Behind The Butter

big sur bakery

The entire trip, I had been begging Adam to take me to Big Sur Bakery.

“Please, please, please, puleeeeeasseeeeee can we eat dinner there??” I begged from our little tent the other morning. He reminded me that there was no view and what’s Big Sur without a view? I don’t know. All I knew was that BSB had gained a lot of press in the past few years for being one of the best up and coming restaurants in the country and now, being only a mere couple miles from it, I had to try it for myself.

Whenever I travel I sort of make it my goal to hit as many bakeries as possible. Kind of like some people would for historical monuments.

Big Sur Bakery is located right next to a Chevron station and that’s about it. Oh wait, I forgot. There’s a “spirit garden” next door as well. whatever that means.

As we were walking in for dinner, I told Adam that I thought it would be the best meal of my life. And then when I tried the infamous bread board with butter and local sea salt I knew it would be.

But then somehow I lost my A game. I became too obsessed with the bread and made a major dining faux pas. I ordered two vegetarian sides as my entree.


Certainly not someone that has been waiting to eat a special restaurant forever. I don’t know what I was thinking. Adam ordered the roast chicken and mashed potatoes and loved every bite.

Mine: not so much. I overly critiqued the risotto, which I deemed as less creamy than my own, and thought the broccoli was overcooked. Truthfully, I was still hungry. Very hungry. I should have ordered the wood grilled wahoo and I knew it. We skipped dessert, I shed a tear and we headed back to the homestead. Adam delightfully full from his succulent roast chicken and me frowning in the passenger seat, hungrier than ever.

The next morning, I insisted we try again. I mean, it’s a bakery after-all! I had to give them another chance. So we rushed back to get there as soon as the bakery opened (8am) and Adam, bless him, was such a good sport. I ordered a gigantic ginger scone and it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. So crumbly, light and sweet at the same time! And the coffee! Oh, the coffee. There are no photos because it went into my belly approximately five seconds after it was handed to me. And Adam’s croissant was lovely, too. Feathery layers of delicate pastry with probably seventeen sticks of butter folded in. Simply beautiful.

So the verdict? The scone redeemed everything. I spent more money at Big Sur Bakery than I ever have at a restaurant in my entire life but somehow it was all worth it with that last bite of crumbly scone. I bought the cookbook and vowed to go back the next chance I get.

Big Sur Bakery, I love you. Next I’ll just think before ordering two sides as an entree.





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  • Cait H.
    October 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    That coffee is absolutely gorgeous. Glad you had a great trip!

  • Liz
    October 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Love love love BSB. Their cookbook is awesome as well. Next time, the breakfast pizza is worth ordering!

  • BethT
    October 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    We ate there last year and I found it delightful…but a wee bit overpriced. We just got drip coffee and it was like $5 a cup! (cheapo over here…) Food was tasty though.

  • Maggie
    October 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Next time order two entrees with a side. You just got it backwards.

  • betsy
    October 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    ooooh i love big sur bakery. i totally fell in love with them and bought the book too. couldn’t afford dinner there though.

    i totally do the same thing with bakeries – sometimes i eat so many delicious baked goods that real meals go by the wayside. or i end up with bags of half eaten goodies strewn all over the car.

  • Amanda
    October 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    That might be the most beautiful latte I’ve ever seen. Restaurants like Big Sur Bakery make me miss living in SF.

    Have you been to Chez Panisse? I seriously regret not eating there before I moved back to Boston. It’s on my restaurant bucket list.

    • jenna
      October 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      i have! I ate upstairs in the cafe two years ago when I first moved here and loved it.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb
    October 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    alls well that ends well πŸ™‚ i’m cranky piece of work when i’m hungry… especially if i leave a restaurant early!!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    October 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    What a fun post and glad that the scone redeemed it all for you. Funny how baked goods can do that πŸ™‚

    And that latte…that is ART right there! wow!

  • Lauren @ Sassy Molassy
    October 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    This makes me want to drive right down to Big Sur (only a 12+ hr drive from Eugene) just for those crumbly scones. πŸ˜‰

  • Kiran @
    October 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    That is one of the most beautiful and artful latte. Ever.

    Bakeries’ and it’s baked goods has a special place in my heart. Always πŸ˜€

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Scones are my absolute favorite breakfast pastry.

    Veggie sides as an entree is a no-no. πŸ˜›

  • Emmy (Wine and Butter)
    October 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    omg I HATE it when I order wrong – its actually even WORSE than when I accidently cook something that sucks, which I also totally hate. The ordering wrong thing really does send me a little insane and I have actually been known to cry…. not to mention the fact that quite a few times Louis has actually had to swap dishes with me, when he ordered right and I ordered wrong. These days Ive noticed he has a sneaky habit of ordering stuff he KNOWS I wont eat (um grilled squirrel!?) just to make sure I dont do an emergency trade when my boiled monkfish turns out rubbish. Im also not sure whether he NEVER orders wrong himself… or if hes just more mature about it than I am… πŸ™‚

  • katie @KatieDid
    October 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Amazing photo of the latte! I’ve heard of people making art out of the foam in lattes and that sure looks like art to me. So glad the scone was worth going back for, sounds like an amazing little spot.

  • Lys
    October 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Looking through the cookbook, does it seem easy to attempt for the everyday household cook? I’ve read mixed reviews on Amazon, saying that some ingredients that they require just aren’t readily available in most of the US. Thoughts?

    • jenna
      October 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      you know, it actually does, which is the awesome part! I’ve already flagged down the recipes for scones and roast chicken πŸ™‚ It’s one of those rare cookbooks that is accessible for the home cook. Plus, it’s a great read!

  • Mahealani @ Beauty, Brains, and Balance
    October 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Never been but damn that latte looks worth the drive!

  • Emily (Comfortable Home Life)
    October 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    That latte art looks absolutely incredible.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    October 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Sometimes, a bakery is just as just a bakery without diving into the fancy stuff like real meals. As long as the baked goods and coffee are exceptional, that’s all that matters.

  • Erika - The Teenage Taste
    October 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my gosh, I just checked out the menus Big Sur has on their website and…I’m drooling! The baked goods sound especially delicious. Glad to hear it redeemed itself to you! πŸ™‚

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    October 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Beautiful pics! Looks like a great place πŸ˜‰

  • erin @WELL in L.A.
    October 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’m a sucker for baristas that make perfect cups of coffee + design! Anyone on here know of national/ west coast chains that carry more than just soy for the latte drinks? (can’t do dairy!) Many thanks in advance!

  • Mel @ Mel a la Via Paradiso
    October 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    That coffee looks absolutely delicious! Also, reading your post about camping in the fall + a recent Seattle Times article about camping in the fall…really makes me want to go camping before winter sets in! Hiking/camping is something I usually only do in the summer, but I’m quickly beginning to realize that I am missing out by not going in the fall!

  • Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
    October 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    i am so impressed how much it looks like a cozy little cottage home versus a bakery! i am totally on board with you on wanting to hit up as many local bakeries as possible. this would be a dream destination if i had a list of bakeries to visit in my lifetime. i just am in love with how cozy Big Sur looks!!

    xoxo <3

  • Mana
    October 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Bakery is delicious, beautiful and attractive.

  • Lauren from Lauren's Latest
    October 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Wait…ordering two sides isn’t ok? I’ve been doing that for years! Oops…

  • kristen @ kristen's sweet stop
    October 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Looks like a good cup of coffee! I always like to try new bakeries when I am in a different city too πŸ™‚ I’ll have to try Big Sur if I ever make it out!

  • DessertForTwo
    October 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Ohhh, Jenna. I am in love with Big Sur. It is my absolute favorite place in the world. I will use any excuse to go visit. I love BSB. Did you eat at Nepenthe?????? THAT’S the place that Adam would love: completely stellar view with a killer cheeseburger on the menu (but just enough girly foodie stuff for us bloggers too) πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for spreading the love about the beautiful Big Sur πŸ™‚

  • Coco
    October 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Funny — Gluten-Free Boy and I hit up the Big Sur Bakery this weekend, too! We were there on Saturday for brunch, on our way down to Santa Barbara. The omelets are fantastic =)

  • jenna
    October 20, 2011 at 5:42 am

    this seriously looks like the most romantic bakery ever. never in my life have i had a gorgeous looking expresso like that….truly a work of art!

  • Cait's Plate
    October 20, 2011 at 6:07 am

    That coffee looks unreal. Is there mocha in there or is that just the espresso color??

    I’m glad that you gave it another chance and that it was successful – I tend to give up on places after one bad experience – a practice which you’ve now convinced me to amend.

    Also? The two sides for a meal thing? I totally would’ve done that myself and then been jealous of everyone’s entrees. You’re definitely not alone there!

    • jenna
      October 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      that was a mocha! πŸ™‚

  • Gina
    October 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Reading this post makes my heart ache to get back to Big Sur. Four years ago my husband and I got engaged during a trip there (we are from MN) and our favorite place we went to was BSB. We had no idea how incredible it was when we pulled in but quickly discovered what everyone else already knew. We both indulged on the bread with cheese baked into it (so good!) that we had to force down our dinners. Incredible place and I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for the bringing back a great memory:)

  • Michelle @ A Little P
    October 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Love, Love BSB! Was there three years ago for my birthday. Such a great weekend trip to SF.

  • {whole wheat carrot apple muffins}
    January 30, 2014 at 4:42 am

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