Wine Walk Tour, Carmel

Wine-Walk-Tour-headerIf you love wine, you are in for a treat when you visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. With 12 wine tasting rooms all within walking distance of one another, you can have your pick of four 1oz pours at your choice of any 9 of the 12 tasting rooms on the Wine Walk Tour.

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Flights-of-wineThe Guy and I were lucky to experience the Carmel Wine Walk Tour that Carrie from Hofsas House provided to us. From the 12 wine tasting rooms around you can sample local estate-grown still and sparkling wines. The wine passport is convenient for us, as it doesn’t expire. Since we are so close to Carmel, we can go on the self-guided wine walk tours for many weekends to come. Each ticket allows for a flight of wine, while you sip and mingle either with the locals already hanging out or visitors doing exactly what we were doing, trying out the different wines available.

De Tierra was our first stop and we spent a long time there, since the wine connoisseur was so welcoming and the guests who were there sampling were chatting with us. There, I realized I wasn’t a pinot noir fan from the start, but rather a fan of the smooth merlot which was much easier to get down. The Guy on the other hand liked the more spicier wines with a little smokey flavour to it, it was one of the pinot noir’s.

We admit, we’re not huge drinkers, and we know little about wine. All my knowledge of wine comes from simply knowing that my Father makes both red and white wines that are known to please a diverse palette. However we knew it was going to be a good night when we met up with a couple who were not too far from our new home, they brought their Vizsla pup to the wine tasting with them. Jamieson, an awesome and appropriate name don’t you think?

If you do find a wine you enjoy on the tour, you can purchase it and bring it with you to one of the participating restaurants and have the corkage fee waived.

Participating wine tasting rooms include: Caraccioli Cellars, Figge Cellars, Galante Vineyards, Vino Napoli, Silvestri Vineyards, Dawn’s Dream Winery, Scheid Vineyards, Manzoni Cellars, Blair Estate, Shale Canyon, Wrath Wines, and De Tierra Vineyards.

Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea
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To learn more visitwww.carmelwinewalk.org

Wine Walk Passports were provided to us at no fee. All opinions are my own.

Point Lobos, Carmel

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Point-Lobos-beachesYou can’t visit Carmel without a drive down to Point Lobos to take in those spectacular views, it was on my 7 things to see in Carmel for a reason. I knew I wanted to spend a couple of hours there, so before heading out we stopped by 5th Avenue Deli in Carmel to put together an afternoon picnic for ourselves.

The Guy and I had a great time exploring the gorgeous grounds of the Point Lobos State Nature Reserve and took some of our new favourite couple-y pictures together. Framers. After walking around with our 5th Avenue Deli picnic lunch, we sat down on a bench and enjoyed the majestic views. The Guy said the scenery isn’t too different from our home province of Newfoundland, but I say it varies. The colours of the rocks, cliffs, dirt here in California are mesmerizing. I know that sounds silly, but I swear this place looks like a fairytale with the winding trees with their flat tops, and rocks protruding out of the water. Oh, and the sand — guys, the sand is unreal.

Disclaimer: We had a gift certificate given to us to use at 5th Avenue Deli. Opinions are my own.

The Grill on Ocean Avenue, Carmel

The-Grill-HeaderOnce we quickly changed from our comfortable driving clothes to our spiffed up date night clothes, we walked to The Grill restaurant on Ocean Avenue, about two blocks from Hofsas House. Our reservations were originally for 6:30pm, but we pushed it back to 8:00 due to the traffic on the roads, luckily it wasn’t a problem.

One thing that struck me when we visited The Grill was that the decor was warm and inviting, a quiet modern restaurant set with mood lighting for an evening supper. Though it seemed to be more on the pricier side of restaurants, our tables had linen table clothes, but with a paper layer draped over top. The portraits on the wall were blown up photos of the famous Pebble Beach. A little strange, if you’re not into golf, but gorgeous photos none the less.

Bread-at-The-GrillAny place that serves warm bread upon arrival, is a winner in my books. A nice crunchy outside, with a warm chewy inside is the best. The Grill got it right when they served this with warm butter, too.

Us-at-The-GrillNewlyweds (I can’t stop using that word, when is it no longer considered a newly wed? I mean, it’s been ten months), hanging out in the restaurant waiting for our app’s.

Brie-appetizerAppetizers are always a good idea, so I ordered the Warm Brie Wedge and Baked Mini Goat Cheese Cake: served with apple and poached pear slices, roasted garlic cloves, and bruschetta. I think the chef forgot to add bruschetta to the plate, but he probably read my mind and knew I didn’t like it (since it’s usually riddled with onions). I particularly enjoyed the pears which I was told was marinated for hours in mulled wine and a few other ingredients to achieve that deep beet colour. It was hard to polish this platter on my own, I had a little help from The Guy, but for the most part I devoured and enjoyed every last bite.

Bib-lettuce-appetizerBib Lettuce and Gorgonzola: with blueberries, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts tossed in a light champagne vinaigrette. This is what The Guy ordered, I had a taste of it, and it was refreshing and light, not at all creamy like it looked in the picture. Definitely a crowd pleasing yet unique twist to the regular salad appetizer.

Newlyweds-at-The-GrillJuan was our server for the evening, suggesting his favourite menu items to us. I was deciding between chicken or salmon, and went with his suggestion. The Guy was also pondering between steak and lamb. Margot the manager of The Grill stopped by our table a number of times to have a chat about our time in Carmel. She was sweet, and gave us more suggestions on what to do during our stay in the little town.

Our-supper-at-The-GrillFor supper I opted for the Flat-Grilled Salmon with cherry tomato beurre blanc and asiago polenta. I couldn’t stop talking about it when I was eating it. I even let The Guy have a taste. The tomato glaze that went on top was excellent. I finished my plate and left most of the asiago polenta, it was a too corn-bready for me. I think we need to plan another trip out to The Grill, so I can have that delicious salmon again. The Guy decided to venture out into a whole new meat realm and go for the Moroccan Lamb Chops cut from the rack, spice rubbed ontop of a light rosemary-garlic sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. “This is fantastic — the sauce is incredible” he said after he was hesitant about ordering Lamb which he hadn’t tried before.

Dessert-and-full-belliesDessert was then decided was a must, as our meal was impeccably mouth watering. Originally I was dying to try out the New York Style Cheesecake with creme anglaise, mango coulis and fresh fruit. Once it arrived I gave it a few tastes and decided I don’t like NY-Style, it was a little too crumbly for my liking. The Guy suggested we switched plates, because he loves cheesecake and thought of ordering it anyway. I got his House-Made Double Chocolate Brownie with vanilla bean ice cream. Fair trade.

side-view-of-The-GrillOur dinner experience was the perfect way to end our first evening. We retired back into our room at Hofsas House with our cheese platter and bottle of wine, then sat and enjoyed it while we watched our fireplace flicker late into the night.

Carmel is a perfect spot to plan a weekend getaway. Everything seems to be a walking distance away from one another, it has incredible restaurants and shops, and let’s not talk about the view it has. Breathtaking! Come back tomorrow for  our day trip to Point Lobos.

The Grill

Ocean Ave, Carmel, CA 93921, USA
Phone: 831-624-2569

To learn more visitwww.thegrillcarmel.com

Our meal was hosted by The Grill, however the opinions in the blog post are 100% my own.

Sit down, and have a chat with me

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! Is everyone ready to start their week? I guess me being on the West Coast, everyone has already been at work for a number of hours already.

White-desk-White-chairMy desk was such a mess this weekend, I decided to finally tackle it. It’s an ongoing battle, I can have it clean for a day or two, then boom papers flying everywhere, products piled up in the corners, water bottles and hair sprays not where they belong. You know how it goes, it’ll be the same again tomorrow.

I’m about to head out to the climbing gym to attend another yoga class and get in a boulder session right after. Last week I went to yin yoga again (it seems for some reason I keep missing that class — either The Guy has my car, or I had other plans). But man, does that class ever pull at your insides. My upper ribs were so sore, I couldn’t sneeze/blow my nose or cough (I don’t have a cold, though it sounds like it when I talk about it like this hey?) without any pain, ha! What a workout.

When I was home in Newfoundland, my Mom mucked up a nice meal one of the days, but there was one addition to my plate I’ve never seen or heard her make before. It was a cauliflower puff, of sorts. I couldn’t get enough of it when she made it, so clearly I asked for the recipe. I ended up making a large dinner for The Guy and I, all based around this puff. It doesn’t look like much, but it was freakin’ delicious. Now tell me I don’t know how to feed my husband well, after a nonchalant 30km run!Supper-with-Cauliflower-puf

By the way, I can’t believe how many people entered into the $145 Starbucks gift card giveaway (now over) over five thousand people. Crikey. I contacted the person who won, and it’s already addressed and in the mail to her.

Fitmark-Bags-headerI saw Fitmark Bags on Instagram and noticed Camille LeBlanc (Canadian CrossFitter) had one, and tons of other famous athletes. I totally wanted to see why everyone was so into them, so I asked if I could review one of their bags. They agreed and asked me to pick one out. I couldn’t decide between the Agility Tote or the Sport Tote, so I let them surprise me between that, and the colour choice.Feet-and-Tote

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Fitmark-Bag-side-viewYou can tell in one of the photos it has a zip on the backside that fits my yoga mat, it’s cool. Fitmark Bags have tons of other bags to choose from, and especially for those on a special meal plan where they like to bring their food wherever they go. I was like that once, when I was on Paleo for 30 days.

I’m enjoying the Agility Tote so far. I’ve been using it both as a purse and a gym bag to bring to the climbing gym, since it’s not too small or too big for either. Fits my harness, climbing shoes and chalk along with my yoga mat, with two side pouches for water bottles or keys. Or I can utilize it as a purse and I can flick my wallet in there and head out.

Alfie-in-ToteAlfie seems to be enjoying himself.

Sometimes I ask The Guy to take photos of me, and during those photoshoots there’s bound to be some bloopers and out takes. I never thought about posting mine until I noticed that Kelly posted her’s last week. I got a kick out of them, so I decided to put together a bunch from this session.out-takes

You’ll notice I use the Fitmark Bag, and my other pink bag on the regular. Do you switch out your gym bags? Mine don’t get too dirty, unless the chalk bag falls out, but that’s secured in its own ziplock baggie.

What kind of bag do you bring to the gym with you?