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Ventana Lately?

Back in the day, we used to love having drinks and/or dinner outside on the grand patio at Ventana. The quality of food kept dropping, so we stopped going a couple of years ago (we make a yearly pilgrimage to Big Sur every summer for a week). We were wondering how it is lately? Or should we save our money/time for Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn? Both?

Thanks in advance fellow hounds!

Aug 19, 2015
karoshi in California

Lunch at Big Sur Roadhouse

We ate dinner at the Roadhouse two nights ago. It WAS one of our top two favorite restaurants in Big Sur...what an immense disappointment. We sometimes used to eat three meals there...sadly, breakfast is no more (Serrano grits, you are missed). And the new dinner menu is much smaller and not kid friendly (goodbye chicken lollipops, ciao red beans & rice, arrivederci biscuits) anymore. The service was glacially slow (even by Big Sur standards). The lamb chops were meh, and the accompanying polenta was dry. The mushroom soup was pretty bad...couldn't pinpoint the problem...burnt mushrooms maybe? (aside: mushroom soup at Nepenthe at lunch the next day was much much better...shoulda had a bowl instead of cup). Back to Roadhouse: to be fair the steak was nice and tender, and the creamed spinach had excellent flavor, though its portion size was very small, more like a sauce than a side. Overall very sad...the old Roadhouse used to be a light in the coastal Redwood forest.

Aug 19, 2015
karoshi in California

Big Sur Bakery - Any reviews or opinions?

For someone staying in Big Sur, the bakery is a valuable feature of the area. However, I wouldn't make a special trek from Monterey to eat there.

We come to Big Sur once a year from the Bay Area to hang out, enjoy nature and relax. Years ago, we "discovered" the Big Sur Bakery and became enamored of their excellent espresso drinks, especially when their main barrista is at the helm (I really should ask his name....spiky disheveled black hair with beard). I'm pretty compulsive when there is a good espresso on hand, and make of point of getting some at the bakery every morning we're in town. Even if the rest of my family is asleep. :)

The Big Sur Bakery Almond Croissants were legendary and often sold out early. However, I'm sad to report the recipe has changed this year and aren't very good anymore (they're more like a Bear Claw with barely any almond paste. And the outside has a sugary glaze, like a donut, but with almond slivers). Sigh. Sure do miss the old flakey croissant of almond goodness!

Their Pain au Chocolat is the "classic" style and pretty good.

The fritatta is heavy on the potatoes. However, the quiche can be quite light with a decent crust (fillings vary).

I'm never around on weekends, so I can't comment on their brunch.

For our one dinner there, the food was decent enough but the service was glacial. We visit this area enough to not expect fast service (the hippie vibe is strong), but the wait between ordering and receiving our food was brutal. Having a hungry 3 year old us didn't help, so maybe our view is skewed. We should dinner another try now that he's 6 years old.

And for cactus/succulent fans, their garden is impressive. Especially some of the larger agave and huge cluster of Oreocerus Senilis (old man cactus). They gotta be decades old!

Big Sur Bakery
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

Aug 24, 2011
karoshi in California

Padrón me.

I had dozen from last years crop turn red, I let them dry out with the idea of making some chili flakes. Spoke with Dave at Happy Quail farms and he said that when he makes chili powder from red padrons he needs to wear a respirator and latex gloves. Kinda scared me. Still have them in jar. Maybe I could use them for seed next spring. I'm also curious what the scoville range is for Padrons. Also wonder what the deal is with the hotness variability. Any other peppers have such a wide range?

Padrón me.

I've been growing Padron in my backyard for three years now (up to 19 plants this year!) and I respectfully disagree. I've let some get really big and they are still sweet as ever. I've have been trying to find a visible characteristic signifying hotness, but have yet to. HOWEVER, later in the season (especially in the late fall) a higher percentage become hot or flaming hot. Also, older peppers tend to be hotter (by older I mean, if you let them sit in the fridge for a week or more). I had this theory confirmed by Happy Quail dude.

Love them Padrons!

Albany: Aangan Indo-Nepalese?

I've been to Aangan about 5 times since they opened. Our family eats a lot of Indian/Pakistani food and their Saag Paneer is now our hands down favorite. The chicken tandoori was also outstanding...very juicy not dried out at all. Neither of those dishes were not particularly spicy, which our 5 year old liked...the Nepalese influence I imagine. The chicken momo's were new to us (steamed dumplings with a thicker skin) and tasty, especially the spicy dip that came with it! Oh, and there was this side dish...I think it was called Aloo Ko Acchar, a cold dish that is basically potatoes in a VERY spicy, but refreshing green sauce...we now order it everytime. The plain nan is in the good to great, but not outstanding category. The chicken biryani was too plain for my taste. We plan to try more menu items over the coming months. As a point of reference, we love to eat at Kabana and VIK's in Berkeley.

Kabana Restaurant
1106 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

854 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706