Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1 South: Carmel, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve  3 mi. S of town off Hwy. 1, (831) 624-4909.  Hours vary, but usually 9am-5pm.  $10/vehicle.  No pets.  Described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world," Point Lobos provides the opportunity to see the rustic, undeveloped beauty of the Monterey Peninsula.  Flat-topped, gnarled-limbed Monterey cypress trees are native to just the 4-mile stretch between here and Pebble Beach, and sea otters are often spotted in the 1,250-acre reserve's protected waters.  Many trails are available—the self-guiding .08-mile Cypress Grove Trail loop is choice, but the .08-mile round trip Bird Island Trail through pine woods is also popular.  Guided ranger walks are scheduled daily in summer.  An overall map of the area with trails indicated can be downloaded here.  It is also wise to download individual trail maps in advance here.  On my most recent visit, we hiked the 0.7 mile South Plateau Trail which begins at the entrance station and leads to Bird Island.  The trail is well described here as “through pine and live oak woodland . . . somewhat hilly and has uneven surfaces,” and a guide to plants encountered on this trail is found here.  Note that trail signage is poor and very few maps are posted on site, so in advance of your visit take advantage of the printable brochures that include trail maps and a children’s treasure hunt.  Dress warmly and in layers, and bring binoculars, a camera, and maybe a picnic, too.  Note that Pacific grey whales are seen from December through April, and also that this is considered the best spot on the peninsula for scuba diving. 

The Whalers Cabin and the Whaling Station Museum interpretive center is inside a restored whaler’s cabin built in 1851 by a Chinese fisherman.  Artifacts and photographs tell about the area’s history, and one display highlights the location’s various incarnations in movies.  Don’t miss the collection of etched abalone shells from the 1860s.  Get a brochure here

entrance station to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
entrance station to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


trail through pine forest at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
trail through pine forest at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


view of Gibson Beach at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
view of Gibson Beach at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


pelican enjoys Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
pelican enjoys Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


South Shore Trail at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California
South Shore Trail at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California


More things to do in Carmel.

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

1 South: Carmel, Anton & Michel


Anton & Michel  Mission St./Ocean Ave., (831) 624-2406.  L-D daily; $$$.  Reservations advised.  Overlooking the Court of the Fountains, this sophisticated, soothing restaurant is welcoming, and original oil paintings adorn the walls.  In good weather, courtyard seating is available.  On a menu laden with the best of old-time classics, the specialty is items prepared tableside, including flambéed desserts--cherries jubilee, crepe suzette, and Bananas Foster.  We started our divine, flawless repast with a martini--heavy on the olives--and a grilled giant local artichoke with fried capers and garlic-mint aioli.  Our mains were deeply flavorful, long-braised Kobe beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and rack of lamb.  An extremely good 2014 Lucia Pinot Noir from nearby vineyards made the perfect companion.  More options not to overlook include French onion soup, pan-roasted chicken with root vegetables, and California red abalone.  Or you can pull out all the plugs and make your selection simple, yet still impress the surrounding tables, with the 3-course Classic Dinner for Two Prepared Tableside that includes Caesar salad, rack of lamb, and a flambéed dessert.  We ended our meal with cherries jubilee featuring delicious, very large, premium Bing cherries over vanilla ice cream.  As would be expected, service is top-notch.  The bar is a great choice for a smaller meal, and lunch features a selection of sandwiches and salads.


dining room at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
dining room at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



Court of the Fountains in Carmel, California
Court of the Fountains in Carmel, California



martini at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
martini at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



grilled artichoke appetizer at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
grilled artichoke appetizer at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



Kobe beef short rib at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
Kobe beef short rib at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



rack of lamb at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
rack of lamb at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



flambee dessert cart at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
flambee dessert cart at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California



Cherries Jubilee at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
Cherries Jubilee at Anton & Michel in Carmel, California
Anton & Michel Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
More things to do in Carmel.

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, January 4, 2018

1 South: Carmel, Cultura


Cultura  Dolores St./5th Ave., (831) 250-7005.  Tucked down one of the town’s many passageways on Su Vecino Court, this new kid on the block specializes in Mexican cuisine served family style.  Situated inside what was previously a pub, it inherited a cozy dark space and some comfy red booths.  Two fire pits offer more seating outside.  My drink choice was a Pina Aplastada/Pineapple Smash made with Mezcal.  In fact, if you want to learn more about Mezcal, this is the place--a vertical tasting is on the menu.  It has an extensive selection, and the servers are knowledgable.  Wines, beers, and Tequilas are also available.  I especially liked the snacks and appetizer section of the menu, which features street foods.  Don’t miss the peanuts toasted with garlic and whole red chiles, or the vegetarian chicharrones, which are made with flour, crispy like shrimp crackers, and shaped like peace symbols but referred to as pinwheels,.  If you’re feeling adventuresome, which I wasn’t, you can also sample some crunchy toasted chapulines (grasshoppers).  Street tacos featuring hand-made masa tortillas, guacamole served with dramatic big chips the size of half a tortilla, and street corn slathered with cheese and epazote are all don’t-misses.  If you’ve saved room for a main, your choices include a tender skirt steak with a delicious sauce, shredded smoked pork with the sweet house mole, and a roasted half chicken.  Note that the menu changes regularly.  For dessert, everyone gets a complimentary shot of hot chocolate in a tiny cup.  Very sweet indeed.  


interior of Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
interior of Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


various Mexican street foods at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
various Mexican street foods at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


enchiladas at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
enchiladas at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


vegetable bowl at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
vegetable bowl at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


petite hot chocolate at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
petite hot chocolate at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


firepit tables at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California
firepit tables at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California


Cultura Comida y Bebida Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

1 South: Carmel, The Hideaway


The Hideaway  Junipero St./8th Ave., 2 blks. from downtown, (831) 625-5222.  24 rooms; 2 stories.  Some gas fireplaces and kitchens.  Afternoon snack; buffet breakfast.  Pets ok.  No onsite parking; plenty of free street parking.  Built motel-style around a central courtyard with fire pit, this property makes good use of lovely river stones from the Carmel River.  Hot and cold drinks are available in the lobby from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and in the afternoon, wine and small snacks are provided for a guest gathering.  The European-style breakfast buffet can be enjoyed inside, or out on the often-sunny central patio.  Cruiser bikes are available for use at no charge.  Rooms are decorated in a sleek contemporary style in neutral tones.  All but two rooms have king beds (the other two are queens).  Some rooms have a microfiber couch that folds out to a queen-size bed.  Three rooms have a standard bathtub.  Toiletries are in large unbranded bottles and to be used on site only, but a small and fragrant slice of lavender hand soap is provided.  In this U-shaped building, all guest rooms face the common courtyard; corner room 17 is particularly spacious and includes a view of the far-off ocean.  


courtyard at The Hideaway in Carmel, California
courtyard at The Hideaway in Carmel, California



guest room bed at The Hideaway in Carmel, California
guest room bed at The Hideaway in Carmel, California



guest room bathroom at The Hideaway in Carmel, California
guest room bathroom at The Hideaway in Carmel, California



guest room sitting area at The Hideaway in Carmel, California
guest room sitting area at The Hideaway in Carmel, California



breakfast at The Hideaway in Carmel, California
breakfast at The Hideaway in Carmel, California




More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers