Tomorrow we set off for Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, San Luis Obispo and Big Sur. On the itinerary: A "day of decadence" at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito - with massages and Sunday Brunch (unlimited sparkling wine - woo hoo!), a dinner at the Hungry Cat, and a meal at La Super Rica. The rest is flexible. On the way up I'm hoping to stop in at the Malibu Getty Villa - I haven't been there in years and they recently reopened it.
From Santa Barbara we'll drive through Santa Ynez - doing some wine purchasing along the way - and on up to San Luis Obispo, where we are staying at the Madonna Inn, in a room with rock walls, a waterfall shower and red leather furniture. It should be interesting. We're also planning to eat there at their steakhouse, since I want to get in at least one Red-Oak fired Steak dinner.
From there, it's on up to Big Sur - where we will be spending three nights at Deetjen's - soaking up the quietude. We have a dinner reservation at the Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn for one evening, and plan to play it by ear for the rest of the time. We might go to Esalen for massages and/or the hot tubs, we're hoping we can get in through a friend - so we'll see how that goes. A short hike or two are also in the cards, maybe lunch at Cielo - there's also Nepenthe, Big Sur Bakery, Big Sur Roadhouse, and Deetjen's apparently has quite a good restaurant on the property. It's said to be the place to go for breakfast - one of the reasons why I chose it.
Before I go though, last week I hosted supper club at my house, and we had a new member, Jora - who brought the best clafoutis I have ever tasted. I have only tasted a couple, to be fair, but I am confident in saying this one was good. She used pears, which made it a perfect fall dessert. She used a Barefoot Contessa recipe, which can be found here. She swears it's easy, but you'd never know it.
A few other random notes - last night I ate at the Linkery and let me tell you - this joint is jumpin! They were recently mentioned in Gourmet Magazine, which is fabulous, but I don't think that was the reason they were so crowded. People are really starting to appreciate the effort that goes into their food, and the lively atmosphere can't hurt. The special Moonlight cask conditioned ale they are serving right now is worth a trip by itself - highly highly recommend.
I also drove by two new places on the way over there - Urban Solace, which I'm hearing good things about, and the Commonwealth Cafe. The Commonwealth looks good - but they probably shouldn't have bathed the whole place in that neon green light. It's a little off-putting actually. Urban Solace is serving up fancy-ish "New American" comfort food in a cute location on the East Side of 30th in the heart of North Park. When I get back from all my traveling, I'm going to make it a point to get over there.
The rest of my traveling means the Gourmet Institute - which starts on Oct 19 and runs through the weekend - I'll be in New York City from the 18th to the 22nd. I cannot wait - and I could not be more excited. I have a feeling when I get back I'll forget all about the posts I have backed up about stuff like homemade mustard and the Celebration for the Critters, and go straight to the good stuff - like lots of pictures of me with famous chefs. ;-)
Today is also Tracy and Brian's wedding day and I just have to give a little shout out - we are so happy for them. Happy enough that we can ALMOST forgive them for moving away from us to the East Coast. Congratulations you guys - I hope it's wonderful!!!