November 14, 2007 - 5.0
Rabbit is quite correct, Big Sur is a biker paradise.
In Big Sur itself is a superb place to stop for lunch or
dinner - Nepenthe. Have the ambrosia burger and a Martini
An excerpt from a guide to Ca I wrote for a friend visiting
I'd been to Big Sur area for day trips and driven
the road a few times. There was always this intriguing
place named Nepenthe that I'd never stopped at until
December of 1969.
My girl friend and I had made plans to drive one of the
company's new E-types to Monterey, dinner at Encanta's and
spend the night in Carmel. By the time we arrived,
the weather had turned sour and a walk about the town
after the meal was no longer an option. I had a brain
flash and suggested we go the extra 30 miles to Big Sur
and check out that odd place I'd always by passed.
It was dark when we pulled into the parking lot.
The wind was howling, rain lashing, thunder, lightening
wet and cold. All we were hoping for was that the joint
would be warm and cosy.
I was stunned. Nepenthe was high ceiling,
all wood, glass and stone floor, low lighting
Rustic with Style. Long bar on the right, handmade
tables, chairs and settees and a wall of glass which,
on a clear evening, overlooks the hillside, cliff and a
vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. But not tonight.
Planted in the centre and dominating the large room
was a six foot diameter circular stone fireplace with
a huge copper bell bottomed chimney flue. It was warm,
cosy and comfortable.
There were only a half dozen people in the place
and I did a subtle double take at a stunning blonde
dressed in black curled up on a sofa poetry book
in one hand and a martini in the other. Kim Novak.
Somewhere, I'd read that Ms Novak had retired
south of Carmel, near Big Sur. This was a woman
I had to speak to about anything! I moved over,
she looked up, smiled and I asked how the martinis were.
"They're excellent. Are you dining?"
"If you are a carnivore, have one with an Ambrosiaburger."
"My brain spiralled , Kim Novak asking if I were a carnivore!
Ambrosiaburger!??? At 22, I'd never encountered such a
magnetic woman or one that could stir such emotion -
the eyes, that voice, dusky, smoky, sensual.
I was somewhere in between involuntarily shitting my pants
and voluntarily tearing her clothes off."
Neither happened. I thanked her for the tip, strolled back to the bar and, in a daze, ordered up 6 burgers and 10 martinis, then asked Cathy what she'd like.
A short while later, Ms Novak left and as she walked by,
glanced and smiled a personal look that is just
between two people, or so it felt. It was one of
those rare times when such an encounter seemed perfect.
It was also a fitting end to the year - Neil,
Buzz and I had now all been to the Moon.
After dinner Cathy and I got into a conversation with a
couple that ran Deetjens Cottages just a few turns down
the road. Although, they were closed for the season,
they agreed to let us have one of the cottages for the night.
Ten bucks couldn't beat it. here
Deetjens cottages looked like something out of McCabe
and Mrs. Miller ramshackle, wood frame and siding,
no insulation, no heating (pot belly stove and no wood
that night), brass bed. Cold as a witch's tit and
regardless of body friction and the number of quilts on
the bed, we were still freezing.
This is when I discovered Mans use for a woman's hair
dryer. Plug it in, turn it on, stick it under the covers,
kick it around a bit and, Bingo - toasty.
I've been back to Nepenthe many, many times never saw
Ms Novak again and have never had anything other than
a Martini and Ambrosiaburger.
Ive added a picture, from Hwy 1 just south of Carmel,
to Rabbits - its my favourite road sign in whole world.