Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No Recipe - Just a Scenic Feast for the Eyes & Some Cookbook Finds


There are clear advantages to working at a school. To name a few-- I love working with high school kids. I have a scenic drive along the Monterey Bay to work.  I get a Fall Break vacation, Winter Break (2 weeks), Spring Break and I'm off for the whole month of July!  Before you hiss at me, I work hard for the money!  This week has been a return from Winter Break that has completely sapped my energy.  I've been cooking, alright! But, for the first time, in a year, I can't muster the energy to photograph what I cook.  Each evening, I tell myself that I'm going to write and upload one of several recipes... but, I just can't do it!  I'll try to do that on Saturday, and I also hope to catch up with the blogs that I subscribe to.  In the meantime, I'd like to share with you some photos of where I live...


On January 2nd, Craig and I decided to drive down Highway One to visit Big Sur, California.  It was a beautiful day, and we thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minute drive to our final destination.  I've lived here for most of my life, and I never tire of it.  I love days when there is still a light misting of coast fog-- this was around 10:30am.


We arrived at Nepenthe's Restaurant about 11:00am.  If you arrive much later, it's hard to get our favorite spot.  This is the view from our lunch table...




...and here's my husband. We're both hungry!  We always order the same thing, for lunch.




Inflation has taken a toll on the price of the famous Ambrosia Burgers!  $14.00 buys you a hamburger. The beautiful gourmet salad, has been changed to iceberg lettuce. The salad was a disappointment, but....



... this burger is so good!  There's something about the quality of the beef, the perfect char-grill flavor and the sauce... I sometimes crave them! Nepenthe's has posted the recipe for this right on their website.


While waiting for lunch, I took a photo of where we had ordered lunch.


I have such memories of this patio area, dating as far back as the 70's.  I even spotted celebrities here-- like Lily Tomlin.



I browsed through the gift shop and fell in-love with their new book, "My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family & Big Sur."  It's a beautiful book, with stunning scenic and recipe photographs by Sara Remington.   I debated buying the book...hesitated, and then decided I wanted to have more time to check it out, before buying it (more on that later).


After lunch, I asked Craig to stop at The Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant.


All of the breads were sold out.   I met one of the owner's, "Mike", who was very friendly.  If we had more time, I wish that I could have asked to see his bakery-- and to ask him some questions. Next time, perhaps. The Dresden Stollen he has baked was beautiful-- at $18.00.  It was tempting... but I didn't buy one. I think I'm still trying to detox from so much sugar carbs! See those cupcakes? $4.50 each!  I bought one vanilla cupcake.  I can understand why it was so pricey--the cupcake was filled with a delicious pastry cream, and I could see the vanilla seeds.  It's all about organic ingredients, which aren't cheap.


We had already eaten lunch, but their prices were right up there-- $17.00 on up for breakfast. Then again, this is a little away from civilization and the locals need to make a living. Besides, it's all about the view--




This establishment has also published a beautiful cookbook called (appropriately) "The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant", which is also photographed by Sara Remington.  This was my first time visiting this establishment.  The next time that we drive to Big Sur, I hope to try a meal at this restaurant-- maybe in the summer.   I will tell you that, as we drove home, I stopped at Border's Bookstore to grab a copy of the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook and Nepenthe's Cookbook. I found a comfy chair and started to examine both books:

I am very selective about what cookbooks I'll purchase. For one, I have limited storage space.  Good pictures are what I am looking for. I am totally visual-- and I am more inspired to make a recipe if I can see a photo-- which is, obviously, why I love food blogs!  The photos are stunning! I decided to buy the Nepenthe's cookbook, first. I spotted at least a dozen recipes that I want to make.  The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook is gorgeous-- there is an emphasis on sustainable, organic and locally grown ingredients. If you live in the middle of "nowhere", you might find it a challenge to make some of the recipes. Still, there's something for everyone-- as long as you are willing to forego any kind of frozen or processed foods.  I definitely plan to buy this book, too. It's on my Amazon Wish List.


As we headed hone, Craig took me off the beaten path, where tourists don't go... because he knows how much I love Coastal Redwood Trees...


... and brooks.  How I wish I could sit here, right now, and listen to the sound of water.  But, back to reality and our jobs, we go-- with a feeling of gratitude.  I hope to be back into blogging, by this weekend.

If you ever find yourself on the Central Coast of California-- Big Sur is a "must see" part of your tour.  We need to come here more often.   It's still "Bohemian" in many ways, but that's what I love about it. 

Till then,


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29 comments:

Kim said...

This is a wonderful post! I LOVED all the pictures and definitely want to go to all those places one day. I've been wondering about the Big Sur Bakery book. It's nice to hear that you like it enough to add it to your collection. Looks like you and your husband had a wonderful day :D

Frieda said...

That looks like a FABULOUS burger! I'm surprised that there are no seasonings in it...fresh is best! I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future you made the homemade buns burger yourself~

Monica H said...

Those views are gorgeous! I especially love the second picture of the fog rising off the coast and the little red house amongst the redwoods. (sigh).

Big Dude said...

What a great day you had and you took terrific pictures. We had the opportunity to make the drive from Carmel down to Big Sur many years ago and the scenery was indeed magnificent. Perhaps we'll get the chance to do it again someday.

Susan said...

SO enjoyed the tour of your area. We drove that coastline many years ago. Breathtaking! I also remember loving the town of Carmel. Had lunch in the cutest little restaurant called The Tuck Box. Will never forget that name. This trip goes back to the 70's. And the redwoods. Such beauty we have in our world.

TKW said...

Ummmm, I know it's kind of wrong to say this? But your man? He be hot!!!!

He's almost as gorgeous as those pictures. I'm packing my suitcase, planning my visit.

So don't be shocked when some foul-mouthed blonde bimbo shows up on your doorstep!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Debby, what a gorgeous place you live. The scenery is spectacular and your photos have captured it beautifully. I'm not a teacher but I come for a long line of educators and have great respect for what they do. What would we do without teachers? Frightening to think of the answer isn't it?
Sam

Ciao Chow Linda said...

That truly was a feast for the eyes. Big Sur is such a gloriously gorgeous part of the state.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a gorgeous place!

I usually make my husband order something different from the menu so we can share. :)

Riley/Elizabeth
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen
Mystery Writing is Murder

ARLENE said...

OMG, what fabulous photos! Pricey, yes; priceless, too.

Cathy said...

Thanks for a lovely tour, Debby. I'm very familiar with that stretch of the coast and it is gorgeous beyond words. I love our Oregon coast as much.

Stacey Snacks said...

Deb,
I have seen some nice recipes from the Big Sur Cookbook, I think I will try it too.
Looks beautiful!

Waverly said...

Lovely post. Lovely photographs. Years ago, my husband and I rented a convertible in San Diego and drove up Highway 1 to San Francisco and ending up in Napa. My favorite stop was Big Sur - we ate at Nepenthes. I've been back since and find the whole area breathtaking. I pray it never changes.

Mary said...

What a fabulous stretch of coastline. Your photos are fantastic.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What a view! And, I'm not just talking about the burger!

Carole said...

Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life and where you live, Debby. I enjoyed the photos and the scenery so much.

Darius T. Williams said...

So yea, that burger is THE TRUTH. It looks divine! And I'll pay a grip too for good food and a good view...nothing else compares!

Debinhawaii said...

Yep, still jealous! ;-) I think you are really going to love My Nepenthe--I know I did. I think it is my favorite for the year. The review copy is still on my nightstand for browsing and the burgers still tagged! I will make them soon. You are lucky to live so close to such beauty.

danceswcooks said...

Goodness, your photos are so enjoyable. And, yes, I often wonder where you get the xtra energy, almost daily, to cook amazing meals, AND to photograph each step! My only wish is that your hubster would have snapped a pic of you, on this trip. Thanks so much for your sharing ways.

Karen said...

That is such a gorgeous drive. I loved the pictures and your review of the restaurants and cookbooks! Really nice post :)

Fresh Local and Best said...

Bur Sur looks gorgeous! It's one of the most beautiful places in America!

George Gaston said...

Debby... many thanks for taking us along to Big Sur. Your photographs are spectacular and lunch looked amazing.

Donna-FFW said...

Deeby.. thank you for the lovely go arond. What beautiful shots. So gorgeous! Must be amazing to see that evry day.

Was that a photo of the big cupcake? Wow, I would love to have tasted the cream center with vanilla beans..

James said...

Amazing, You have grown so much. I love the photos, with lament, my heart often pangs for the beautiful coast. I remember fondly my days in Big Sur, Point Lobos, Asilomar.
Nepenthe's was always a favorite spot, on the patio, sublime. My other favorite spots are just across the way,Ventana and Post Ranch, both amazing beyond words for food, views, and the feeling of being a million miles away!
The whole area is breathtaking.
Your photos do every bit of justice to the beauty that is around. Thanks for sharing and taking many of us on a trip down memory lane.
Love and Peace to you and your Hottie!

Muneeba said...

I'm bookmarking this as my next vacation spot (if I ever have one in the near future :p) ... sooooooooo beautiful .. and let's not overlook that burger .. moist and doggone delicious-looking!!!

food with style said...

oh how i miss the coast. i lived in carmel and monterey for about 7 years, i think i miss it every single day... beautiful pics, loved dining with you~

Laura said...

I'm from Ottawa, Canada and my family and I recently traveled to California for "last family vacation" since all 3 of us kids are now grown up and have left the nest.

My parent's had been raving about Nepenthe for YEARS, probably since I was 12 so I was anxious to try their famous burger! It was not a disappointment! Not to mention the view was incrediable, the whole scene just seemed unreal. In fact the whole trip felt that way.

I love living in Ottawa and rarely travel to a place where I feel I could live but I was really captivated by California. You live in a beautiful state!

bella said...

Oh what a journey down PCH-1....I love that drive and it is always drop dead gorgeous. I camped in some state park where the trees were wider than my car! The photos are beautiful, Deb! I started up with school assignments this week and know fully well how hard you work! Students return Monday and I'm shakin' nervous! Roz

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm ready to pack and leave right now! That view is priceless.