Wine Tasting at De Tierra Vineyards

2023 California Vacation Part 4

posted in: Personal Essay, Photography, Travel | 0

Day Eight (Thursday)

We drove to Monterey for breakfast at First Awakenings. We had been there on our past 2 trips and have enjoyed it enough to make it a priority this time as well.

After breakfast we drove to Carmel Valley to go to Garland Ranch Regional Park. We had not been there before, and it was a lovely place for a hike. Carmel Valley is about a 20 minute drive inland and much warmer than by the coast. Although I really enjoyed the hike, I was a little uncomfortable since I dressed for our somewhat chilly venture to Monterey for breakfast. We’ve been to Carmel Valley before, but I hadn’t thought about the temperature differences.

I already posted the film photos I took there, but here are a few I took with my Samsung Galaxy S9+.

For lunch, we went to FishWife which we discovered last year and loved. It’s an unassuming restaurant attached to a small inn. We both got the same dishes we got last year. I got the Combo Wrap, which has sautéed scallops, shrimp and snow crab in habanero cream sauce with red crushed peppers and salsa fresca, and Holly got the Calamari Steak Abalone Style.

After our busy morning, we continued out routine of returning to Carmel-by-the-Sea for a wine tasting. This time, we went to De Tierra Vineyards. We went there in 2019 but didn’t get there last year. It was a little different than other tastings in that they bring all the wines out in test tubes and let us pace the tasting. We were the only customers and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere as well as all the wines.

For dinner, we tried a new place, Promesa, a Spanish tapas restaurant. This ended up being one of our favorite dinners. We enjoyed all the tapas we ordered: fried ham and potato dumplings, marinated white beans, Sumac carrots with Tahini ranch, and Fried potatoes with tomato sauce and aioli. We don’t usually go for desserts but we couldn’t resist trying their Basque Cheesecake. They have a nice wine list, and they also have a unique vermouth selection. We enjoyed the Atamán Vermouth so much that we sought it out after we returned home and, luckily, found it at one of our local wine stores. In my May Update, I also related a story about a cocktail at one of our favorite bars.

Day Nine (Friday)

We went back to Monterey for breakfast, this time to Lou Lou’s Griddle in the Middle, another place we’ve known about since our conference days.

Their dishwasher broke, and they stopped seating anyone else. We were lucky we got to eat there. I think we were the last people they let in before turning people away.

One of the dishes that they are known for are their “hubcap” pancakes. It’s probably as much food as a normal stack of pancakes but has the novelty of being a single over-sized single pancake. I got one with bananas and pecans. It was delicious, but I was unable to finish.

Since we were close to Old Fisherman’s Wharf we decided to take a walk there despite having been there any time we’ve been in the area. We also walked over to Cannery Row. Although we’ve been to both areas many times, we never get tired of them. I already posted about all the photos I took there.

We went back to Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch and tried a new-to-us place, Forge in the Forest. After our hearty breakfast at Lou Lou’s, we weren’t all that hungry so we just shared a few appetizers. We really liked their somewhat secluded outdoor patio. We only went inside to use the restrooms but were intrigued by the interior. The Forge in the Forest used to be an actual forge and displays remnants of its past.

After lunch, we stopped into The Pleasure of Writing, a stationery store. Their pen selection tends toward the prohibitively expensive, but, like last year, we each bought a California notebook. I used the one I bought last year as my journal for this year’s trip. I’ll probably hold on to the one I bought this year for a future trip. In addition to a Monterey Bay notebook, I got a smaller notebook with an attractive detailed cover.

Our wine tasting that day was at Talbott Vineyards, another new-to-us place. It’s right next to The Pocket so we discovered Talbott at the same time we discovered The Pocket. We liked the wines at Talbott, but it was more crowded and loud than the other tastings so it was slightly less enjoyable.

Speaking of loud and less enjoyable, for dinner we went to Edwin’s which we really liked last year and were looking forward to returning to. We knew they had live music but wasn’t expecting there to be performers as early as we had gone. The food was still really good, but the band was awful, and we couldn’t wait to get out of there. If we want to go back, we’ll probably need to avoid the weekends.

Since we didn’t enjoy our dinner experience, we wanted to finish the evening elsewhere. Since it was Friday, a lot of other places were also crowded and loud, at least places along or near Ocean Avenue.

We wandered back to Promesa which is neither along nor near Ocean Avenue. It was pleasantly quiet so we sat at the bar and ended the night with a couple glasses of vermouth. The server who had waited on us for dinner was there and remembered what we had. She seemed to appreciate our curiosity about their unique vermouth selection. After 2 really positive visits there, it’s safe to say that Promesa is high on our list for our next visit.

Day Ten (Saturday)

Saturday was the one morning where we didn’t linger over coffee in our room. We planned on going to Katy’s Place which we knew got crowded especially on weekends. We got there just as they opened so had no problem getting seated. I got their Classic Eggs Benedict (with 3 eggs!) and Holly got an egg white omelet.

Then it was back to Carmel Laundry for another round of cleaning clothes. I’m totally enamored with the idea of packing lighter and taking these laundry breaks.

As I mentioned before, our plan was to do things outside Carmel-by-the-Sea earlier in our trip and then stick closer to “home” later in the week. It was getting to be that time where we were more inclined to stay close.

Katy’s Place in just 2 1/2 blocks from where we stayed. The laundry is also about the same distance.

After taking care of our laundry, we walked down to the beach. On our last day last year, we found a path we were curious about but didn’t have time to explore. We went back to that path, which turned out to be quite the find.

I took a few photos of the beach with my Samsung Galaxy S9+ before we made our way to the trail.

The trail starts off as a narrow boardwalk along the bluff overlooking the ocean and then leads to the street which it follows for a few blocks. We then found the beginning of the Redondo Real Trail. I know I’ve said this before that one of the things we really like about the area is that there is beautiful access to the ocean but there are also woods. The Redondo Real Trail is a beautiful wooded area that meets up with the Del Monte Forest Trail. Luckily, we had already decided to take a break from our afternoon wine tasting. We had plenty of time to explore these 2 trails.

I used my Minolta X-700 loaded with Lomography Color 400.

We saw only a fraction of the trail. We’re certainly interested in seeing more of it on a next trip and look for other trail heads.

We ate a late lunch at Alvarado Street Brewery and Bistro. located in the Carmel Plaza, where we shared a Mediterranean Salad and Margherita Pizza. Not having a wine tasting meant getting to try some tasty locally brewed beers. We first went to Alvarado Street in 2019 when it was called Yeast of Eden. They have a few locations in the area, including Monterey and Salinas.

We relaxed in our room for a while before heading out to dinner at Basil Seasonal Dining. We really enjoy it there but may take a break next time since we’ve been there on each visit.

And suddenly, we were facing the last 2 full days of our trip.

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