Sometimes I get so busy that the only solution is to just stop and get out of town. After spending weeks on boring old taxes and finances, it was time to go. Living in California, the best way to gain some peace of mind is to drive a few hours out of the Bay Area and into the country. Last weekend, I ventured north with my boyfriend to Mendocino.
Late last year, my friend Jennifer Sullivan opened her dream business, the Hopland Ale House, in a cozy and historic building in Hopland, CA. She is an excellent cook and just an all-around fascinating person. For the first leg of this getaway, I was ecstatic to visit her and enjoy great conversation. We actually arrived at night and the building was very inviting, glowing with a warm and welcoming feeling. I smiled wide, stupidly staring at the ale house. I was very proud of her.
The building was as she described to me in conversation over the phone: brick, with pressed tin walls, exposed beams, archways and the bar inside is an incredible piece of art. Handmade by a local carpenter, Tom Carter, it moothly holds layers of different woods and is apparently much photographed by visitors. You will have to stop by yourself to see the interior. I ordered the Pastrami, my boyfriend ordered the Chicago Style Hot Dog and we shared a spinach salad with a spectacular homemade vinagrette. It was seriously incredible: fresh, flavorful and unlike any bar fare you are familiar with. We paired the food with a couple of pints of Death & Taxes, quite fitting for the just shy of April 15th trip. If you are ever in the area, it's a definite must, especially since Jennifer will be opening up the beer garden in the coming months!
id-meal, we totally lucked out because the bar carpenter, Tom Carter, and his wife showed up. Each of us ordered a slice of Jennifer's superb cheesecake and we talked about Tahiti and the visual result of grafting in woodworking, amongst other things. It totally made me want to up and move to the area.
We drove on up to Mendocino that night to our awesome cottage at the Cottages at Little River Cove. Our cell phones didn't have service. I LOVE it when this happens. In the morning, we drove to Mendocino and walked down to the beach to this view...
We stepped down the pathway to beach and found a man playing flute, a driftwood hut and sea caves. It was super cool and reminded me of Oregon coastal trips I went on when I was a teenager.
After the beach we headed to Patterson's for food. The calamari and clam chowder were insanely good. Then, we headed to Dick's Place for a few hours, where Bryan put in plenty of change in the jukebox. Neil Young, Creedence, Bowie, Al Green and the like kept us company while we filled our sketchbooks.
All in all, after spending weeks on finances, taxes and painting under deadlines, Mendocino was just what we needed.