We'll be heading back to the bay area today, stopping at Harris Ranch for lunch, in what can only be described as an extreme example of eating locally. This restaurant and hotel complex is located on an extremely stinky stretch of Hwy. 5. And what you smell, is mostly what you eat. They are not free-range, organic, college educated cows, but—dang!—they most certainly are local.
The smell of stock yards doesn't really inspire me to tuck into a big plate of beef (nothing does, really), but fortunately they seem to have taken measures to eliminate the odor from the restaurant. And Big S. will not under any circumstances eat fast food. I'm not a huge beef eater, but Harris Ranch does serve an excellent flank steak Caesar salad. And instead of loading it with ginormous oily croutons, they include artichoke hearts and grilled mushrooms. Tasty!
They also have a very good meat counter, and we usually pick up a few steaks to take home to make steak au poivre.
We've got a fairly brutal eight-hour drive ahead of us through some of the most hideous scenery California has to offer. The central valley is flat, desolate, dusty, and stinky—with traffic. But home's on the other end.