The night time summer heat in California is making me long for cool weather, sweaters, boots, and warm knitted hats. It makes me think about my favorite winter traditions. One of my favorite traditions might sound strange to some people.
Making a trip across San Francisco Bay Area’s foggy, winding Highway 92, and down the coast of Highway 1 to visit the coastal town of Pescadero is an annual tradition to my family and me.
You might be thinking, “What? You go to…a BEACH in the winter?”
Absolutely. Our choice to make this trek every February is lead by our hunger for uniquely tangy delicious food, and adorable baby goats.
My mother and I usually start our afternoon at Harley Farms. We closely follow the farm’s website to find out when the kids have been born. I’ll admit it-I can’t help but smile at the sight of a bouncy, fuzzy, baby goat. We usually spend an hour petting and snapping pictures of the sweet goat babies, while admiring the majestic llamas which guard the farm.
One of the best parts of visiting the farm is the farm shop. Upon stepping into the shop, the scents of lavender, honey, and savory cheese hit your nose. As you walk the perimeter of the shop, you’ll notice samples of various goat cheeses. Customers can sample farm-produced pressed flower studded chevre (goat’s milk cheese) masterpieces, lavender chevre, salad dressings, berry preserves, local honey, and goat’s milk bath products. As you make your way down to the lower level of the shop, you might even see the farm cat sleeping on top of the stacks of apparel. One of the newest products which piqued my interest was the vibrant farm paint. This paint contains zero volatile compounds. I have been itching to find an excuse to paint something, just to try it out.
Each year, I buy a chive chevre log from the farm, which is divine on thin slices of toasted French bread, or a great addition on top of a salad. Honestly, I could eat it by the spoonful…I have no shame.
We try not to over-do it on the cheese samples, because we know we will have dinner at Duarte’s Tavern, which is a hometown icon to Pescadero. This tavern is famous for their cream of artichoke soup and hand crafted olallieberry pies. It started as a saloon and barbershop in 1894, but today it is a popular spot for locals and beachgoing visitors alike. The wooden walls are lined with black and white family photos and artwork, which gives the spot a warm, home-like vibe. The smell of tangy, freshly baked bread fills the air.
My “usual” is a bowl of cream of artichoke soup, and a basket of Duarte’s signature bread. The cream of artichoke soup is sourced from artichokes which are grown in a vegetable garden, located right behind the restaurant. The flavors of the soup were buttery, creamy, savory, with a slightly piquant flavor from the artichokes. The bread had a feathery, crispy crust, and a chewy, pillowy, sour tang, which is a very popular characteristic of artisan breads created in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Needless to say, February simply cannot get here any sooner…until then, I’ll be daydreaming about next winter’s bounty of tangy culinary treats.