A Local's Guide to Surviving Concours d'Elegance
Concours d’Elegance is gearing up this week, and Monterey Bay is abuzz with activity. Foreign and local luxury collide at this event, most famously pictured on the iconic 18th green of Pebble Beach. Whether you are here for the action or determined to escape the crowds, here are a few local spots that we love- and we know their food is the freshest because they buy from Watsonville Coast Produce!
Coffee: Try out the newest coffee shop in town that celebrates wheels in a different way: bikes. Captain and Stoker is so named for a tandem bike. The lead rider who steers is the Captain and the rider behind who provides the power is the Stoker. Clever right? This shop is just a few months old, and features a bicycle motif throughout their industrial, open concept cafe. Roll up doors open up to a trendy seating area, all wood, mortar, and greenery. Since it’s just a couple blocks off of Alvarado street, you can grab a latte and enjoy a quiet corner of Monterey while remaining close to the action.
Brunch: All of the things. Red House Cafe has got to be one of our favorite places to brunch in Monterey Bay. This quiet gem is tucked away in downtown Pacific Grove. Here everything is homemade, created with the freshest ingredients. Can we suggest the Cinnamon Brioche French Toast? It’s even more decadent than it sounds, smothered in homemade marmalade and drizzled with 100% authentic Vermont Syrup. Topped with fresh berries of course. If you’re not in a mood for sweet, try the Crab Cake Benedict. A poached egg over a crab cake, resting on a toasted croissant. Add a mimosa and you’re in business!
Lunch: La Bicyclette (I guess we have a bicycle theme going on) in Downtown Carmel is off the beaten path, a block away from Ocean Ave. There is no doubt that Carmel will be humming with activity, but this little stop is worth it. European country cuisine served in a moody atmosphere gives you all of the feels of being in Europe. The restaurant has a primitive Gothic vibe that will transport you straight to the streets of Belgium. We recommend the Charcuterie Board or any of their delicious pizzas!
Winery: Okay, confession: Folktale Winery is not one of our customers, but they are SO good that we have to feature them in this article if we’re going to be absolutely unbiased. Word to the wise: due to a private event, they will only be open on Sunday this weekend. Folktale is a whimsical winery in Carmel Valley. Flights of Rose in beautifully delicate geometric goblets can be enjoyed on the patio, by a fireplace, or inside of the greenroom. Folktale also serves light food, and often features local music artists on weekends. This Instagram-worthy stop is a must if you’re only in town for a short time!
Dinner: It was hard to narrow down the best restaurant near Carmel, so we chose one top spot supplemented with several honorable mentions.
We’re going to start with the runners up. Corkscrew Cafe is a lovely joint near Folktale Winery in Carmel Valley that will get you out of the Concours chaos. Known for their gourmet pizzas, great wine selection and garden seating, this early Monterey mission style restaurant is one of our top choices!
The Beach House at Lovers Point is another honorable mention. If you want to get out of the epicenter of the action, head over to PG (Pacific Grove) to the iconic Lovers’ Point. This is a casually classy restaurant with big bay windows facing the Pacific, perched at the edge of Monterey Bay. If you get there between 4 and 5:30 you will catch their sunset specials!
If you would like a chance to cruise south on Highway One, we suggest Rocky Point Restaurant. This restaurant is just what it sounds like: think beautiful vistas of the open Pacific far below your safe perch on the rocky cliffs. Enjoy the primarily seafood menu at a booth under a huge picture window or outside on the patio.
Ok, now it is time for our first choice. Vesuvio in downtown Carmel will surely be ramped this weekend. But for good reason. Delicious Italian cuisine in a sultry atmosphere in downtown would be enough, but it is the Instagram-famous Starlight Rooftop Lounge that sets this joint apart. I don’t know about you, but if I see a place cropping up on Instagram all of the time, it’s a must visit. If you aren’t able to make a reservation, try to score seats at the bar downstairs or scope out the scene at the rooftop bar for drinks and apps.
I know we’ve given you so many options, but if Vesuvio is packed out for the foreseeable future, check out these wonderful eateries in Carmel: Forge in the Forest, Anton and Michel, and Il Fornaio. They won’t disappoint.