When I spend time in a great outdoorsy spot like Big Sur, I want the kind of breakfast like my grandmother might have made. Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn Restaurant serves exactly that kind of food – that is, if my grandmother was a phenomenal chef serving up stick-to-your-ribs yummies to the loggers who lived here a century ago.
The restaurant, backed by pines and redwoods with flowers covering the front walls, looks like Grandfather's house in the mountains in "Heidi." I got a little choked up as I read the engraved board on the front step, laid in by the owners so long ago: “I and my wife are here in pursuit of happiness as we exist for good.” Pursuing my own dining happiness, I walked inside.
Deetjen’s is just as cozy on the inside as it looks on the outside. It’s like the restaurant was built by the ideal version of a country grandma. Every table is like sitting around the dining table at a rustic farmhouse, and the walls are decorated with plates, paintings and tchotchkes from around the world. Our waitress gave me a warm welcome, sat myself and my dining companion in front of a warm fireplace, and warmed our cups with some piping hot coffee.
Locals joint? You betcha. On one side of me were two massage therapists from Esalen discussing their connection with the Goddess; on the other side was a chef from Post Ranch Inn and her family enjoying a one-day-delayed Mother’s Day brunch. Clearly, my hungry stomach was going to be in good hands!
Any plans I had for a low-cal breakfast flew out the window as soon as I locked eyes on the sourdough French toast on the menu. I convinced myself that my morning hike had pre-emptively burned all the calories I was about to consume, and threw caution to the wind. My dining buddy had made his choice even before he sat down, having heard his guy-pals rhapsodize about the eggs Benedict for months.
The eggs Benedict, it turns out, is all that and a side of hash browns. My pal began composing a sonnet singing its praises on the spot. The eggs were perfectly poached on top of a tasty slab of Canadian bacon. A generous helping of creamy, tangy Hollandaise sauce topped it off. The crispy, perfectly spiced potatoes on the side were a side order of awesomeness, so good I had to order a plate for myself.
I didn’t need a bite of my friend’s Benny, though; my French toast was a delight of crispy eggy goodness. I had been skeptical that good French toast could be made with sourdough bread as the base, but I was happy to eat my words – and the delicious breakfast in front of me. I’ve never had French toast so rich or crisp. The maple syrup, straight from Vermont, was a dark, thick and flavorful grade B – known to connoisseurs as “the stuff the Vermonters usually keep for themselves.”
When we got the bill, we thought the waitress had accidentally left something out. Only $30 for brunch? For two people? In Big Sur? It’s true – Deetjen’s brunch is as easy on the wallet as it is on the stomach. So order seconds, just to make sure you carbo-load for the day’s hike!
Deetjen’s Big Sur
48865 Highway One
Big Sur, CA 93920