September 9, 2010

I guarantee you I’d much rather be back on the central California coast than cooped up in a hospital room recovering from surgery as (God willing) I expect to be at this moment in time. Therefore, I thought I’d recount some happy memories of our Sunday in Carmel Valley.

After all the hoopla involved with meeting the Georis brothers on Saturday, we did the tourist thing on Sunday and drove down to Big Sur. It was less than 30 miles from Carmel Valley, and all along the way you’ll see incredible vistas just like that shown at the link. It’s not the easiest drive, with a lot of white-knuckle hairpin turns complicated by the sheer number of cars, bicyclists toting camping gear, RVs, and motorcyclists coming at you from the opposite direction. But what an incredible drive!

We had lunch in Monterey at its Fisherman’s Wharf area. It was OK – you know, your typical family-friendly trap of average restauants and souvenier stores (and a very crowded one at that, as it was a lovely Sunday on Labor Day weekend). We had a nice lunch at an Italian seafood place called Rappa’s (spaghetti and meatballs for me, steamed clams in white wine and garlic butter and a lobster tail for Tracey), where the Anchor Steam was fresh and cold. And the area was perfect for walking around and enjoying the sights – the fresh air, harbor, the boats, the harbor seals… very pastoral.

…A quick word here: you can’t order steamed clams on the West Coast and expect New England-style steamers. It just ain’t possible. Me? I’m OK with the white wine and garlic butter version – it’s very tasty and perfect for dipping Italian or French bread in.

…A second quick word here: since as I’m writing this it’s Tuesday night and I’m fasting for my surgery tomorrow and on a clear liquid diet for God knows how long I’m finding writing about food a rather enjoyable yet difficult thing to do!

We were going to return to Carmel Valley by way of the 17-mile drive via Pebble Beach, but the trip to Big Sur was already plenty enough for us, so we decided to table it for (God willing) another time. We headed back to Carmel Valley in time for the free wine and cheese tasting at our hotel, the Country Garden Inn, where we met a lovely couple visiting from England.

After checking out a couple of places for additional wines to sample (I know this sounds like a broken record, but, like they say, when in Rome…) we realized that no one did it with as much joy, taste, and class as they did at Georis Winery, so we headed over there. By this time, it was after five and the sidewalks were starting to roll up for the night, so we chose to dine next door in the courtyard of the Corkscrew Cafe, also run (at least in part) by the Georises.

And what a gorgeous place it was! You sit under lovely grape vines…


..and enjoy some equally lovely food – simple American-French cuisine. We weren’t looking for a lot, so we split a fantastic burger (topped with Gruyere cheese, homemade sweet pickles and red onion) and fries, with a crème brûlée for dessert. (Hungry yet?) Of course, we didn’t want the food to be lonely, so a nicely-chilled bottle of Georis Sauvignon Blanc kept us all company. Just watching everyone dining in that small courtyard with different bottles of wine on each table made for quite the peaceful, joyful scene. It made for a lovely finish to a lovely day.

Monday was giddy-up-and-go day, so we had our morning coffee out on the grounds of the Inn’s Acacia Lodge, where we were actually staying and where I snapped this picture of the view we looked upon:


I’ll tell you, if I had the money, I’d buy the lodge from the owners and turn it into a monastery and retreat area. It’s that beautiful and peaceful. Heck, the breakfast room could easily be converted into a chapel, as it looks out of the flowers in the foreground. Lemme tell you, I could think of a million gazillion worse ideas to undertake.

Pool temp: 87 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:02 | Comments (2)
  1. Always good to have the surgery behind you. Take care of yourself and recover quickly.

    Was out to Carmel and wine country many years ago. It is an easy place to fall in love with. Now you’ve got me all excited to revisit.

    Be well … Goose

    Comment by Goose — September 9, 2010 @ 8:19 am

  2. I suspect you are preparing to go home and get settled in and all comfy. I suggested to Tracey she load up on frozen bags of veggies for you to place upon the boo boo…once the veggies have melted (in the bag of course) she can toss them into a kettle and at some point, you will have vegetable soup and a partially frozen, albeit painless, keister. Hey, just being eco-friendly here…remember to recycle the plastic bags the veggies came in.

    Not sure if plastic bags of frozen grits would work.
    Don’t you just love me to death at times?

    Comment by Jana — September 9, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

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