Let me preface this by saying that I should not spa. When I do get a massage, I prefer the budget-friendly hole in the wall down the street, where your $60 buys you an hour-long spot on a table in a public room. It gets the kinks out with minimal fanfare, and off I go.
But last week was my birthday and I decided to treat myself to something a little more special. A real spa experience where I could lounge around after my massage, drink a chamomile tea, and read trashy magazines. I mean the Harvard Business Review.
Spas are like a trip to the Caribbean with kids. You anticipate how relaxing it will be. But the reality is that you spend 7 days smearing sunscreen on squirming little faces, cleaning sandy bums, and helping navigate menu options like a tired and grumpy waiter. By the end of it all, you’re more exhausted than when you arrived, and are somewhat anxious to get back home.
Same thing with spas. I go there with the best intentions, but often leave more stressed than when I came. All those women walking around naked. It’s like a perpetual car accident– you want to look away but my God there are naked people everywhere and it’s kind of hard not to look.
And those nondescript hallways with minimal signage…I always worry I’ll open the wrong door and end up in the lobby wearing nothing but my robe and a bungee key. And let’s not forget the age-old question about underwear – to wear or not to wear. Will my masseuse think I’m a pervert if I go commando? Am I showing how unrefined I am by wearing them?
Things got weirder than normal during my last visit. Luxuriating in my post-massage bliss, I jumped into the hot tub with another woman, who looked less than pleased to be sharing the space with me. To make matters worse, I kept inching closer to her, looking for a bigger jet. Her look of annoyance turned to fear as her fight or flight response kicked in. I wanted to throw my hands up in defense and say “Hey! I’m a married mother of three – just IGNORE me”. But instead I said nothing, and once again, wondered if I seemed like a pervert.
But hands down, my biggest issue with spas is the food. The bar is set high for the ultimate indulgence, and what’s offered? Cucumber slices. A little bowl of cashews. At least at Bliss they put out some brownies and cookies. But in my opinion, if food is served at all, it should be memorable. Like a big slab of homemade Quiche. Or bagels from Murray’s with lox and cream cheese.
So here it is, as much a recipe as PB&J. More my dreamy vision of a post-spa snack (and what I happened to make myself that day when I got home because, you know, I was starving.)
- 1 everything bagel, cut in half
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 4-5 slices of lox or smoked salmon
- A few thin slices of red onions
- 2-3 tablespoons of capers
- Black pepper
- Lemon, quartered
- Smear each bagel half with cream cheese.
- Layer with the lox or smoked salmon, onions, and capers.
- Grind some black pepper over the whole thing (don't use salt- the smoked salmon is salty enough).
- Give it a good squeeze of lemon.
- You might ask what's the difference between smoked salmon and lox. I had to look this up to be sure. According to the Food Network "there's a big difference....Lox must be pickled in brine for six months. Smoked salmon, on the other hand, is a smoked fish and is a whole other process requiring a smoker." As in a machine that smokes food, not a person standing by, smoking, wondering why the hell you're trying to make smoked salmon at home anyway.