Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'll Miss You Monterey...

Since I just left Monterey, I figured I'd do a post about all of the great things to do, place to see, and good eats in that area...just in case any of my readers ever take a little visit here. It is definitely a great place to it can always be a stopping point as you're driving along the California coast. Napa is just a few hours North and L.A./San Diego is 5-7 hours south. And from what I've heard from friends, the drive along the coast (CA-1 South) is many beaches and cliffs to stop and take pictures at, just enjoying the view of the ocean.

Anyway, living there for about a year and a half now, I feel like I've gotten to experience a lot of different foods, places and here are my reviews:

  • Lou Lou's (on the Wharf)
    • BEST place to go for breakfast (they serve lunch too)...this became my usual Sunday hangout. The waitress literally knows my order by heart, basically because I always ordered the same thing! :) It's a really small place (a little yellow building on the Municipal Wharf #2) and is almost always busy. They also cook the food to order, so you definitely have to be willing to sit down and wait a bit. But, oh boy, is it worth it! They have HUGE, and I mean HUGE pancakes...the size of a normal-sized plate, and I'm NOT exaggerating! And they serve most of their breakfast meals with these scrumptious, they're basically just potatoes but spiced up and topped with tomatoes, grilled onions, basil and some fresh cheese...YUMMY! I always get their "create your own omelet"...mushroom and cheddar all the way!
    • I have tried their lunch too...also delicious. I ordered the tuna sandwich with 1/2 fries, 1/2 salad. The hubby ordered the calamari. Both were great!!
  • Rosine's (Downtown Monterey)
    • We had some friends visiting in town for Thanksgiving and we brought them here for breakfast...also a great place. Very welcoming, but also very busy normally. Other than breakfast, they serve lunch and dinner...and they are FAMOUS in Monterey for their deserts. They make these HUGE cakes and serve them by the slice. I can almost never finish an entire slice...splitting a slice is more like it! :)
  • Noodle Bar (Seaside)
    • A friend that I used to work with introduced me to this place and boy, was it a pleasant surprise. It's a TINY place, even tinier than Lou Lou's (mentioned above)...and if you're driving along, you can actually miss it. The only place to sit is at a counter and it only holds about 10-12 bar stools (downside), but the food is totally worth it! Imagine a bowl layered with noodles, fresh lettuce, chopped peanuts, mint, veggie (and before I became a vegetarian, I used to get the BBQ pork)...omg, it is amazing!
    • Favalaro's Big Night Bistro (PG)
      • The hubby found this place...and for us it was great, because it was very close to our favorite movie theater in PG. To be honest, it's kind of hard to find a good Italian restaurant in Monterey...not sure why...but this one takes the cake! Excellent gnocci, ravioli, salad...their sauces are amazeballs!! Oh, and they usually have this special appetizer (which the husband always devoured) as fried whole ones, deep fried in panko crumbs!! Mmmmmm! It is family owned, and the wait staff are so nice, love this place!
    • Hula's Island Grill
      • Man, I love this's the place to go for the best sweet-potato fries, and they just put a fun Hawaiian spin on all of their foods. The decor is very "tiki-hut"! Fish tacos are a specialty and wasabi mashed potatoes, YES PLEASE!!
      • Jose's (Two locations, in Seaside and on Cannery Row)
        • My favorite mexican restaurant in Monterey
      • Lopez Mexican Restaurant (Downtown Monterey)
      • Pepper's MexiCali Cafe (PG)
        • This was the first place that Cody and I ever at at in Monterey. He was already living on base here, I drove his car from IL to CA (yes, I was a LONG trip) and came to visit two February's ago. While visiting, we were checking out apartments and obtaining our marriage license...and we completely forgot that it was Valentines Day! ;) One of the housing agents was so sweet...he called this restaurant nearby (Pepper's) and made us a reservation. We got there and immediately fell in LOVE with it!! Best salsa, BEST corn chowder (omg, if you go here, you have to prmise me you will get some), and amazing food (my fav's: swordfish tacos, salmon tacos, and roasted red peper mahi mahi tacos)! I will miss this place SO much!!
      Fish 'n Chips:
      • London Bridge Pub (on the Wharf)
        • fish and chips, hands down! Great view of the marina too
      • Phil's Fish Market (Moss Landing) 
        • Bobby Flay did a throw down here with Phil, making his cioppino...great food, freshest seafood, and there's a beach right behind it with a gorgeous view!
      • Islands (Del Monte mall Shopping Center in Monterey)
      • Nepenthe (Big Sur) 
        • After hiking, this was such a great place to stop and eat...yummy sandwiches! And their outside patio is built on a cliff, overlooking the ocean (breathtaking!) 
       Clint Eastwood's Restaurant (Carmel)
      • Mission Ranch
        • I can't express enough how amazing this restaurant is...and one time I was there, I saw Clint!!! I was sitting outside on the patio and he was walking through the inside part of the restaurant. From what the workers said, he comes up to the restaurant a few times a week to check in. It is a bit pricey, but completely worth it. The patio overlooks a huge field where sheep graze and then you can see the Carmel beach/cliffs in the horizon...need I say more?!
          Best Things to Do in Monterey:
          • Whale Watching (multiple venues on the Wharf) *Here's where we went
            • My friend and I got to see Killer cool! They pretty much can guarantee whale sighting
          • Kayaking (multiple venues on the Wharf and along Cannery Row) *Here's where we went
            • A must-do in Monterey...just be careful not to tip your kayak ;)
          • Monterey Bay Aquarium
            • One of the best aquariums in the country!
            • My favorite exhibit is the Seahorses, fairly new to the aquarium
          • Hiking in Big Sur
          • 17-mile Drive (you also get to see Pebble Beach golf course along this drive)
          • Monterey Beer Fest (month of June at Monterey Fairgrounds)
            • Went here two years in a row...and had such a blast!! Great selection of beers, food and music

             Well, there's all of my reviews...I'm sure there's so much I'm missing. But bottom line, Monterey is an amazing place to vacation and if you get a chance, GO! :)

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