Monday, March 31, 2014

Salty Dogs

That's what we were, today, in another installment of the retirement chronicles.

Some explanation.  We have never, believe it or not, used Groupon for a deal.  Now those of you who know my lovely wife know she is the Mistress of Deals, so why it has taken us so long to take advantage of this wonderful device to save while splurging, I don't really know.  Anyway, we were curious about the incredibly high glass tower of the new Revel casino/resort in Atlantic City, and were inspired to try it out by the availability of a great Groupon offer.  It involved a Sunday night stay, so the excitement level was bound to be low, but that's all right, especially since it would be less crowded there and we really don't start the evening at 11:30 p.m. anyway.

Ignoring the problems Revel has suffered from construction delays and rumors of another possible sale, we took off in a nasty rain storm (sometimes -- usually -- fun is found at the end of a trying trip, we've found) and checked our unsophisticated selves into this most modern -- very Euro -- high-rise and resolved to ignore the lousy weather by just staying inside and exploring.

We found two things that those of you who can stand the idea of Atlantic City, and/or live on the East Coast, should definitely try.  Trust us.

First: Iron Chef Jose Garces' tapas restaurant, Amada, is not to be missed.  Huge sea views, walls of candles and old world/modern design are only the introduction to a gustatory binge worth any pain, although there was only pleasure.  Their signature cocktail, the Matador, will leave you feeling that the $14 it runs was well spent.  I only had one, being an amateur bourbon drinker, and that was just fine until next time.  We arrived for the Sunday night special featuring all tapas for $5 each, and wolfed (no other more polite term would describe it) down six plates.  The staff, despite a nasty negative review we found online, were exceptional in their attention, knowledge, and timing.  Jose and staff, you know what you're doing.

Today we couldn't wait to visit the Himalayan salt room at the spa (part of the Groupon deal, of course), and had it pretty much to ourselves since most singles or couples who came in went right back out.  Strange.  It was visually beautiful, with the walls made of salt bricks lighted from behind, a perfect temperature, cool music, and the color palate of the salt walls:  ranging from clear, through pink and amber, to red-brown.  This salt comes from the Khewra mines in Pakistan, the largest in the world.  Although it can be used also like table salt, it seems to be superior stuff, containing anywhere from 10 to 84 minerals in addition to the usual sodium chloride.  Other than the aesthetic experience, it's supposed to be beneficial in treating respiratory and skin conditions.  I know, I know, there are a million claims for a similar million substances that are supposed to stave off inevitable decay and death.  But it probably can't hurt, and a doctor in the early 19th century observed that the salt miners in Poland never suffered from respiratory ailments or caught colds (and that wasn't the beautiful Himalayan stuff).  In any case, it was a very nice experience, and no aging humans were harmed.

We were thinking that this will be the next big thing in luxury mansions, after home theaters and wine cellars.  It will be on "House Hunters" soon enough, I'm sure.


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