A little over 4 months after surgery and I finally feel like I’m getting back to normal. This past weekend I was feeling well enough to make our annual trip to beautiful Laguna Seca for the World Superbike races. Rather than spending two days at the track, my friends Brian, Steve and I decided to ride south on highway 1 to see where the road was going to take us. This trip was all about celebrating life and touring the California Coast the way it was meant to be seen… riding a motorcycle and tasting the local cuisine, even without a stomach! From San Jose we headed south to Pacific Grove for lunch at Hula’s Island Grill before continuing past Carmel to see the picturesque Bixby Bridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With World Superbike in town, it was great to see we were not the only motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the U.S. pulling over to take pictures at this famous bridge.
This was by far my longest ride post-gastrectomy and after a couple hours of riding from San Jose to Big Sur, I found out riding a motorcycle is quite an abdominal workout. We ended up in a small little rest stop consisting of an inn, a really expensive gas station (5.50/gal), and a really cool little pub that served some amazing smelling fish and chips. Judging from the fact that literally every patron present had an order of fish and chips, it’s safe to say it must be their hallmark dish. We had just eaten lunch otherwise we would have ordered some, instead we hung out and dreamed of our next trip south.
We rode back to Pacific Grove in time to catch our reservation for dinner at my Farewell Stomach Tour’s Best Italian winner, Il Vecchio. As always the food was amazing and to cap it all off, the owner kept bringing us free food! I ate the most I have ever eaten. I started with an order of mussels and split our favorite, lamb ragu. Half way through the meal, the owner put together a cheese platter complete with various breads and dried meats. Steven got a filet mignon that rivaled top steak houses, I am definitely going to order it the next time. We finished off dinner with a perfect cup of coffee and an amazing cannoli. As if it wasn’t enough, the owner returned with a lemon tart. Apparently my sensitivity to sugar has decreased quite a bit! I left the restaurant feeling overly full, which became a theme for the rest of the weekend.
I ate and ate, and ate, and ate until I had stomach cramps, but as you can see from the pictures, it was worth it! Our meal at Dametra Cafe in Carmel put me over the edge. My eyes are literally bigger than my stomach. The meal started with an order of smoked salmon with feta, capers, olive oil and crostinis. Kate and I split a braised lamb shank so tender it literally fell apart when we touched it with a fork. A potato au gratin along with broccoli was paired as a side dish. To add to the personal environment, in the middle of dinner the owner and one of the cooks came out to serenade the entire restaurant. After a round of applause we ordered cappucino’s, but it came with a complimentary order of the baklava from the owner! This has been our weekend of free food! I had some cramps after this last meal, so we decided to walk it off heading down to Carmel State Beach just in time to catch one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. The cramps eventually subsided for in time for our walk home.
Before our ride home we had breakfast at First Awakenings in Pacific Grove, where the pancake I had was ginormous. In picture below you can see how big the pancake was, and how much I actually ate of it…
This weekend I made a conscious effort to savor every bite and every mile. The added bonus? I even put on a pound!
Until our next adventure, salut!