Just returned from three days in Monterey/Carmel and thanks to many of you on the board, had some great meals and experiences.
We hit up Ticos in Marina for lunch on Friday; husband had the Monte Cristo and I had the grilled chicken sandwich w/chili aioli, bacon, and carmelized onions. The mesclun on the side were indeed perfectly dressed and had the pleasant addition of spicy candied almonds. Dinner the first night was at Passionfish; my first experience with spot prawns and the wine that our server recommended was a Cote du Rhone Villages from the Domaine Viret that was fantastic. Even my cab loving girlfirend and her husband loved it.
Breakfast was at the TuckBox one morning (great scone) and at Katy's Place (HUGE breakfast-WAY too much food for one person) another. For a group of 4, we payed over $100 for breakfast-the most expensive breakfast any of us ever recall having. They're good but not worth $25/pp.
Dinner the second night was at Stokes Adobe. While the food at Stokes was okay (roasted pork shoulder with a ginger squash puree for me and strip steak, leeks and frites for my hubby), the service was not. Although we did get a nice bottle of 2005 Graff Mouvedre that helped to soften the rough edges of the service.
One of the highlights however was a stop at The Cheese Shop in Carmel and wine tasting. At the Cheese Shop, one of the employees turned us onto an aged sheep's milk Ewephoria, and another great rhone varietal that we ended up having after we returned home last night. We ended our trip stopping at only two winery tasting rooms (not including the Taste of Monterey along the wharf): Talbott and Georis, both along Carmel Valley Road. The folks over at Talbott were very gracious and the tasting a pleasant experience but the tasting at Georis was beyond compare. They are not listed on any maps, so I'm guessing that they are not a part of the vintners association but their tasting room is right next door to Talbott so you can't miss them. Tatings are actually done outdoors on tables scattered throughout their lovely patio, and are performed as a flight of six wines, wtih a bonus thrown in for good measure, and includes a small plate of cheeses, crackers and bread. The reds are the Bordeaux varietals: Merlot especially, but also a wonderful Cabernet Franc; in addition to a few Loire whites: Sauvignon and Chenin blanc is what I remember off-hand but there could've been others as we only tasted one white. It was a great experience and one in which the tasting room staff really take the time to talk about their offerings.
Thanks to everyone for your tips on how to make the most of my time there.