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|
|various Mexican street foods at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California|
|enchiladas at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California|
|vegetable bowl at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California|
|petite hot chocolate at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California|
|firepit tables at Cultura restaurant in Carmel, California|
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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers