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A Seafood Lunch at Bodega Bay

Warm. Sunny. Blue skies and sparkling crystal seas! Looks like I found everything I was hoping for when we left home for California this Spring Break.

Now we have turned inland from the coast and Highway 1. The sun roof is open. The boys are in the back plugged into iPods and cell phones as they compare Spring Break with their friends.

Along our route we drove through Redwood National Park, literally through two redwood trees and watched the sun set soft and colorful as it melted into the surf at Fort Bragg.

We drove along roads so steep and curvy, through the mountains and along the oceanside cliffs on the Coastal Highway, that I had to concentrate to control my stomach and to calm my fear of heights, all to a soundtrack of ‘80’s rock.

I’m not sure this drive compares favorably with a trip to Hawaii by teenage standards, but for my part I am satisfied with the adventure and having a great time!

From a culinary point of view, however, this road trip has been a little less exciting. We have eaten at Wendy’s, stopped at Starbucks, eaten some average pizza and made a late stop at Denny’s. We’ve been running behind our ambitious schedule and we are being careful because we have one passenger who is allergic to nuts. Still, as we wound our way down the coast I was really hoping for at least one really good seafood meal.

We finally found what I was hoping for when we reached Bodega Bay. By little more than chance we pulled off at The Tides Wharf and found we were at a crossroads of cinematic history and culinary fame. This was where Alfred Hitchcock chose to film The Birds and there was a wall lined with pictures signed by Tippi Hedren and other movie memorabilia along the entrance to the restaurant.

We were seated at a table overlooking the water as it gleamed in the sunshine. A few gulls sat on posts along the wharf like extras still waiting to be cast. The restaurant was bright, the decor simple and the service attentive. Comfortable, I remembered how hungry I was.

We ordered Mahi Mahi, Clam Chowder, Linguine with Clam Sauce and Fish Cioppino. All turned out to be good choices. The Mahi Mahi was pan-seared and pretty served with saffron rice and a tropical fruit salsa. The chowder was creamy and rich and came with thick oyster crackers to float on top.

The linguine came not only with a sauce thick with clams but with several pretty clams in their shells which were tasty and added to the presentation.

The wonderful Cioppino was piled high with salmon, whitefish, halibut, scallops and shrimp, not to mention an assortment of mussels and clams in their shells. Every piece of seafood was cooked perfectly, remaining tender, moist and flavorful in a zesty Italian tomato broth accented with just the right amount of herbs and spices.

Full and satisfied we turned in from the coast as we drove on under the brilliant California sun!


Cathy said...

Thanks so much, Lisa, for a lovely trip down the coast. I love that drive and the trip through the redwoods. Sure could go for a bowl of cioppino right about now along with some crusty bread.

Sounds like you had a great spring break.

MaryBeth said...

Wonderful and lovely pictures...I wish I could have gone to just simply warm up..

Donna-FFW said...

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing.I would hope to see all this in persone one day:)

Bunny said...

Gorgous pictures, I love pics of the ocean , what a delightful dinner you had!

noble pig said...

I know exactly the roads you speak of that are treachous on HWY 1. Isn't it terrifying? I cannot believe there are no guardrails either.

I have also eaten at the tides and loved it.

grace said...

so...would it be wrong to order a side of that salsa? it looks luscious. and what views--thanks for sharing!

Elyse said...

What gorgeous pictures. I moved to CA last spring, and it's totally ridiculous that I have yet to ride along Hwy 1. Your pictures have completely inspired me to plan a CA roadtrip. I have no excuse not to!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Such beautiful photos. Your dinner sounds amazing.

Theresa said...

Oh Lisa, those pictures are wonderful. That sunset is killer and the redwoods look so majestic. Looks like you had a memorable trip.