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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Bastide de Capelongue, Bonnieux - Hotel Review

Who wouldn't love Provence?
Bastide de Capelongue may be my favorite place in Provence. Fabulous food, beautiful views and lovely accommodations. I like it partly because it's not too perfect, a glamorous restaurant with rooms run by chef Edouard Loubet and his wife. The atmosphere is elegant without being stuffy, which can be hard to find in French haute cuisine restaurants.
The view from our room,  September 2010
The first time we stayed in August I loved the older Parisian lady parading her Hermes Birkin at the pool and last September the people next to us in the restaurant brought their large dog to dinner with them!

The salon with random melons
The sheets are linen.
Loubet was the youngest chef to garner two Michelin stars and this is his signature kitchen. His food is redolent of the region, fragrant with the smell of the local pines, wild rosemary and thyme. His aesthetic is seen in every detail. The blueberries at breakfast are served without a spoon because apparently the chef believes we should enjoy the childlike feeling of picking up the fruit with our hands.

Our nightly three hour, three course menu du jour was transformed by the trail of gifts from the kitchen; crudite, hor d'oeuvres, a palate cleansing sorbet or consomme, multiple pre-desserts and as if we had any more room, a multitude of varied petit fours.
The sense of the region, the season and the moment
Cedar souffle.

This hockey puck sized dish is a truffle en croute. Yes a whole truffle in pastry!
Yes, the bathrooms could be updated and you're more likely to find a bath than a shower but this is a magical place. Don't even think about going a la carte. If you want to leave with your shirt on, opt for local wines and rose as an aperitif. We've visited twice, on a three night half-board packages from Luxury Link.  This is the only way to make it affordable. The food is very expensive. Without the package,  just the langoustine appetizer we enjoyed one evening would have been $80 - each!

You have to be a flexible adventurous eater, ready to eat whatever they serve, although they will ask if there are things you don't eat  before presenting the daily fixed menu and they do cater for vegetarians.

Highly recommended.
I find their website rather fussy, and the music is downright cheesy, but there are lots of good pictures. Here it is along with the details on Luxury Link:

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