Man, turn around and rhere's another month gone...still, it's been busy around here on so many fronts...
Just got back from a week in LA, staying with friends in Malibu. Business first, then a lovely drive up to Big Sur from Monday to Wednesday. Stayed in an adorable little cabin-style renovated motel called Glen Oaks, deep amongst oaks and redwoods, looks nondescript from outside but the rooms are terrific: stone floors in the bathroom with underfloor heating, gas fireplace in the wall, Asian decor. Clean and elegant. No TV, alas, so I will have to do some catching up online.
I saw deer outside my window when I woke up, and a flock of wild turkeys clomped around on the roof, and I tried to sleep under a barrage of acorns, like little, or not so little, bombs falling from great heights. Those oaks are TALL. Not as tall as the redwoods, though: how amazing those trees are. Also saw elephant seals in a rookery, and sea otters in the wonderful Monterey Aquarium (no humpback whales...I've watched that Star Trek movie too often), and the glorious San Carlos mission in Carmel, where Father Serra himself is buried (shoutout to Franciscans!).
We ate like kings: the first night at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, a hippie/hobbit delight of a place where I will absolutely stay if ever I go back there, I had pork tenderloin wrapped in smoked bacon with a mushroom/apple/red wine au jus and a parmesan polenta cake on the side, with the best crab cakes EVER for appetizers. Sublime. THe second night we had dinner at this famous place Nepenthe, perched on a crag overlooking the ocean, almost as good: I had duck in an Asian BBQ glaze with basmati rice, my traveling companion had chicken with sage stuffing, and we split homemade Dutch apple pie with vanilla ice cream. And breakfasts at a tiny cafe right next to the motel: pancakes recommended.
The coastline is every bit as gorgeous as it looks on TV: ocean, rocks, trees. But I thought the Ventana Wilderness/Los Padres National Forest, which we had to pass through on the way up that terrifying Highway 1, was even more gorgeous. Huge heaped rocks, mountains shouldering their way down to the water, hairpin turns...fabulous.
Then back to LA, and home on Thursday. Altogether a most excellent adventure.