Artichoke Bread from Pascadero

Pascadero is a sleepy little town on the coast of Pacific Ocean. It is not far from High Way 1, situated between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Luckily it is mostly forgotten by the touristy industry. It is allowed to remain in its sleep.

My friends Gui and Matthew love to explore smaller roads off the main high ways in the bay area. They came upon Pascadero in one such excursion two years ago. They told me of the delicious creamy artichoke soup from the local diner. I tagged along a few weeks later on a sunny August Saturday.

A couple of moments remain deliciously fresh in my moment from that trip.

One, we were on a small beach. It was one of those rare summer moments when the Pacific coast was sunny. The ocean was roaring like a beast, we settled on the sands, each with a book in hand. I think I was reading either Perfume by Patrick Suskind, or the new Harry Potter book. Anyway, one after another, all three of us fell asleep in the sun and wind. By the time we woke up, fog had sneaked onto the beach and wrapped us up. The sun was gone. It was rather surreal. As if we were still in a dream, to open our eyes and to see the fog staring us in the face. We could hardly see the ocean a few feet away. Even though we could still hear its roar.

Two, We grabbed a freshly baked bread from the local market of Pascadero. It was labeled as ¡°Fresh Artichoke Heart Bread¡±. It was still hot. Later we drove out of the fog of Pascadero and into the sunlight of Santa Cruz mountains. As Gui and Matthew¡¯s green Beetle happily climbing up and down the winding mountain road, redwoods, firs, and oaks surrounded us, the sunlight streamed in through the dense foliage, the interior of the car smelled of heaven. I can¡¯t think of anything that smells better than freshly baked artichoke bread. It tasted wonderful as well, fluffy warm bread with chunks of fresh artichoke embedded in. Bread melted in our mouth. If sunshine had taste, that must be it.

Later I found out Pascadero means fisherman in Portuguese.

It is August once again. To escape yesterday¡¯s scorching hot sun of the peninsular, Gui and I went on a short hike in El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, slightly north of Pascadero. Afterwards, following our hungry nose, we headed to Pascadero, towards the wonderful smell of artichoke bread and cream of artichoke soup. Pascadero was, without fail, in the fog. We were lucky to hold the last artichoke bread in our hands as we drove away. Once again, the car was filled with the heavenly smell of freshly baked bread. Once again, we drove into the filtered sunshine of Santa Cruz forest.

What a blessing, to have heaven at one¡¯s arms reach!