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  • By Susan Welsh

Misty, moody, Monterey

In a kind of harmonic convergence of surf and turf that only makes sense in California, HBO’s Season 2 debut of Big Little Lies aired Sunday and the US Open Golf championship, just down the road from the "Monterey Five," kicks off this week in Pebble Beach. While Michael Kiwanuka’s Cold Little Heart loops in my head, I dream of driving over the Bixby Bridge. This isn’t likely to happen because I have white-knuckled that ride hard as a passenger and I sweat just thinking about the sheer depth of the drop down to the ocean. And yet, that refrain and moody cinematic opening make me want to try.

Let “The Monterey Five" sip their wine and try to keep their big little lie a secret, while Vegas odds place another 5 (Dustin Johnson, Brooks Kopek, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth) as contenders for the $12.5 million dollar purse —more than enough to buy one of those magnificent coastal homes owned by the Liar’s Club of Monterey.

I’m neither a betting woman nor a golfer, but a course as spectacular as Pebble Beach can inspire anybody to want a ticket to the greens. There's the 250 year old iconic Lone Cypress standing atop its granite promontory and just off the 18th hole, Ghost Tree, a perilous, massive wave break that has challenged the best of surfers with heights that have reached 70 feet.

Two hours north and another network away, the lovable and quirky queer folk of Barbary Lane are celebrating Anna Madrigal’s 90th birthday and we get a glimpse into San Francisco’s gay culture then and now. HBO's limited series Tales of the City is now streaming. Based on the book series by Armistead Maupin, it's both an adaptation and update of characters we first met in the 70’s. The original series, which aired on PBS was controversial in it’s time, one of the first to depict the lives of the LGBT community living in the city by the bay.

Next time we make it out West, we’ll dine at Aubergine, the first restaurant in Monterey County to earn a Michelin star. Chef Justin Cogley’s specialties include Monterey-raised abalone accompanied by local seaweed, wagyu beef from Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan and pastry chef Yolanda Santos’ housemade anise hyssop ice cream and blackberries. We will also revisit Bistro Moulin, for the memorable gnocchi Aux Epinard (spinach gnocchi au gratin, Parmesan cream sauce), washed down with any one of the wondefully curated French and California wines on their exquisite list.

This summer we will journey to Niagra, and we’ll take Manhattan for an evening or two--but someday, we will return to that misty, mysterious, and magical town of Monterey. . .

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