Sunday, May 4, 2008

2 Days In Carmel

Sunset, Carmel Beach

After a couple of days break in Carmel it's back to the salt mines once again.

Couple of things worth mentioning if you happen to find yourself down that way :

- in Carmel, the Bouchee restaurant is well worth a look. Good French country cooking but done in a more modern style, plus a great wine list. We found a half-bottle of Robert Foley Charbono for the reasonable (restaurant) price of $40. Dining in Carmel can be a bit of a hit-or-miss affair so we were happy with the food, price (approx. $140 for two in total) and service. I had coq-au-vin and S had the lamb, both of which were well executed and generously proportioned without going overboard. The Vanilla creme brulee was a bit more heavy duty but at least you could see bits of actual vanilla pod indicating that someone had taken due care in preparing things in the kitchen.

- while Julia Burns Pfeiffer park (about 35 miles south of Carmel) is well worth a visit then not sure the 4 hour loop hike to the top was a good return on the time and sweat invested. Sure, you get a good view at the very top, but then the same can be said of what you get from the restaurant deck at the Nepenthe, and they serve drinks. Instead, just do the first part of the loop and enjoy the cool trail under the trees, heading back to the parking lot and under the road to see the coastal view and waterfall. The same day pass ($8) will then let you into Point Lobos State Park on the way back (just south of Carmel) where you can get right to the ocean.

- we stayed at the Carriage House Inn. It was clean, quiet and comfortable, if all with a bit of an AARP feel to it. Still, it's only a couple of blocks from main street and just a short walk to the beach so it's hard to fault the location and this place has good discounts on offer so don't pay top dollar to stay there.

Amazingly enough, we dodged the fog on both days, which makes a big difference. A fogged-in Carmel loses a lot of its charm.

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