Hi guys! I have a long, picture filled post for your pretty, sparkling eyes today so let’s begin my detailed foodie account of Monterey, starting with right after I got there!
Pretty much as soon as I landed, I decided I had to do a bit of exploring before dinner. That was after I awed at the ocean view from my room and dug into my swag bag, of course.
After that, I grabbed my camera and walked 2 steps to the pier. As I was walking to take a photo of the coast, I heard someone behind me talking about the amazing swag bag they got in their hotel. So like a creep, I turned around and asked them if they were with my group. Turns out, they were! And invited me to join them for a lunch on the pier. I love bloggers.
We got a sampler of delicious things to try and I ordered a mandatory glass of wine. It was so nice to be around people who get the fact you need to take pictures of everything before you eat it! After lunch, we walked around a bit then went to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was at a local restaurant, Montrio, whose head chef was asked to create amazing strawberry inspired dishes for us to eat. Our first course was a strawberry soup with a salmon boudin (a squishy, weird sausage), which we made ourselves! Then, we enjoyed an amazing salad with hunks of fresh mozzarella. For our main course, we ate pork stuffed pork wrapped in pork. Yep. That was real. Then for dessert, we enjoyed panna cotta with fresh mint sprigs. Plus, there were a few strawberry infused cocktails floating around, like gin with cucumbers!
The food was good, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t mind blowing. It’s one of those places I’d probably not go back to. You know? Either way, the chef was a delight [AND BRITISH!]
Saturday kicked off with a breakfast I missed (thanks to work + Internet issues). Then we all piled into a giant bus to head to a strawberry farm to learn about the farming aspect of berry production. I, of course, forgot the SD card in my computer so I was left to my iPhone to take pictures. Typical me. THANK GOD for Instagram, that’s all I’m sayin.
The farm was awesome. I mean, I got to pick berries off the vines and just eat them. So, in true Claire fashion, I stuffed like 600 berries into my gullet. Cute, I know. But I mean, look at this beauty, who could resist?
It was interesting to learn about the farming part, for sure. Who knew so much money went into harvesting berries? After our tour, we headed to my least favorite part of the trip, the cooler. The people at Giant were incredibly knowledgeable and so SMART, but the cooler was cold and I didn’t really take much back from that. And by that point I was hungry again so all I could think about was food.
Our lunch was, by far, my favorite part of the entire trip. For one, it was on top of a beautiful mountain. Secondly, they really went above and beyond in making us feel special. They had a beautiful tent sent up, a gorgeous tablescape and an amazing menu planned. The chef? OMG I wanted to take her back to DC with me! Chef Mickey graduated from Le Cordon Bleu (my dream) and studied under Julia Child. NBD. Plus, she spoke 7 languages so she had the most amazing accent. And she was so funny and lively. Oh, and um, she can cook.
One thing I loved about this meal was how innovative it was. I mean, I’ve seen panna cotta done about 1200 different ways and hers still surprised me. She also made a small “pizza” out of strawberries and cheese, plus had this amazing fluffy strawberry lime mousse. It was all amazing but my favorite was the beef. It was cooked to PERFECTION and had just a hint of strawberry glaze. The meat literally melted in my mouth. In addition to the amazing food, she also created 4 different mocktails that were equally as delicious. The only thing that would have made them better was a little bit of booze, duh.
After our meal it was time to explore some scientific plots down by where we ate. At this point, all I could think about was recipes so I’m sad to say I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have. It was neat though. After this, a bunch of the bloggers headed home and I headed back to my hotel to work. After a few hours of working, I met two other bloggers for dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was okay but the company was amazing.
Then, before I left on Thursday, I took one last stroll to take a few photos. These three are my absolute favorite.
So end in end? California strawberries are the best, the commission was INCREDIBLE and I’d go back to Monterey and live on the chilly beach in a hut an day.