Friday, May 4, 2012

Team Pearfection + Iron Chef

My Iron Chef experience would never have come to pass without the guilt and persistence of Adam. Fifteen minutes prior to the competition's start time, he went to the Event Coordinator to ask whether someone could switch from her planned activity to the Iron Chef Competition. Even after he came to tell me such a switch was permissible, I still balked, uncomfortable with prospect of going back to that Event Coordinator to facilitate a switch again.

But wait - I am getting ahead of myself. A little background here is necessary for you to understand the history accompanying my hesitation; the variables to be considered before my verdict was rendered.

When Jason told me he’d won a trip to California, my first question was “Do I get to go, too?” He confirmed that he did, indeed, get to bring a guest, but that it was still to be determined as to whether I would be his top choice.

Luckily for both of us, he quickly made up his mind that I could accompany him across the country to sit around at Terranea Resort, eat lavish food, and participate in two pre-planned activities. We could choose from things like golf (ehh), kayaking (yes, please), a Segway tour (probably not), whale watching + fishing (Jason's choice), or an Iron Chef competition. Iron Chef Competition!?!? Sign me up for THAT one please! To which Jason hemmed and hawed and tried to convince me that we would really much rather go whale watching and fishing. Particularly the fishing. Back and forth we went until he finally played the “It’s my trip” card, and I acquiesced. It really was his trip, after all, and I knew he had no interest in cooking for fun. So he signed us up for kayaking the first day and whale watching + fishing the second day. Iron Chef soon became a distant memory.

But when we arrived midday on Sunday, I learned that there was no requirement Jason and I participate in the SAME activity! Suddenly, playing chef for an afternoon became a viable possibility. Jason and I discussed this option and decided to wait in making a decision. We explored the coastline, and he patiently waited while I took photos.

Monday afternoon we went kayaking along the coast. It all started off well. We saw a huge school of dolphins and two Gray Whales (momma + calf). Unfortunately, there was a lot more talking about kayaking than actual kayaking, which meant that we sat in the water, ores not propelling us anywhere, and talked about the local ecology. It wasn't long before the ebb and flow of those crystalline waves began to send waves of nausea throughout my body. Pretty soon I was peeling off layers of clothing and shoving half my forearm into that cold Pacific water to ward off the expulsion of lunch! Our guides got us back on shore without any messes, but after that train wreck, I knew I wouldn't be getting back on a boat the next day.

Jason and I walk up to the sixth floor to find the Event Planner to see if switching was a possibility, and if so, to which activity. I inquired into the Iron Chef Competition, but she suggested a massage at the spa instead. Apparently, the activity description had people in pairs, so if Jason wasn't going to do it, I would have no pair!

Which brings me back to Tuesday afternoon, fifteen minutes prior to the cook-off's start time. At some point, Adam learned that I had been really stoked about the Iron Chef Competition and why I was not doing it. He and his wife, Jessica, were already in -- I could be on their team! However, the idea of going back and switching my activity again made me feel like a high-maintenance crazy person. Finally, Jason had had enough. He knew that's what I'd wanted to do all along, so he walked up with me, stood by while I did the unthinkable and changed plans again. The Event Coordinator was completely fine with it, as there was a waiting list for the spa (apparently, others had changed their minds, too!). When it was finally switched, I broke into a huge grin and nearly bounded to the meeting area.

And thank goodness I did! It was a one-of-a-kind experience and I had a wonderful time.


To make an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert that used pear

Team Name

Adam, Jessica, Darcie, Christopher, Rhonda, and Kelley
Avocado, Strawberry, and Pear Bruschetta

Salmon with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Pearfect Citrus Cobbler w/Vanilla Ice Cream

Appetizer #1
Appetizer #2

Avocado, Strawberry, and Pear Bruschetta
Salmon w/Cilantro-Lime Rice
Pearfect Citrus Cobbler w/Vanilla Icecream

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