On our way home from Sea Ranch on Sunday we stopped in for lunch at Eloise in Sebastopol. It's become our go-to spot when heading up to the coast, which we do with some frequency. This was perhaps our fourth or fifth visit in scarcely a year, our first being a celebratory dinner during an ersatz honeymoon last October.
Shuna turned us on to the place, and in the months since we'd come to be very fond of it. We loved the charming and aromatic garden, full of lavender and herbs, that flanked the front. We loved the homey simplicity of the interior, the way the light played off the walls and filled the airy space. The service always was casual but not too casual, friendly without being inappropriately chummy. And the food -- simple, well-prepared food -- was a refreshing tonic to high-concept wine country fare.
When we arrived this time, we had just come off two hours of winding Route 1 curves. I am not prone to motion sickness; the only time I have ever been afflicted was on a deep-sea fishing expedition on choppy waters for eight hours. Still, upon arriving I was feeling the kind of disorientation you do from a carnival ride or, say, a ritual hazing.
I was still shaking off the woozies when we were seated. We were six, at the tail end of the lunch service, and they seated us at the far end. As my senses came back to me, I became increasingly aware all was not right.