Watermelon Salad

Over the last year or so, I have noticed that some of the more trendy restaurants are adding or even featuring seedless watermelon in salads. I have never been a watermelon fan since I swallowed a large black seed as a kid — and thought life is over.   That fearful memory has stayed with me.  Until recently.

In late August, Donna and I spent a few days in New Buffalo, Michigan — hardly a place one would expect to have a Damascus Road conversion.  But it happened.   At the Bentwood Tavern.  We ordered the arugula and beet salad.  And I fell in love.  Consider — arugula, small beets (of different variety), pumpkin seeds and seedless watermelon.  Diced.  With a white balsamic and olive oil dressing.   I ate it.  I enjoyed it.  Truth be told — I could’ve made a meal of it. 

In Santa Barbara, CA some weeks ago, we had lunch at a popular restaurant where I ordered the watermelon salad.   My expectations rose then fell.  The meal was outstanding though the watermelon salad was a rectangular cut of watermelon on a bed of lettuce.  Little else.  Very disappointing.   But we moved on to San Francisco and Rose Pistola where dinner started with a roasted beet salad with pomegranates, ricotta salata cheese, a 12 year aged Balsamic and light olive oil and  . . . watermelon.  I was actually tempted to order another beet and watermelon salad for dessert.  However the other member of my party insisted on something chocolate.   That we could share.  Chivalrous to the end, I capitulated.  Chocolate. . . . . I mean when you can have watermelon??      

Watermelon Salad

Over the last year or so, I have noticed that some of the more trendy restaurants are adding or even featuring seedless watermelon in salads. I have never been a watermelon fan since I swallowed a large black seed at a very early age — and thought this is the end. . . . That memory has stayed with me. Uncompromisingly. Until recently.

In late August, Donna and I spent a few days in New Buffalo, Michigan — hardly a place one would expect to have a Damascus Road conversion.  But it happened.   At the Bentwood Tavern.  We ordered the arugula and beet salad.  And I fell in love.  Consider — arugula, small beets (of different variety), pumpkin seeds and seedless watermelon.  Diced.  With a white balsamic and olive oil dressing.   I ate it.  I enjoyed it.  Truth be told — I could’ve made a meal of it. 

In Santa Barbara, CA last week, we had lunch at a popular restaurant where I ordered the watermelon salad.   My expectations rose then fell.  The meal was outstanding though the watermelon salad was a rectangular cut of watermelon on a bed of lettuce.  Little else.  A bit disappointing.   But we moved on to San Francisco and Rose Pistola where dinner started with a roasted beet salad with pomegranates, ricotta salata cheese, a 12 year aged Balsamic and light olive oil and  . . . watermelon.  I was actually tempted to order another beet and watermelon salad for dessert.  However the other member of my party insisted on something chocolate.   That we could share.  Chivalrous to the end, I capitulated.  Chocolate. . . . . I mean when you can have watermelon??          

The Coastal Highway

Donna and I just returned from a week in California.   Two nights in Santa Barbara (the Canary Hotel).  One night at the beautiful Summerwood B&B in Paso Robles wine country.  A night in San Francisco (fabulous dinner at Rose Pistola).  And then Napa to lodge in a wonderful place called the Oak Knoll Inn — a 4 room B&B in Napa (a place to which we could easily return – and spend a few extra days).      

The drive from Santa Barbara to San Francisco along  the Coastal Highway is amazing in terms of agricultural activity.  As far as you can see — on both sides of the road for a hundred miles or more — literally everywhere —  there is a hum of activity. Trucks, tractors, workers, boxes, irrigation, cattle.   Everything moving (or moooooing).   California has 4% of the nation’s farms but is numero uno in cash farm receipts. California has 15% of the nation’s receipts for crops and 7% for livestock.  They can say what they will about the Midwest and the prairie states but California’s Central Coast is truly America’s breadbasket (and wine rack).