In the interests of time, we decided to fly to Ashland instead of drive. So Sasha went into the kennel and we went to the airport. There is a direct flight from Seattle to Medford twice a day (other flights go through Portland), and it is a quick trip. We don’t need a car once we’re in Ashland, so we planned on taking the bus from Medford to Ashland, but missed it by a few minutes, and it only runs once an hour. So we took a taxi ($40).
We stayed with friends, J. & S., at a lovely rental home, Cadbury Cottage. This is a 3 bedroom, 2 ba place just up the hill and over a few short blocks from OSF and right above the main part of town. It was an ideal location.
The front looks like this:
It is 3 bedrooms, one on the main floor and two upstairs. There is a claw-footed tub in the upstairs bathroom and a shower downstairs. The kitchen is modest, but complete and the living/dining room area was comfortable. It was too small for three couples, but the four of us were quite comfortable. (I think it would be ideal for a family.)
We arrived while the cottage was still being cleaned, but they were great about letting us drop off our bags for a few hours. So we went and bought sunglasses (forgotten at home) and sunblock (didn’t want to bother bringing it through security) and then went to lunch at our old favorite, Pasta Piatti.
As always, this was a great meal. I had their spinach salad, J. had their meatball hero. The salad is huge, filling a dinner plate with fresh greens, lightly dressed in a creamy oreganzola dressing, with smoked bacon, pears, candied walnuts and a little pickled purple onion. The combination of sweet and smoky is delicious. The meatballs are huge, like small tennis balls, and although I think they have too much fennel, I’m apparently unusual in not appreciating that flavor. The bread used is sturdy enough to hold up to the weight and the sauce is superb.
By then the house was available, so we unpacked a bit and relaxed for awhile.
This was our ‘date night’ so we put on our fancy clothes and walked down to The Peerless Restaurant. The Peerless is down in Ashland’s Historic Railroad and Gallery District, which many visitors don’t get to. If for no other reason, this restaurant is a reason to go there.
I started with the chicken tagine: a perfectly-done braised leg of chicken (thigh and drumstick) was silky in texture and full of the flavor of the chicken. The cinnamon couscous was not particularly flavorful, but when these ingredients were consumed along with the ginger jam – WOW. The jam was sweet, but not overly so, and the flavor was bold and bright.
J. had the butternut squash and pear soup. It was a beautiful presentation and the soup was lovely. Thick and creamy without a lot of added flavors, just enough spice to bring out the complexity and sweetness of the pear alongside the richness of the squash. It was a huge bowl, and really could serve two as an appetizer.
For our main meal I had the grilled pork tenderloin. This has a “noble coffee” espresso & coconut rub and is served with a cherry demi-glace, yukon gold & sweet potato purée, and live sprouts of the day. The pork was delicious. The rub and demi-glace were perfectly balanced, not too sweet or sour and I loved the puree.
J. had the Double R Ranch Natural Filet Mignon which has a pinot noir reduction sauce and comes with spring vegetables (brussel sprouts, bok choy, asparagus, and snap beans). This is a delicious cut of beef, well prepared and just plain yummy.
For dessert J. had the Peerless S’More. This is a huge cup of chocolate (aka pot de crème) topped with homemade mashmallow crème, broiled so the top is carmelized, and then garnished with a huge homemade graham cracker. It was incredible. And J. couldn’t finish it (there was so much richness!) even with my help.
I had a nice lemon tart with fresh berries. Very good, but not spectacular.
J. went to see Twelfth Night, but I’d seen it too many times before so I just enjoyed a good book and welcomed our friends when they arrived.