Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Jan 26, 2009 05:40 PM

Non-Restaurant Foodie Experiences in Monterey/Carmel

Hi All,

I'll be heading to monterey this weekend and already have a number of great meals planned. However, I am looking to fill my mornings and afternoon with other activities and were hoping to find some food-centric ones. I'm looking for things along the lines of interesting food markets/farms/food museums/other interesting food activities. Any suggestions?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you're going to the Aquarium, don't miss the little museum that focuses on the sardine canning industry in Monterey. The commercial wharf (shares a parking lot with the tourist-oriented Fisherman's Wharf) is worth a stroll. I don't know if the abalone aquaculture place offers tours to the public, but it's pretty impressive. And if you're up for an educational experience, the Culinary Center has cooking classes.

    Down Big Sur way, Esalen has very cool organic gardens. And if you head over to the Salinas Valley, there are a number of wineries you can check out. And the Steinbeck museum in Salinas has an exhibit on the agricultural roots of the area.

    Have fun!

    1. I would suggest the Aptos Farmers Market, not far north of the area.

      Also the Corralitos Meat Co. in Corralitos. Great sausages.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bruce in SLO

        Second Bruce's recs on the Saturday morning Aptos FM (it's an EZ-off EZ-on from Highway 1at Park Ave) and Corralitos Market (Freedom Blvd exit).

        There are a couple of wineries in Carmel Valley, as well as tasting rooms. Earthbound Farm (original acreage) farmstand is also there.

        Good coffee at Carmel Coffee Roasting Co, mid valley, also in the Barnyard center.

        1. re: toodie jane

          OP could taste in the at the Carmel Valley wineries and then drive the Carmel Valley Rd (warning: narrow and curvy near the summit) over to the Greenfields area, wine taste around there as well and then up to Santa Lucia Highlands before heading back to Mty. That'd be a tasty way to fill a day.

          1. re: toodie jane

            I have to chime in on the rec for Carmel Valley Roasting. These guys have become the local Starbucks and they are everywhere. Unfortunately the coffee is way bad. Bitter, over extracted mud. Sorry to rain on your rec Toodie Jane, but I have never had close to a good cup of java at any of their shops.

        2. A stroll down the wharf lets you sample lots of clam chowder... and if you happen to be in town on Tuesday, there's a good farmer's market along Alvarado st. in the afternoon. If not, neighboring city Marina has a small one on Sunday mornings (right on Reservation Rd.)

          If you wander into Pacific Grove for lunch one day, please, find Compagno's. It's right near the Presidio entrance, but has the best (and largest) sandwiches anywhere!

          1. Check out the Cheese Shop of Carmel - insane!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rotie77

              I second The Cheese Shop. The owner really knows what he's doing and is a good guy.