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Precision helicopters and bacon pannacotta

We drive some routes through the US quite regularly, but we always seem to see something new. The mountains along the railroad tracks out of Mojave were particularly snowy today, the sun was bright and the SS Minnow in the field was looking sprucely rusted; we stopped for our usual grilled tri-tip sandwich and peach raspberry pie at the Keene Store, which has several new newspaper clippings on the wall but is the same good food in the middle of not much.

The wind was too strong for the reflecting pond on the 58 to be reflecting this time, but the decorated Christmas Stump was still looking cheerful. The rain set in at several points and visibility was down to a couple of feet a couple of times (we were up in the cloud); other times it was bright and sunny and the wildflowers were bright and colourful. Near McKittrick we saw a helicopter with orange punches dangling from a long rope flitting from field to field like a bee putting the pollen back; instead of doing one side of the road then the other, it zig-zagged from field to field, crossing the road (and the power lines!) every time, lowering the pouches to the ground and depositing one in every field in a precise spot; fascinating if a little worrying to watch. Simon spotted a sign about seismic monitoring so we assume instruments.
Precision helicopter drops 017

We turned down the coast near Morro Bay but the rain was heavy, the sea was heaving and the 1 was marked as closed so we turned back along the 46 in more 'I can't see anything' rain which lasted until we climbed into the hot tub at the motel (under cover, once the motel finally found the right key). After steaming for a while we tried a new place for dinner, as recommended by vgqn (thanks!) - Thomas Hill Organic Bistro, which uses a lot of local food and much of it from the THO farm. It's lighter than Artisan's dishes but just as good; the coconut milk lime broth was delicate and tangy, though I felt noodles and prawns would have gone well in it. Simon's duck three ways on grilled cheese with citrus marmalade was three kinds of duck on the grilled cheese with salad rather than three different piles; his lamb with harissa and chickpeas was hearty, my seared albacore in pancetta with almonds, broiled grapes, heirloom tomatoes, pea puree and shredded basil was full of flavour without being heavy. Wines to remember; the Daou 09 Chemin de Fleurs (it turns out, Daou is the winery we've been waiting to visit ever since our friend Peter went to manage it and told us to wait until the tasting room was built, so we shall go track them down tomorrow) and Vines on the Marycrest (mouvedre zinfandel petit syrah blend). The bacon pannacotta (candied bacon infused in the milk, a slice of warm bacon on the side, huckleberry confit) was an excellent flavour but slightly too firm and gelatinous; pannacotta should shiver, shudder and flinch exquisitely to the spoon...

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
vgqn
29th Mar, 2011 06:14 (UTC)
That is the most pornographic description of panna cotta it has ever been my pleasure to read!

Glad you enjoyed Thomas Hill, even if the panna cotta wasn't up to your strict standards.
marypcb
29th Mar, 2011 07:20 (UTC)
If it isn't borderline obscene, it's probably not my kind of dessert ;-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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