Weekday get-away to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur

IMG_1461I’m just back from my best ever mini-trip to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur. Taking off on a rainy morning under dark skies, the sun breaking through in the distance promised stunning views, delicious meals, and a relaxing break. Enjoy.

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel's flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel’s flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

...and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

…and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to Cannery Row

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to…

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…Cannery Row

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Then back to Carmel. I had made a reservation earlier in the day at Andre's Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their foie gras would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was "out"

Then back to Carmel. I had made a dinner reservation earlier in the day for Andre’s Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their mouth-watering seared Foie Gras a la Orange Sanguine would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was “out”, gobbled up by greedy tourists the day before.

But much to my delight, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the duck confit just for me. On it's bed of gnocchi

But much to my delight when I arrived, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the Confit de Carnard just for me on a bed of skillet browned gnocchi with mini root veges swimming in garlic parsley butter. YUM!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée wiht Espresso and Frangelico...of course not!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée
with Espresso and Frangelico…of course not!

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant...

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant…

...with its spectacular view

…with its spectacular view

...and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup

…and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup. Even the dreaded trip home in Friday afternoon rush hour and holiday traffic couldn’t erase the memories, the tastes, the views of my relaxing get-away.

Pebble Beach Redux

The end of my forgot-my-cell-phone saga at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s the crack of dawn and I don’t realize I don’t have my phone until half-way to Blackhawk Automobile Museum in Danville, CA where I am to take the “field trip” to the event. So I dash into a CVS pharmacy and buy two disposable cameras–yes they still have them. Processing of the film afterwards takes three weeks and the quality of the photos leaves much to be desired. So to the tune of $15 each for the cameras and another $17 each for the processing, I share the results herewith.

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The view from the 18th fairway of Monterey Bay

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Nice parking spot

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Old royalty – Jackie Stewart

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New royalty – Fast and Loud’s Richard Rawlings

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Color matches my Alien Green II KIa Soul

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Who wore it best? Moi?

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Or this stunning young spectator?

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Back in the day – lighting the headlights fueled by a butane tank

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On the way to the awards area

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Wouldn’t you love a ride in this rumble seat?

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The end!

 

Fast and Loud vs. Slow and Quiet

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The Best of Show honor went to an incredible 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet.

Life has it’s fast and loud moments and it’s slow and quiet ones. Sunday was one of those days. I ventured off on a field trip to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance sponsored by the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, which entailed 15 hours of bus rides, dealing with my no-cell-phone phobia (warning to the ladies–don’t change purses for special events!), taking photos with two single-use cameras (yes, folks, they’ll have them back to me in 2 weeks, at which point both you and I will have lost interest in the event in question), 80 degree heat, and more glitterati wanna-be’s than you can shake a 5″ heel and Italian bared-chest at.

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Richard on the far left with his Packard and the gentlemen who detailed it for the show

My daughter instructed me to take photos of any celebrities. How can I tell, I asked? They have a lot of people following them around, she said. So I see this film crew following a very tanned, slickly groomed, gold fettered, Hollywood-handsome gentleman, complete with entourage who were hustling to keep up with him as he glad-handed his way around the stunning classic cars on the 18th fairway. I took a photo–the one you can see in 2 weeks! Only later did I find out that he was Richard Rawlings of the edgy TV car show Fast and Loud. He strode about like a heat-seeking missile amid adoring fans begging for selfies. His on-the-hoof publicity stunt captured my attention for about 2 minutes.

marc_garyaHours later, after the Best of Show was announced, it took almost 2 hours for our VIP bus to make its way back from the parking area to the Pebble Beach Lodge to take us home. With sore feet and a furrowed brow, I took refuge on a white wooden folding chair in the shade near the Museum’s vendor space. Next to me were two fellow passengers whom I had not met on the way down. It turned out to be Gary Meadors and his lovely wife Marilyn. Turns out that Gary is CEO and Founder of Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, now run by his son. Their fabulously successfully association has tens of thousands of members and dozens of events worldwide for the enthusiastic custom car crowd. We chitchatted for much of that waiting time, enjoying the shade and the quiet that follows a major event, as the exhausted serving staff, musicians, and vendors wended their way home. We talked about our grandchildren–my four and their 12 year old twins, about their growing up on farms in the Central Valley of California, about the simple things in life. They were as down home and real as the American Graffiti world they came from. I’d had a difficult and bone-weary day and their interest in my life and well-being came as a welcome, soothing balm that wiped out every last smidgen of stress.

So, here’s the question. If I had to be stranded on a desert island (which Pebble Beach certainly can be when you’re not part of the glitterati gathered there), do I want to be rescued by Mr. Eyecandy or by two down to earth human beings? I’ll vote for the latter.

dining-taproomAnd not to be forgotten as a highlight of the day, a shout out to Joanne and Richard  from New Jersey. I was standing in line (forever!) to get lunch at The Tap Room at the Lodge and introduced myself, suggesting we join forces to get seated sooner. We had an absolutely lovely conversation over Kobe brie burgers and Roast Beef au jus. Proof that turning strangers to friends is as simple as a “hello”.