The Cuisine of Monterey County

As the food from the nearby Salinas Valley is so fresh and so is the seafood, Monterey County is a food-lover’s paradise. Furthermore the county is known for it’s ethical organic growers as well as its numerous vineyards along the coastline and in the hills near Salinas along Highway 101

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There are scores of very highly Zagat rated restaurants along the coast of Big Sur that offer wonderful views of the ocean along with great seafood.  These cliff-sitting restaurants offer delicious fare such as artichoke ravioli, roasted rabbit, organic rib-eye stake and creamed Diver Scallops.

 

Pacific Grove is also known for it’s fine cuisine and in particular, it’s wonderful seafood restaurants.  Many of the restaurants in Pacific Grove are quite tony and cater to the rich and famous in the area. Food is prepared with calories, nutrition and creativity in mind.  Organic prime steaks, fowl and lamb shanks are on this type of menu along with creatively done vegetables like asparagus fries and oyster salad.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is also a food Mecca that used to be a bohemian paradise. The food here is more European inspired and features Italian, French and Mediterrean fare alongside Mexican and Spanish influenced foods.

 

Spa food is very popular in Carmel Valley, which is famous for it’s very healthy, calorie-wise Cal-French cuisine. These five star spas serve up such delights as sweet corn succotash served with black truffle vinaigrette, rabbit loin with onions and apple and lamb stew with morel mushrooms and garlic.

On the cheaper side, Carmel and the surrounding area is also very famous for it’s gourmet pizza made with fresh vegetarian ingredients.  There are also many affordable oyster and wine bars in the area.

 

Moss Landing is one of the most famous destinations for fresh seafood in the country. It is a favorite haunt of Iron Chef star Bobby Flay.  The place is actually an old wharf that combines restaurants and seafood shops with antique shops and art studios.  This old wharf has been around since 1866.

 

Salinas has one of the largest Chinese populations in the country so it is not surprising that it is home to so many wonderful Chinese restaurants.  Seafood prepared in black-bean and ginger sauces and loaded with plenty of garlic are a specialty in this city.

 

Wine tasting is also very much where it is at in this California County and you can find wine-tasting rooms in most malls, hotels and along shopping board-walks near the sea. You can also take scenic wine tours by bus to winery after winery in the hills and valleys near Salinas.

The Natural Landmarks of Moneterey

The county of Monterey, California is one of the most beautiful in the entire world and has many wonderful natural landmarks that distinguish it from other parts of the world.

 

One of the most important natural landmarks in the county is the Cypress tree on the Point Lobos State Reserve. This giant 300-year-old tree that has been eroded by salt and wind stands by itself out on a craggy rock in the ocean. It is the biggest of a rare breed of Cypress particular to the area known as the Monterey cypress. This tree is not found anywhere else in the entire world.

 

If you love sand dunes you will find many of them right on the coastline of the city of Monterey in Monterey County. The Del Monte beach is covered with sea grass and huge pink dunes.  A boardwalk offers you a pleasant walk near the city’s restaurants and other attractions.

 

Also in Monterey is Huntington Beach, which features a natural phenomenon, called The Grunion Run. These are small silver fish that jump completely out of the water and into your bare hands and buckets during spawning season.  This happens after a series of high tides every Spring.

 

The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is in Big Sur County and features the big 3000 foot sandy ridges that are a famous feature of the Monterey. You can view these beautiful natural cliffs with the surf crashing against them as you cruise along highway 1 which hugs the California coastline.

 

Limekin State Park features breathtaking redwood forests, limestone caves and beautiful views of the Big Sur coast.  This park is 56 miles south of Carmel.

The historic 260 floor concrete structure known as the Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 is located across Bixby Creek on Bixby Ranch and is surrounded by rolling hills and cresting surf.  The California Coastal Conservancy is currently trying to protect this large property from development, formerly owned by Allan Funt of Candid Camera fame.

 

However some of the steepest cliffs in Monterey County are found near Gorda where tall cliffs drop into deep waters. The rocks provide a sanctuary for elephant seals, birds and it is the perfect spot to watch migrating birds.

 

In the heart of the Salinas Valley is the famous Pinnacles National Monument that consists of acres of rounded rock outcroppings.  The rows of crops in the Salinas area are also landmarks in themselves with lines of produce continuing in the distance for miles as you drive across the county on Highway 101.