Pork chops, mashed potatoes and buttery baked pears may not sound like typical spa offerings, but that's what you get at The Lodge at Skylonda. The executive chef, Sue Chapman, developed her menu for people who are more interested in flavor than in fat grams: "Our guests," she told me, "have made it clear that taste comes first."
Skylonda lies nestled on the San Francisco Peninsula about 35 miles south of the city. There's not much to see but the redwoods, the sky and, from high on the trail ridge, a broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean. But there's plenty to do: stretch classes, hikes along the coastal mountain trails, reflexology treatments, massages and full-body exfoliations. And before, between and after all this exercising and pampering, there's the food.
Chapman's recipes are fast and delicious. The boneless pork chops cook quickly; the sauce takes only a moment in a blender. The potatoes don't have to be peeled. And the pears can be baked while you prepare the other dishes, then finished up just before serving.