I’m dirty. And no, not in the way some of you might be thinking right now. Get your mind out of the gutter! Dirty as in I-smell-like-campfire-haven’t-taken-a-hot-shower-in-days-and-really-need-to-wash-my-hair dirty.
Adam and I had such a great time camping last Easter (that time in Big Basin), that we decided to plan another trip this year….but this time, to Big Sur!
We LOVE Big Sur.
We also went to celebrate Adam’s birthday! Well it wasn’t technically his birthday yet, but I felt terrible because I’ll be out of town on his birthday for the second year in a row and needed to make it up in a big way. Enter camping.
Camping with cocktails, that is. On the second night, I blindfolded Adam and whisked him away from the campsite to a surprise location for a special (early) birthday dinner and drinks. More on that in a sec!
A few months ago, I booked us one of the last spots available at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It was an okay spot…close to the bathrooms and in the redwoods…but then I stalked Reserve America every single day last week and snatched up a prime river spot when someone cancelled and made the switch. The new spot was fabulous! Right near the Big Sur River with lots of places to hang the hammock or have a picnic. I was shocked at how large the sites were—definitely room for more than one tent! Plus, our neighbors never showed up so it was very private and secluded.
As for food, we grabbed ingredients at a grocery store in Monterey and I cooked up some chili and rice on the camp stove the first night straight out of my new favorite cookbook.
I loved cooking in the middle of the cold, foggy woods! And the chili turned out great. I used ground beef, beans, tomatoes and a special spice blend that I had prepared at home earlier that day and brought with me. I think the spice blend was a combination of cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder and cardamom. It was fab!
The SECOND night (after another meal of leftover chili—yay for bringing a cooler with lots of ice!) was the special night. Unknown to Adam, I had made birthday dinner reservations earlier in the week at The Restaurant at Ventana and couldn’t wait to surprise him. I blindfolded him at camp and then drove us the two miles south—he was so surprised! Just the look on his face when I tore off the blindfold and handed him a cocktail was worth it all.
The food was spectacular!!! I went with the vegetarian tasting menu because it featured both wild mushroom risotto and ricotta gnocchi, my two favorite things.
Amazing ricotta gnocchi with olives, housemade marinara and Parmesan:
Berry crisp for dessert!
Adam had the duck, which he said was equally as amazing.
We loved every second of our meal and experience, but quickly dragged ourselves back to our tent post-meal…..guest rooms at Ventana go for the low price of about $750 a night. Maybe someday! If I win the lottery, that is.
Until that day happens, just give me an air mattress, a warm sleeping bag and a bottle of wine and I’m good to go.
Naturally, we procrastinated the three hour drive home yesterday and didn’t get home until really late, which is why there might be unintentional spelling or grammatical errors in this post. Sorry about that! Y’all know I love you. Right now as I type this it’s quarter to midnight and I still have my hiking shoes laced up and twigs in my hair.
Oh and one more thing!! I ate the BEST eggs benedict of my LIFE yesterday morning at Deetjin’s Big Sur Inn. It involved chicken apple sausage and totally rocked my world. As I was mopping up the last bit of english muffin, it dawned on me that I should have taken a photo (the camera was right next to me the whole time) but…..that never happened. Forgive me.
Here’s all the deets:
Where we camped: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Where we hiked: Julia Pfeiffer State Park
Going camping and not sure what to eat? Check out this post I wrote on that exact subject last summer!