Sierra Mar: Tales from the Down-Low Diner
Posted on: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 7:38 AM by The Down-Low Diner
Looking for locavore cuisine with a side order of breathtaking views? Make your way down scenic Highway 1 to Big Sur, where the ultra-fabulous Post Ranch Inn offers lunch and dinner in its Sierra Mar restaurant. The secluded getaway is frequented by a Hollywood clientele, but it’s easy for non-stars to feel like a celebrity at the Post Ranch Inn and understand why this is the place to retreat from paparazzi or at least the day-to-day grind. The view from Sierra Mar. I could certainly go on about the well-appointed rooms, the spa complete with onsite Shaman and yoga classes or the “little extras” for guests including a complimentary fleet of Lexus vehicles at your disposal, but I’m here to get fellow foodies in the loop on Sierra Mar. It emanates a sense of place, even as you walk into the venue. Pebbles crunch underfoot and the air is laden with the scent of lavender, rosemary and pine. Paradise, I tell you! Even if you don’t have a celebrity budget, discerning diners should save room for a meal at this haute spot. Olive oil bread = delicious. Starting with a slice of Sierra Mar’s olive oil bread is a treat in itself. The crispy, olive oil saturated crust I bit into give way to EVOO yumminess and was complimented by the warm marinated olives that accompanied it. Next up, a wild mushroom and artichoke salad highlighted the seasonal and regional delicacies Monterey County is known for. Keep in mind chef Craig von Foerster often features tid bits such as this that are off the menu. Hummus, marinated carrots and cauliflower, and olives, all served with the olive oil bread. Wine ensued. A phenomenal line up including a crisp and oh so tropical Albarino, and a feisty Italian dry sparkling rose. Time came to a standstill. I let go of any concern for pending deadlines back at the office and lost myself in the sprawling view of the Pacific Ocean that stretched outwards to the horizon. The potato chips topped with chive butter and bruschetta were also worthy starters. By the time my main course was placed in front of me, I had tuned-out reality and turned off my phone; I was ready to engage in the wild salmon chef Foerster brought out. It was just right: grilled to a firm but buttery medium rare atop couscous. A fine Omega-3 delivery system if I do say so myself. Salmon atop couscous, perfectly plated. The meal concluded with a yogurt sorbet, once again highlighting herbs harvested from the kitchen garden. Little did we know we were in for an even sweeter treat on the way home: views of migrating whales spouting off shore as we hugged the curves of the highway heading back to reality.