Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back to the Hills, Part 6

The last Night – and Back Home
The Timber Cove Inn in Jenner, CA
For my last night on Sarah’s mountain, we decided to wind it up with dinner at the Timber Cove Inn. Now, normally I only write about a restaurant if I’m wildly excited about it. This will be an exception.

First I called to be sure they were open, a wise practice around here, since anyplace you go means a long drive and operating hours tend to be at the owner’s whim. Yes, they would be open from 5 to 9 for dinner. Did I wish to make a reservation? Uh…reservation? Is there, like, a dress code? No, but one does need to make reservations. Well, okay. Sure. Seven o’clock. Fagan, F as in Frank, a-g-a-n.
I do have to say that both the building and the seaside setting are extremely impressive. The lobby was a lofty, cathedral-style vault done in rustic log beams. The stone fireplace was massive. Along one side was a lengthy bar where a wine tasting was in full swing. Down the steps behind the bar was a small but elegant dining room with its own circular, free-standing fireplace in the middle. The view from the high, glassed in wall beyond included a terraced patio with additional tables. The sweeping ocean vista was thrilling. Then we were handed the menus.

You’ve got to be kidding. Prices are notorious everywhere in California, but this bordered on unbridled extravagance. Sis had been here before several years back with some of our cousins and hadn’t remembered it being so exorbitant. We ordered from what we suspected was the appetizer section. I had scallops with wilted pea vines served in some sort of reduction. Sarah had a cod salad.
Fine dining, as you may know, is mostly about presentation. The scallops (all three of them!) arrived on a long, boat-shaped saucer sitting on a luncheon plate, which in turn rested on a large square platter. Between each piece of china was an exquisite paper doily.  Sarah’s cod was served in an exaggerated, modern art sort of ladle decorously dominating its square platter. But instead of a doily, it was accompanied by a smear of herb sprinkled butter and an artful stack of the thinnest, hardest toast ever. Sarah was certain they could hear her crunching on the stuff halfway down the coast. That, and a lovely basket containing 4 pieces of cold bread, was the total sustenance offered.

We left the place starving. And for less than the price of just one of those meals, we both dined sumptuously the next night at the Gourmet Garden, an extensive Chinese buffet in Petaluma. I reviewed it most enthusiastically on my last visit. It happens to be next door to the Best Western where we go prior to my boarding the 4:30 AM airport shuttle the next morning.
And thus endeth this trip to the northern California mountains.
The view from Seat 6C. (Relax - I used
 a real camera, not my phone!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back to the Hills, Part 5

Let’s go get the mail

There’s nothing more relaxing after a strenuous day than the scenic trek to the mailbox. Put on your comfiest clodhoppers and let’s go.
The head of the driveway is wide to accommodate
truck turnarounds, vineyard crew vehicles
and porta-potties.

Approaching the first gate, whose main
purpose is to keep deer from eating grapes.

And into the woods, fragrant with pine, cedar and bay.

The second gate, whose purpose escapes me.
All the vineyards up here have them.
Trying to keep out revenuers?

And out onto the road. Very rarely will you meet a car here.
Can you see the mailbox yet!
Aha! We have something!