It’s nice to get out of Dodge, as they say, and indulge in completely different surroundings—even if it’s just an hour’s drive down the coast. My husband and I love to go to Carmel and Monterey, and over time we have stayed in an amazing assortment of interesting hotels and bed & breakfasts places.
On our last visit, we tried out Elite Carmel Luxury Properties, which rents out superior digs in the Monterey Bay area, including Big Sur and as far south as Santa Barbara. Our time spent in a beautiful property in Carmel really added greatly to the enjoyment of our weekend.
Next on our list was a wine tasting stroll in Carmel village. Already armed with a Wine Walk passport, which allows visits to eight tasting rooms for $10, we headed to Manzoni Vineyards—tucked away in the cute Paseo Courtyard. We stayed longer than planned as owner Mark Manzoni relayed stories of his family’s farming background and their dedication to crafting fine wines—and a sip of the 2011 Chardonnay verifies that.
Fruit from this delicious wine comes from Manzoni’s vineyard and “respected” neighboring growers in the Santa Lucia Highlands. A gold medal winner in this year’s San Francisco Chronicle wine competition, the Chardonnay ($30) has a crisp edge to it and is more tart than buttery. This wine would pair well with the food prepared at our next stop —Mundaka Restaurant—a few steps away from Manzoni across the street.
Mundaka is one of our favorite restaurants—it has a tapas style menu which makes it easy to order by the plate, depending on one’s hunger level. But usually the day’s specials include a substantial entrée such a steak or dish of paella. Mundaka is an intimate friendly place and we ended up sharing food and conversation with the people on the next table. Our delightful server, Rachel Wahl, had just opened her own ice creamery in Carmel Valley called The Ice Box. We’ll save that for another trip.
Manzoni Vineyards’ tasting room is on San Carlos between Ocean and 7th Avenue in Carmel, 831-620-6541. Manzoniwines.com. Visit mundakacarmel.com for info.
Simon Majumdar at Love Apple Farms
Simon Majumdar, celebrity food writer, author and broadcaster will be doing a workshop at Love Apple Farms in Santa Cruz from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Majumdar has appeared as a judge on hit Food Network TV shows The Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and The Best Thing I Ever Ate—and traveled the world to “go everywhere and eat everything,” so don’t miss this opportunity to see him. As well as doing a cooking demo of Indian dishes, Majumdar will be talking about his book “Eat My Globe.” Majumdar and I have one thing in common—we’re both from Yorkshire, England. Visit growbetterveggies.com for more information.