Saturday, May 29, 2010

Monterey Bay Trip and Food - May, 2010

Beautiful Monterey Bay. My husband and I spent several days there last week celebrating fifteen years of completely blissful matrimony! I took pictures of the beauty we saw, the things we visited, and of course, the food. Hopefully, if you ever visit the area, this will give you a few ideas of where you can enjoy a good vegan meal.

Some of the most beautiful ocean landscape in the world.

Because we got in late on the night we arrived, we didn't go out to dinner, so this is actually our anniversary dinner! Leftovers from lunch at a Sacramento-based Chinese restaurant, and some snacks I brought. Luckily, I'm an easy-going gal.

This was our basic continental breakfast that we had each morning, courtesy of the Magic Carpet Lodge in Seaside.

I thought these cones on this tree looked interesting. Monterey Bay has some very unique indigenous plants that you will continue to see below.

After breakfast, we visited the Presidio Museum. My husband went to the Defense Language Institute to study Russian, so we had to go there and visit the museum. That's G standing on the far left.

A serene picture of Monterey Harbor.

The back view of Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck.

The souvenirs we bought for the little blessings. We actually bought them the next day, but I messed up with blogger. The coconut pig bank is for my oldest daughter who is crazy about pigs. The shell trinket box is for my younger daughter who loves these types of things. The soccer ball is for my little guy who loves to watch his sisters play soccer.

The China Garden in Pacific Grove is where we had lunch on our first full day. The towns here are only five minutes apart, so it's easy to jump from one to another.

This is my husband's starter salad partially eaten before I remembered to take a shot. Mine is even more diminished. It had a subtle sesame dressing.

I thought we were ordering family style, but the meals came as individual entrees. I scored with my tofu vegetable delight.

This was my husband's scezhuan tofu. Nice guy that he is, he actually took a shot of his food for me. Blogging confounds him, and doing anything but eating during a meal confounds him more. So, this was a big deal.

After lunch we took a long drive to look at the beautiful coast. Here's Mr. Babealicious checking out the sights, while I'm checking him out. I like his, er, back...ahem.

Deer are plentiful here and roam freely. Here's a mama with two fawns grazing at some beachfront homes.

Here's a memorial for John Denver who crashed his plane a few feet from here in the water.

Cute purple flowers.

We stopped off at Whole Foods to get dessert for later on, but G decided that he had to have his German chocolate cake immediately. He wouldn't even let me open up the package to get a picture - not enough time, not enough time!

Here's my chocolate mousse cake poised on a rock. Well, you didn't expect me to watch him eat cake right in front of me, did you? But, I saved about half of it, which I ate the next morning.

Don't you think this rock looks like a big manatee laying down on its side?

Some of those things that look like large pebbles are actually hermit crabs. There are tons of tide pools here that we love to walk around. G saw a big hermit crab scurry under a rock before I could snap a picture.

Here's my rock in front of a rock. He's glad to show the world his Raider devotion. He only wears black and black or black and gray for that reason. Seriously.

The water was cooooold on my toes!

We had dinner at Cafe Lumiere in Monterey.

This is my portabello panini with a side of a brothy salad that was absolutely delicious. The server called it a salad, but it could pass as a cold, chunky soup, perfectly seasoned. The panini was very good too.

Here is my surprisingly agreeable husband opening his grilled veggie panini for all of you to gaze upon. He had the same side salad. He was very impressed with his sandwich and salad, as well.

They offered two vegan desserts, so we took them both. I had a chocolate peanut butter cup, that was only a dollar! And he had his first of several oatmeal, cranberry, chocolate chip cookies. We had to go back for more and bring some back for the kids.

The next day we headed to the beach - you have to do that every day, you know. Here's a crazy looking bush that caught my attention. There's tons of these down by the rocks.

A stunning field of purple. People have this a lot on their front yards instead of grass, especially down by the water. This was giving me ideas about my own lawn.

We finally went to the Thomas Kinkade National Archive. I say finally because at our last trip down here, I really wanted to go, but it didn't fit in with the family's schedule. Yeah. So, this time, we were going!

Here's a shot of just one of Kinkade's pieces inside. Justin, the director, was very friendly and helpful.

We stopped for lunch at Paprika Cafe in Monterey run by a very nice man named Christophe. (That's right, no "r" - it's not a typo.)

I took a picture of our happy hands there. My husband doesn't like to wear any jewelry, but he wore his ring for the whole trip. Aw.

We were served an amazing lunch, and we both had the same thing. We had tabouli, hummus, dolma, spinach salad, falafels, baba ganoush, and fresh pitas. It was unbelievably good. He also doesn't have a fryer in his restaurant, so Christophe baked the falafels. Very tasty.

Some of Christophe's homemade baklava. G especially liked them because they weren't sticky. Don't even try to get him sticky - watch out!

Finally the front of Cannery Row. This is really where I bought the children their treats. I don't know why, but I love this place.

We thought about renting bikes, but then we took another walk instead, where G snapped this gorgeous flower. Yes, G did it! For my blog! You heard me!

Here was a funny sight. This is actually a fake screen meant to look as if a dog is sitting there. It's not real at all. I guess it's the Monterey single woman's home security system. I also saw a road sign that had a picture of a deer with a red nose. I guess Rudolph is running around in Monterey now.

We went to D'Anna Thai Kitchen in Marina for dinner where Paul waited on us and was very helpful and sociable.

We started with their fresh rolls with peanut sauce. These were very tasty.

This is G's green curry. He said he really liked it, and he actually asked if I wanted a taste so I could remark about it on my blog. Who is this guy? By the way, I did taste, and it was delicious with a kick.

I ordered the coconut soup, which was sweet and very different from G's green curry. They couldn't have been more different, but they were equally satisfying.

Our dessert was sticky rice with fresh mango topped with coconut sauce. I've never had this before, and I was surprised by its sweetness and how good it tasted. Excellent.

We caught a late movie at a theatre house that shows independent films. That's G walking up the steps. The rooms were so small, they only held four full row of chairs, about 36 total.

Before breakfast on our last day, we visited the beach once again and made friends with gulls, like we always do. There's a brave guy coming close to G's chip. The only regular animal friends that we didn't see this time were the sea lions, which we thought was strange.

Back to Cafe Lumiere for their Sunday brunch. We both had breakfast burritos, which were filled with tofu scramble and soyrizo. We also had roasted potatoes (mine is smothered already with hot sauce) and very fresh fruit. I don't drink coffee, but G said all the coffee he drank on the trip was excellent. I ordered an apple juice, and they gave me probably sixteen ounces for two dollars! Overall, we were both very impressed with all the meals we had on this trip. We really lucked out. I will keep you posted when we leave town and what we eat on trips. You can use this as a resource for when you visit those places.

I leave you with those hungry gulls staring at you.

I love you, G! Happy 15!


  1. Happy Anniversary ! It looks like you guys had a lot of fun !

  2. Happy anniversary to you and G. What a great time you seem to have had and all the food looks scrumptious! It looks like you've converted G. to your blog, too!

    Penny (Scottish Vegan Homemaker)

  3. Happy anniversary :) Great post.

    Alll of that food looks so good. Definitely making me hungry. Thanks for sharing your travel pics---they make me happy!

  4. Happy Anniversary Blessedmama & guys were out and about on a little honeymoon...yeah!!!! I love the coconut pig, it is adorable...its amazing the things people can create with just about anything. I'm glad you both had a great time. 0x0x0x0x0x0x0

  5. Penny, we did have a good time, thank you. He's not completely converted, just supportive. :-)

    Marja, thank you! I'm glad I could make you happy.

    Millie, thanks for your love. We did have a great time. The pig was very cute, so I couldn't pass it up for her.

  6. That is so sweet, looks like a wonderful trip with great food! Love all the pictures--thanks for showing us! Happy Anninversary!.

  7. It was a much needed trip, Rose. I'm glad you liked it. :-)

  8. wow! what great pics and what a great trip! Happy Anniversary! I love the pics of the hubby! I am glad you could get away and have a great time!

  9. I loved every picture you took on your wonderful trip!!! Chris and I have never been on vacation together in 17 years! We need to take one sometime before we are dead!!! LOL
    I think it was a lovely anniversary! Congratulations!

  10. It looks like a wonderful weekend. So glad you had a good time alone with G. Happy Anniversary!


  11. Happy anniversary. Thank you for sharing your anniversary trip with us. I love all the pictures but I especially liked the ones of your hands. How sweet!!

  12. Happy Anniversary!! That food looked so amazingly good...I shouldn't look at food pics while I'm this hungry. I LOVE Thai food, and the coconut soup and mango w/ rice are two of my favorites. That veggie panini looked indredible too...So glad you had a good trip!

  13. Judy, Thanks! I love the pics of the hubby too. :-)

    Brandi, yes you and Chris need to go even if it is for a weekend. Ours was only Thursday thru Sunday, but it was great.

    Thanks, Ali, we had a great time!

    Diane, thanks. I got the hands idea from one of our wedding pics. I really liked it.

    99 to Go, those are the consequences of running a food blog and looking at them. Ha ha! Sigh. :-)

  14. Nothing worse than getting sticky! Happy Anniversary!

  15. Happy Anniversary BM!
    great food, i especially loved that coconut piggy bank, so cute! 15 years is a long time and definitely something to celebrate. i bet everyone tht sees you knows how in love you are:)

  16. What a great post! I used to live in Pacific Grove, and my husband learned Arabic at DLI. So neat to see pictures of you at places I've also stood. :) Happy anniversary!

  17. S.V., do you have the same sticky problem as my husband? Thanks for the cheers!

    Michelle, I was really surprised to find a coconut pig, and I'm sure you appreciate it, too! I told you my oldest daughter was crazy for them! And, I do hope my hubby's and my love shines through. :-)

    Lisa, Wow, what a coincidence! How could you move away from such a beautiful place?

  18. Congrats on 15 years. That is a wonderful achievement. How fun that G can still surprise you after all these years. ;)

    Thanks for sharing your food adventures, good info for a future trip to Monterey.

    On a side note. I went to Whole Foods to look for some new foods for Elizabeth for her birthday. I came away with gluten-, egg- and dairy-free english muffins and granola and coconut milk in a carton. She normally buys the milk in cans. All were delicious according to the birthday girl!

  19. Hey, good job! You can tell Elizabeth that my mom and I went to the store she mentioned in her blog that specializes in gluten-free goods. We checked it out on behalf of my nephew. We were very pleased with it.

    Thanks for the cheers!

  20. Happy Anniversary, it's wonderful to have such an amazing marriage isn't it!
    The purple flowers you mentioned, the landscapers planted on all the hillsides at our home, it always makes me happy to see them in the morning when I leave.

  21. Thanks, Sarah! Oh, you lucky girl with those purple flowers.

  22. Fabulous post. First time to visit your blog. Came here from Dandelion! So glad I did, I had a blast.

    Wonderful pics and information!

  23. Hey, thanks Wild Magnolia, for stopping by! I'm going to check you out next! Hope you come back soon. :-)

  24. We were there for a year and a half while my husband learned Arabic.

    It was very pretty, but we are so glad to be back in the midwest where people are humble and polite. :)

  25. Hi, Lisa. I've never lived in the midwest before, but some CA people are nice! :-)

  26. I love reading about (vegan) people's trips! Looks really fun! Would love to travel up the coast further in CA. And I have more to say about this topic, but I cracked up at the Raiders comments because my husband wears orange and blue (Illini team colors) ALL OF THE TIME. I can so relate. :)

  27. That is hilarious, Jenny, about your husband! Oh, I'm so glad to know I'm not alone out here! :-)