One week ago today, I set out from Brooklyn for my foray across the country to attend my brother’s wedding in Carmel. I flew to San Francisco via Chicago, so a normally 5 to 6 hour trip took me 10 hours … but I did not mind because the groom-to-be used his frequent flier miles to make sure I could be present. (Thanks again, Chad!!) The other reason I did not mind:
I did not actually buy anything from this cafe, but just seeing the name of it in the Chicago airport made me happy, especially considering what was to come my way in terms of cake. (More details on that in the next post.)
Anyway, I landed at SFO around 5:30. My sister Allison’s friend Amanda was conveniently driving down to Carmel at that time to visit her family, and she had offered to pick me up for the 2-hour drive. We had a great chat all the way down, and she provided me with excellent historical background on the region … such as the high quantity of artichoke farms. (Thanks, Amanda!)
My evening arrival in Carmel meant I missed the first part of the rehearsal dinner. Luckily, my dad was able to temporarily fill in as food photographer and snapped this shot of my brother Mark preparing his contribution:
I am so sad I missed this appetizer! Mark made grilled polenta bruschetta with goat cheese, tomato, and pesto:
Mmmm, that picture makes my jaw ache. I can’t believe I didn’t get to taste it!
Luckily, however, my sister’s boyfriend Murphy was on call at the grill and jumped to attention when he saw my protein-starved, travel weary face. He threw a big pile of smoked meat on for me and gave me a rundown of the various rubs (one was a green herby rub, and one was a spice rub … I think?) and smoking techniques that he and my sister had used for preparation.
I went to catch up with my siblings and some other family. Next thing I knew, Murphy reappeared with a big plate full of meat that included the most enormous chicken breast ever and a hunk of pork tenderloin. I made a quick run inside to hunt down the final remnants of produce in the form of fennel salad and puttanesca sauce:
To eat dinner, I parked myself at this table full of cheese, crackers, hummus, carrots, and every other addictive finger food in the world:
After cleaning my plate and most of the table (with some help from Murphy and Emily, thank goodness), it was time for dessert! My siblings’ mom, Alice, had made pumpkin cheesecake:
Mmmmmm, it was delicious and fluffy and light and perfectly spiced. I had many “slivers.”
I found blow pops lying around and compulsively ate one (in the company of brother Mark, stepmom Rae Ann, and siblings’ cousin Charles):
I also found these deliciously iced sugar cookies and split one with my sister Emily:
Ummmm, I felt very full by the end of all of this.
The next morning, I started texting my brother Mark at 7:30 am to get some running plans underway. He finally replied at 8:30, and I met up with him and Charles shortly thereafter for a glorious few miles on the beach alongside the dolphins and sea lions. Mark, being 6’3″ and triathlon-fit, could have lapped me like 10 times, except he dropped for 30 upside-down pushups off the edge of the cliff every time he reached the end of the beach first and had to wait for me. Caaaaahraaaaaaaaazy.
When I got back to the room I was sharing with my dad and stepmom, the continental breakfast was waiting! I had apple juice, a perfect blueberry muffin, and a little fruit cup:
Can you spot the dad?
Once I pulled myself together, a bunch of us headed out for a stroll up and down the quaint streets in search of brunch.
We wound up at Little Swiss Cafe.
I looooooooved the decor (as usual). Check out the room dividers cleverly camouflaged as shutters with landscape paintings in the background:
I ordered an Earl Grey tea with honey and milk, my favorite cloudy morning beverage:
I was NOT hungry because I had eaten so much the night before, so I looked at the lighter options.
Ummmmm, $3.50 for half a grapefruit???? If I wanted a whole grapefruit, it would cost $7? That is CRAZY. Sadly, I was craving a grapefruit and nothing else would do. My dad stepped in and offered to treat me, so I overcame my aversion to $7 grapefruits and graciously accepted 🙂
And I made sure to get every penny’s worth out of it!
In between bites of grapefruit, I took advantage of my multi-tasking brother’s distraction to have a bite of his Belgium waffle:
(Mind you, he followed his waffle “appetizer” with eggs Benedict for a second breakfast course.)
I also had a bite of my stepmom’s avocado (hiding under the scary hollandaise):
And my dad’s steak:
Because I finished my food way faster than everyone else, I had time to inspect the local artwork. Do you notice anything off about this painting?
I swear the artist strategically placed two fried eggs, sunny-side-up, in the flower pot. What do you think?