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Going on a foodie tour of carmel, monterey, and san francisco

Swankalicious | Mar 11, 200806:55 PM

My husband and I are spending two days in carmel and three in san fran, with a day trip to monterey. we're grad students (read: cannot afford expensive meals) but want the true flavor of the area - taco stands, amazing dim sum, cheap seafood if we can find it.
where would you recommend?
one day will be spent exploring carmel. we'd like lunch and dinner options.
the next day we're heading to big sur - any places to stop along the way?
on our way to san fran, we'll go to monterey and the aquarium - any good places to try in monterey for dinner or lunch?
finally, in san fran, we're very psyched to go to chinatown. we love dim sum - carts or menu - and want to try the truest, best dim sum places in the area. we are also going to gilroy and the garlic capital (forget the name - castroville?) - so if there are any good garlicky stop-offs, please tell me!
finally, we're taking our hosts out for a nice-ish dinner the last night of our stay (in san fran), so a good group spot in san fran would be nice.
thank you in advance!

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