Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Northern California Field Notes

I messed with himself’s vacation and fled by myself for a few days of bliss in the northern part of our state. I had intended to dine in Palo Alto on Wednesday night with my dear cousin and her partner but when I wasn’t even close to leaving town at noon, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. On a whim, I called the Ventana Inn in Big Sur, one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed, and I got a deliciously discounted room with a fireplace. I arrived at about 8:00 p.m. and was able to walk on an amazing verdant trail which connects the Ventana Inn to the Cielo restaurant, which is handsome and tasteful. I had a swirled soup with two different types of mushrooms (I forget which kinds. Can I still sort of call this restaurant writing and expense just a bit of the trip?) but both were kind of murky and undistinguished. Also, workmanlike but uninspired was a roasted beet salad with decent quality goat cheese. For casual, I like the Big Sur Bakery which himself says is over rated but for a bit more formality, Cielo is way way better than Nepenthe, and while I have not eaten at the Post Ranch, this is probably the best meal destination in Big Sur although it’s so not about the food. I did beg for a few cookies (kind of boring chocolate things) to take back to the room and these were provided warmly and at no cost.

I insinuated myself into some high end dining in the city but alas, the company was so lovely I was distracted from my usual bitchy scrutiny. I had a wonderful lunch at Boulevard, the liquid portion of which certainly distracted me from the solid but which seems to be an adult type of restaurant, the sort of which we are short on in Southern California.

That night, I happened into a dear friend and mooched a meal at One Market, a comparable uber adult establishment. I was delighted to find my favorite Jerusalem Artichokes on the menu and they were so delicious I made it a point to bring a big batch from the Ferry Bldg. to my next stop in Felton. My host googled the tuber, discovered it is one of the greatest inducers of flatulence on the planet and I presume now the ones in Felton face extinction by liquefaction in a refrigerator, which was beautifully cleaned out for a change, in honor of my arrival with edible food.

I’d never made it to the Rose Pistola and by the time I finally did, I wasn’t even really up for dessert, nevertheless, even though I ordered dumb wine without my glasses, it was all as sweet as could be. Lovely. I hope to return there.

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