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Monterey/Carmel in April

 
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Chicago Bear



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 240
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Monterey/Carmel in April Reply with quote

This is a serious plea for help. My long-suffering spouse and I will be in Monterey and Carmel for FOUR nights in mid-April. I've looked at restaurants on-line, but so far, it's baffling. Which ones are memorable, and why?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be sure to go to Katie's Cottage (aka The Cottage) on Lincoln just off Ocean in Carmel for breakfast. That's all the directions I can give you. There are no street numbers in Carmel. Now, you may very well want to go back for lunch. Their artichoke soup is supposed to be memorable and it smelled pretty damned good simmering in the kitchen when we were having late brekkies but we never made it back later in the day.

It's a charming little spot with two rooms that are further divided up by natural stone floors, multiple levels and rescued beveled glass dividers. The downstairs room also has a small fireplace. Katie is charming. The staff are very personable. Even though there will be a line outside the door you will not have the feeling that you're being rushed.

The breakfast menu is made up of classics (french toast, pancakes, eggs, etc) done very, very well. I had the eggs benedict with super fresh eggs with brilliant yellow yolks poached to perfection and served with hollandaise every bit as good as my own. On another day I had their banana pancakes which are made with real pieces of banana and hearty whole grains. They were superb and you can ask for real maple syrup for just a little bit more. You can also ask them to put some walnuts in the batter and I don't think they charged for that.

If you have to wait for a table, there's a coffee house conveniently located on the corner of Ocean and Lincoln.

We had dinner at a place in Monterey called The Whaling Station. It's on Wave very close to the aquarium. The family had steaks that were prime meat — tender and tasty. I had halibut on a bed of sautéed wild mushrooms. I might recommend it if they hadn't been so damned irritating to deal with when Steve left his AmEx card behind.
So, if you don't get a more exciting recommendation you might consider it but it's pricey and outside the dining room they're pissy and unhelpful.

What we did enjoy in Monterey was an English pub several blocks from the aquarium. (If I'd known someone would have wanted the info I would have done a much better job of keeping track of these things) I think it was called The Bulldog Pub. The food was good pub fare. The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly and they didn't have the crowds of the places closer to the aquarium and Cannery Row.

By chance, we also popped into a deli for directions. It's on David but I couldn't tell you its name or the other street. They have a large selection of Belgian and other beers. Rachel had had Belgian beer and said we should try it to experience its unique fruitiness. One evening we went back to check it out. The owner is a hoot. Totally enthusiastic and thrilled to share his recommendations!

We selected a pear cider, an apple beer and a raspberry beer. He suggested we pour the raspberry beer over ice cream. Ice cream! Shocked Turns out it's pretty damned good and Rach and I plan to surprise some friends this summer with raspberry beer floats.

Hope you get more info from the NoCal contingent who probably know the Monterey Peninsula better.


OH! IF you're going at the end of June, you might check with the Santa Cruz chamber of commerce. They have an event called Woodies on the Wharf that I am really looking forward to experiencing one day before Iz graduates. Beautiful classic woodies from all over the country convene on the SC pier. It's a kind of 50's extravaganza with the convergence of the surf culture of our youth and one of the few remaining authentic California coast amusement parks.

Santa Cruz is on the northern tip of the bay.

And if its August when you plan to travel, you might enjoy Reggae on the River a sort of multicultural Woodstock revival under cover of the California redwoods. Not sure exactly where that is but I drove through it one time on a trip back from Vancouver and it was exactly like trying to get into the Woodstock concert (which you'll remember from growing up in the Hudson Valley was NOT in Woodstock). Anyway, it was a trip back in time. I was on a mission to get home so I didn't tarry but it's one of the things I hope to get a second shot at one day.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darn, Rainey, I shouldn't have read your description of breakfast at The Cottage without having my own breakfast first. It sounds delicious and I have to go and eat right now! Laughing
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Chicago Bear



Joined: 02 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, thanks for the suggestions. And...the added bonus: we can use Steve's Amex card when we dine at the Whaling Station. Now I hope that the Northern California folks have some thoughts. For those of us who are landlocked in the midwest, the prospect of fresh seafood is almost enough of an allure in itself to justify a trip to California. But then, when you realize that you also get to LOOK at Californians in their native habitat, it's awesome.
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cybele



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
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Location: California

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My husband and I really enjoyed a restaurant in Pacific Grove called Passionfish:

www.passionfish.net

They use "sustainable seafood" which means that you don't have to ask the server a bazillion questions about whether the salmon is wild caught or what sort of halibut it is.

They also have an incredible wine cellar and have a small marginal markup on the wine. And they'll help you pair it.

The ambiance and service was amazing. The location doesn't have a spectacular view, but a few blocks away is a wonderful sunset location, so plan your meal accordingly.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgot to ask if you plan to go to The Lodge at Pebble Beach? We stayed there a number of years ago. I'd save a small fortune and drive to Carmel or Pacific Grove on either end of the 17 Mile Drive.

I'm sure the food was fine but it wasn't memorable. I mean, I have absolutely NO memory of it other than there were irises on the breakfast trays. Not what I'd pop megabucks for when you can get a picnic packed in Carmel and still enjoy the Pebble Beach and 17 Mile Drive grounds over a picnic.

Edited to add: OTOH, I'm not a golfer but I understand that it's Mecca for some and I'm sure they won't send you away hungry or unhappy if that's what the trip is about.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a copy of Sunset magazine to see if my gardening was proceeding on schedule when I found this article with its resources: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1216/is_n4_v193/ai_16166871

Please note that Carmel Valley is inland of Carmel village but also lovely in its much-less-travelled way. And while you're going in other directions I wonder if I mentioned that Carmel is just north of Big Sur which really is a sight to behold. It's only about an hour south of Carmel in just the opposite direction from Monterey.

Hope you see this in time and that it will be useful. Also hope to hear how you enjoyed the trip and what you discovered that I might try next time. Wink
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