Thursday, December 26, 2013

Big Sur Boxing Day

The best moment of today was realizing, once again, that I live in an amazingly beautiful place - and it's beautiful inside and out. We made our annual visit to Big Sur for a Boxing Day lunch at Nepenthe which has been welcoming visitors since 1949 and was the family business of the descendants of one of the founders of Carmel. Today Nepenthe is a gathering place for not only visitors but for the Big Sur community itself. Big Sur has just gone through a devastating fire that destroyed 34 homes right before Christmas. The owners of Nepenthe opened their doors on Christmas evening for a community gathering to offer rest and comfort for the displaced families as well as the firefighters who worked so hard to save what they could and keep the fire from spreading beyond the 900 acres it scorched. It was a time for the community to draw comfort from each other.

Today they were open again for visitors and locals like us but the staff was still glowing from the "family" time the evening before which put them all in a great mood and made for a very fun visit for us. We go for the amazing view but the food is a nice draw as well. I always have the Ambrosia Burger. This is one of their biggest sellers and they put the recipe on the website so we will undoubtedly try to reproduce the Ambrosia sauce (the star of the show) at some point but nothing can compare to eating it on the back deck, overlooking the spectacular Pacific.

We started this tradition 15 years ago when we first moved to California from Virginia. We woke up the morning after Christmas and realized it was warm enough to eat outside and clear enough (no fog in winter!) to make a trip down the coast worthwhile.  For two refugees from a cold Virginia winter, this was a marvelous thought. Ok maybe we also thought it might be quite fun to send pictures to our friends back home to amuse them while they were shoveling snow. We're thoughtful that way.

Now it's just something we look forward to each year as soon as we realize the weather forecast is going to cooperate. We've missed a few years here and there because of being in Florida or rain but not this year. I think it was the best one yet!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The best part of the weekend

I recently read about someone who tries to identify the best moment of each day and shares it with her Twitter followers. I really like that idea.

What would make the top of the list for this weekend?

Starting Saturday morning at Lafayette Bakery is a delicious moment. This new French-owned bakery just opened a few months ago and already it's a local hangout spot and our favorite breakfast spot. Their Croque Monsieur is out of this world!

Every day needs a salted caramel mocha break
dinner was truly awesome on Saturday night, so awesome, I had it again on Sunday

One of my favorite stops in Carmel is The Tuck Box. It's been part of Carmel since 1926, a unique design by my favorite builder, Hugh Comstock. It's a cute little luncheon tea room and always a favorite stop when we're in town.

Sunday's lunch was a really good moment
see, it snows in California
watching my baby sleep, in his new pink sweater, was a really nice moment

but the very best moment of all was shopping for a family that we "adopted" this Christmas through a local group. We shopped for 2 kids - a 5 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. Oh my goodness, I haven't been in a toy store in a while, there are a heck of a lot of toys out there! We don't know the family and they won't know us but I already know that a highlight of Christmas morning will be picturing a happy Christmas for that little family. We'll pack it all up and deliver it to the local group tomorrow and that will probably be tomorrow's best moment. I can't wait.