Grown-up things

The Hunter Valley is basically a series of small towns loosely connected by bushland. Then after a while it transforms into a series of wineries loosely connected by vines. It’s all rolling hills and architecturally designed buildings. It looks like a place where adults go.
This past week the boyfriend and I went to said valley for three days. It was a kind of mini-holiday like couples go on in movies. There are strange little things that made you feel like a grown up; going on a midweek, mini-holiday is one of those things. It’s also one of those things that makes you awfully glad that childhood is over, because being an adult is pretty nice sometimes. Sitting outside your hotel room overlooking acutely green grass, drinking wine and eating cheese, is such a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Other excellent adults things include going to fancy restaurants just because you can.
On the first night we went to The Mill for dinner because it was about two hundred metres from where we were staying. It tried really hard to be a fancy restaurant but somehow missed the mark. Boyfriend and I agreed that an absence of chips on your menu is definitely an important step on the scale between “McDonalds” and “Fancy Restaurant”. The Mill has chips on the menu.
Emitting from the speakers was a continuous playlist of acoustic covers of already terrible pop songs. There’s something wrong if an acoustic cover of ‘Hey Ya’ is the least worst of your gourmet soundtrack. This is another thing that does not feature at fancy restaurants. When the older couple sitting beside us complained that the music all sounded the same we discovered that the waitress had actually composed this playlist and thought it was “a bit different”. That it certainly was.
I’m not sure I’d really recommend The Mill, especially because, for the same price, you could go to place up the road to a place called Esca, which I definitely would recommend.
We went to Esca on Wednesday afternoon, to have high tea after a day at the Hunter Valley Gardens. It was so lovely, with the view and the friendly waiters and the nice cake, that we ended up going back for dinner.
Esca offered the kind of fancy restaurant experience we had been missing the previous night. They put napkins on our laps and refilled our water glasses. They explained what we were eating when they bought out our food, telling us that they grew the tiny pink radishes on the property. It was good food. Fancy but not weird fancy.

Desert came with a glass of copper coloured desert wine. It tasted like apricots. It actually did. Wine is supposed to taste like things, like berries and liquorice and cut grass, but I’ve never actually tried wine that tastes like something. Taking a sip of that wine felt like some kind of achievement on the adulthood scale. Congratulations! You drank wine that tasted like a thing! Level up!
We discovered this week that the difference between cheap wine and slightly less cheap wine is kind of dramatic. As boyfriend said “the less wine tastes like goon, the better it is”. Being an adult means drinking wine that doesn’t taste like paint stripper. It’s lazily exploring gardens of roses. It’s tasting wine and then deciding you’ll buy half a dozen bottles. Adulthood is an adventure. In a nice way.
In unrelated news: poster!

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year