My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur

My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur

Romney Steele

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0740779141

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"A very special book about a very special place." --Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food

"What a world Romney Steele has given us in My Nepenthe! This personal tale is as tender and bright as a bite of Nepenthe Cheese Pie and will transport me--and you--to Big Sur and the days and nights of this magical place. My Nepenthe serves a big, gorgeous slice of American culture that I loved visiting through words and memory." --Deborah Madison, author of What We Eat When We Eat Alone and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone 

"Romney Steele grew up in the lively bohemian milieu of Nepenthe on the Big Sur coast and knows all the stories worth telling. In My Nepenthe, an intimate, richly illustrated memoir with recipes culled from the restaurant's 60 years, she writes marvelously about her "crazy stew of a family" and especially her beloved grandmother, whose kindness and hospitality were legendary. --Caroline Bates, contributing editor, Gourmet magazine

My Nepenthe weaves together stories and tales about the famous California restaurant perched on the majestic cliffs of Big Sur. It celebrates the magic and history of place through food and the Fassett family who started Nepenthe.

A lyrical feast written by the owners' granddaughter, Romney Steele, who grew up at the restaurant, My Nepenthe is as much about a family enterprise as it is about the Fassett family and their legacy. It recounts stories about the family's more than sixty-year history on the coast, the arts and architecture, and the colorful people who were the genesis of this legendary restaurant.

My Nepenthe marks the restaurant's vibrant past as a gathering place and noted bohemian haunt, and its foray into the film industry during the shooting of The Sandpiper, featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It also explores the lively scene that played out into the '70s, and onward through the current decade where it showcases Nepenthe's unique relationship with Pisoni Vineyards, owned by the renowned winemaker family. My Nepenthe includes more than seventy-five special recipes from the Fassetts, the restaurant, and the cafe, along with spectacular photography that completes the tale.

Ultimately, My Nepenthe is a story about food, family, and the culture of place, and how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters.

About Nepenthe

Located on the Big Sur cliffs 808 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Nepenthe Restaurant boasts sweeping views of the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains and the wild south coast of Monterey County. Angular mountains plunge into the crashing surf below, and on a clear day there is no limit to the scenery, unspoiled and immense in nature. Opened in 1949 by the Fassett family, the restaurant is nestled among native oak trees and a historic log cabin (now faced by brick) that was once owned by Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.

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also very much about theatre, as restaurants tend to be, and the life and theatrical references in this book grew out of that parallel. As it was for my mother’s generation, Nepenthe’s terrace was our stage, where we danced and performed, often nightly. Over the years, my own kids have experienced a little of that theatre, and even today, my younger nieces, nephews, and cousins, even some visiting children, seem to understand the magic and wonder of Nepenthe right off. And finally, this book is

2-quart plastic container with a lid. After layering the herbs and beans, cover with oil and add ¼ to ½ cup vinegar, then fill with more oil. Leave undisturbed overnight in the refrigerator. Toss well, and serve. Combine the onions, sugar, garlic, oregano, tarragon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the garbanzo beans, kidney beans, oil, and vinegar and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. The salad is best if it is made a day ahead, allowing the flavors to meld. Adjust

Simmer until the quince are fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the quince to a small bowl. Return the liquid to a boil. Boil until thick and syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour over the quince and let cool. Persimmon Pudding Cake MAKES 1 (9-INCH) CAKE, SERVING 8 TO 10 2 cups persimmon puree ¾ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup whole milk ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted ½ cup whipping cream ¼ cup honey 3 eggs 2 tablespoons brandy (optional) 1½ cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon

them in the oven. This last step renders some of the grease and ensures the chiles are evenly warmed through. To reheat the chiles, fit them snugly into a baking dish and place in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. To serve, bring the tomato onion sauce back to a simmer and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Remember, the sauce should be fairly thin. Place 1 or 2 chiles on each plate and cover with the sauce. NOTE: Chiles de arbol are small, bright red dried chiles that are hot, so

grandfather often joked about Nepenthe’s unlikely beginnings, and later marveled at what it had become. My grandmother maintained that the land and encompassing view were too beautiful to keep to themselves and must be shared with the world, eventually articulating that sentiment and printing it on the back of the menu. She had an enduring understanding and appreciation for Big Sur and its people, and felt strongly that Nepenthe belonged to everyone. After a series of architects proposed ideas

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