|Helmuth Deetjen (from Smithsonianmag)|
In the aftermath of some gathering at Esalen, Mike Murphy suggested that we all go out for supper at Helmuth Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, a rustic, gemütlich restaurant a few miles north of Esalen on Big Sur's Highway 1.
Reviewing Big Sur Inn for Sunset Magazine, Peter Fish remarked: "In a region renowned for its rugged eccentrics, Helmuth, late of Bergen, Norway, more than held his own. Big Sur Inn sits midway down the Big Sur coast, an hour south of Monterey. It's a grouping of board-and-batten shacks that from many angles resembles a shipwreck. Through the years, Deetjen's drew both Big Sur locals and imported literary types like Henry Miller, and acquired a character that verged on the cranky, much like that of its pipe-smoking, Nietzsche-quoting owner."
For the dinner party at Deetjen's Mike selected a few bottles of wine from his private collection and brought them along. When the waitress came to our table, Mike asked if he could speak to the proprietor. From a back room emerged old Helmuth Deetjen, wondering what these kids from Esalen had up their sleeves this time. Mike puts his bottles on the table and asks Deetjen's permission to uncork his wine.
"Fine with me," replied old man Deetjen. "Just so long as I don't have to drink it."