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.

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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.

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Visiting Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas-House-HeaderFor my husbands birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the 3rd romantic city in the world Carmel-by-the-sea, California. You see we got married in less than a week, and immediately packed up our belongings to move to the United States. We never did have a chance to have our honeymoon, so I took it upon myself to book a small one for us. The only thing I told him leading up to his birthday was to clear his weekend schedule, something I knew would prove to be difficult.

Imagine an unplugged weekend where you reconnect with your loved ones. A beautiful place where the entire town shuts down at sunset and is completely quiet. Street signs, and store fronts made from wood, no street addresses to get to a place, just the customized names on houses or businesses. This is Carmel, a welcoming and friendly atmosphere from everyone who was visiting and living there. The incredible pacific coast line was simply breathtaking. Today, I’m taking you through our trip and stay at the Hofsas House.

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Laying-on-rose-petalsWe called Hofsas Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea our home for the past two days. The location of Carmel-by-the-sea is about a square mile on Carmel Bay. Hofsas House is walk-able to Carmel itself, where it has many boutique stores to meander through, a diverse selection in restaurants and wineries, everything in walking distance.

Once we collected our room keys and walked in through the pink dutch doors, we were taken back by the hospitality. Our room was completely decorated into this romantic honeymoon suite with rose petals, fireless candles and Hershey kisses (an added upgrade guests can request for a fee) with a massive king sized bed with treats and a dog bed off to the side for Alfie. On our bedside table there was a bottle of wine and a cheese platter from The Cheese Shop, which guests can order to their room for $30. Talk about a warm welcome, hey?

Hofsas-House2The three of us (Alfie came too!) took off for this two day weekend to explore this town for the first time. We have heard a lot about this place and its beauty. We were welcomed with open arms, even after arriving an hour later than anticipated due to traffic, from the charm of the Hofsas House, which is in its 3rd generation of the family run business. We had about an hour to get ready for supper at The Grill when we arrived. Perfect time to re-curl my hair, swap out my cozy clothes and change into a silkier blouse and skinny jeans for our date night.

Fireplace-Alfie-and-ICarmel is much cooler at night, so we took advantage of our in-room fireplace and had a cozy fire each night. There’s nothing quite like sitting in in front of a warm evening fire.

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Hofsas-House-breakfastThere were trays available if we wanted to enjoy our continental breakfast in the comforts of our room.

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Alfie-chewing-on-boneCarmel is known for being incredibly dog-friendly with tons of restaurants catering to your pooches. At Hofsas House, not all rooms are dog-friendly but the ones that are take special care and go the extra mile to make your family pets feel much more at home. Alfie is crated and we bring his with us when he travels, but to our surprise he hopped on the plush dog bed in front of the fireplace to chew on one of his bones that we picked up in Carmel at Diggity Dog.

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Carrie-of-Hofsas-HouseCarrie Theis started working at Hofsas House with her Grandmother Donna Hofsas, the founder of Hofsas House over sixty years ago. Carrie has since taken the position full time and moved to Carmel to run Hofsas House. You can tell she takes great pride in not only the business aspect of Hofsas House, but she truly lights up, talking about Carmel. She gave us many suggestions as to what to do while we were in Carmel along with supplying us with wine walk tour tickets, and reservations to The Grill, a fantastic restaurant where we had a delicious 3 course meal, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog post. Our impression of Carrie is that she doesn’t care just about the business she runs with the family, but more about the village itself.

Out of the 38 rooms on the Hofsas House property they are each decorated differently. Looking past the retro feel to the room we had, it has its charm. The room itself was huge and we had a lot of extra space which felt comfortable. I got sparkly eyes looking out the Dutch doors in the morning when I realized the view we had. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and taking in the Pacific Ocean air. It’s clear I missed the ocean living in central Canada for a number of years after growing up in Newfoundland.

Arriving-at-Hofsas-House

Alfie-and-me-outside-HofsasSaturday night we were completely wiped from our day adventure to Point Lobos where we had a picnic lunch provided by 5th Avenue Deli. We hadn’t planned on staying all afternoon until the sun set, but the place was more breathtaking than we had imagined. More on that spot soon! I loved the hospitality we received from Carrie and everyone at Hofsas House last weekend. Since we are so close to Carmel, we’re excited to return sometime to explore the other areas we didn’t get a chance to. Big Sur is definitely on our to-visit list, along with a trip to the neighbouring city, Monterey.

Hofsas House Hotel

San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921, USA
Phone: 831-624-2745

To learn more visitwww.hofsashouse.com

Our stay was hosted by Hofsas House, however the opinions in the blog post are 100% my own.

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