two little kitties, lit the fire and put our feet up.
So, I don't know about you, but when I get home from being away, even for one night, I always want to cook. For dinner tonight I'm making something I saw Lidia make on television - Cavatelli con Pancetta e Cavolfiore (Cavatelli with Bread Crumbs, Pancetta and Cauliflower) and FHFB's famous stuffed artichokes, with a fresh bibb lettuce and cucumber salad and a crusty, rosemary baguette. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich has a wonderful cookbook called Lidia's Italian American Kitchen - you can find the recipe on page 114 - it's simple, fragrant dish - perfect for dinner on a cold, rainy night.
Thank you for indulging such a long posting - and as always, thanks for reading it! Have you ever had any memorable travel experiences? I'd love to hear about them! Ciao, Bella!!!
Recipe from Lidia's website - this is the one I saw on her cooking show.