Monday, August 23, 2004

Taste test: the Big Sur Bakery

My friend Philippe Garnier recommended I stop by the Big Sur Bakery during my weeklong camping trip, in particular to try the ginger scones. This is the third year we've camped in Big Sur, but we've never eaten outside the campground before, so it seemed like a good time to go into town for lunch at the Big Sur Bakery. It's a casual little place where all the bread and baked goods are house-made, with wood-fired pizza to boot. I had a mixed green salad with lemon dressing and split a Hawaiian pizza with my son, while my famously picky daughter had a plate of sourdough bread with a crock of country butter for lunch. My salad was full of little sprouts and microgreens as well as cooked carrots -- an odd but not unpleasant touch. The mouth-puckeringly tangy dressing was just right for me, but probably would have seemed strong to most people. The pizza wasn't just any Hawaiian pizza -- the ham was Niman Ranch, of course, and it normally comes with sliced jalapenos although we passed on those. The wood-baked crust was nice and doughy, similar to Nicky D's, and the sourdough bread was pleasantly addictive.
They were sold out of nearly all the baked goods at lunchtime, so we returned on the way out of town a few mornings later. I had a wonderfully strong coffee to help with the long drive home, and the ginger scone, fresh raspberry scone and mocha cookies were all excellent. As with everything in remote-yet-touristy Big Sur, prices were on the high side. Reports from other campers confirmed that the food at the Big Sur Bakery can be much better than at the super-pricey ocean view hotels. Thanks, Philippe.
Also of note: the ice cream parlor at the Big Sur Lodge at the Julia Pfeiffer State Park campground features Lappert's ice cream. Their Cafe Carmelo made with kona coffee is worth seeking out...according to their website, the Aloha Island Coffee Company in Beverly Hills might be the closest local outlet.

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