Carmel has always been a popular weekend destination. But the list of what to do when you arrive is growing. Some love shopping along Ocean Avenue at names like Coach, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co., others hit the beach with their dog. Good food is cool and these days, eating your way through Carmel is a delicious way to spend a weekend getaway.
One of the best things about eating in Carmel is that you have lots of options. From tastes to plates to three hour sit-down meals, there’s something for every palate and budget.
Farmers’ Markets are big in Monterey County, with one going strong almost every day of the week, depending on the time of year. Even in the dead of winter the folks at Earthbound Farm grow organically on more than fifty three thousand acres. That means there’s always something fabulous to snack on at their Farm Stand in Carmel Valley.
More than 30 Balsamic Vinegars & Olive Oils to choose from
Trió Carmel takes olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting to a new high. The store/art gallery carries extra virgin olive oils from around the world, and balsamic vinegars in flavors you never knew existed. Try the Cinnamon Pear Balsamic. Tasting is complimentary. Across the street, Salumeria Luca Italian Deli & Bakery, might remind you a little of Molinari’s, when it was shiny and new. Grab a sandwich and you can have a picnic in neighboring Piccadilly Park.
Thin-crust Pizza at La Bicyclette
La Bicyclette has the look, feel, and energy level of a Parisian café. Go for a morning walk or run and the assorted wood fired breads set out to cool will ensure your return. The menu changes daily, but you can’t go wrong with a thin-crust pizza. If a quick burger sounds good, 400° Gourmet Burgers and Fries offers traditional varieties, along with turkey, veggie, Portobello and Albacore options.
Rockin' dessert at Aubergine
Make it a date and an affair to remember at Zagat rated Aubergine. Create a personalized menu from a variety of dishes on the four-course menu or let the chef do his thing and surprise you with each plate on the chef’s tasting menu. Along with incredible flavors and beautiful presentations, expect to see the chef have some artistic culinary fun.
If you’d like more guidance eating your way through Carmel, a walking tour with Carmel Food Tours is a nice way to get a little taste of this and a little taste of that, in about three hours. With tour chief Staci Giovino at the helm you’ll nosh at The Cheese Shop, taste gnocchi in an amazing parmesan cream sauce at Casanova (take her advice and bring any leftover bread from the Cheese Shop to sop up the sauce), sip some local wine, and indulge your sweet tooth at Lula’s Chocolates. She also hits a few of my favorites from above. Think of it as lunch in motion.
If all that eating makes you feel like a nap, check-in at La Playa Carmel, and postpone the diet yet another day so you can enjoy their complimentary Champagne Brunch Buffet, complete with ocean view.
Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann
Dana’s trip was organized by the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.