After almost missing my flight due to the standing in a security line that rivaled the length of the Great Wall of China, I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is to take more road trips and a two-daycation makes a perfect R & R break.
(A two-daycation is one overnight, starting and ending with a scenic drive and including a 1/2-day of sightseeing/hiking/or shopping and a 1/2-day of just chilling. It is important that one selects a hotel, inn, or B & B that provides for a GREAT night’s sleep, and for me, of course, the choice of restaurants, be it French Laundry or a local BBQ joint, plays the starring role.)
Monterey- TusCa Ristorante
I just came back from a good contender. A few days ago, I drove down to Monterey, stopping at every artichoke, garlic and strawberry stand I could find. (*Foodie Tip: Stop at a farm and get some extra strawberries to bring home. Slice them in half, put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and dry them overnight in the oven, set on the lowest possible temperature. These dried beauties are loaded with flavor, and make the perfect snack to bring on your next road trip.)
I hit town just in time to spend a mesmerizing hour watching the translucent jellyfish dance at the Monterey Aquarium. Then I checked into the Hyatt Regency Monterey, ready for dinner at their brand new signature restaurant, TusCA Ristorante, which completes the first phase of the resort’s $45 million renovation.
Clever name, since the food at TusCa is a blend of authentic Tuscan cuisine prepared with the freshest California ingredients.
After the drive it felt great to relax at my table, sipping a fantastic Sauvignon Blanc from Italy that the sommelier had recommended, while taking in the view of the world-famous Pebble Beach Company’s Del Monte Golf Course. (A businesslike-looking foursome, three men and a woman, were playing a round and I almost spit out my wine, I was laughing so hard when I saw the woman miss a shot and throw, not only a complete hissy-fit, but her clubs, too!)
I was glad I was not on a date when the crunchy loaf of ciabatta bread was brought to the table, accompanied by a petite bottle of EVO and a whole head of “fragrant” wood-roasted garlic — perfect for spreading. In the mood for seafood, I chose the garlicky (I’m working a theme here) Little Neck Clam antipasti, followed by the Caesar Salad topped with gorgeous baby white anchovies, and the roasted Branzino. The delicate fish filets went well with the chunky, herby, eggplant caponata. Too full for dessert, (never) I was only able to polish off only 1/2 of the luscious wood-oven baked apple tart, topped with caramel ice cream.
Not only was the food incredible, BUT… the prices were simply unbelievable. I suggest you go quickly before someone tells the extremely talented team of: Executive Chef Mark Ayers and TusCA Chef Neill Dunn, that they could easily charge double for food this good… and portions this size! (Except for the Sirloin Steak, entrees were all priced in the teens!)
And don’t even get me started on the daily breakfast buffet!
By Vagablond’s Token Redhead.