We started out our time on the coast in the small little town of Castroville for some goodies at the Giant Artichoke. There is a really great produce stand here and a small restaurant adjacent to the store. We go here for the Fried Artichoke Hearts which are out of this world yummy! There are also many different kinds of sauces and spreads you can purchase here. We got some "to go" and bought some to take home. They make a really nice appetizer for dinners at home.
We stopped at the Best Western Monterey Beach Hotel for some photos and I wanted to see how the property looked since it had been a couple of years since our last stay there. Improvements and upgrades looked great! The furniture around the pool is now the pretty Teakwood and there are lots of chairs for lounging and relaxing around the property. The lobby is pretty as ever and the entire property looks very, very nice. One of the most upscale places I've seen for a Best Western place. I checked and rooms with oceanviews were going for $235/night on a Sat. which I found a bit steep. We get coupons in the Fall for $99/night in a Garden View Room Sun.-Thurs. I was glad we stopped, we have many, many fond memories of the property.
Next we stopped at the Fisherman's Wharf where we had lunch at Isabella's. We sat upstairs on the outside patio, overlooking the ocean and marina. Service was pretty spotty, they forgot to bring my clam chowder which I cancelled when I saw the size of the Warm Crab Melt I ordered. The sandwich was very good, lots of fresh crabmeat and a side of fries and cole slaw. My husband had the Prawns with a Mango dipping sauce that he said were good.
After lunch we walked around the wharf, I couldn't talk him into taking the 25 minute Glass Bottom Boat Cruise with me, LOL. We then headed over to the Portola Plaza and check out the property. Very pretty place, I didn't look at the rooms but the property is nice in a great location. Rooms were going for $219/night for a Standard Room which seemed reasonable enough. The pool and spa are located across the way from the main lobby here.
We then took our bikes to the Cannery Row area and rode down to Lover's Point Park. We ended up spending almost two hours here, relaxing on the lawn, watching the weddings, etc. We went down to the ocean which was crystal clear and waded. I love the sand here, very white and clean.
From the park we rode back to the Fisherman's Wharf and stopped in the Plaza to check our dinner reservation for that evening at the Duck Club. An Antique Doll Auction was going on which we went into for a bit. Very interesting, the dolls were gorgeous, some sold for $2100 dollars.
We rode back to the car and I continuted to ride down to the Park again, our meter was running out. We parked at the Plaza and went across the street to the Silver Mountain Vineyards Tasting Room. A gorgeous room, and a taste of 5 wines was only $5/pp. We shared a tasting of a Chardonnay 2001, a 2003 Pinot Noir, a 2004 Pinot Noir, a 2001 Aloy and a 2000 Zin Port. I loved the 2001 Chardonnay which we purchased. They waive your fee with a purchase of a bottle of wine here which is nice. My Chard I chose was very fruity with lush and decadent pineapple, butter and tropical fruit things going on. $25/bottle was a reasonable price.
Our dinner at the Duck Club was excellent. We were seated by a window table. Service was great. We had the Lobster Potstickers which were beautifully presnted and very good. The Butter Lettuce salad was also great. We shared the Duck Breast with Potatoes and Fresh Vegetables which was also excellent. Dessert was the Warm Crosissant Pudding with Espresso Ice Cream and Fresh Boysenberries and Raspberries.
It was a perfect day in the Monterey/ PG area. Still so many places I want to try. Taste, Stokes, Monterey Fish House to name a few. Hopefully we wont' be away too long from this gorgeous area of the California Coast. :)