Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Highlight #122: Breakfasts in Monterey/Carmel

After a few very exhausting weeks at work, J and I decided that it would be a nice change of pace to spend some time in the bay area. For him, that meant first spending three days racing formula type cars at 100 plus miles at Leguna Seca. My circulation does quite need that intense a wake up call. Instead, I opted for exploring the beautiful central valley vineyards and warm up my blood with fermented grape juice.

To set up my stomach for the wines to come, I started each morning with a hearty breakfast. That meant Katy's Place on the first day in Carmel, where it consistently takes the honor for best breakfast.

Situated in a stylish cottage in the middle of town, Katy's exemplifies the charm of Carmel. Neat, quaint, and comfortable in an upscale sort of way, the cozy place drew lots of patrons at eight on a weekend morning.

Of course people didn't come just for the cheerful space, the breakfasts were as awesome as advertised. I was in the mood for something salty and couldn't resist the corned beef hash, a dish I haven't really eaten since my college days in Pittsburgh. Katy's hash was nothing like the mushy ground pink/brown stuff I had at Eat n' Park ten years ago. The serving ware sized dish held what looked like pounds of chunky beef neatly diced into quarter inch cubes and hashified with mushrooms, little bits of soft potatoes, and, dare I say it, glistening bacon nibs. With two perfectly runny over easy eggs on top, this was the epitome of breakfast comfort. My fruit cup on the side was piled high with plump and firm blue berries, black berries, and raspberries. This was diner experience at its most elegant. After this huge meal, I was set for a whole day of wine tasting without any problem.

The next day found me going to another fan favorite in the nearby Monterey, a much less chi-chi neighborhood compared to Carmel. The Old Monterey Cafe's decor spoke of its down to earth character. On every table, there was a dish of salsa, foretelling a menu heavy on south of the border favorites.

But I was not in the mood for salty this day, instead took the hostess's recommendation and got the buckwheat pancakes. Even my short stack filled the entire dinner style plate. Despite the hefty size, the pancakes were fluffy yet pleasantly resilient. A fork loaded with a bit of pancake, a
chunk of sausage, and quickly dipped in syrup was the definition of a perfect bite.

Stay tuned for much more food to come.

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