A few months ago my husband mentioned that his photography teacher would be hosting a workshop in the Monterey/Carmel area and that he and our mutual friend were planning to attend. Since it made most sense to split a room three ways I decided to tag along to enjoy that beautiful area while they were snapping photos.
We woke early the next day to quickly workout then my husband set off for his photography adventure. I took my time getting ready then decided to head into to Monterey for breakfast. During my yelp search I found a place that boasted fresh banana bread and acai bowls so I had to try it! The Aloha Coffee and Cafe was started by Richard and Mai Dunnunk after they had a brief stay in Hawaii. While in Hawaii they fell in love with Kona coffee as well as acai and specialty waffles. I ordered a acai bowl and one of their homemade banana bread slices to cozy up by the window with my kindle. I loved both, the bread was warmed and reminded me of the Royal Hawaiian banana bread. The cafe had a cute modern feel that boasted a free wi-fi. Not a place to be in a hurry as most items are made to order but I would highly recommend for a nice breakfast.
I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown Carmel. The town is famous for unique art galleries and upscale boutique shopping. I checked out several art galleries, boutiques, and my personal favorite the Cottage Of Sweets.
Once my husband was done with his photography adventure we had dinner reservations at il Grillo (which means cricket in Italian). The restaurant is owned by Emanuele and Anna Bartolini and was opened in 2015. The menu focuses of rustic Italian food. The couple also owns La Balena which is another lovely Italian place in Carmel. il Grillo is lovely and completely cozy only a few small tables so not great for a large group. You also must make your reservations in advance and be willing to eat late (our reservation was for 8:30).
We started our meal with burrata toast. The picture do not do the toast justice, it was lovely. For my entree I had the ricotta gnocchi with kale. The gnocchi had amazing texture and taste! So yummy. But let’s be real I was kinda saving myself for dessert. We settled on a plate of their delicious Italian cookies. My favorite was the raspberry thumbprint cookies. With full bellies we went back to our hotel to crash and take off early back to the Bay Area the next morning.