For Kendra's birthday excursion, we hopped into the driving machine and headed up to Salem. It was gray and blustery, which was fine weather for touring the House of Seven Gables and hearing stories of ships lost at sea and secret staircases and bloody curses. We got as far as the lobby of the Peabody Essex Museum before realizing we'd prefer to amble through the graveyard, look at cute dresses in a vintage shop (Modern Millie, I think), and visit Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery — a spooky, splendid, beautifully atmospheric tribute to horror movie monsters. It was great! Life-size dummies loomed from the cobwebbed corners: Lugosi's Dracula, the Fly, Pumpkinhead, Elvira and her assets, Jason Voorhees, a befanged Lon Chaney Sr. from the famously lost film London After Midnight. It's a small museum, but winding and goodie-packed and perfectly presented. Hats off to the charming and geeky host/owner, who is (according to Facebook) engaged to his boyfriend. I'd definitely go again.
We drove back home for dinner at Casa B in Union Square (Somerville), a tiny-delicious tapas place. We had: three ceviches (lobster in lemon, salmon in orange, and hake in lime) with curly plantain chips for dipping, savory beef tenderloin pinchos, sautéed wild mushrooms on slabs of yucca, chorizo "spiders" with goat cheese, and salt cod fritters with brandade and cilantro aioli. Mm-mm! They left a touchpad with a card swiper on the table for us to pay with — it allowed us to rate our dishes individually, split the check (if we'd been doing that), calculate the tip, and text the receipt to my cell phone, all paperlessly.
Then home for presents — I have never seen someone so excited by a fine-mesh strainer! — and the peach pie I sweated over last night. (It is hard to roll out pie crust in a sauna, it turns out.) It was a good day. Happy birthday to my wife and the love of my life!