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More than sixty-five years after it first opened, Nepenthe restaurant is still today a favorite tourist destination on the scenic drive along Highway 1 to Big Sur, California. Now available in paperback, My Nepenthe, captures the interesting history and people, myriad wild stories, delicious recipes, and stunning photography of this famous location.
My Nepenthe weaves together stories and tales about the famous California restaurant perched on the majestic cliffs of Big Sur. Located 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. It 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. The magic and history of place are celebrated through food and the Fassett family who opened Nepenthe in 1949. 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-five 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.
Romney Steele is a writer and cook, the granddaughter of Bill and Lolly Fassett, creators of Nepenthe Restaurant. Nani, as she is known to family and friends, grew up at the family restaurant and opened Cafe Kevah, located on the grounds of Nepenthe. She is the co-owner and cook of The Cook and Her Farmer, a cafe, oyster, and wine bar located in the historic Swan's Market in Oakland, California. She is also the author of Plum Gorgeous. She has two children.