big sur, finally! ::::
Despite the common sense of knowing the poor combination of chocolate, dried cherries, and blueberries ingested while on a twisty roadtrip, and motherly observation rooted in experience, supported with a dose of medical training, it is law that if a kid pukes twice in our car, we turn around and go home, no matter where we are. This sayeth the father of my children, anyway.
This is what happened a few weeks ago, on yet another attempt to drive to Big Sur, a rustic gem of Northern California. People go there to meditate. They hike. They smell the pine and the ocean. They can sleep in a yurt, if so inclined. They eat good, local food. I was looking forward to the semi-relaxation, as relaxed as one can get with a five-year-old and two-year-old attached.
Grub and Peach snacked heavily on the windy roads en route on our expected three hour drive, consuming chocolate covered dried cherries, sunflower seeds, and dried blueberries. After the projectile revolt of the normally bottomless pit of Grub’s stomach, coerced by the twisty drive as well as the quantity, the rest of us had no trouble pushing aside the remainder of the the chocolatey treats for something opposite in taste, smell, and color for any other snack later that weekend. We drove home for almost two hours, Grub sleeping most of the time after attempts of being wiped of vomit twice, and he awoke to feeling quite peckish and cheerful. Our trip to Big Sur was once again thwarted by uncontrollable circumstances. First, it was the road washout of Highway 1 in 2011. Second, it was the need to wash out the inside of the car because of the stench of vomit.
Anyway, I was unapologetically disappointed with Eat’s decision, knowing Grub could have likely slept off the experience en route to Big Sur and awakened to a hotel room and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Since we had to miss our dinner, again, at the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant, I dived back into their cookbook where I made their marmalade tart (posted as my blood orange tart back in April 2011) and planned an homage. Then it happened.
Third time’s a charm. Our hastily planned weekend trip two weeks ago to visit Big Sur actually came to fruition. No vomiting, no bad weather, just a couple of rambunctious children who had a hard time being quiet in a place where everyone wants to be quiet.
We saw wild turkeys, the ocean, lots of bridges, had our share of twisty roads. We finally made it to the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant, liking the dinner so much that we came back the next morning for brunch. The octopus with green lentil sauce was the best octopus I’ve tasted; Eat agrees. The wood-fired pizzas were a favorite with the kids and adults. My dish with toasted pearled barley, yams, parsnips, leeks, and wilted spinach was so filling that I had to bring the rest back to the lodge to eat later.
Despite the antsy kids our first night, the parental nightmare of Daylight Saving wake up-sleep schedule upset, we went to bed at a reasonable time, up early for a nice hike before brunch. Peach did a great job with walking the entire two miles, while Grub enjoyed the tall views from the backpack slung over Eat. I did my best not to trip.
Our brunch was just as nice as dinner, with an omelet, a huge nine-grain pancake for the kids that I couldn’t help but eat too, and soup and salad. My regret that I didn’t stop by the bakery section of the restaurant and check out the offerings. The area became substantially more crowded as we ate, and we headed out before I thought about squeezing my pregnant self around patrons to see what was available.
On our way home, we stopped in Carmel-By-The-Sea to visit La Bicyclette for a late lunch, Even at 2PM, the restaurant was bustling with people, with a twenty minute wait. The kids wouldn’t tolerate the wait, we thought, so we left disappointed, and went to a nearby deli for a light lunch and headed home.
So to honor this trip finally coming to fruition, I give you the Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread recipe from the Big Sur Bakery cookbook, based on an Irish Soda Bread recipe. No rising required. Lots of seeds. Great toasted with butter. It is named such for one of the friends of the bakery. I highly recommend getting the book if you are interested in all sorts of recipes: pastries, pizzas, vegetable dishes, etc. And the history of the restaurant starting from an abandoned ranch house was enough to suck me in when I first picked up the book. It has wonderful photographs and descriptions of the restaurant’s trailblazers, Terry “Hide” Prince included, depicting a year in the life of the restaurant.
One year ago: mung bean porridge with coconut milk
Two years ago: date bars
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup flax seeds (I used with a mix of chia seeds)
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 2 cups oat bran
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup amaranth, quinoa, millet, or poppy seeds (or mix - I used millet and poppy seeds)
- heaping 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons beer
- 2½ cups buttermilk, cream, or whole milk (I used mostly cream and a little 2% milk)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix all dry ingredients then create a well in the center. Add beer and milk into well. Mix just to combine. You dough should be moist. If too dry, add a little more beer or milk.*
- Sprinkle flour on top and roll into a loose log about 2 inches in diameter. Cut into 15½ inch slices and form into patties.**
- Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Don't overbake as the bread will dry out (which can be corrected by more butter slathered on top when eating).
- To eat, slice open and toast, and slather with butter or jam, with a sprinkle of salt (a must!). This bread is very dense and needs toasting before eating.