I had an inkling–when my friend and ex-boss wrote us saying be sure to bring a swimsuit or something that can get wet. It turned out to be true: Joe was a bonafide hot springs whore. My friend MR and I had driven to visit him in McCall, Idaho, from Seattle over the weekend (yes this is possible). After a quick lunch upon our arrival, he couldn’t wait to load us into the car and drive us up Warren Wagon Road.
Destination: Burgdorf Hot Springs, located in an 1860s ghost town surrounded by the Payette National forest. Elevation: 6000+. Joe told us while carefully driving up the winding road, that in winter, the only way to get up there was by snowmobile.
The place is a relic out of time. Tumbledown log cabins surrounding an outdoor timber-lined pool of steamy mineral water: about five feet deep, gravel bottom. Rustic with a capital R.
When I fell head over heels heads for the raw foodies (a phase, but what a ride), I knew real salad was going to be my future–and that I was spoiled for anything else.
For years I had occasionally tossed some iceberg lettuce leaves in a bowl and doused them in ranch dressing. Herbs were for other things and resided a world away, dried, in their glass jars. I considered both making and eating salads a chore, something to be endured while I got to the “good stuff” on the plate. And salad bars with their stay-fresh produce bereft in taste and texture didn’t sway me–and I routinely I threw half a serving out from pure boredom.
Thanks to Matthew and Sarma, I developed a new appreciation for a bowl of greens–One of my favorite pictures of them in my cherished copy of Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow is them sitting together on the floor, backs against the stove, mowing down “Our Favorite Filling Salad.”
I began experimenting with fresh herbs–basil, parsley, cilantro, and mint in my farmer’s market greens, adding fresh squeezed lemon and lime along with macadamia nut oil (suggested by Sarma)–a luxury indeed, but so worth it. Now, every other meal, the salad is the real hero.
Saturday morning headache, two buses, lugging a big bag, unfamiliar neighborhood. Slightly late. Class? The yoga center people look through their records. Class? At 10? Apparently I’m on Yoga Standard Time, and there is no class today after all. Also, I am from Mars. I grit my teeth while the day struggles to reorganize itself around me. Dejected, but trying to be open to “what is,” I trudge up the street toward Broadway.
At last: Realization. I’m near my favorite guilty pleasure. And I’m nearing glycemic freefall. A high ceilinged restaurant with lovely tall windows, recycled and repurposed stylish digs, wooden floor. Very hipster, and entertaining. An atmosphere replete with air. A place that is mostly style over substance.
The host likes the boots of a woman at a neighboring table. The tattooed waitress, when I ask for herbal tea and then for the flavors, says she will just hook me up. A pot of herbal chai materializes shortly thereafter.
The brunch menu is short and succinct. I begin to perk up. The day is starting to behave, after all. Then my table neighbor knocks the creamer over onto the floor, but easily grabs a napkin to clean it up and says in a mocking and admonishing tone to her companion, “There’s no use crying…”
Oddfellows Café and Bar, Capitol Hill, next to Elliot Bay Books.