We're back home from Monterey!
We started off Saturday afternoon with brunch at a place called The Crepe Place. On Friday, Justyn had asked me to print out directions and a map to the restaurant. His exact words were "While you're hard at work... can you print out directions to the crepe place?" This was while I was killing some time playing a game called Tontie (http://www.eyezmaze.com/eyezblog_en/blog/2004/05/tontie_ver1.html). Anyway, how am I supposed to find a crepe place in Santa Cruz? I don't know the area and I don't know the name of the restaurant. Well, I soon found out that it was called The Crepe Place. Ohhhh..
Since this was my first time at the restaurant, I was a little apprehensive when I found the inside of the place empty. I soon realized that they had a cute little outdoor patio where everyone was seated.
I started out my meal with a cocktail called Purple Iris which consisted of champagne and ollalieberry wine. I don't even know what an Ollalieberry is but I suspect it's a close cousin to the blackberry. It was OK. I thought it could've been a little sweeter. Justyn ordered their Mediterranean crepe that had olives, spinach and feta cheese while I had the salmon crepe. It came with a nice cool dill sauce which matched perfectly with the smoke salmon. The portion sizes were perfect too. I hate breakfast/brunch places that give you too much food. It's just me though, I'm normally not a breakfast person.
After lunch we walked around the Harley Davidson/Buell dealership next door. Justyn sat on some bikes and then we were on our way to Jabberwock Bed & Breakfast in Monterey. It was a nice drive up with perfect weather all the way there. We arrived a little earlier than expected, but the host let us check in anyway. He gave us a quick tour of the quaint but large house and showed us to our room. I had been wanting to stay at this place since there was a jacuzzi in the room. See?
We put our luggage in the room and went for a walk down to Cannery Row to shop and do some wine tasting. The local wines we had were disgusting. Out of 6 wines, we only slightly enjoyed one of them.
When we got back, a bottle of champagne was waiting for us. I had asked the host to set that up since we were celebrating Justyn's birthday early.
After some champagne and resting, we surfed the internet for a while before dinner. As we walked back down to Cannery Row, we noticed a bank called Rabobank. Would you bank here? Haha... I didn't think so.
Earlier we had looked up reviews for nearby restaurants and found one called The Sea Harvest which is one block outside of Cannery Row. I didn't want to eat at Bubba Dumps or any major chain/tourist trap restaurants so this was perfect. We ordered a bowl of clam chowder. You really can't go to Monterey without eating at least a bowl of that right? Since my tastebuds have been on a spicy kick, we added a bunch of hot sauce to it.
I also ordered their BBQ oyster appetizer that was loaded with butter and garlicky goodness. Mmmm, the oyster was cooked just to heat it up and open the shell so it was still slurpy.
Justyn ordered the seafood combo which had fried shrimp, fish, calamari and scallops that came with a cool coleslaw salad. I didn't feel like anything on the menu, but I knew I wanted crab so I ordered a whole steamed crab. Justyn told the waiter to get me the smallest one they had which disappointed me when it arrived because this thing was tiny. It wasn't even enough meat to make a sammich with. He felt bad, but I wasn't that hungry anyway. I was content with the clam chowder and oyster appetizer.
It was still too early to turn in, so we walked around Cannery Row for a good part of the night and also hung out at a bar where we ran into a fellow BARFer. Neither of us knew that this weekend was AMA Superbike racing at Laguna Seca so to our delight, a bunch of motorcycles were also down there hanging out.
When we got back to the Jabberwock Inn, there were cookies and milk out for our consumption. I felt like kicking Justyn's ass at chess but the direct opposite of that happened. I got my ass handed to me. Ah well, there's always time to practice and get good!
Sunday morning arrived and Justyn woke up with a major case of sleepy head, so I went downstairs to get him some coffee.
For breakfast, the host made something called Jabberwock Juice which tastes just like Orange Julius. It had orange and pineapple juice with a splash of coconut milk blended with ice. It was a nice refreshing pick me up. For breakfast, we had a huge apple croissant for the first course. Second course consisted of eggs and corn fried rice.
During the afternoon, we walked to the Monterey Bay Aquarium since we had a 2-day pass from the bed & breakfast. I was a little disappointed because we walked through everything so quickly but seeing a couple sunfish, tuna & sharks made up for that. The sunfish and tuna were HUGE! The sunfish looked like something from another planet with their big humanlike eyes and flatness.
All the walking around worked up our appetites and we settled on Willy's which, unfortunately is like a chain restaurant. I had no expectations walking into that place and of course, the food was mediocre at best. We had a coupon for free calamari or broccoli fritters and upon the waiter's description of the fritters, we opted for the calamari. Suprisingly, the squid was extremely tender and flavorful, but Tomato Thyme has better.
I ordered the pan seared sandab sammich with fries and Justyn got the shrimp with corn grits and fried green beans with a spicy smokey sauce. Myeh, this food wasn't even noteworthy. It was just mass produced grossness.
After lunch I took a nap back at the bed & breakfast while Justyn surfed the internet. When I woke up, it was time to head over to Carmel by the Sea to have dinner at Casanova. We were early, so we did some window shopping. Most of the shops were closed so all we could do was walk around and look at the displays of art, expensive clothing and restaurants. Carmel by the Sea is like the Beverly Hills of Northern California and this place almost has a formula to the area. Art gallery, women's clothing, restaurant and real estate offices over and over again.
At around 6:15pm, we got bored and decided to go to Cassanova early. The hostess was accomodating and seated us early. Bread and tapenade arrived along with the first course. The first course were some pickled cucumbers, beet salad with chives and saffron pasta. I wasn't thrilled with the first course as everything tasted a little bland to me. If I had to pick, I would say that the beet salad had the most potential.
Second course was included with the main dish so I ordered the mushrooms which were soaked in olive oil, garlic and parsley. This dish failed to impress as well. I had to add salt to it. Justyn's second course was tomato soup with orzo. The waiter brought out the soup in a small pot and bowl with a cheese crouton and ladeled the soup into the bowl. Alright, I'll give them presentation for that.
For our main courses, I had their pan seared (yes again with the pan seared dishes) veal with chorizo risotto. Justyn ordered pot au feu which is basically a French short rib stew. I was going to order that, but thought it was too easy of a dish to prepare. I wanted something challenging. And a challenge it was. I couldn't even finish my dish. I can't even begin to tell you how disappointed I was with this place. Granted, I didn't order their "signature" dishes but everything just pissed me off. Their only saving graces were presentation (with the tomato soup) and the half bottle of wine. The wine was excellent. It was a half bottle of a 2002 Georis Estate Merlot. If they had this at our tasting at Cannery Row, I would've purchased a couple bottles of this one.
But back to the restaurant sucking. I normally trust and agree with the reviews on yelp, but I'm sorry. The restaurant had an air of prententiousness that I couldn't agree with. The waiter was distant and unwelcoming. The food wasn't worth the bill I paid ($132 total). If you're going to charge that much for simple food, make it taste incredible. Alright, now I'm ranting so I'll stop.
After dinner we were supposed to go back to Cannery Row to walk around, but I was tired from all the walking we did so I went to bed. The next morning, I woke up and took a quick shower before breakfast. Again we had a croissant for breakfast and instead of eggs and rice, we had some ricotta cheese filled crepe which I wasn't happy with. I ate a couple bites and excused myself from the table. I thought I was going to be sick (as in throw up).
Justyn and I packed up our things after breakfast and drove down Cannery Row to do a couple wine tastings except nothing was open. Oh well...
We drove to Old Fisherman's Wharf to have lunch, but again, nothing was open and neither of us were hungry so we went home.
It was a relaxing weekend and I'm glad we still have today to hang out at home and chill out before going back to work tomorrow. This is the last time I can take time off work before the big France trip in December! Let's hope I can keep it together until then!
Bee - I hope you had a good time! Early Happy Birthday to you!