RVSD October 2012 : Page 76

76 | the RADAR | weekender Suite Life Grand Central Carmel has never been this buzzy. The California Central Coast town has next-gen eateries (with DJs!) and wine tasting a go-go. The best part? New, direct flights from Lindbergh Field. | By Gillian Flynn | The Scoop Replete with a croquet lawn, Bernardus Lodge has always been the playground for the valley’s elite (bernardus. com). And now its all-star dining room, Marinus , has undergone an understated glam remodel. It’s a more modern backdrop for chef Cal Stamenov’s regional fare. Risotto lovers: You have arrived. The Secret November is a monthlong salute to the mushroom, when guests can embark on foraging treks in Big Sur or sip chanterelle martinis fireside. Mushroom risotto at Marinus Play Date The Scoop Note to the ladies: Don’t pack high heels to Carmel-by-the-Sea. The sidewalks in this coastal town are so uneven, there’s even an ordinance against wearing them. For the most charming hotel within walking distance of town, it’s all about the newly restored La Playa Carmel , where guests play outdoor chess with oversize pieces (laplayahotel.com). A lavish inclusive breakfast boasts locally baked bread, prosciutto and bottomless mimosas. The original 1905 house at the center of the property was a bohemian salon occupied by a famed local artist and a Ghirardelli heiress, and is steeped in architectural detail. The Secret In the village, Vesuvio’s new Starlight 65 rooftop lounge is a stellar nightcap spot (Sixth and Junipero), but La Playa’s own saloon is the most intimate. When hipsters discover the wood bar festooned in period memorabilia, watch out! High and Mighty The Scoop If you want to spy Clint Eastwood’s reality TV star wife, head to a Carmel classic like Casanova from the Georis family (casanovarestarant.com). But if you’re craving a DJ and vintage French films playing in the background , Mundaka is for you (mundakacarmel.com). Opened three years ago by second-gen Gabe Georis, the cool-kid tapas eatery is so popular, it’s expanding next door with a daytime concept. The rotating menu features paella, patatas bravas and lamb sliders. On weekends, it transforms into a party. “It’s definitely the only nightlife happening in Carmel,” says Georis. Fashion Plates The Secret Order sangria or wine in a porrón , a Spanish pitcher that pours directly into your mouth. “It’s really social and fun,” says Georis. “And you can never predict which people will get really into it.” The Scoop The Highlands Inn by Hyatt is a stunningly cozy property perched above the craggy coastline (highlandsinn. hyatt.com). Two-story rooms feature fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, and the property boasts several tucked-away Jacuzzis. The culinary program taps into serious local talent for winemaker and meet-the-farmer dinners. The Secret November marks the fourth anniversary of the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival , which will be taking over the Inn’s dining venues (bigsurfoodandwine.org). continued ... | October 2012

The Radar Weekender

Gillian Flynn

Grand Central

Carmel has never been this buzzy. The California Central Coast town has next-gen eateries (with Djs!) And wine tasting a go-go. The best part? New, direct flights from Lindbergh Field.

Play Date

The Scoop Note to the ladies: Don’t pack high heels to Carmel-by-the-Sea. The sidewalks in this coastal town are so uneven, there’s even an ordinance against wearing them. For the most charming hotel within walking distance of town, it’s all about the newly restored La Playa Carmel, where guests play outdoor chess with oversize pieces (laplayahotel.com). A lavish inclusive breakfast boasts locally baked bread, prosciutto and bottomless mimosas. The original 1905 house at the center of the property was a bohemian salon occupied by a famed local artist and a Ghirardelli heiress, and is steeped in architectural detail.

The Secret In the village, Vesuvio’s new Starlight 65 rooftop lounge is a stellar nightcap spot (Sixth and Junipero), but La Playa’s own saloon is the most intimate. When hipsters discover the wood bar festooned in period memorabilia, watch out!

Fashion Plates

The Scoop If you want to spy Clint Eastwood’s reality TV star wife, head to a Carmel classic like Casanova from the Georis family (casanovarestarant.com). But if you’re craving a DJ and vintage French films playing in the background, Mundaka is for you (mundakacarmel.com). Opened three years ago by second-gen Gabe Georis, the cool-kid tapas eatery is so popular, it’s expanding next door with a daytime concept. The rotating menu features paella, patatas bravas and lamb sliders. On weekends, it transforms into a party. “It’s definitely the only nightlife happening in Carmel,” says Georis.

The Secret Order sangria or wine in a porrón, a Spanish pitcher that pours directly into your mouth. “It’s really social and fun,” says Georis. “And you can never predict which people will get really into it.”

Suite Life

The Scoop Replete with a croquet lawn, Bernardus Lodge has always been the playground for the valley’s elite (bernardus. Com). And now its all-star dining room, Marinus, has undergone an understated glam remodel. It’s a more modern backdrop for chef Cal Stamenov’s regional fare. Risotto lovers: You have arrived.

The Secret November is a monthlong salute to the mushroom, when guests can embark on foraging treks in Big Sur or sip chanterelle martinis fireside.

High and Mighty

The Scoop The Highlands Inn by Hyatt is a stunningly cozy property perched above the craggy coastline highlandsinn. Hyatt.com).Two-story rooms feature fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, and the property boasts several tucked-away Jacuzzis. The culinary program taps into serious local talent for winemaker and meet-the-farmer dinners.

The Secret November marks the fourth anniversary of the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, which will be taking over the Inn’s dining venues (bigsurfoodandwine.org).

Take Refuge

The Scoop Tucked in the valley among rosemary and sage, Refuge is the country’s first coed relaxation spa (refuge.com). Silence is the golden rule as guests take the Refuge challenge: Heat up, cool down, relax and hot tub in one of the compound’s six Jacuzzis. The methodical thermal cycle of eucalyptus steams and cool plunges (the temperature of Monterey Bay) results in mega tranquility, but only if you follow all the steps. “Americans need to learn how to relax,” says Axel Binneboese, the spa’s European GM, who advises guests to slow down long enough to let the body heat up, cool down and recline for ultimate ahh. “It’s the power of balancing.” In other words, only serious relaxers need apply.

The Secret Opt for an early dinner and book Refuge’s last reservation at 7pm. Just don’t expect Champagne; only water is allowed.

Swirlwind Tour

The Scoop In the last year, tasting rooms have popped up all over Carmel and the neighboring valley. In town, on Ocean Avenue, hit up the only sparkling wine producer at Caraccioli Cellars, where bubbles and cheese plates are on offer for the perfect midday nibble (caracciolicellars.com). In the valley, sip-and-swirl stalwarts include Talbott and Bernardus, but many newbies are just a hop-skip away. They are Holman Ranch for rich pinot noir and small-batch syrah, and Silvestri, from Hollywood film composer Alan Silvestri, who lives locally. “It’s exploded,” says Silvestri’s Robin Sutherlin of the region as she pours an ’08 syrah, a big food wine. Just down the way, the newest kid is the cottage-style Cima Collina, which features live music and memorable chardonnay (cimacollina.com).

The Secret While the focus might be wine, one of the coolest old-school saloons is a must-stop in the valley. Decked out in taxidermy and 19th century bandit posters, Will’s Fargo Dining House & Saloon caters to serious carnivores. Owned by Bernardus Lodge, it features top-notch ingredients and no-nonsense cocktails (bernardus.com).

Ciao, Bella!

The Scoop Local restaurateur David Fink’s Cantinetta Luca is the must-hit for the best charcuterie and cheese plate in town (cantinettaluca.com). Nab a seat by the window, split a pasta dish and watch the German tourists go by.

The Secret While The Cheese Shop (thecheeseshopinc.com) is a longtime Carmel fave among the locals, Luca’s nearby deli, Salumeria Luca, offers a more curated selection of cheese, cured meats, Italian wine and seasonal gelato (salumerialuca.com). Beach picnic, anyone?

Lokals Only

The Scoop Carmel Valley continues its gourmand evolution with the new Lokal, a next-level restaurant that serves über-local fare. Just-plucked baby beets are served with goat cheese and a coconut emulsion. A local Dungeness crab hot dog is served in a Bimbo bun and noshed by local winemakers who hang at the bar. “There’s only so much steak and potatoes you can eat,” says co-owner Matt Zolan of the region’s staples.

The Secret Co-owner and chef Brendan Jones’ father runs the Cachagua General Store, open once a week for hyper-local dinners.

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Weekender/1184304/127243/article.html.

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