Day 139 – Big Sur, April 15, 2011
We began the day with a coffee and pastry at the Big Sur Bakery, the only place open in the area for breakfast. After our morning Java, we took one of the only dog friendly walks in the area on Pfeiffer Beach. Patches of sandy beach are wedged among rocks that are pitted with caves and blowholes from the ocean’s strong surge. Surfers rode the waves as kids, dogs, locals and tourists admired the views including the purple sand created from manganese garnet washing down the hillside. We passed along the beach until it came to an end where we veered up by a creek that emptied into the ocean and climbed to the ridge overhead. The narrow path weaved between bushes and bunches of poison oak.
On the way back to the campground, instead of throwing caution to the wind, we stopped at the convenience store next to Big Sur Bakery, picked up some Technu, and rinsed our exposed skin to keep from being covered in a poison oak rash.
For the afternoon, at the recommendation of the Inn and Campground owner who kept his three dogs with him in the small office, we walked along a dirt road that followed along a ridge above Highway 1 that passed through pasture land and provided distant views of the lighthouse at Point Sur State Historic Park. Prior to the completion of Highway 1 in the late 1930’s, the light keepers, isolated on the promontory, were resupplied by boat every three or four months. Now with automation, light keepers aren’t even necessary.
After our leisurely four mile stroll, we returned to camp, cleaned up and headed to Sierra Mar for a second birthday celebration compliments of my mom. On the way, up to the restaurant perched on the cliff over the ocean, we saw some turkey and some deer! The male turkey, courting the female, fanned his tail feathers as his bright red wattle hung from his vibrant blue head.
Architecturally pleasing, each of the restaurant’s dining areas seemed to sink into the cliff side creating different ground levels. Glass windows from floor to ceiling composed the restaurant’s west side offering a grand view of the ocean cliffs below as well as the setting sun.
My dinner…simply superb: seared ahi tuna appetizer, mixed greens salad, lamb cooked to perfection, and a flourless chocolate cake. None of us strayed from the flourless chocolate cake, but we changed up our appetizers and entrees. Kyle started with an oyster tasting prepared in three styles while Nicole tried Fois Gras prepared three different ways. Nicole’s second course was a strawberry and pistachio salad while Kyle sampled the cream of asparagus soup. Both of them chose the short rib entrée. The whole dinner was a savory treat!
We decided to live it up a little after dinner and stopped at a local pub, The Maiden Publick House, just north of our campground. Joel ,the owner and bartender originally from the east coast, invited us behind the bar and treated me to a beer on the house to help me along with my 40th celebration. We met a few more folks while we were there, Eugene and Nadira. Nadira was from a country near Afghanistan that I didn’t catch the name of, while Eugene was from the east coast. They both lived in the Los Angeles area. We capped the night off with our version of Snuffer’s cheddar fries…ETB