I am a creature of habit.

Newly christened “no fly Noel” has come to an end and I am back in the air. Starting the new year out at a place that feels like home is always nice. I have been going to the Cowper for years. See the two previous entries from 2009:

Entry 1

Entry 2

This time I did not get my favorite room (28). I was just across the hall in room 22. Here is what the bathroom looks like in 22. The sink is actually in the bathroom!

As you can see, this is a standard 70’s cube tiled Cowper-type shower. But room 22 has a more generic shape and no bay window. If this fireplace belonged to me, I would have a fire going. That’s probably against all kinds of California regulations these days.

Palo Alto remains a great town to visit. I found a new breakfast place with real crepes called Bistro Maxine (thanks to BC for the pointer). And I am very pleased to report that Tamarine has really been improving their bar. I had an expertly made Sazarac—a workhorse of a great old drink. Here’s how to make one:

Drop a sugar cube in an old fashioned glass (the mixing glass), soak the cube in 5 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters and muddle. Add ice and 2-3 oz of good Rye Whiskey. Stir until the sugar mixture dissolves. Coat the insides of a second chilled old fashioned glass with Absinthe (disgarding any extra liquid). Strain the thoroughly-chilled rye from the mixing glass to the drinking glass. Garnish with a generous lemon peel twist.

Gary, the bartender at Tamarine, and I discussed the Sazarac which he made with a local Rye allegedly crafted by the hangar one people. He made the first one with pernod’s (which is a big no-no ion my book). He said the absinthe they had on hand was too spicy…and after a taste and an experimental sazarac it turns out he was right. It is great to see Tamarine stepping up.

Cowper Inn, Palo Alto, CA

September 2, 2010

I’ve blogged about the Cowper Inn before, but this time I have photographic evidence.

I really like the Cowper Inn, because it feels like home away from home when I am on one of my many California runs. This trip started out with a flight to LAX, a couple of meetings, and another flight up to SFO that same evening. Sometimes it is nice to have double-plus-good status on United. I walked right up to the ticket counter after my late afternoon meeting and picked up a first class boarding pass on the next available (much earlier) flight in record time and with no hassle at all.

After a 19 hour day, it was really nice to see the Cowper and walk into my favorite room (number 28). The Inn is a welcome respite from a truly ridiculous schedule of meetings.

The Cowper is a craftsman style B&B built at the turn of the century with very old Sequoia trees and beautiful grounds.  Though the rooms are old fashioned and a bit shabby chic, they beat the heck out of a giant chain.  And the staff is super friendly as are the guests.

As an example of what I mean about the style of the place, here is the chair in the alcove of my room.  Modern it ain’t!

Of course the real purpose of this blog is to discuss showers.  So here is a shot of the shower/bathroom combo from near the bed.

As you can see, the sink is in the room itself (a design element incorporated into the guesthouse, though the guesthouse sink is adapted from an old coal stove) and the bathroom is pretty tiny. However, there is no plastic at all in the shower. It’s tile and a 1970s sort of glass shower cubicle. Great water pressure makes a huge difference in shower satisfaction.

The only improvement I would make to the Cowper situation is to add an espresso machine into the mix. Both Il Fornaio and Starbucks are just around the corner on University Avenue, though. And it is always a gorgeous day in Palo Alto.

The Cowper Inn retains its top five showerhead ranking. I’ll be back.

Cowper Inn, Palo Alto, CA

January 12, 2010

Last week I stayed at a hotel that has a plastic shower—on purpose!  The Cowper Inn is one of the hotels that has been on my list forever.  I recommend it highly.  I think the first time I stayed there was in 1996.  Palo Alto is a great town, and the Inn (which is a craftsman style place) is a block from downtown.

The reason I had to stay at the cowper is kind of amusing.  I was in LA for a 2 hour meeting on Thursday, but LA was completely full due to the Rose Bowl.  So I flew north to sleep before flying back East on Friday.  Gotta love those two days of travel for two hours trips, huh?

Sorry, no picture this time.  Instead a piece of bonus travel info.  The Tamarine is a great place to eat dinner.

The Cowper gets five showerheads, but only because I am a creature of habit.