02 April 2009
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!