Friday, we got Kiddo to school then packed our bags to head back to Sooke Harbour House. The room was ready to go when we got there (early check-in, yay!) so we dumped our stuff (this time in the Driftwood Room, next door to the room we stayed in on our anniversary) and headed back to the kitchen for our "adventure."
As it is off-season, things are a little quieter (fewer than half the staff of the busy summer and wedding season) but that's why the package is only offered October-May. At any rate, we got "suited up" in cook's jackets and aprons (we were allowed to forego the checkered pants -- phew!). After meeting the chefs and a quick tour of the kitchen, we were put to work -- basically we were prep cooks for the afternoon. We cleaned and chopped a lot of mushrooms (some so fresh that foragers were still signing off on the delivery when we arrived) then I got to sautee them while Hubby moved on to making tartar sauce from scratch. Next I helped to make a chunky golden beet and hazelnut pesto and fishcakes while Hubby was rolling up springrolls containing the mushrooms and other veggies. We also looked on while the chefs created asian-style braised lamb shanks and an amazing soup made with squash, root vegetables, and quince. I had expected a little more instruction and/or some time with the pastry chef but perhaps they were waiting for us to ask? It all seemed very.... organic in its (lack of) structure.
Later, as we ate dinner it was interesting to see which things we had prepped ended up with which dishes on the menu. (Kiddo and my Mother in Law joined us but apparently it was all too much for Kiddo -- she and Hubby ended up eating in the room instead of the dining area). When it was time for dessert, I just asked to have that sent to the room as well and went down to see what was up. Kiddo was already curled up in bed.
While waiting for breakfast we went out and watched the waves rolling in along the shore but once we were done eating we basically packed up and headed back to town. On the way in, we stopped and waited in a big line with a few hundred people to get H1N1 vaccines (yes, I decided ultimately it was the lesser evil) since as of Friday it was available to the general public. It didn't take too long (just over 90 minutes from door to jab) and now it's done so I can bring my internal panic level down a notch.
Worst thing about this weekend? Between the standing in the kitchen Friday and the standing in line Saturday, my left hip is really sore.
Tonight, we decided to "take advantage" of Hillside Mall's special "Night before late-night shopping" event. The key was that it was ticketed entry only at $5 per ticket (kids under 10 free, proceeds to BC Children's Hospital) and there were oodles of door prizes, appetizers, fashion shows, etc. plus special sale prices at most stores. Well, lemme tell you, I feel like a rube. The place was PACKED. Like December 23rd, no-room-to-park packed. Insane. We took advantage of 25% off everything at the dollar store plus bought a few other things (most of them at Bolen Books where stuff was 10%-15% off) then got the hell out. Seriously, not worth the savings.