Mendocino Retreat: Day 3, 3/15/2021



The days are going by very slowly in the best way. Friday, my last day in the old job (feels weird to say that), seems like weeks ago. This entry is just for Monday. That’s the surest sign for me that I’ve disconnected and am staying in the moment.

I don’t remember what time I got up yesterday, but it was early like usual (4am-ish) and time enough to have coffee and get the blog posted before Ash got up.

He fixed breakfast, as seen above: eggs, asparagus, portabella mushroom, fingerling potatoes – all stuff one of us had brought from home.

The rain had passed and we were in for a lovely day as far as sun goes, but the forecast was winds around 25mph all day and it stayed true to that. We had a lazy morning of writing, emails, etc., and went out about 11am to walk some before our lunch date and left Paul behind.

We stopped in the Visitor Center on Main Street, which also served as the town center for Cabot Cove in Murder She Wrote, as seen below. The bright splash of color in the middle is Ash’s mask!, otherwise you might miss him.

We learned from Ash’s conversation with the volunteer working there that Mendocino’s building codes have kept out all chains of any kind – food, hotels, etc. Everything is locally owned. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know that and hadn’t consciously noticed that there’s not a Starbuck’s, Subway or Marriott, etc. to be found. It’s what makes it so uniquely charming.

We met Ash’s friend Matthew at the Mendocino Café on Lansing just up from Main Street. This is the guy who referred Ash to Ricci’s farm. When he and his husband first moved here last year from San Francsisco, they stayed at the property next to it for 4 months before they bought a house just outside of town.

Two levels of outside seating, the stairs on the far left leading down to the other.

I continued our quest to find clam chowder that’s as good as Barbara’s Fishtrap in Half Moon Bay. The flavor here was great but it wasn’t quite thick enough. That is, of course, a matter of preference.

I had the fish tacos above; Ash had a crab cake salad, below. Both quite good.

I had a 1:30pm call with an old friend from USAA; we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years probably so it was great to catch up a little. I, for one, love that video calls have become the norm now since the pandemic; that’s been my default for years now. I sat on the deck for most of that call then went in so she could meet Ash and also because the wind made it hard to hear. But when we were done I went back on the deck – it was warm in the direct sun despite the temperature being 48 degrees.

And apparently I fell asleep. Ash took this through the window of the cottage.

We had a big dinner planned so went out again about 3pm for a longer walk to get some steps in. We took Little Lake Road to the end and then walked the footpath along the cliffs of the headlands, a windy path that eventually led us back to town. Several times I just stopped to watch the magnificent waves. It was So Windy, and the motion of the ocean was spectacular. Photos above and below don’t do it justice.

So I tried a video instead. This is the first time I’ve uploaded a video directly into the blog so we’ll see if it works. I had a longer one that was too big for the WordPress limit, but this one is the more dramatic of the two anyway.

We made it back a little after 4pm and had just enough time for showers before heading to an early dinner. At the recommendation of our friends Greg & Robert, Ash made reservations at the restaurant at Albion River Inn a few miles north of here, as a birthday celebration for me. That’s actually today, but they are only open Thursday from Monday so we took what we could get.

We started with some celebratory cider that was Very Vinegary. I liked it more than Ash did.

I walked to the outside of the tent to get this shot.

square white dish where really all you can see if a layer of browned plank crumbs on top of something greenish

Brussel sprouts is also a standard for us, so we had to get it in a restaurant like this. They were covered in planko so this dish required two photos!

The inside was a creamy mushroom sauce with bacon and onions. If this isn’t the best Brussel sprout dish we’ve had yet, it’s at least top 3.

I had a creamy asparagus soup, above, and below is Ash’s César salad with grilled shrimp. He asked for extra anchovy, which we’d just been joking about at lunch was a bit of a test to see how authentic the dressing is. The waiter here quickly said “of course.” I took a bite as well – with an anchovy for sure – and it was the best I’ve had in a long time.

For the mains I got grilled shrimp in this lime-ginger sauce that was the star of the plate, incredible flavor, with rice and a vegetable medley. Ash got an Indian curry chicken dish, below, with cauliflower and rice.

Pacific Coast Highway 1 going over the Albion River.

Ash had planned the time hoping that we’d see the sunset over dinner but forgot about the time change. Good thing probably because as the sun started dropping it got colder and colder.

The key point of this of course is “feels like 39” and the gale warning still in effect. No amount of outdoor heaters is enough to make that super comfortable.

The waiter worked diligently to ensure that the candle for my birthday wouldn’t blow out in all that wind, and had the patience to stand there with the glass over it so I could get this shot! Never mind that the mousse was for Ash, it was the thought that counts!

And you wouldn’t have been able to put a candle in this that easily. A banana coconut cream pie. So Good. By far the best bite of the meal for me.

New relationship, new job, beautiful setting, amazing food. Who knew 58 would feel this good? Incredibly grateful.

6 thoughts on “Mendocino Retreat: Day 3, 3/15/2021”

  1. Kevin Downes says:

    Steve, I’m really enjoying your Mendocino blog. The pictures are superb and your writing really paints a clear view into your days.

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Thanks, Kevin! I appreciate the feedback and am glad you’re enjoying it!

  2. ourcrossings says:

    Sounds like you had a great time exploring Medocino, Steve. I have to say that the Mendocino coast is is truly picturesque. Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday. Aiva 🙂

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Truly it is. Much or Northern California and Oregon looks like this, but the quaintness of the town certainly adds to the overall look ams feel. Glad you’ve enjoyed it. And thank you ☺️

  3. Chey & Mark says:

    Thanks for the lovely vicarious visit to Mendocino! So happy to see you in that beautiful place enjoying all the best in life. Happy Birthday!

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Thanks! Can’t wait for us to get together again, hopefully soon!

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