In my last post, I shared our visit to the de Young Museum and Girl with a Pearl Earring. After our visit to the de Young, Jon and I wandered around Golden Gate Park for a little while. We considered going into the Japanese Garden, and we wanted to, but we didn’t have very much time before we needed to be getting back on the road. So the Japanese Garden goes on the list for next time we are in San Francisco. I swear the list grows larger with every trip I go on!
After a brief delay due to not being able to figure out where the car was parked (you know you have done it too! I just admit it!), we were back on the road. We traveled through strip malls, business parks and suburbs for miles, on our way to Monterey. Fortunately, the traffic through San Jose wasn’t too bad, and pretty soon we were driving through some beautiful farmland.
We arrived in Monterey and got checked into our hotel, which was right downtown. It was about 5 pm, and the hotel desk clerk told us that there was a downtown Farmer’s Market until 7, so we checked it out. It was amazing to see all the fresh produce available in March! Strawberries, radishes, and lots of food stands, including freshly made donuts, pizza and Mexican food. Wow. If I lived in Monterey that would certainly be on my list of things to do each week!
After perusing the Farmer’s Market, we wandered down to the Fisherman’s Wharf. We were hungry for an early dinner, and we wanted to see what our options were. I found it to be a very interesting experience. There are a ton of restaurants on the Wharf and they all have somebody outside trying to lure you in. They each have a big stock pot with clam chowder, and they offer you samples, trying to show you that their clam chowder is better than the next guy’s. And they have plated meals to show you their specialties, whether it is lobster fettuccine or oyster shooters. If you aren’t ready to commit quite yet, they pull out the free appetizer coupon…
Jon and I went all the way down to the end, assessing our options, but I was distracted – by a Sea Otter! There was a guy swimming around in the marina, so I watched him for awhile and got a couple of photos! I was pretty excited, because he was the first Sea Otter I saw on our trip! There is also a dock right off of Fisherman’s Wharf where a group Sea Lions have made their home. They were very close! I really enjoyed watching them sun themselves on the dock and I marveled at the fact that they were able to climb on the railings of the dock.
Eventually I had to pull myself away so we could get some dinner. We decided to try Rappa’s at the end of the Wharf – Jon was intrigued by the fact that they had oyster shooters. I tried out a Carmel Wheat beer from nearby Carmel that was very good. We started out with a half dozen oysters on the half shell – Jon got four and I had two. They were really delicious – so fresh! I was in the mood for steak, so I had the rib eye topped with mushrooms, with local vegetables and seasoned rice. Jon had char-grilled cod with local vegetables and seasoned rice. Our meals were very good, and it was nice to be able to just look out at the water and watch the boats and the sea lions go by. Perfect…
After dinner, we explored the Wharf a bit more – we poked around in a few of the souvenir shops and made a stop at Carousel Candies. Carousel Candies specializes in salt water taffy, and has been making it since 1960. They also make handmade chocolate and handmade caramel apples, but we were there for the taffy. This was the best taffy we have ever had! And Jon loves salt water taffy, so we always get some when we find it. It was soft and chewy and stayed soft for at least a couple of weeks after we bought it! I know that because I hid a little stash from Jon so I could have some later – I had to hide it or he would eat it all!
On the way back to the hotel, we checked out some historic buildings that are part of the Monterey State Historic Park. More on that in an upcoming post! And we ended the evening with a view of the most beautiful moon.