Wine & Dine Yourself Silly in Carmel-by-the-Sea! #ad

I think anyone who enjoys traveling will tell you that the highlight is always checking out the locals cafes & restaurants. Eateries surround you galore in Carmel-by-the-Sea, as well as their wine tasting rooms & I am so grateful that we were treated to dinners courtesy of Mundaka on Saturday evening, The Grill on Ocean Sunday, & thanks to The Hofsas House, Carmel’s famous Wine Walk Passports…..

Saturday night in Carmel is the place to be; it is buzzing all over town & you have an array of nearly any type of cuisine you can think of at your fingertips. Upon discovering our Mundreservation for Mundaka was a Spanish Tapas restaurant, I was a bit leery as I have not had much Spanish food & didn’t quite understand how they do their thing! Thankfully, our server, Robert, couldn’t have been more helpful as he gave us the low-down on how they serve up their plates; small portions, & order several different items. We started off with Bravas, which are fried potatoes served with a tasty aioli sauce & a drink from the bar, we both had a jalepeno-fused tequila, margarita style concoction (Right). You know I love my mixed drinks, so it won in my book.

For a main course, we shared from their plate featuring Morro Bay Oysters (oh, yeah…), scallops (which were breaded but I still managed to try a bit of; they were awesome) & meatball sliders. We went on to get our own plates & Mike chose their famous lamb burger, which he said was good but, alas, a slider…small plates, remember! 😉 & I chose their salmon patty with a poached egg on top, which are 2 of my favorite things & put together, tasted great.

Mundaka has such a great, lively vibe, & many locals looked to be enjoying themselves among us tourists, too. Theres even a bar next door, so perfect for hanging out post-dinner or while waiting for your table. Check out their web-site here!

Grill1For Sunday, The Grill on Ocean was very fitting for winding down from the weekend. Known for American cuisine, we got seated at The Mayors Table. A cozy booth overlooking their full bar & you’re also treated to crayons to go with the paper table-cloth tops; I loved the ‘laid-back’ attitude in a gorgeous, romantic restaurant! To start, we enjoyed a steamed artichoke appetizer with, you guessed it–more aioli sauce! I really loved their recipe of lemon & garlic; our server even brought me more, I couldn’t get enough.

For dinner, I ordered their flat grilled salmon with a side of baked polenta, mashed potatoes & veggies (Below). This was seriously the best meal I’d had in a long time! The salmon was like velvet & flaky, topped with herbs & tomatoes. Polenta is something I enjoy, yet don’t commonly see on a menu, that was also baked to perfection & being the mashed potato lover I am, thus, why I had to try them & they Grill were so moist & fluffy. I could easily frequent The Grill at-least weekly for this meal. With my veggies, I am not normally a cauliflower or carrots person, but figured they were probably good here & that they were. With so much fresh produce right in Carmel’s backyard of Salinas, you can definitely taste it.

Their staff also couldn’t have been kinder, & I look forward to returning to The Grill, make your reservation here!

Grill2

For a fun Sunday lunch, Mike found us Demetra, an intimate Mediterranean café that was Greekpacked with happy customers. Our host offered to take down our number to ring us when our table was free. Everyone is so accommodating & friendly in this town! 🙂 They served up very authentic food & to my boyfriend’s liking; my Dolmas (Right) were served warm, which was a first for me. I’ve always had them cold…& yes, I do think they’re better warm, along with their homemade yogurt dip!

Wine1After lunch, window shopping & beach time, we cocooned to our room to relax before dinner, but did make it to Caraccioli Cellars to take advantage of our passports a bit. We got to try 2 sparkling Bruts; 2007 Brut Rose, which was youthful with more acidic tones, & a 2007 Brut Cuvee , having a fresh taste with its balance of fruit & acid; I also could taste some citrus & berry notes. With Bruts just not usually my choice, their 2009 Chardonnay & Pinot Noir were perfect for me, though. The Chardonnay served up crisp, lemon notes on the palate & was quite vibrant. The Pinot Noir was one of the best I’d had in a very long time. It was strong, tart, yet managed to have moments of light sweetness.

After rising at 6am Monday morning to see the sunrise & go on to take the longest hike I’d been on in quite some time (maybe back when I mastered Stoney Point?!), we found an adorable European breakfast nook, The Country Cottage. Serving up all the AM favorites, it seemed like the perfect locals spot.

I am so thankful I got to enjoy myself at all these wonderful restaurants in Carmel. Next up, I will introduce you to The Hofsas House Hotel! xo

(*Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, I received comp dinners at Mundaka & The Grill for review purposes.)

 

26 Comments

  1. Jay

    March 31, 2014 at 11:45 am

    That sound like a great get away with a lot of Good food. Lol the one and only time i ate at a tapas place i left hungry and broke… thanks for sharing

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Yes, tapas is indeed on the pricier side! 😉 Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. Lenie

    March 31, 2014 at 11:46 am

    My mouth was watering the whole time I was reading this post – I love seafood but don’t have access to the real thing – mainly just fish and chips which isn’t the same at all. This sounds fabulous.
    Lenie

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Yes! Theres nothing like seafood in a beach town. Thanks so much for reading!!

  3. Sandy

    March 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Spain is on my places to see list! Drinks, food, and good company in a beautiful setting, what more does one need!

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Exactly, Sandy! Spain does look gorgeous, too 🙂

  4. Paul Graham

    March 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Sounds like a great getaway in Carmel-by-the-sea and the pace of your post really brought it to life. I also much prefer dolmas warm and believe that cold were originally just for an easily handled shepherds lunch. Love polenta when they get it right and glad they did at the Grill on the Ocean.

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, Paul!!

  5. Jeri

    March 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    It’s good to hear the breaded scallops were still pretty good. It seems almost sacrilegious to do that to a beautiful piece of seafood 😉

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Yeah, it was because of my gluten intolerance I had to be careful, I had not seen breaded scallops, but the fish was great, still 🙂

  6. Pat Amsden

    March 31, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Carmel always sounds like such a fabulous place. I hope one day I will have a chance to visit. I must admit the food you’re eating and the restaurant looks fabulous.

    1. AlongComesMary

      March 31, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Pat!!

  7. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    March 31, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    You brought back some wonderful memories. I was there a few years back and fell in love with Carmel! I have to compliment you on the descriptive writing of the food…positively mouth watering. I have fond memories of the Grill! Sigh!

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Aw, how cool, Jacqueline! Thank you so much, I am glad I got my points across…the food is so delicious 😉

  8. Tim

    April 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Eating seafood by the sea is one of lifes little treasures for sure. Carmel is a gorgeous town and how could you not fall in love with a town whose mayor was Clint Eastwood. “Make my Day”

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Exactly, Tim! From what I learned, he really helped Carmel remain its beauty we see today 🙂

  9. andleeb

    April 3, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Eating good sea food by the sea is my dream … I went to sea many times but have not enjoyed some real stuff yet.
    I really liked your post and description of places and food.
    I have never been to Spain but have heard a lot from my friends visiting there and also read a lot about it. I hope to visit some day.
    I am fond of eating and my mouth was watering when I read about food and I really liked the pictures as well.

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Thank you so much!! Cheers!

  10. maxwell ivey

    April 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

    i just love hearing about your trips. and my dad certainly agree with you. He thought the best part about visiting a new town or going back to a favorite one was the food. He used to say that its part of our civic duty to support the local restaurants when we are in their towns. not much of a wine person, but I’m up for new adventures. so hoping to attend a wine tasting somewhere soon too. take care, max

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Max!! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you get to do that wine tasting ASAP 😉 Cheers!

  11. Mark Roope

    April 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Although the post is beautifully written and photographed I always find it difficult to give an informed opinion knowing that you received free meals.
    Then again it adds so much to your authority when you actually disclose this.
    Again, beautiful post, well written and photographed. Thank you

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Well, its really no different than an article you read in a magazine or newspaper. Like I state, all opinions are my own & many blogs are indeed sponsored.

  12. Beth Niebuhr

    April 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and often visited Carmel. Always fun; always good places to eat. I’ve only been there once since those years but will go again some day.

    1. AlongComesMary

      April 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      San Fran is one of my most favorite cities 🙂

  13. Susan Cooper

    April 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Oh, how I wish we lived closer to each other. We would have a grand old time wouldn’t we? It’s been a while but I have actually eaten there and I LOVED it. It looks like you had a great time, for that I am very happy.

  14. AlongComesMary

    April 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you, Susan! Yes, I want to make a girls day happen for us soon!!

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