We finally made it to Big Sur last weekend, back to Deetjen's Big Sur Inn. If there's a more beautiful place in this country, I have yet to find it.
Deetjen's, for those who haven't heard of it (and I like to pretend that I have readers who are not immediate family or friends), is a rustic little inn with a cult following. It was founded in the 1930s by "Grandpa" Deetjen, a Norweigan immigrant who settled in the area right around the time they built Highway 1. Apparently, Grampy was on the run from the Norweigan authorities, and I'm personally grateful that he decided to hide out here. He built little cabins in the redwoods all over the property, added on through the 40s and 50s, and the place has changed very little since then. Rooms still lack televisions or phones or even locks on the doors, walls are paper-thin, and most rooms share bathrooms. It's a very wabi-sabi kind of place, and while all this going-without might bother me in another context, here it just makes you feel all the more unplugged and transported. We first came here in 1999, and it has that camp-like appeal of being the one place where the world seems consistent and peaceful and safe.
If the morning is warm and sunny, you can eat breakfast on a stone patio off the main building and look up at the steep hillside planted with roses (Deetjen's is big on little paths that lead to hidden gardens). I ordered the Huevos Rancheros that Ate Manhattan (actually, there were just called "Huevos Rancheros"). But you can see that they were impressive. That's my arm in the photo, for scale. The pancakes are also great.
My other great food find was a little tray of fresh dates sold at an organic farm stand along the highway. The farmer told me that they're grown up near Santa Cruz (another win for Santa Cruz!), and that she can't get her kids to stop eating them. The flavor and texture remind me of dulce de leche crossed with cooked sweet potatoes, and I'm with those kids: I'll take them over candy just about any day. Here's a photo of Scott holding two dates with a view of the Point Sur Lighthouse in back.
Note: If you do visit Deetjen's, check out the journals in the rooms. People tend to get very personal, and it makes for great reading.