Monday, June 16, 2014

California: Sacramento and Monterey

Here are a couple of highlights, foodie wise, of our May/June trip to northern California.

In Sacramento, we thoroughly enjoyed lunch in midtown (near the lovely Capitol gardens) at the Cali-Mexi Zocalo's. It may not have been "authentic" Mexican food, but we loved the fresh, bright ingredients on our plates. Here is my chicken quesadilla, with all the extra goodies.
Zocalo Sacramento, Midtown
After a couple of days there, visiting relatives, we drove over to Monterey and spent four wonderful nights at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa, which was one of the best places we've ever stayed. Right on the water, with great views from almost every part of the facility....including the rooftop spa.
Rooftop Whirlpool
On our last night they upgraded us to an ocean view room (due to a problem in our first room)...
Room View, Monterey Plaza Hotel
The hotel restaurant was quite good -- it's called Schooner's -- and in fact my favorite dish of our entire vacation was this scrumptious pasta -- house-made fusilli with sun dried tomatoes and lobster meat. I meant to go back and order it again but alas, never got the chance. We also had two excellent breakfasts there -- one more indulgent with a complicated egg dish, and the next day we made a healthier choice.
Fusilli with Lobster
A hearty breakfast by the Pacific!
Next day, fruit and yogurt
And finally, I can't close out my California story without mentioning our last night in Monterey, at an in-town restaurant (as opposed to one by the sea) called Montrio's. What brought me there was an article about their head mixologist -- clearly, this was a place that's serious about cocktails. We went on a Sunday night when the head guy was off, but his co-worker Jennifer did not disappoint. Of the several (!) cocktails I tried, my favorite was a bourbon-based drink called Big Bang Theory. The restaurant also is known for its excellent chef, but to tell you the truth, I don't remember much about the food because the drinks were so good, and we had a lot of fun with the couple at the next table, too.
Bartender at Montrio's
"Big Bang Theory"

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