I haven’t visited Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea since 2018 when we visited for Tommaso’s birthday so a visit was long overdue.
We spent two nights in Pacific Grove, a small town in between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea at a beautiful Victorian style inn called Green Gables located right next to the ocean. Tommaso got me the best birthday card inspired by The White Lotus (season two, iykyk).
Since we arrived in the early afternoon we decided to get a snack at Alta Bakery, a popular bakery and café in Monterey. We got a blue corn cookie, carrot cake cookie sandwich, and an almond financier. All the sweets were fantastic but the blue corn cookie really stood out with its earthy corn flavor.
We also sampled a small size of the famous bee’s knees ice cream flavor from Revival Ice Cream which was delicious. If I was hungrier, I definitely would have gotten a larger size because the flavor of honey and pieces of crunchy honeycomb was heavenly.
Afterwards we walked around Monterey and along the water. Summer in this area tends to be slightly cloudy and foggy with a moderate temperature.
We had a pretty low key afternoon and ended my birthday at Chez Noir for dinner which is a newly awarded French restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The next day started off with complimentary breakfast at the inn with a view of the ocean.
Following breakfast, we spent a few hours walking around Point Lobos State Park where the views of the ocean were epic and we even saw otters and seals.
After getting some steps in, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Refuge, an outdoor relaxation spa with steam rooms, saunas, and various thermal pools. The pools ranged from hot, warm, cool, and cold and while I tried all the different temperatures, I could only do maybe 20-30 seconds in the cool or cold pools as it was brutal! Tommaso, on the other hand, regularly takes cold showers so the cool and cold pools didn’t seem to faze him.
For our last night we dined at Maligne, a Californian restaurant with a large open kitchen.
Before heading home, we walked around Carmel-by-the-Sea and the weather finally cleared up.
We had lunch at La Bicyclette, a very popular European restaurant with French and Italian influences.
Gotta love a bread basket with butter and olive oil.
A refreshing salad with watermelon, frisée, arugula, roasted red peppers, Pecorino cheese, olives, and crispy prosciutto. I did wish there were more pieces of watermelon.
Caponata is an Italian eggplant dish and their version had olives, caramelized onions, pine nuts, and pistachios.
Parisian gnocchi is unlike Italian gnocchi as it’s made from choux pastry (no potatoes). Their version had the addition of spinach and was nestled in a rich cheese sauce. So scrumptious.
I loved everything about this wood fired pizza with fresh figs, prosciutto, Manchego cheese, caramelized onions, walnuts, and arugula. No complaints here.
I didn’t know what to expect when we ordered this so we were both surprised when the beignet looked more like a Boston cream donut. It actually reminded me of that since it was stuffed with a vanilla custard and covered with chocolate sauce.
Crème brûlée is easily one of my favorite desserts. It’s such a classic and for good reason.
While our trip was short, it was the perfect retreat filled with all my favorite things: stunning scenery, delectable food, hiking, and spas. What more can a girl ask for!