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Trip report: Passionfish,La Cantinetta Luca, and other stuff from Big Sur to Santa Cruz

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Trip report: Passionfish,La Cantinetta Luca, and other stuff from Big Sur to Santa Cruz

danna | May 23, 2011 08:33 AM

What a great trip, just non-stop eye candy...and we come from a beautiful part of the world already!

First meal was California Market at our hotel, Hyatt Highands Inn. Honestly , we know better than to eat in a hotel, but the more formal restauarant, Pacifcs Edge got pretty good reviews here, and we were tired, and the patio was warm, sunlit and oh-so-spectacular. But, of course we regreted it. Decent app, very plain halibut sandwich, burger with bad meat. Too the credit of the rest., they took that off the bill when the waiter noticed my husband didn't eat it.

Next meal at Passionfish made me happy I didn't love my lunch!! The place was fantastic, we loved everything. Oysters w/ carrot granita was a stand-out, just delicious (although they let the granita mostly melt before it came to the table...oops) Calamari was fantastic. I'm having some troulbe remembering the rest of the meal...there was a whole lot of sleep-deprivation before and after, but we were both extremely pleased. 1/2 bottle of Pride Viognier for $30...very nice.

In the morning, I had an almond croissant from Parker-Lusseau, it was very good, although not the best I've ever had.

Lunch in Santa Cruz was another bust. Tacqueria La Cabanna was recomended...I really don't get it. But we followed that up w bitter caramel from Penny Ice which was possibly the best flavor of ice cream I can remember, although the texture was not super-creamy as i would have expected.

Dinner was Cantinetta Luca in Carmel. I enjoyed the burrata and the arugula salad w/ shredded pears. The grilled prawns were really good, had a distinct smokey grilled taste, and a good texture. My husband shocked the waiter by ordering pizza and a pasta dish, both were good.

Our last day started w/ Big Sur Bakery. We only had pastries because brunch wasn't served until 10:30 and we are always in a hurry on vacation. We had mushroom quiche which was very nice, and a buttery coffee cake and a "jelly" donut. (the jelly was a tart fruit puree) Very good coffee ($3!!) and they let me have a refill free, at which point the counter man looked at it, pronounced it "watery looking" poured it out and made me a fresh one. The brunch menu didn't just kill me, part of why we didn't wait around, but the dinner menu looked awesome! If the execution of that menu was top-notch, I think I might rather have eaten there than my final restaurant of the trip, Manresa in San Jose. If you're interested, I'll probably be posting a review of Manresa on the Bay Area board.

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Passionfish
701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Cantinetta Luca
Dolores St Between Ocean and 7th Ave, Carmel, CA 93921

Big Sur Bakery
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

California Market Restaurant
120 Highland Dr, Carmel, CA

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