The founders of the city of Avalon in California's Catalina Island made an inspired choice with a name that conjures visions of mythical beauty, idyllic landscapes and the romanticism of the Arthurian legend. From my viewpoint, when you approach the island by water, the landscape and the architecture transport you to sun-drenched, lush, picturesque Mediterranean lands. What a wonderful birthday surprise! This visit will hold me for a little while until I can return to my beloved Italy.
The cocktail menu at Bluewater Avalon contained something called Buffalo Milk, in honor of the wild buffalo that roam on the seaside range of the large island. I had to try it, and I'm so glad I did. My 'milk' had Crème de Banana, Crème de Cacao, vodka, Kahlua, fresh whipped cream and nutmeg, and the combination made for an exquisite and fun twist on a milkshake. John had a Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale, a beer born in his new favorite place in the world, Santa Barbara.
I ordered the crab salad sandwich with bacon and avocado on a Brioche bun, and John ordered the fish and chips. I worried that the crab would be spicy as it often is when I order it, but this salad was refreshing and savory without the presence of pesky pepper. It combined ideally with the lightly seasoned chunks of avocado, and the crispy bacon gave it all just the right amount of saltiness. It was big and messy, and I licked my fingers after every bite. The fries were fresh fried, thick and meaty. Didn't even leave one in the basket.
John didn't find what he was looking for in his fried cod and fries. He's decided to give up on that dish for a while. He finds it bland no matter where he orders it. This fish was meaty and fresh and perfectly fried, and it came with the creamiest homemade tartar sauce, but you see, John won't indulge in accompaniments. Flavor shouldn't need crutches to show up, he believes. I can see his point.
Have you ever sat somewhere in the world and found yourself taking in the deepest breaths from marveling at your surroundings? It's the experience of oneness with Divinity. For someone as tightly wound as I am, places like Catalina Island are soul therapy.
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