Adventures in Carmel by the Sea

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After traveling for nearly 7 hours, Chad and I were hungry so we immediately headed out to a late lunch. We decided to try the Hog’s Breath  Inn restaurant. Did you know that Clint Eastwood used to own this inn several years ago? He was also the mayor of Carmel by the Sea for a time as well.

 

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It was a nice setting. We sat outside beside a fireplace. The cafe wasn’t overly crowded, it had the perfect amount of people. it was quaint, quiet, and nice.

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I ordered the butternut squash ravioli. It was doused in garlic and butter. It was delicious.

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Chad ordered a sandwich which was accompanied by beer battered fries. The fries were insane. No need for ketchup; they were delicious all on their own. We talked about anything and everything. We planned out our activities for the weekend, we talked about our future, where we’re heading, what we’re doing, and we talked about our careers. It was a lovely conversation. I really enjoy these types of sit downs, where you can sit with someone you care about and talk about anything, nothing is off limits. And the conversation is easy, it just flows.

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After our lunch, we decided to go ahead and check in to our hotel room. I loved our room at the Hofsas House. Every room at the Hofsas House is different. Ours included a nice view of the city, a fireplace, a kitchen area, and even had heated floors in the bathroom. (Say what!?)

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We found a nice gift when we came into our room: red wine (pinot noir, yay!) and a few blocks of gourmet cheeses from the Cheese shop. I have to say, we dove right into these treats. Delicious!

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While we were getting ready for the rest of the afternoon, we decided to light a fire and drink wine and eat cheese. It was relaxing, and a great start to our vacation. DSC_0879

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The next day we woke up and decided we wanted to try some apple cider. Let me tell you, the Carmel Coffee House made amazing apple cider. It literally melted in my mouth. I felt like I was drinking an apple pie or something.

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After grabbing out hot ciders, we decided to explore the town a little bit. We walked into a bunch of little shops and cafes. After a few hours of exploring, we decided we’d like to take a lunch break. We decide to try Carmel Belle, a recommendation from many of the locals we encountered.

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Of course we had to order a cheese plate. Carmel has amazing cheese so we made sure to grab a bite anytime we had the chance. This platter also incoarpoated apples, walnuts, and brushetta. DSC_0971

I chose to grab a ham, fontina cheese, and pear sandwich on country toast, which came with a delicious honey mustard dipping sauce. This was a step up from your normal grilled cheese. It melted in my mouth. DSC_0974

Chad was adventurous with his order. He grabbed a meatloaf sandwich on ciabatta bread, which came with a housemade ketchup mix as a dipping sauce. The ketchup sauce had a Gouda and smokey flavor that was hard to mistake. The meatloaf was flavorful and really satisfied the meat craving Chad was having that day. DSC_0936DSC_0944After lunch we decided to walk around a little more, and we ventured into a little international candy shop. It had all kinds of unique candies! We didn’t know where to begin! DSC_0949DSC_0952

I’m a huge fan of fudge, and this selection was amazing to me. There were so many fudge options to choose from!DSC_0953DSC_0954DSC_0957DSC_0063

After getting our fill of candy, we decided to begin our wine tour. We went to the Wrath tasting room first.

We tried the Chardonnay which was light and buttery. It was medium bodied.

We also tried a pinot noir which was peppry and had a strong smoky flavor. That wine was our favorite of the flight we tried.

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Next we decided to visit the Windy Oaks tasting room.

This tasting room had a large assortment of different pinot noir’s for us to try. We tried the 2013 Estate Pinot Noir, Terra Narro which was a light wine, filled with fruity flavors.

The next wine we tried was the 2013 Estate Pinot Noir, called Cuvee. It was a mix of 5 pinot noir clones from estate home vineyard, which made an excellent balance of fruit flavors.
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Following our tasting at Windy Oaks, we decided to visit Dawns’s Dream. We fell in love with this tasting room the last time we were in town, and were excited to enjoy their offerings again. They had four wines available for us to try. The first was 2014 Monterey Sargenti Chardonnay. It was sweet and had as strong fruity smell. There’s even a hint of white chocolate at the end of each sip.

The second wine was called Alyssa, named after one of the owners daughters. This was a Pinot Noir and they like to describe this wine as the “loud, middle child.” There’s a strong taste of black cherries and dried cranberries. There’s a spice of vanilla and orange zest at the end.

The “Rachel” was the second pinot noir we tried. It had strong flavors of cherries and plums. This wine was our favorite of the evening.

The last wine we tried was called the Nicole. It was a bit peppery in taste and had a rich tasted of stewed berries and a sweet touch of sugar plum. DSC_0993 DSC_0996

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This next tasting room has an interesting story. It is owned by the world renowned film composer, Alan Silvestri. He has created over 100 credits including: What Women Want, The Father of the Bride, Stuart Little, Lilo and Stitch and much more.

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We tried five different wines at this tasting room, a mix of chardonnay’s, rose, and pinot noir.

The first one we tried was the Silvestri Vineyards Chardonnay. It begins with a slight taste of pear, honey and note of minerality. A creamy texture rolls over the tongue and ends with a refreshing acidity.

The next was the Silvestri Vineyardes Rose. This wine had sublte aromas of watermelon, raspberries and strawberries. It also had a slight earthy flavor.

The third wine was the Silvestri Vineyards Pinot Noir. Black cherry, rose and nutmeg are intertwined to make a soothing flavor.

The fourth wine we tried was my favorite, the syrah. It offered a mix of red and black fruits.

The last wine we tried, which was also delicious, was the Silvestri Vineyards Barbera. This wine was full-bodied with blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors.

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We visited the cheese shop, and were amazed by how much of a selection they had. You walk in, and immediately your are surrounded by smells of smoky gouda, sultry swiss and sharp cheddar. The people who work there, are all polite and super helfpful. They ask if we’d like to try any of the cheeses and they immiediately start handing us slices of cheese to try. One of my favorite cheeses of the evening was the chedder and chive block. We ended up purchasing some of that, it’d go great on a baked potato! DSC_0056 DSC_0057 DSC_0058

In addition to their selection of cheeses, they also offered many cheese companions like a large assortment of nuts, honey, olives, crackers, sausages, fruits and much more. DSC_0060 DSC_0062

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During our stay we also visited Trio Carmel. Now we came across this hotspot the last time we were in Carmel and immediatley fell in love with it. It’s an olive oil and balsamic vinegbar shop.
DSC_0117They had rows and rows of tins of olive oil, of all different sorts. Some were on the fruity side, while others had a strong spice and herb flavor. We tried nearly all of the olive oils (boy were we full afterwards!) and tried a lot of the balsamic vinegars. For ourselves, we decided on a few to take back home with us: The blood orange olive oil, and white orange balsamic vinegar, Tuscan herb olive oil and Chipotle olive oil. We were so excited to try the chipotle olive oil on eggs (and let me tell you, it was amazing! Really enhanced the flavor of the egg sandwich we created.) The Tuscan herb olive oil was reserved for Chad’s homemade spaghetti. Let me tell you, Chad makes a mean spaghetti. It really is to die for, it’s so good.

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DSC_0097For breakfast the next day, we decided to try Friar Tuck’s Restaurant.
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Chad decided on a plate of toast, potatoes, corn beef hash and over medium eggs. He devoured his plate quite quickly. It must have been good!

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For myself, I decided on a large plate of buttermilk banana pancakes and a mimosa (of course!). The pancakes were soft and fluffy and melted in my mouth, and the mimosa, well it truly hit the spot after a long night of wine tasting. DSC_0108

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DSC_0034After breakfast we decided to head to City Hall. Here’s a fun fact for you, you actually have to get a permit to wear high heels in Carmel by the Sea. Because of the cobble stones and rocky pathways, they feel that high heels are a hazard, so if you want to wear them you must grab a permit. It’s an easy five minute process, all you have to do is sign your name on a couple pieces of paper, and bam you’re registered and approved. Now if you do wear high heels in Carmel by the Sea without a permit, I don’t think you’ll get fined or anything, but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

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Look how official I am! HeeHee.

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We continued our day with more wine tasting, and decided to try Alexander Smith. This tasting room offered many different wines for us to try. There was a total of six.

Let me break them down for you.

The first was a Riesling, which I’m partial to because I”m a bit obsessed with Riesling’s. This wine featured a strong tropical fruit flavor, with a bold note of lime zest.

The Chardonnay was made with notes of pineapple, citrus, red delicious apple and a slight floral smell as well.

The rose offered a different aroma of strawberries and roses, with a hint of a taste of chocolate.

The Pinot Noir was a  mix of clones of a few of their other wines and had a mix of ripe raspberry,l currant, cherry, toasted oak, and subtle red licorice.

The next wine we tried was the Syrah. It offered flavors of dark berry and smoke char. It had a strong aroma of spice and jam.

The alst wine we tried was the “Irie” Zinfandel. Which showcased rich berry and cola flavors with a touch of spice.

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On the last day of our visit, we decided to try a local favorite for breakfast, Little Swiss Cafe. It was tucked away in a side street , a little hard to find, but eventually we found it.

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For some reason I had a huge hankering for biscuits and gravy. I was raised in the south, so it takes a lot to satisfy my craving for biscuits and gravy. They have to be outstanding. And I’m happy to report that these did not dissappoint. I think they mixed together bacon and sausage grease to get the salty and meaty flavor of the gravy.

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For dinner, we decided to try Basil, a little hole in the wall Italian place. DSC_0075 DSC_0077

We grabbed a bottle of the house merlot and went to town. It was a perfect pairing for our dinner items we decided to try for the night.

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We started our meal with bread and lamb meatballs. The lamb meatballs were tender and drowned in a red sauce that was filled with bold mushroom flavors.

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I decided to grab the steak laid on a bed of brussel sporuts and chad grabbed the grilled chicken. Both made a beautiful presentation and were quite delicious. Highly recommend giving both a try.

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For dessert we decided to try the creme brulee. It cracked perfectly when we tapped our spoon on the top of the dessert, into a creamy abyss of caramel and raspberry. DSC_0089

Our trip to Carmel was a dream. We had loads of fun and had the opportunity to experience new things. It is a trip we won’t soon forget. I certainly recommend you giving it a try! And if you are looking for a place to stay, the Hofsas House is a grand adventure. Book a room today!

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