Saturday, September 01, 2007

Carmel - by - the - Dog

No, don't worry, this isn't a cheesy attempt to make it look like this post is by my dog: our very own Cooper. So, a recent weekend we made the drive to the Monterey Bay area – specifically Carmel-by-the-Sea. Besides being a quaint village, Carmel is also very dog friendly. Lots of lodging options – some being bed and breakfasts – and lots of dining options that allow dogs. I think to some point, they are hoping you’ll just bring your “rich person purse pet” but hells to that! We’ll bring our 75 pound pup.

If you are just staying in town, you can pretty much park your car and walk to wherever you want to go. Naturally, the beautiful white sand city beach is a big draw. Open to off-leash dogs all year long and all hours of the day! And for the girls, lots and lots of shopping. There is seemly no end to the amount of galleries and boutique clothing shops for the ladies. I’m not sure what a guy is to do here besides eat and beaching but supply credit cards – I guess there is golfing.

After getting settled at our bed and breakfast (fruits and pastries in the morning, wine hour in the afternoon) we walked down Ocean Avenue to the beach. Carmel does get plenty of foggy days – which is nice to keep things a little cooler than the inland areas. No doubt a nice relief from the blasting heat San Diego is getting right now. Still we had plenty of sun while we were there.

For eats, we had dinner at Forge in the Forest – kind of a “claim-jumpers” type place – burgers, ribs, steak. We sat on the large patio – they have a couple – I think this one was reserved for people with pups. The food wasn’t anything too great but not terrible – we got a mixed grill of meats and a half a bbq duck. I’d maybe stick to sandwiches instead of dinner entrees. And every entrée comes with some bland vegetables. But they were great with the dog – you can expect a bucket of treats on the table, wait staff giving out pets on his head and a busboy rushing out a bowl of water. They also have a doggie menu.

As mentioned breakfast was provided – if a hot breakfast was desired we heard good things about Katy’s Place. Open for breakfast and lunch, they have a great looking breakfast menu: a huge list of eggs benedicts and all the other breakfast goodies. It didn’t work out as they have a maximum doggie limit of 20 pounds (I called and checked so we weren’t disappointed standing there at the door.)

And we picked up a lunch sandwiches from a deli after a long hike in the Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley – not the San Diego suburb, but Carmel Valley just east of Carmel. Highly recommend hiking the trails out there.

I think Cooper was a little surprised at the amount of activities he was involved with this day – after hiking and an afternoon at the beach, he would have been happy just napping in the room. Nope, it was off to eat at The Village Corner – this site has apparently been a restaurant for years and years dating back to the 40’s. They serve all day long – so they would be a good option for a hot breakfast too. Here we informed the host at the front door that we were here with a dog and he met us at the side entrance to the large patio. We liked the food here – crab-stuffed halibut and some sort of spiced lamb chops. It is a tourist town – so service leaves maybe a little something to be desired. Not much time for discussion – just “here is your food, eat” sort of stuff. No food services for dogs here – just what you’d care to feed him off your plates. A young girl passing by asked her mom a couple times, “why do those people have a dog with them?”, I don’t know if anyone had a real answer for her.

Dessert was at The Bubbly Fish – no website that I can find but there is this article – which serves up wine, chocolate, caviar and cheesecake tastings but probably not in that order. It’s a splurge type place or a everyday place depending on your wealth status. Here we had a couple of tastings and some wine – including ice wine which we hadn’t tasted before and don’t even quite buy into the story to this process but it's on Wikipedia so it's true. They have about 10 tables inside and 6 or 8 outside in a courtyard in front of some other shops. Of course, puppy got a treat and some attention from the staff here.