Halloo! Still alive here! Sorry to be away for so long, I can’t even totally blame it on being out of town since I’ve been back since Monday. (Oops.) John and I snuck away to Big Sur for a long weekend, to celebrate his birthday, and had ourselves a grand old time. What a scene, Big Sur, quite possibly the most beautiful place on the planet. Cool, dry air bathed in warm sunshine. Vast, raw, turquoise blue ocean framed by deep blue sky, red cliffs, and white sand. Soaring redwood stands towering silently over burbling creeks. Meadow after meadow of fragrant lavender and sage, dotted with equally fragrant stands of eucalyptus, perfuming the entire scene with the most heavenly combination of scents. Many Big Sur restaurants look out over these spectacular views – obviously, it does not suck to sip wine and eat fresh fish and veggies in the warm sun, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Our two favorite spots ended up being Cielo (at lovely Ventana Inn, where we stayed) and Sierra Mar (at the famous Post Ranch Inn, across the road). Not terribly adventurous of us, but damn, when it’s good, it’s good – no need to mess around. My favorite dish (of many, ha) was grilled Alaskan salmon and shaved fennel salad over couscous with dill vinaigrette. I literally couldn’t get enough of it – I had it for lunch two days in a row! Perfect, butter-tender salmon, I wish all salmon were so delicious, I’m still craving it. Cielo’s sauteed Pacifichalibut over crushed purple potatoes – which I also enjoyed twice in a row, but for dinner – was equally delicious. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Yum. We pretty much ate fish and vegetables at every turn… Over-looking the ocean, or in our room in front of a roaring fire… Fresh fish and vegetables, thank God for California.
Walking off the great meals was easy – who wouldn’t want to hike through such fragrant, stunning beauty? Even John (mos def not a Happy Hiker) happily set off through the trails that wind literally everywhere, including all over Ventana, right out our door. We had a particularly good time hiking with guide Stephen Copeland, along with another couple staying at the resort. From redwoods to ocean cliffs to a tour of historic Nepenthe restaurant, Stephen showed us the heart of Big Sur. Completely entertaining and utterly, ridiculously gorgeous.
So yeah, we’re back in the Minneapple (sigh), but loving the balmy air and sunshine that welcomed us home (at least while it lasts, which apparently won’t be long). Nathan’s doing his homework on the deck as I write this, pretty sweet. I hitWhole Foods yesterday and stocked up on fresh (local) morel mushrooms and English peas – I thought I’d died and gone to heaven scarfing down freshly shelled peas and heavenly morels sauteed in a little butter for dinner last night. Couldn’t think of a nicer, more delicious way to ease into home.
And oh! PS, three more welcome-home lovelies:
- Since I seem to be writing about all things fish lately, I must include this link to the Environmental Defense Fund list of fish/seafood that are safe (and not) to eat. Print out the pocket guide, it couldn’t be easier to use, at home and in restaurants. The site even includes recipes. (I’ve provided a permanent link under “for foodies” at right.)
- Jeni’s Ice Cream, particularly the Black Coffee and Smoked Almond flavors, The Best ice cream I’ve ever tasted, wowza – order it from here. (Also added under “for foodies.”)
- Happy Passover – must try these Passover Popovers, we had them tonight, rich and deeelicious.