Our destination for a two-day getaway was Jenner, where the Russian River dumps into the Pacific. It's not much more than an hour's drive from home, but we could not have felt farther away. The ocean is so roiling and the beaches so rocky, you'd be a fool to go into the water. The wind that sweeps up the cliffs in winter is bone chilling (and Bean Sprout chilling, as I learned when he climbed inside my jacket). Cypress trees of indeterminate age have ceded to the power of the wind, bending their crowns landward in graceful, artistic defeat.
There is nothing in Jenner but a small general store (selling mainly beer and firewood, it seems), two inns (one with a restaurant, the other with a closed restaurant — the one we stayed at), a handful of modest houses, and down the road, an Indian tandoor restaurant. There may be a cafe, and I did see a shuttered gift shop.
Thank goodness we brought all our own provisions.
Our cabin was tiny, but better appointed than I expected, with a microwave, mini-fridge, itty-bitty kitchen sink, tiny coffee machine and a thoughtful supply of dishes and utensils. The cabin has an Asian theme, with artwork, upholstery, lamps and even the dishes all sporting Far-East imagery.
So the little blue plate from Japan was perfect for an appetizer of watermelon radishes sprinkled with a blend of nori flakes, salt and toasted sesame seeds. (I admit I got this idea from Jennifer's post about her New Year's Eve dinner.) Cranky was determined to buy fresh Dungeness crab in Bodega Bay, a few miles to the south, and he got his wish. We've never had sweeter, fresher crab. It was perfect with a small spritz of lemon, but Cranky figured out a way to make it even perfecter: He sprinkled some of this magic nori dust on it, and voilà — Dungeness à la Japonaise. Recommended. (The nori powder was also wonderful with hard-cooked quail eggs, although the eggs themselves were on the other side of fresh — not at all close to rotten, and still quite tasty — but the egg whites had shrunken, so no photo.)
Oh, speaking of photos. Damn. I don't spend nearly enough time teaching myself how to use my camera, but at least I've discovered some settings that usually give me reliable close-ups of food. I do have enough sense to change lenses when the situation calls for it, but yesterday I did not have enough sense to push all the proper buttons for landscape photography. So I just grabbed the camera, walked up the bluff, and fired away.
Oh well, you get the idea. It was beautiful.