Monday, December 22, 2014


We just got in a batch of wild gooseneck barnacles. These primordial sea creatures can be found in large numbers all along the Big Sur coast, unfortunately they can't be harvested, because they are an unlisted intertidal species. This means that when the Fish and Wildlife made the regulations, there was not enough interest in the species to warrant adding
them to the list or researching their sustainability.

While gooseneck barnacles are rarely seen on menus in California- they are
very popular in Spain and Portugal, where prime specimens can bring in over
300 Euro per Kilo. The exorbitant price is largely due to the extreme danger involved in harvesting them. Large gooseneck barnacles spend most of their time submerged just below the surface on steep granite cliffs.
During large tidal shifts, when a negative tide occurs, it is possible for harvesters to reach and chisel away the barnacles, but they must constantly battle slippery conditions and large rogue waves.

Our barnacles were wild harvested on a pristine stretch of the Oregon coast. It took over 6 months for our source to get the perfect harvesting conditions, and we were thrilled to see them show up this week! The meat of the barnacles is surprisingly delicious, somewhere between crab and
escargot with a mild sweetness, intense salinity and subtle earthiness. We experimented with grilling the barnacles with dried hay and quickly blanching them in sea water. Our consensus was to cook the barnacles just enough to remove them from their shells - 10-15 seconds.

Tonight we made a local artichoke and barnacle barigoule with spicy chorizo and crispy bay scented potatoes.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Local smoked mackerel with pickled anchovies, garden brassicas and garlic purée.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Cocoa butter encased beets with gold and black salt-sutffed with mole inspired goat cheese - a passed appetizer for this year's Meals On Wheels Culinary Classique.

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Evening Walk on the Coast

Earlier this week I was walking along the coast between Big Sur and Monterey when I came across this incredible native mortar rock hidden in the tall grass. There is nothing more humbling that thinking about the thousands of years of cooks who have made this coast their home.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter Musings

Working on new menus with an espresso and the new Art of Eating is a guilty pleasure...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post Ranch Honey

A couple of months back, we harvested our first batch of Post Ranch honey! Back then, it seemed like we had more than enough but now we nearly used the entire supply. With shorter days and flowers less abundant, our bees are moving into their winter cycle. It will be far too long before we get our next honey harvest. Perhaps we will add a few more hives next season.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Humpback Whales

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a few groups of humpback whales travelling up the coast. A pod of Orcas was also spotted in the bay a few days ago. Whales are a common sight out the windows of Sierra Mar but last week I decided to take a boat out for a closer look...

While the whale spouts are visible for miles-I was shocked  to capture this cauldron of bubbles just below the whale exhaled from a deep dive! What incredible creatures.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Local Dungeness Crab Season

Local Fisherman are busy getting ready for the opening of Dungeness Crab season! The entire wharf is covered with crab pots and everywhere you look, boats are gearing up for the start of the season. I can't wait to work on some new recipe ideas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Little Thanksgiving Menu Inspiration

It looks like the flock of wild turkey at Post Ranch are just about ready for Thanksgiving! Speaking of Thanksgiving…. Here is a sneak peak at this year’s Thanksgiving Eve menu at Sierra Mar.

Smoked Venison Lomo
Pomegranate, Crispy Yucca Root, Salted Pistachio Puree

Winter Pear Salad
Parsnips, Alliums, Blue Cheese

Morro Bay Oysters
Warm, Watercress, Bacon, Leek, Horseradish

In a Variety of Textures

Forest Mushroom Soup
Crème Fraiche, Nutmeg, Brioche


Pan Roasted Sea Bass
Turmeric, Dill, Pickled Peanuts

Butternut- Truffle Ravioli
Winter Garden Greens, Brown Butter

Free Range Turkey

Coastal Forest Stuffing, Roasted Persimmon, Winter Squash, Giblet Gravy

Piedmontese Beef Filet

Slow Braised Shortrib, Potato Souffle, Mache, Mushrooms

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sierra Mar Winter Green Salad

Salad Ingredients
   1 head radicchio
   1 head black kale
   1 cup small mache leaves
   1 apple
   2 cups fromage blac
   1 cup cooked red quinoa
   1 cup pomegranate seeds
   1 ripe Ruyu Persimmon
   4 tbs Quince-ver jus vinaigrette

   4 tbs finely chopped quince
   1 tsp chopped ginger
   1 tsp chopped shallot
   2 tbs honey
   1 cup white ver jus
   2 ea. cloves
   2 ea. star anise
   1 cup apple juice
   1/2 cup riesling vinegar
   2 cup olive oil

  • Cook ginger and shallot with olive oil, add diced quince, honey and caramelize
  • Add ver jus and cook slowly until soft, cool
  • Blend in food processor, add cooled quince mixture, apple juice and vinegar
  • Blend until smooth slowly adding olive oil. 
  • Season with salt and more Riesling vinegar if needed
Finishing the Salad
  • Fine cut the radicchio and Kale 
  • Toss the kale and radicchio with mache greens, sliced apple, sliced persimmon, quinoa, pomegranate and vinaigrette
  • Season to taste with Salt and pepper
Serves up to 4

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Scorpion Fish

Tonight, Elizabeth made a roasted scorpion fish with turnips and local sea snails. We made a roasted bone broth and poured it table side from the shell.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sicilian Style Octopus

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in Monterey with a table surrounded by old Sicilian fisherman. One of them was lamenting how American chefs don’t know how to cook octopus. He then proceeded to explain, with passionate detail, his process for cooking fresh octopus. The idea was to slowly dip the octopus into simmering stock three times before submerging it, then only cook it long enough to become tender. The resulting texture should be tender- but still have a bite – “al dente!”.

This conversation was the inspiration for this dish. We followed the directions as best as I could recollect and the resulting octopus was delicious! I served it with a white bean puree, black olive-ink sauce and the last of our black onyx tomatoes from the garden. A few spicy mustard greens and fresh pressed olive oil finished the plate.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash and Smoked Cheddar with crispy speck, Brussels sprouts and black trumpet mushrooms.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Abalone Pancake

Bite size abalone-thai herb pancake made with acorn flour and topped with smoked steelhead roe, finger lime and red shiso.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Venison Carpaccio

Over four thousand years ago the Esselen tribe of Big Sur left mysterious
handprints in remote caves throughout the Santa Lucia mountains. These
handprints are the inspiration for this primal venison dish on our new Taste
of Big Sur Menu. This is a very primal dish that is intended to be eaten
with your hands, using the stick-like piece of crispy yucca root to pick up
the smoky onion ash and creamy pistachio puree. We cook the yucca root
with agave syrup and sea salt until it is tender- then fry it to create a
delicate crust and rich interior that resembles a broken branch. Pickled
yucca blossoms add a pleasant acidity to balance the dish.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rain Drops on Roses

This week's rainy garden inspired an idea for capturing a drop of water on
a rose petal. I reduced white balsamic with sugar until it reached the
hard crack stage. Once it slightly cooled, I sprinkled the syrup over
the roses so it would splash and fall in natural droplets over the flowers.
As soon as the hot syrup hit the cool petal it would immediately harden and
capture that moment in time. The mild acidity and sweetness from the
caramelized balsamic nicely complemented the floral aroma of the roses.

I took the remainder of the rose petals and dried them with sea salt so
the volatile oils would absorb into the salt crystals. We brined elk
tenderloins with brown rice syrup, Balinese pepper and other aromatics then
grilled it and finished it with a sprinkle of the rose salt. For the plate
we flash seared a leaf of black kale from the garden and topped it with
toasted barley, caramelized quince and charred onions. A rose petal with
the balsamic rain drop finished the plate.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Red Wine Bread

We are making bread with dried grape skins and seeds from the winemaking process.  Damien Georis of Madeleine Winery provided us with a few bags from last year's production to experiment with.  In addition to contributing color and aromatics, the grape pomace is extremely high in antioxidants and is thought to have polyphenols that could help manage diabetes... Not bad for a byproduct!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fresh Local Purple Sea Urchin

If you want to see a fresh urchin check out this video- if you want to taste one come check out our new taste of big sur menu next week!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Surf & Turf

Sierra Mar style "Surf and Turf". This dish was inspired by the stretch of
Big Sur coast where the cows graze along the coast line. We brine a filet
with sea water and palm sugar before grilling it. We serve the filet with
coastal watercress puree, pickled sea vegetables and a carrot-kombu gratin.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Olives and Grapes

Our heirloom cherry tomato patch has been producing tons of ripe fruit this week. Today I combined cherry tomatoes with black peony grapes and two types of olives (Alfonso and Cerignola) for a refreshing late-summer dish.

I used the cerignola olive brine and black garlic to make a rich puree that would contrast the acidity of the tomatoes. The dark purple Alfonso olive brine worked perfectly to enhance a lavender and goat cheese fondue. The dish is really all about contrasting textures and flavors that somehow come together to find a common harmony.

Red Snapper

Today we got in some very small red snappers. We removed all of the bones,
leaving the head and tail intact. We filled the fish with a prawn and
Spanish chorizo mousseline, then cooked in a 55c thermal bath with meyer
lemon olive oil and fresh bay laurel. For the plate, we charred local squid,
tomatoes and peppers from the garden on a plank of oak. A seaweed
persillade and chorizo sauce finished the plate.

Giant Surf Clams

Giant Surf clam with smoked pork cheek, kohlrabi purée, lovage and pickled celery.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Local Charcolais

We recently received some locally raised grass-fed Charolais beef!  Charolais is an iconic breed of cow from Burgundy, France.  My friend, Christophe Bony was kind enough to introduce me to this local rancher.  It is an honor to showcase such a high-quality, rare product on our menu.

The Charolais are much larger than the angus cross breeds we are used to seeing in the US.  The meat has a deep flavor and surprisingly strong marbling for a grass fed animal.

We have been serving the T-bone of Charolais as well as the Lone Mountain Ranch Wagyu Ribeye!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sea Figs

Quinn found some really nice ripe sea figs recently.  These are the fruit of the iceplants that grow all along the dunes of the central coast.  The ripe fruit has an interesting flavor that is both sweet and salty the an aroma that reminds me of guava.