SEA RANCH day one

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A four day odyssey to the north for food from the Blue Bird Diner to a stop for the Oyster Crossing… Sea Ranch wanderings and celebrations tucked in between. And there was so much more… a rare visit by Eric and Alison to the Bay Area and a chance for us Rectors — at least the MCEA Division — to cook together. So here’s how it went down on day one…

SEA RANCH
The short history is that in the early 1960’s, American architects Charles Moore (one of my heros), Joseph Esherick, William Turnbull, Jr. and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (another one) got together and designed a special place at a sheep ranch on the Northern California coast, near nothing, as a way to provide vacation home needs for themselves and others, and preserve open space along ten miles of coastline. You will see from my pictures that it is a spectacular place to be and like no other place.

So what took me so long to get there? Our first year in California we made the architectural pilgrimage. But we had to be invited to Leslie and Rick’s Wedding to get back after almost 20 years for a long weekend of immersed exploration. You want more history, just Google “Sea Ranch.” There’s a plethora of information and it is, for the most part, as interesting as you can imagine. You want more on Leslie and Rick’s Wedding? Read on.

As a gift to Leslie and Rick, Eric and Alison promised a welcome dinner for the nearly 30 folks invited to the wedding. Carol and I enthusiastically joined the effort. We did shopping in San Francisco at the Ferry Plaza Thursday Market (vegetables), Golden Gate Meat Co. (leg o lamb) and Fatted Calf (30 crepinettes). In the afternoon we chopped and diced and blanched and prepped.

Alison strings snap peas

Alison strings snap peas

Eric carves up broccoli

Eric carves up broccoli

Eric and cauliflower

Eric and cauliflower

Eric carves cauliflower, Marc shells fava beans

Eric carves cauliflower, Marc shells fava beans

blanch all vegetables

blanch all vegetables

cauliflower broccoli favas blanched and prepped to pack

cauliflower broccoli favas blanched and prepped to pack

We planned our Friday trip north, the long way, up US 101 and CA 128 through the Anderson Valley wine country, then back south on CA 1 to Sea Ranch. We stopped at the Blue Bird diner in Hopland for lunch – a place that Carol and I had been a few times on such wine trips, usually for a stay in Mendocino.

Didja ever eat with a moose?

Didja ever eat with a moose?

Continuing on, we braved the twists curves and hills of CA Route 253 to get to Boonville, but didn’t stop. We went on to the Golden Eye winery on CA Route 128. That is a really nice place, but not a drop-in-and-taste-place. They want to ply you with flights of their Pinot Noir, and why not, it’s damn good wine in a beautiful setting.

Golden Eye Winery

Golden Eye Winery with Alison

But Golden Eye was not the winery where we would buy; that would be Navarro, on down the road. Navarro is one of my favorites for just really good wine at attractive prices, especially whites. They also sell grape juice and verjus. I’m in their club and had just received a shipment, so we just threw six bottles in the trunk (2 of verjus) and shipped two bottles to Mark and Jannie as thanks for Ohio. Eric and Alison, on the other hand, had found nirvana. They shipped (free shipping for cases) a mixed case for themselves and a case to distribute among their animal-tenders. I didn’t take pictures at Navarro, its not exactly a place of beauty, just good wine.

So the next pictures you see will be Sea Ranch, and you will see plenty of that.

the famous sea ranch fence stretching over 10 miles along Route 1

the famous sea ranch fence stretching over 10 miles along Route 1

the sea ranch sheep

the sea ranch sheep

Our contingent of the wedding party stayed at Ocean Watch, a three-bedroom house very near the Pacific. The place is very comfortable and well equipped — even with a wifi hot spot — except we had to rent a charcoal grill that looked like it came from Walgreen’s.

Here we are, our home for the next three days. Not imposing from the street.

Here we are, our home for the next three days. Not imposing from the street.

Ocean Watch, the house where we stayed

Ocean Watch, the house where we stayed

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Paula and Alison couldn't wait to plop right in the window

Paula and Alison couldn't wait to plop right in the window

a wraparound view

a wraparound view

from the deck where I set up the grill

from the deck where I set up the grill

grill gets going

grill gets going

Our guests for the Welcome Dinner were to arrive soon, so I got the fire going while the others readied the meal in the dining room and kitchen.

food spread in the kitchen

food spread in the kitchen

the featured salads and bread

Bean salad on the left, cauliflower and broccoli salad on the right

'pork and greens' crepinettes on the fire

'pork and greens' crepinettes on the fire

crepinettes cook

crepinettes cook

Bean Salad

Black beans, white beans, fava beans, English peas, snow peas.

Dressing for Bean Salad

2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper


Recipe from Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington, Chronicle Books 2008
Quantities are for proportion; adjust for the size of your salad.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad

Trim and blanch cauliflower and broccoli.
Dressing

Brown 2 teaspoons mustard seeds in heavy skillet, remove to cool. Take skillet off the fire. Add 1 1/3 cups olive oil to the warm skillet, add 2 anchovy fillets and stir to melt. Let cool a bit and add to mixing jar. Add 2/3 cup lemon juice to mixing jar. Mash mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle, but not to a powder. Add to jar. Shake. Use now, or hold to the next day.

Quantities are for proportion; adjust for the size of your salad.

Eric and Clay enjoy a drink while Leslie and Rick chow down on crepinettes.

Eric and Clay enjoy a drink while Leslie and Rick chow down on crepinettes.

Tomorrow we’ll explore and walk and cook and eat and perchance a wedding… on to day two.

7 thoughts on “SEA RANCH day one

  1. What a nice recording of a fun food weekend.
    Thanks Marc, Alison

    Like

  2. What? You mean I have to wait for installments? Sea Ranch sounds like Nirvana.

    Like

  3. Sea Ranch is Nirvana. Glad you a good time! We love it there!!

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  4. Where’s the rest? Sorry to have missed the eventful weekend. Can’t wait to see and hear more.

    Andrea

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  5. Coastal AND food porn in one blog entry. It’s too much, too much.

    Like

  6. Thanks for a wonderful trip. HELLO to all the Rector’s.

    Like

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