My wife and I spent two nights in the Monterey area over Spring Break. Nice weather, clear, with sunny days and cool nights. I'd forgotten how beautiful and green the hills are in Springtime. We drove down from San Francisco to Gilroy so my wife could shop at the outlets there. I was really impressed how many shops there were compared to our last visit 14 years ago.
Our first meal was lunch at the In n Out right at the entrance to the outlets. A couple of hamburgers, a cheeseburger and fries ordered extra crisp were all very good. At about $7 total, it was a bargain meal and satisfied my In n Out craving until our next visit to California.
Dinner that night was in Carmel at Cantinetta Luca. We took a chance, walked in and were seated at the window table just as the sun went down. It's a cozy restaurant with a wood burning oven in back, a small menu and good service. The fresh baked bread with a spread of olives, sun dried tomato and garlic was a nice starter. Our appetizers were the baked eggplant parmigiana and grilled asparagus with panchetta and lemon. Both were good but the asparagus was truly outstanding. Dinner was the pumpkin ravioli and pappardelle bolognese. Everything was delicious, simply prepared with careful attention to detail. Our best meal of the visit and a new favorite Carmel spot for us.
The next day was clear an bright so we decided to drive down to Big Sur and have a late breakfast at Deetjen's. It is a rustic, picturesque inn, exactly how I imagined it would be. My wife had the eggs benedict with chicken apple sausage and spinach, perfectly cooked eggs with firm whites and golden yolks. It came with home fries and toast. I had the buttermilk pancakes, great texture and taste with butter and warm maple syrup. We enjoyed our meal with hot coffee at a nice window table.
Dinner that night was at La Bicyclette in Carmel which took the spot of the former La Boheme. La Boheme was our favorite restaurant in Carmel and when it was hitting all cylinders meals there were terrific. As the new owners are associated with Cassanova, we thought we would give it a try since meals are served family style like La Boheme used to.
We started with a mixed green salad with apple slices and parmesan cheese in a nice vinaigrette dressing, a promising start. Next was a peppery potato leek soup served in a copper pot followed by roasted free range chicken and petrale sole. All in all we agreed it was a step down from La Boheme, not bad and reasonably priced, but with all the dining options available in the area, probably not worth a return visit.
Next morning we picked up some Starbucks coffee and made the drive back. A nice, short visit.