Thanks to all of those who provided suggestions…here’s where I ended up going…
I arrived hungry at San Francisco airport…I was walking around the food court looking for a place to eat when I noticed a very appetizing plate of an omellet and hashbrown that someone was having…I immediately found the source, Lori’s Diner.
I ordered the spinach/cream cheese omelet (never had that combination) for my first taste of California food…it was pretty good and the people were very friendly (something that I found true of Californians).
Eventually I got to Monterey (the connecting flight was overbooked so I volunteered to deplane and drove down). After walking around Fisherman’s Wharf, I decided on Domenico’s. I don’t eat seafood often but hey, it’s Monterey.
I started with the roast garlic. Nice touch on pairing it with feta cheese. It was very messy though and I felt that something was missing (fruits/vegetables?)
Next I tried some authentic Monterey calamari..too bad they were sprinkled with green onions. They were “ok”…
For my main dish, I chose the Petrale Sole, again a local fish, in porcini mushroom sauce. It was GREAT! I liked the “tougher” texture (like swordfish).
I headed down to Carmel the next day. I wanted to try Forge in the Forrest but two people gave me negative reviews so I went for (a late lunch) at The Grill instead.
Once again, I started with roast garlic! The presentation was completely different than the one I had eaten the night prior…no mess here as the garlic was already extracted and this time there were pears and apples on the side. The warm brie was great too.
I ordered pasta as a main dish, duck filled ravioli in orange sauce. Flavour-wise it was good but the pasta was a bit hard.
Next stop, San Francisco! I rented a Shelby GT500 (500HP!!!) for the scenic drive up Pacific Highway 1..check out the pics and vids below..
Based on comments here and my own research, I decided on Zuni. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the atmosphere! Being a loft owner/lover, different shapes and textures are very appealing to me.
I ordered their signature chicken dish and waited patiently for the hour it takes to prepare. If I could sum up the chicken in one word, I would say “clean”…no fat..and it was the whitest white meat I have ever seen.
I had the incredibly good pot de chocolat for dessert
Service was great too…of course, it was not cheap but in all fairness the chicken is usually served for two.
Back in Monterey for my final California meal…I headed back to the Cannery district..I thought about going to the Sardine Factory but it was 3PM and they only open at 5..also, I was not in the mood for a snooty haute cuisine experience so I took the opportunity to try some Mexican food (a local specialty, according to you chowhounders ;) ).
Jose’s Mexican Grill is quite quaint.
The patio overlooks a some old railway cars and you can see the bay as well.
I had the steak and enchilada combo..it was decent.
I had the flan for dessert
So there you have it, Zuni by a long shot..I would definitely repeat but more for the atmosphere than the chicken..I would try other things on the menu.