You know it’s time to get the brakes fixed when all conversation stops in the minivan when you are trying to slow down after cresting and rapidly descending one of the many hills on Route 20 near Lafayette. The shudder of the worn brake pads replaces the guffaws and chuckles that had filled the car on the more even stretches of my favorite national highway.
We had been driving to Skaneateles for a Dickens Christmas a few weekends ago when Wife L gave the stare and posed the pointed question: “Will you call the mechanic now?” It was time, as Sister-in-law B’s white knuckles could attest to, and I would indeed later call the good folks at Deland’s garage in Pine Woods who took care of things, with a more mild holiday hit on the wallet than anticipated.
But first we would enjoy the caroling and Dickens characters strolling the streets of Skaneateles as we visited the shops along Main Street. It’s encouraging to see a village in CNY thrive and offer a viable shopping option to the mega malls. Instead of visiting Lights on the Lake this year, we opted for the Victorian retrospective and then a chance to visit Daniel’s Grill restaurant in Marcellus, a 15-minute ride from Skaneateles.
Daniel’s is a warm inviting place that offers quite a range of dining options. It is nestled along Nine Mile Creek, just north of Marcellus, past the high school. We were early, and had the place largely to ourselves to start until families and couples started to fill the place. Our table in the corner provided us with a chance to relive the drama of the minivan, and prepare ourselves for the ride home, while comparing purchases we had made in Skaneateles.
My purchase at Daniel’s was a stuffed haddock filled with crab, lobster, scallops, and shrimp. It came with an herb crumb topping and a creamy lemon thyme butter sauce. It was a nicely prepared dish that melded together almost too well: I had a hard time distinguishing my haddock from my crab from my lobster. Nicely put together, but I needed a bit more wham from my entrée.
The others in my group had more success. The lobster ravioli was topped with a pink vodka cream sauce that proved an artful accompaniment to the lobster meat tucked in the pasta. Niece K declared it a winner, and she enjoyed dabbing the warm bread that had been served to our table in the creamy sauce.
Two meat-lovers in the group opted for filet mignon, an 8-ounce cut that for Daughter B was accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes. The meat was of the melt-in-your mouth variety that can be a real treat when properly prepared, which it was. Wife L enjoyed her rack of lamb, a succulent pink-in-the-middle selection that was topped with thyme and a robust demi-glace. Very nicely done.
The ride home proved to be quite uneventful. Apparently we were all too tired, and full, to notice the shudder and the scrape of the brakes this time around.