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Monterey Aug. 12-16.

steve h. Jun 11, 2010 07:15 PM

Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, places that just put a smile on your face. I would appreciate your guidance and insight.
I used to know Monterey pretty well but that was some time ago. We'll be staying at the old Monterey Hotel. We'll have a car. Hard to think of foods we don't like but I'll let you know if we encounter it. Price isn't much of a concern.
Thanks in advance.

  1. steve h. Sep 3, 2010 04:07 PM

    Reporting back on our trip to Monterey.

    Deb and I left SFO in a fly yellow Corvette convertible that we rented from Hertz. I drove north from the airport so I could drive south on Highway 1. Convoluted? Yes, but that's the way it goes. Traffic near Santa Cruz was just awful. I was afraid we wouldn't make our dinner reservation. Deb called Passionfish in Pacific Grove, explained the situation and all was well, despite this being Car Week.

    We made Passionfish on the negotiated arrival time, were pleasantly greeted at the door and escorted to a wonderful window table with a big, "Happy Birthday" written in crayon on the brown paper tablecloth. This was pretty cool since I made the reservation myself and never told them I had just turned 60 on August 5. How did they do that?

    Food at Passionfish was wonderful: put yourself in the hands of your waitress and you won't be disappointed. Wines are pretty good, too. Prices, in my opinion are quite moderate.

    Much of our time revolved around car stuff: auctions, corrals, etc.. Crown and Anchor, a pub near our hotel, became our booze headquarters. Sarah is the owner and runs a tight ship. I like her and admire the team she's put together. This is a pub done right.

    Fisherman's wharf is pretty cliche but you can get a decent meal there. Domenico's on the wharf is one of the good guys. I've been dining there for years. Ask for something fresh and chances are you'll be satisfied. This is not fine dining but the views out the windows with the otters frolicking about have to be worth something. The wines are reasonably priced. Across the street is their sister ship, Casa Fina. Upstairs, you can get a corner window setup, order a decent pizza from their wood-fired oven and enjoy a decent bottle of Italian wine. Not fancy but good.

    Nara was a local restaurant that took me back, way back to my and Deb's years living in South Korea. We love home-cooked Korean food. That is what you get here. Mom cooks, daughter serves. Mom then checks up on you. Nice. Bring an appetite. Very inexpensive.

    We went to Hog's Breath in Carmel as part of a dry-run to Pebble Beach for the Concours. Burger was pretty good, Guinness was fresh. That's about it.

    It was fun reacquainting ourselves with Monterey. We didn't have time to check out some of the outstanding suggestions on this thread but I've already made hotel reservations for next year's Concours. As always, I'll do better next time.

    701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

    2 Replies
    1. re: steve h.
      PolarBear Sep 3, 2010 05:04 PM

      Thanks for reporting back Steve. It always seems that ex-pat hounds such as yourself that return after prolonged absences "discover" a new gem or two, I have a number of Korean places on my list for the MB area and hadn't heard of Nara. Any dishes you especially liked that you care to share with the pack?

      Glad you and Deb had a wonderful time and happy 60th!



      BTW, might want to delete or change the autolink, it went to the Elk Grove location.

      [ETA: I see that autolink has accepted both, might as well leave them?]

      Nara Korean Restaurants
      420 Tyler Street
      Monterey, CA 93940-3028
      (831) 333-0800

      Nara Korean Restaurants
      420 Tyler St, Monterey, CA 93940

      1. re: PolarBear
        steve h. Sep 3, 2010 05:21 PM

        Hi PB,
        The mandu were very good, bibimbap was ok. I liked the kimchi. I wouldn't press this place too hard, it's a modest mom and daughter shop. Let the record show that the OB (big bottles) was cold and fresh. We'll be back.

    2. c
      curiousgeo Jul 2, 2010 12:21 PM

      Sea Harvest in Monterey, located in a small fish market, extremely casual and reasonably priced. First Awakenings near the Monterey Aquarium for great breakfasts, we like sitting outside near the fire pit in the morning. Agree with Cantinetta Luca in Carmel, terrific Italian style food and service, our favorite Carmel restaurant. The restaurant at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch Inn. Nicely prepared American food like prime rib, in a very pleasant location in back of the Carmel Mission with a primarily older crowd. Monterey's Fish House, a popular local restaurant for fresh seafood and grilled steaks.

      First Awakenings
      125 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

      Cantinetta Luca
      Dolores St Carmel-By-the-Sea CA, Dolores St Carmel-By-the-Sea, CA

      Mission Ranch Restaurant
      26270 Dolores St, Carmel, CA 93923

      1 Reply
      1. re: curiousgeo
        steve h. Jul 2, 2010 03:54 PM

        Thanks. Sea Harvest sounds right to me.

      2. k
        KarensCookin Jul 2, 2010 10:29 AM

        And I forgot to mention, if you don't already have a room booked you may as well forget it, the rooms book a year in advance for Concourse Weekend, most requiring 4-5 day stays. Jack up the price too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KarensCookin
          steve h. Jul 2, 2010 01:50 PM

          c oliver reads me like a book. Hotel was taken care of last September, reservations at Passionfish were made last month. Fly yellow, two seat convertible waiting for me at SFO seemed like a good idea. :-)

          701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

        2. k
          KarensCookin Jul 2, 2010 10:22 AM

          Haven't read enyone mention it yet, but that is Concourse Weekend. You will want to make resv well in advance as most places will be booked up. That weekend you will have the Italian Concourso on Friday, vintage auto races all weekend, 5 major auctions, and Concourse D'Elegance on Sunday. If you are not a major motorhead you may want to change the date.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KarensCookin
            c oliver Jul 2, 2010 12:11 PM

            Somehow I'm betting that WHY steve h. is going to be there :)

          2. wolfe Jun 11, 2010 07:17 PM

            I will suggest Passionfish just before this gets transferred to the California Board. Boy that sentence looks like deja vu all over again.

            15 Replies
            1. re: wolfe
              steve h. Jun 11, 2010 07:23 PM

              Howdy, wolfe.
              I thought Monterey was part of the Bay Area. Thanks for the tip on Passion Fish. Maybe we'll see you at Robert's new shop after the car show.

              1. re: steve h.
                wolfe Jun 11, 2010 07:28 PM

                Since they haven't transferred you yet I also liked Cantinetta Luca in Carmel.

                Cantinetta Luca
                Dolores St. 7th, Carmel, CA 93921

                1. re: wolfe
                  steve h. Jun 11, 2010 07:31 PM

                  I know the neighborhood. Long-dormant brain cells don't want to wake up but I think I'll force 'em.

                  1. re: wolfe
                    steve h. Jun 11, 2010 07:36 PM

                    Any bars you like down there?

                    1. re: steve h.
                      wolfe Jun 11, 2010 07:47 PM

                      Zilch bar experience but the Hog's Breath has a certain go have a drink, look around go else where sort of charm.

                      1. re: wolfe
                        steve h. Jun 11, 2010 07:54 PM

                        lol. been there, done that.

                        1. re: wolfe
                          c oliver Jun 11, 2010 08:18 PM

                          A lifetime ago a friend of mine was at the Hog's Breath one Saturday afternoon. Outside. Loud music. Said to a friend "gosh, I wish they'd turn the sound down some." A hand reached over her head and turned down a speaker. When she looked over/up,it was Clint. How cool is that?

                          For breakfast/tea in Carmel,is the Tuck Box still there? I've always liked it.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            steve h. Jun 13, 2010 12:10 PM

                            thanks, c.
                            I'll report back on my successes and failures.

                            1. re: steve h.
                              syrahgirl Jun 14, 2010 02:17 PM

                              Hi, we just dined at the Sardine Factory in Monterey and Cantinetta Luca over this past Mother's Day weekend, both places are very good. The "c" at the Clement in Monterey has amazing food, they serve fresh Abalone on their Caesar Salads there, pretty views, also. Schooner's @ the Plaza where we stayed is a nice, casual venue, good fish n chips and key lime pie here. The Duck Club, also at the Plaza is a nice fine dining choice in the area. In nearby Pacific Grove, check out the Red House Cafe, it's a cozy little place with fresh, innovative food.

                              Also in Carmel is Pacific's Edge, California Market, Bouchee, Flying Fish Grill, Grasing's Coastal Cuisine, Casanova, Christopher's on Lincoln and Demetra Cafe. Stop by the Carmel Bakery and get some Canolli, it's delicious! And yes, the Tuck Box is still there. Have fun! :)

                              Sardine Factory
                              701 Wave Street, Monterey, CA 93940

                              California Market Restaurant
                              120 Highland Dr, Carmel, CA

                              Mission and Sixth, Carmel, CA 93921

                              Cantinetta Luca
                              Dolores St Carmel-By-the-Sea CA, Dolores St Carmel-By-the-Sea, CA

                              Red House Cafe
                              662 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

                              Flying Fish Grill
                              Carmel Plz, Carmel, CA 93923

                              Pacific's Edge Restaurant
                              120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, CA 93923

                              1. re: syrahgirl
                                steve h. Jun 14, 2010 02:23 PM

                                Thanks! It should be fun getting to know Monterey again.

                                1. re: syrahgirl
                                  wolfe Jun 14, 2010 02:25 PM

                                  You've got to love where the Google map has put Grasing's, Bonners Ferry Idaho.

                                  Mission and Sixth, Carmel, CA 93921

                                  1. re: wolfe
                                    steve h. Jun 14, 2010 02:33 PM

                                    That's a fur piece from Carmel. May have to engage light-speed on my Cayuse.

                                    1. re: steve h.
                                      wolfe Jun 14, 2010 03:32 PM

                                      Cayuse is a deal deal closer to Bonners Ferry than Carmel.

                                      1. re: wolfe
                                        steve h. Jun 14, 2010 03:38 PM

                                        They make a pretty good pony, too. At least that's what Cole Porter says.

                                  2. re: syrahgirl
                                    Siun Jul 17, 2010 05:46 PM

                                    We were just there for business and ended up eating dinner twice at the "c" - what a wonderful place. Given the hubbub of the touristy parts of town, slipping in there and just seeing that beautiful expanse of water and such a clean fresh space was great ... the food even better. And the service was just right.

                                    In fact, we tried for a third night but they were booked for a special event.

                                    Topped even some of our favorites here at home in Chicago.

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