Wild rice and poached eggs

September 20, 2007

Had the pleasure last weekend of spending two nights at one of our favorite places: Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn along the breathtaking coast of Central California. We were celebrating (mourning!)my 40th birthday. Actually, it was perfect: quiet and mellow, with a beach nearby to walk for miles on and wrap myself in a cashmere sweater and contemplate my life to the sound of the waves.

The best part of Deetjen’s is its understated elegance and local food.  Wood burning fireplaces and thick down comforters warm the rooms. The rustic dining room is dimly lit with candles in antique, funky candelabras. It’s old world. Classy and authentic. What better way to commemorate the 40 year anniversary of the Summer of Love and my birth than a series of meals made from local ingredients, fresh from the garden and surrounding farms and ranches?

From their website:

   Our Chef, Domingo Santamaria continues to uphold our traditional standard of quality by offering excellent cuisine artfully presented.“My Grandmother owned a restaurant in Oxkutzcab, Yucatan. This is where I am from and this is where I learned how to cook. She taught me her style, her secret recipes. That woman would have made the most temperamental chef run for cover. She was tough. My cousins and siblings feared her but that “tough as nails” attitude kept me too busy to get into trouble. It was in her kitchen that I learned how to express my heritage through food. This was her gift to me. That same passion I try to express when cooking the variety of foods available to us now. There is great local and organic produce to choose from, everything from Big Sur Chanterelles to spicy micro greens. I have chosen to serve meats from companies that practice sustainable farming and fishing such as organic filet mignon, New Zealand venison, organic Scottish Salmon and Pacific Halibut.What I try to represent at Deetjen’s is that no matter what regions food we are focusing on, that it is executed with care and strive for perfection.”

Wish I had saved every wine bottle label and taken notes on the ingredients, but alas, I was in vacation mode and didn’t. I can tell you that the Hollandaise sauce and pasture-raised poached eggs are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The wild rice was also soooo good, and produced by my friend Jessica Lundberg and her family in Richvale, Calif. www.lundberg.com If the next 40 years are dotted with weekends like this one, I’ll be OK.


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