Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Father’s Day Gift Ideas – Monterey Style

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
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Surrounded by the beauty of nature ready to be explored, adventures waiting to be had and tasty meals at your fingertips, there’s no reason to look any further than the Monterey Bay for the perfect Father’s Day celebration.  Treat your father right this Father’s Day and give him the day of appreciation that he truly deserves!

Pick up the tab and take Dad out for a Father’s Day meal!  Celebrate at Peter B’s Brewpub at the Portola Hotel & Spa where Dad can catch his favorite sporting event including the World Cup, play a game or two of pool or just soak up the Monterey sunshine out on the patio. Gift him a souvenir Growler or Growlette and let him fill it with one of Peter B’s original craft brews – top it off with tickets to the Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Garden and you’ll be golden for the entire year!

Peter B’s Growler and Growlette

There’s no better way to show your dad you love him than to spend some quality time together in a place that you will never forget.  If golf is more up Dad’s alley book the Golfer’s Paradise Package at the Portola and spoil him with a weekend of world class golf and time to kick back and relax Monterey Bay style.

Golf with Dad at one of 18 world class championship golf courses

Perhaps Dad is a waterman; explore the Bay by kayak or stand-up paddle board  - with rentals available just steps from the Portola at Adventures by the Sea, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.  Get in an evening hike and catch the sunset at majestic Point Lobos State Reserve or hit the Coastal Recreation Trail for a run or casual walk.

Whatever you do this Father’s Day, there’s one sure way to make it special, show your dad the love by celebrating in one of the most charming and unique places on the planet.

Kids on the Peninsula

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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When most people think of the Monterey Peninsula they think of beautiful golf courses, million dollar homes and some of the world’s most famous events. Others think of miles of pristine coastline, romantic walks along the water and shopping and dining. But as a mom of two, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the best family-friendly travel destinations around!  With as many family friendly activities as there are par fours, Mom, Dad and the little ones can have the time of their lives. Oh, and if the “little ones” are actually teenagers…there is plenty for them to do as well.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium on historic Cannery Row is one of the world’s premiere displays of aquatic marvels. The Splash Zone is entirely devoted to kids of all ages and the Aquarium as a whole, can keep the family interested for hours, but what about the next day?

How about Dennis the Menace Park located by Lake El Estero in Monterey? Hank Ketchum, the legendary creator of the cartoon icon Dennis the Menace made Carmel his home and this park brings the same smile to all who visit. Free and open seven days a week, (click here for more information) the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. Looking for something indoors in downtown Monterey? Try the Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum), a hands-on interactive children’s museum, perfect for the busiest of toddlers and young kids.

If you are traveling with kids that are a bit older, check out the paddle boats available for rent on Lake El Estero directly behind the park. It’s a great time and you can get up close and personal with the ducks, Canadian Geese and swans that make the lake their home (don’t forget the breadcrumbs!). Or, for a more radical departure, make a visit to the free skate park also adjacent to Dennis the Menace. With exciting elements to challenge the skills of skateboarders and in-line skaters, this park was created with input from community skaters resulting in a fantastic design overlooking the lake.

All of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the complex that much more appealing. With green grass, picnic benches and the beach just across the street, why not order a delicious lunch to go from Peter B’s Brewpub and enjoy a wonderful day of family fun!

Family Fun – Monterey Style

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
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Explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium

A treasure trove of outdoor adventure, Monterey is the perfect location for a family vacation.  With unparalleled beauty at every turn, the Monterey Peninsula and beyond promises endless opportunities for fresh-air fun and adventure for the whole family!  Whether you’re a land or sea body, the Monterey Bay area has something for everybody.

Develop your sea legs and take off on an ocean safari with Princess Monterey Whale Watching. Offering year-round whale watching trips, you can take in the majestic view from the midst of the bay while making some fluked friends along the way!  Maybe getting wet isn’t quite your style; get your under-the-sea fix at the Monterey Bay Aquarium instead.  Located on historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium promises to inspire wonder and learning through its innovative exhibits and unparalleled variety of aquatic wild life.  With more than 35,000 creatures, and representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits, the Monterey Bay Aquarium promises a full day of fun for the whole family.  By the end of your excursion you’ll have just about sprouted fins of your own!

Home to some of the world’s most majestic ocean views indeed, the Monterey Peninsula is more than just a marine-lover’s mecca.  With Adventures by the Sea you can explore local sites by land or by sea.  Just pic your mode of transportation, bicycle, kayak, or guided tour and experience all that the Peninsula has to offer.  Looking to head to the hills, a hiker’s paradise awaits.  Check out legendary Point Lobos for unmatched views and a chance to run into some pretty feisty wildlife or explore Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley.

For the animal lover within, visit Vision Quest Ranch & the Monterey Zoo. Set on a 51-acre ranch and centrally located off the Monterey-Salinas Highway, the Monterey Zoo (formerly Wild Things) is home to over 100 wild, exotic, and domestic birds and animals.  Take a family trip around the world without having to drive a mile, and learn all that there is to know about these majestic creatures.

So, for your next family trip, look no further than the Monterey Peninsula.  With a little something for everyone, there’s no better place to make family memories that will last a lifetime.

Ice Skating by the Bay – Monterey on Ice!

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
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Temperatures are dropping and the snow is falling???

It’s time to lace up those skates and let the winter adventures abound! Well maybe this is true for the folks up in the mountains, but here at sea level, we marvel at a different scene, that of the rugged Monterey Peninsula coastline.  In Monterey we don’t wait for winter to show up, we make the winter wonderland ourselves.

Ice Skating by the Bay brings on the chill, setting up shop at the Custom House Plaza, providing the perfect holiday outing for the whole family.  Set among historic adobes and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Ice Skating by the Bay is here to help you celebrate the holidays amid a picturesque backdrop like no other.  Whether ice skating is your cup of cocoa, or you just enjoy spectating, Ice Skating by the Bay is set in the perfect location to view the breathtaking ocean, excited passers-by, and jubilant skaters, all the while sipping on your favorite warm beverage.

Found just outside of the Portola’s doors, Ice Skating by the Bay is the perfect outing for guests at the hotel.  Right outside the front door lies a world of wintery excitement and fun to be had.  That’s why Portola is offering a winter package fit for the ice skater within.  This holiday season enjoy Portola Hotel’s Winter Ice Skating Package. This ultimate getaway package includes a one night stay plus ice skating for two.  I guarantee that the time will virtually glide by when you spend it at the Portola, so grab your scarf and grab your gloves; this is a nippy adventure that you won’t want to miss!

November 22nd  through January, 5th, Ice Skating by the Bay is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-8pm, you can learn more online at www.iceskatingbythebay.com, and visit the Portola’s website to learn more about this fantastic Winter Ice Skating Package.

Summertime Chillin’ & Grillin’

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
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Nothing says summertime like a backyard BBQ. From the first sizzle of a perfectly seasoned steak on the grill, everyone enjoys one of the most revered of summer pastimes. Chef Jason Giles, Executive Chef at the Portola Hotel & Spa and the brains behind the menus for Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, loves backyard BBQ’s and has graciously shared his favorite summertime recipe with Central Coast Living.

All great recipes share one core aspect, which is the quality of ingredients. According to Chef Giles, meats that are a bit higher in fat will cook better on the grill because the marbling in the meat keeps it moist and full of flavor, he personally recommends the following cuts:

  • Rib-Eye
  • New York Strip Loin
  • Skirt Steak
  • Tri Tip
  • Flank Steak

Chef Giles has a few tips that he always follows when preparing the meat.  He recommends that the meat be seasoned/marinated for a few hours before cooking to allow it to soak up the flavor of the marinade.  For a little extra zip and pizzazz, try his famous Season Salt:

  • ½ cup Kosher Flake Salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1Tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

This seasoning is great for beef, chicken or pork. Once the ingredients are mixed together, they need to be stored in a clean, dry glass jar.

Now that the seasoning is taken care of, it is important to focus on the best way to grill the meat. Make sure that the grill is nice and hot – if it is too cold, the meat will just steam. When the grill is warmed up pull the meat out of the refrigerator and let it start to come up to room temperature to ensure an even cooking time. Always be prepared to season the meat with salt and pepper, even if the marinade has a ton of flavor the meat will most likely benefit from a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper.  Once the grill is nice and hot, cook the meat to about 10-15 degrees below how it is usually grilled and let it rest for 15-20 minutes after cooking.

When the perfect steak is cooked, Chef Giles recommends adding the popular Argentinean sauce, Chimichurri as a side condiment:

  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 leaves fresh basil chopped fine
  • 3 mint leaves chopped fine
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves minced ( or grated on a micro planer)
  • 1 ½  cup Olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To create the sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT the lemon juice.  Let it sit in a bowl for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry together.  Just before serving add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. It is important to add the lemon juice last, as it will discolor the herbs if added at the beginning. 

Your friends and family will think you’ve been a master of the grill with this simple recipe and cooking tips from your secret summertime BBQ hero, Chef Jason Giles.