Last weekend, the long President’s Day weekend, I didn’t do too much cooking. But, I did do a bunch of eating. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, located relatively nearby on the California coast in Pescadero (near some great tide pools and beaches, and Phipps Farm): Duarte’s Tavern. This charming spot has been in operation for well over 100 years. They have the world’s best fruit pies – especially their ollaliberry pie. How do they get a CRISP and FLAKY bottom crust? I asked, a long time ago, before they started merchandising their products, if I could go there and learn how they make their pies. They gave me a phone number to call and said I’d have to get there very early. For one reason or another, I never followed up. Then, again, maybe part of the appeal of the pie is the place itself. I certainly couldn’t re-create that. On the other hand, I have been known to drive down to Duarte’s (45 minutes each way) to buy pies for special occasions. Their pies are just as delicious at our house.
After a scrumptious lunch of artichoke soup, fresh crab-melt sandwiches, and pie (J, ever the non-conformist, had pasta and tapioca pudding), we went to see the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo. While S had been many times, the girls and I had never gone during breeding and mating season. We have been to see the elephant seals during molting season, when they just lie around on the beach and smell terrible (at least to us, probably not to eachother!). But the mating season is a different story. What a show. This time of year, you can only go on a docent led tour because the elephant seals come up into the dunes. You have to stay 25 feet away from these huge animals because they are endangered and faster than they look. We saw alpha and beta males (bulls) jousting, huge “harems” of females trying to fend off the males (mostly without success), pups and weaners (those pups recently weaned at 28 days). It was fascinating. And, we went in the 3 hours of the day that it wasn’t raining. So much fun. I love California!