Nepenthe Big Sur

Here’s some fun this morning telling you about our trip to Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur, a legend in its own time. Built overlooking the ocean and known as a great sunset-watching/dining emporium, the place has been in business since 1949. The top image is a detail from a souvenir mini-menu we got as a gift when we paid our bill. A freebie!! Judging from the prices, the menu must be from 1949: drinks: $2.25 for a bottle of Sonoma Pinot Noir; .35 for a Ballentine’s Ale beer; a deviled egg sandwich for .50; a filet mignon for $2.50. See the whole menu in all its retro grandeur at my flicker site — this page. Click the “all sizes” button to read it clearly.

The restaurant has a web cam pointed at the ocean so you can check in with the California sunset whenever you desire. Here. Among the notable trivia about the place is a story that Orson Welles bought a get-away bungalow for Rita Hayworth there. I don’t think it exists anymore. Today, the place is still pretty swank — in a California veggiburger and tofu way. Solid food, kinda high prices and no reservations. Get there early or wait.



The day we had lunch there the weather was solid fog over the ocean (bright blue sky inland — talk about micro-climates!) It felt like we were in a cotton blanket. Kind of spooky. There were big Stellar’s Jays parading around and looking for crumbs and screeching their not quite bluejay screeches. Scrappy looking weatherbeaten things with beautiful blue feathers and a crest, here’s one that posed nicely on the railing to the downstairs cafe. See the shot bigger here. And click the “all sizes button for even bigger. After lunch we went hiking in Pfeiffer/Big Sur State Park which is down the road a bit from the restaurant. It was so hot and sunny that it felt like another planet entirely.