Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn is possibly the most beautiful hotel in the United States. Situated at the top of the cliff in Big Sur, half the lodges at Post Ranch have breathtaking views of the ocean. The word that comes to mind when I think about Post Ranch Inn is “tranquility.” Isolated tree and cliff houses blend into the redwoods, giving each resident at most one neighbor and lots of privacy. Wooden benches for two dot the property… hidden in nooks and down trails. And who can forget that picturesque sunset. All of this is the very essence of zen… that is if you can get your mind past the serious dough you have to drop to spend a night here.

But if you want to enjoy the views without too much burden on your wallet, you can book a reservation at Sierra Mar, the fancy restaurant on the property, just a short drive up from the garden area where the deer and wild turkey roam.

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We opted for the tasting menu

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The drinks were fun! They told us that there’s a tiny carrot in our drink. It was a *really* *tiny* carrot. I felt its life ended too soon and would serve no purpose in my vast swimming pool of rum and juice.

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Fried sea cucumber 6/10: It was really hard. I think it was funny that the fried sea cucumber came on an actual cucumber though.

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Abalone pancake 3/10: Really salty. It was served on a real shell of some sort. Absolutely gorgeous presentation. I would not want to eat this dish again.

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Blue sea urchin 4/10: After a long introduction about how special this sea urchin is and how it has a more delicate flavor than your usual sea urchin, this thing ended up tasting like chawanmushi. I was really depressed about how small this urchin was. The spoon barely fit inside. However, the plate was very pretty. But come on… Santa Barbara is only a few hours drive away from here. I would happily take 2/5 of one of those!

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Breads 6/10: Miso, red wine, and brioche. We are very close to wine country after all.

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Sunchokes with pine 7/10: There were some massive temperature differences from potato to potato, but the whole thing was delicious. I savored all 2 of my bites.

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Venison carpaccio with the chef’s (massive) handprint 9/10: The thinly cut venison tasted as if it was hunted down yesterday, and the handprint was made of something earthy and smokey that went well with the meat. While eating this I thought about how so far my review was going to be very lukewarm, and the chef has a big enough hand to crush my face.

Photo Dec 08, 10 08 09 PMSeaweed smoked mussels 8/10: Very fun and delicious! The seafood here is very fresh. I loved the different textures of the seaweeds, a couple of which I haven’t had before!

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Rockfish with sea snails and bone broth 9/10: Bone broth is a big thing right now, but I’ve always had it… and not in the wimpy clear form that it’s being shown on health blogs. This is the real stuff. It’s a great way to make broth, and in this case, it absolutely elevated the dish. The broth came hidden in the giant snail, and was poured onto the fish at the table. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the flavors preserved the rock fish’s delicacy.

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Quail with foie gras 10/10: This is the best quail I have ever had. Hands down. Perfectly cooked, stuffed plump with foie gras, and the little nuts and berries on the side were perfectly balanced in flavor as well as portion. I think I just drooled a little while typing this. I really hope quail is in season when I go back.

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2 cheeses in buckwheat bowl and hard cider gelee 1/10: Really weird cheeses, the bowl tasted like cardboard, and the gelee was strange and made the cheese taste bitter in contrast. This was very sad after that delicious quail. Very sad indeed.

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Milk and whey dessert 10/10: I can’t handle the volatility!! I am lactose intolerant. I can eat ice cream and cheese, but cannot handle even a tiny bit of raw milk, and raw milk has been poured over this dessert. I ate it anyway. Because it was that good. The cake was like a puffy “fa gao”, which is a chinese steamed cake. Mixed in with the ice cream and nougat like sheets, it was so good… like if the witch in Hansel and Gretel lived in a cloud, her house would be made of this stuff, and I’d eat all her walls and suffer the consequences.

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Chocolate and eucalyptus 6.5/10: The ganache was smooth and well tempered, but unfortunately this was like biting into an Equinox towel. It’s not the fault of the restaurant, but the strong smell of eucalyptus is probably going to remind me of the refrigerated Equinox towels forever.

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What better way to end the night than with some perfect little chocolates and macarons? 8/10

This place was so beautiful and delightful, but there isn’t much of a view eating here at night during the wintertime. Dinner started at 5:30, which was right around sunset. So I advise you to visit during the summer when sunset is at 8pm!

OR…..

YOU CAN VISIT FOR LUNCH:

(yes the post continues)

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Winter salad with pomegranates and apples 8/10: So refreshing. The salad was so filled with goodies that it made me fill full. Also a lot of the ingredients came from the garden down the road!

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Housemade ricotta with pear 7/10: It was a little too much salad and not enough ricotta, but still fresh and delicious.

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And how can one not enjoy this amazing view? All my food taste better when eaten in view of the ocean.

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Duck confit 8/10: There was too much sauce around the duck. But the flavors were fun and the duck was perfectly cooked, and most importantly well spiced.

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Wagyu burger 7/10: The patty was juicy, and the cheese was nicely melted. Nothing to complain about. The fries were good.

Later on, we got the turkey sandwich, which was a 9/10. It was an absurd feat of architecture with brioche bread, a massive amount of turkey, cranberry spread, avocado, brie, and apples.

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Spice cake 6/10: I think I just don’t like spice cake. It’s too much spice for me to handle too early in the day. Our maybe it was the stout and I don’t drink beer? It tasted a little bitter to me.

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Chocolate ganache 8/10: Thick bittersweet chocolate in a nice generous block. This is my kind of bitter. The good kind. It went perfectly with a midday tea.

So as you can see, the restaurant is as delicious as it is beautiful. The appetizers left a little (probably more than a little) to be desired at dinner, but all in all, it was a fun experience. If you stay anywhere in Big Sur, I highly recommend you to visit the restaurant, but please do not take up my reservation spot. Thank you very much.

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