Friday, April 26, 2013

Birthday Getaway: Yummy Carmel, California

This post is a day late because we just returned from a two-day getaway to one of our favorite spots on the planet: Northern California's Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Given the choice of typing, or simply drinking in this view . . . I'm sure you get the picture:

Besides, I was busy gathering blog research. Translation: sampling local FOOD:
Which meant forcing myself to walk through the doors of quirky-delicious restaurants like this:

As usual, I was tempted by the appetizers: 

Grilled artichokes with lemony mustard dip

The artichokes were heavenly and locally grown--we passed acres and acres of them on our drive to the coast.  They always prompt hubby to recall his (Texas-born) father's less-than-impressed remark the first time he encountered these gourmet thistles: "It's a great way to eat mayonnaise."
On the other hand, my father (a native Californian) delighted in this thorny veggie. I do believe I've inherited his taste--and his deft leaf-pluck and upside-down-bottom-teeth-scrape skill in eating them. 

Since it was a birthday getaway (mine!) we let ourselves be tempted by dessert: 

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Tart

Classic Creme Brulee

I am no longer shy about photographing food--no mattaer how strangely the wait staff and other patrons look at me. Research . . . it's rugged, but someone has to do it. 

And one last photo: 

View of Monterey Bay from the end of Fisheman's Wharf. The exact spot of this scene snippet from my second Mercy Hospital novel, DISASTER STATUS.   Feisty ER charge nurse Erin Quinn and by-the-book fire captain Scott McKenna:

They walked on for awhile in silence. Erin heard the distant bark of seals and realized they’d come to the end of the wharf, marked by benches, a few coin-operated viewing scopes, and dizzying view of the marina with hundreds of masts bobbing silently in the black waters. Faraway, lights dotted the outline of the Monterey Bay. A fog horn sounded, long and low. The breeze, salty and damp, lifted her hair. She shivered.

“Cold?” He asked.

She crossed her arms, rubbing at the sleeves of her cotton sweater. “I’m okay. California girl--tease me with a little March sunshine, and I’ll leave my coat in the car every time.”

“Here.” He pulled off his jacket and insisted that she slide into it despite her weak protests. It was fleeced-lined, pre-warmed by his body, and smelled like . . . she chuckled aloud.

“What?” He asked.

“Everything you have smells like a campfire.”
So how about YOU:  Are you a fan of  artichokes?   Would your dessert choice be blueberry-lemon tart or creme brulee?


Julie said...

Mmmm, I love artichokes! But I like them with butter not mayo. And I've never had either dessert, I tend to go for the chocolate! My husband and parents and I were just in Monterey/Carmel last week. I love it! Such a beautiful area.

Library Lady said...

I love artichokes but they don't love me.
The desserts sound wonderful.
Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures.
Janet E.

connie said...

I love artichokes but I'm like Julie, I like them with butter. I love creme brulee although I might be tempted by the lemon blueberry tart.I have tasted the richness of a creme brulee before and know I love it.

CandaceCalvert said...

Julie, Janet, Connie: thanks so much for stopping by and taking a peek at the photos. Carmel is truly an amazing place--I'm still hearing those waves. There were indeed some chocolate desserts, but hubby and I alway find ourselves tempted by the creme brulee. I love that crackly coating of sugar on top! One of these days I'll get myself a recipe and a little kitchen blow torch and give that a try!