I took a break from the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge this weekend so my husband Phil and I could spend a couple of days in beautiful Monterey. The weather was perfect, and we had a great time.
While I had a few "make-do" meals while I was there -- unbuttered sourdough toast with jam for breakfast, and pasta without the cheese for dinner -- I also had a few good vegan meals. In case you find yourself on the Monterey Peninsula any time soon, here are some suggestions.
One of my favorite sandwich chains is Ike's Love and Sandwiches. Their menu offers a whole vegetarian sandwich section, most of which can be made vegan. Alas, they don't have a Sacramento location, but they do have one in Monterey. I ordered the Sally Ride, made with vegan turkey, Daiya vegan cheese (provolone, I believe), avocado, and a vegan "dirty sauce." I had mine on a sourdough roll, and it was served warm. It was a great way to begin our weekend getaway! Ike's is located at 570 Munras Avenue, and their phone number is 831-643-0900. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Their vegetarian menu can be found at this link: http://www.beyondmenu.com/38559/monterey/ike-s-love-and-sandwiches-monterey-93940.aspx#group_1120445.
Another great find, just blocks away from Cannery Row, was Hula Island Grill, which also offers a vegetarian section on their menu. Most of these items can be made vegan, and the ones that are vegan without the need for modification are clearly marked on the menu. I ordered the macadamia nut encrusted tofu, which came with rice and mango-papaya sauce. Normally, it also comes with slaw, but since the slaw contains mayonnaise, I got fries instead. The tofu and mango-papaya sauce were excellent, and I will definitely visit this restaurant again the next time I'm in the area. Hula Island Grill is located at 622 Lighthouse Avenue, and their phone number is 831-655-4852. They also have locations in Santa Cruz and in Phoenix, Arizona. The restaurant is open Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Their vegetarian menu can be found at this link: http://www.hulastiki.com/#!mvegetarian/c18j7.
We also drove into lovely Carmel by the Sea for a few hours. We had decided to eat lunch at Basil Seasonal Dining because they had a vegan entrée on their menu, but they were temporarily closed due to plumbing difficulties. Just steps away, we found Carmel Belle, which offered an open-faced avocado sandwich, which was just as simple and elegant as it sounds. A slice of Il Fornaio sourdough bread was sprinkled with olive oil and salt, then I asked that a layer of tomato slices be added, and avocado slices topped it off. It was a reminder that good food can stand on its own, without a lot of fancy sauces or seasonings. Carmel Belle is located at Doud Craft Studios on San Carlos between Ocean and 7th, and their phone number is 831-624-1600. The restaurant is open Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
And now, back to checking out all the great Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge items at our local restaurants!