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A few days in Monterey

The Cynical Chef

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We will be in Monterey this April for a couple of days and need some exciting food. We will have a car and don't mind driving but we will also have our 2 kids, ages 7 & 8. Looking for something wonderful but not extravagant. Love Asian, Mexican or Californian just so long as it vibrant. Our kids are used to our eclectic tastes in food and will try anything...although sometimes we have to pay them a dollar to do that.

On another note if anyone will be in Paso Robles on the 15th of April you can catch us at Matt Garretson's Salute to Southern Chefs at the Garretson Wine Company.

You know if Matt really wanted to salute me he would bring me to the French Laundry for dinner...instead of making me work like the dog that I am! :biggrin:

John Malik


33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC


Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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Well, the food might not quite be up to IHOP standards, but you can't beat the view at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch. I love to have lunch there - it's like eating at the top of the world.

Nearby is Deetjen's which would also be a great place to stroll around with the family.

I also suggest, while you're in the area, that you visit Earthbound Farm's Farm Stand. The season could be better for this, but it is open year-round, the farmer, Mark Marino, has gone out of his way to make it kid-friendly and it's just a beautiful place - one of my favorite places in the world. I think you and your family would enjoy it.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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We found a good little Afghan place when we were in Monterey in December. It's call Amir's Kabob House. Wonderful home style dishes at great prices. It's on Lighthouse, only a few blocks from the Aquarium and Cannery Row.

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I personally enjoy everything that I have eaten at Fresh Cream but you said that you weren't looking for extravagant ... so there is Tarpy's Roadhouse, Passionfish, Cibo (Italian), Fandango, and many many more. Because the entire area caters to locals and many tourists all year round, there are numerous choices available for dining on all levels. I imagine that your kids would enjoy places on Monterey Bay (I do!) since Greenville is so far from the ocean. Here is a webpage with numerous links which you might enjoy looking through: scenic Monterey places to dine. Have a wonderful stay there!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Sierra Mar is amazing! If you want some really great food in a casual atmosphere, check out the Schooner's Bistro at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. They have really great fish and chips here.

On the wharf, your best bet would be Domenico's. Carmel has some nice options. The Mission Ranch. Bouchee or Casanova are all really good. Mission Ranch has views that are gorgeous! :)

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This is my response to a previous query about Monterey that I have added to and edited slightly for your question:

As a former local (I lived in the area for 12 years) and still a regular visitor, the following are my current favorite places in Monterey and Pacific Grove. I should add that I am a Professor at a community college, so budget is always at least a partial consideration:

Passionfish - not super fancy, but imaginative preparations of sustainable seafoods and a wonderful, reasonably priced wine list. Great value. Make a reservation.

Taste Bistro - interesting food, good prices, varied menu, not touristy at all.

Red House - usually packed; much like Taste, but located in an old red house in downtown PG.

A bit fancier is Robert's White House, the latest restaurant by Robert Kincaid who founded Fresh Cream and was its chef in its glory days. Very nice atmosphere in an old Victorian in PG.

Massaro & Santos - the food here is not great, but is typical old style Monterey cuisine. This is my favoriste "view" restaurant, located on the coast guard pier between Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. I prefer it to any of the places on Fisherman's Wharf or Cannery Row. But since it is between these two spots, without much foot traffic, it is primarily a locals place. And the clam chowder is the best anywhere. And I have eaten chowders all over the West Coast.

For truly fine dining, all my friends say that Bouchee in Carmel is now one of the area's best venues for a truly gourmet meal. It is on my list for my next visit.

Sea Harvest - Simple fresh fish preps at good prices.

Asian is not a strong point in Monterey; in particular, there is no real good Chinese. On the other hand, India's Clay Oven is decent and I like Krua Thai and Barn Thai, while Pho King has reasonably good pho. Mexican is more prevelant. There are a lot of standard Mexican places. Zocalo (sp?) is probably the best; Peppers in PG has sortof Cal/Mex dishes, but often good seafood preps. My favorite superauthentic spot is Garcia's Taqueria, which is between a Domino's and the Latino Market on Broadway in Seaside. But it is mostly for take-out and has no pleasant atmosphere. But if you ever wanted to try cabeza or buches or lengua in tomatillo sauce . . .

If you will be in town for the Farmer's Markets (Thursday at MPCC and Tuesday (I think) downtown) they are amazing for the range of produce. As a chef, you would enjoy, and the downtown one is also quite a party atmosphere with prepared foods to eat etc. Much better than a trip to Earthbound Farms.

Be sure to drive down to Point Lobos (3 miles south of Carmel) for some walking and wonderful scenery.

Congrats on the Garretson gig. Paso is a very interesting place that is producing some wonderful wines.

Good eating!


One point . . . was his ability to recollect the good dinners which it had made no small portion of the happiness of his life to eat.

--Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Custom House"

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