After my parents’ divorce in the 1970s, Mom and I did the best we could to cobble a new family unit together. Part of that was creating new traditions. We found one in our regular pilgrimages to Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero, California. After a two-hour drive from our Bay Area home and a brisk walk along the craggy coast, we would head to Duarte’s and warm up over steamy bowls of cream of artichoke soup. Opened in 1894, Duarte’s was everything you wanted a California diner to be, and still is. Unlike other such establishments, which have been what I like to call “arugulaized,” Duarte’s still serves classics like BLTs and burgers, along with local specialties, including Pacific-caught fish, and plenty of artichoke dishes. Then there are the desserts, my favorite being the olallieberry pie, made with the tangy West Coast hybrid berries. It’s quite possibly the best pie on Earth. My mother is gone now. But when I go back to Duarte’s for a bowl of that artichoke soup, I can’t help thinking I’m keeping our relationship alive.
202 Stage Road, Pescadero, California