Love is all around in our Sierra hamlet |

Love is all around in our Sierra hamlet

A nifty little thing happened about two weeks ago. I was in town at Ralph’s – Heavens no, I wasn’t shopping the sales; I don’t need to. I’m a Nevada County resident and I have so much money I’m thinking of hiring somebody to help me spend it.

While checking out, I noticed the cashier was wearing a perfume that smelled like heaven, so I asked about it. She grinned, reached below the counter into her purse, and handed me a bottle of Alyssa.

“May I have a spritz, please?” and she said yes.

“Now you’ll smell good all day long and think of me!” she laughed.

I did, too. She was right. I thought of her every danged day for two weeks until I got back to the store and found her. Where else will a stranger share such a nice thing as a perfume spritz and throw in a big smile with it?

Her name is Genie Mulkey, and I’m telling you, you have to go in there and say hi because she’s about the happiest person I’ve run across in months, and it’ll rub off on you, I promise.

She’s been working at Ralph’s (and Lucky before that) for 26 years. “I’m one of the few who opened the doors back then.”

She’s also been married just a little over a year to her childhood sweetheart, Dave.

“I was the first girl he ever loved,” she said. “Well, I was the first girl he ever kissed, and I’m going to be the last one, too!”

As life would have it, they had fallen out of touch and moved on, then found each other decades later through the Internet’s, and love bloomed again.

This couple and their story definitely deserve a heartfelt “awwww,” so let’s – oh, that was wonderful, dear readers, thank you! Life can be just grand sometimes, don’t you think? God bless the Internet.

Now to the Washington Hotel and Cafe’s annual Valentine’s Day Extravaganza, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 14. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but so is the dinner Chef Wil has dreamed up for this year. Su DeCorte gave me the following information:

The first course is chicken bouillon with asparagus tips and croutons. Next is a salad of spinach and tomatoes served with house-made bacon vinaigrette and croutons.

A seafood platter follows with large succulent prawns and caramelized sea scallops sauteed in a rich European-style lobster sauce with fresh herbs and crisp vegetables, all served in a bread bowl.

The entree is Steak Dijon or tender game hen (or a combination of both), grilled to order and presented in a bed of fresh greens dressed with richly flavored merlot and balsamic vinaigrette, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and roasted winter veggies. The hens are smoked in-house by Wil and stuffed with his own herb dressing.

Dessert (big sigh) is Creme Brulee a l’Orange: decadently rich egg custard with a golden brown crust of caramelized sugar, topped with Creme Fouette and sauces of dark and light chocolate.

Dinner, cocktails and an overnight room for two are $95. Dinner alone is $24.95 per each, and served from 6 to 9 p.m. Reservations are a must either way, call 265-1990.

I’ve had the hotel’s Valentine’s Day Dinner, and all this talk about decadent, rich, succulent, fresh, etc., is quite true. Wil doesn’t cut corners or save time when he makes these special meals; everything is made the day of, not two weeks before. People have been driving down for the Sweetheart Special for three years now, and you won’t enjoy a better meal – or evening – at any price in Nevada County.

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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