Explore Monterey
Unforgettable Beach Picnics on the Monterey Peninsula

May 22nd, 2014
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For many people summertime means lazy days in the sun, kicking back with good friends and good food!  In my opinion, there is no better way to celebrate this tradition then heading to the beach for an old fashioned picnic.  The Portola Hotel & Spa has some fun tips to create you perfect beach picnic!

 

Step One – choosing the right beach. The Monterey Peninsula is filled with amazing beaches and each one comes with unique scenery and features. Here are some favorites along with what makes each location so special.

Del Monte State Beach – Just a short walk from Portola is the Del Monte State Beach, which spans from the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf to Seaside. The long stretch of beach allows picnic goers to find their own intimate spot in the sand or a grab a picnic table and watch the crowds go by on Monterey’s bike trail. Dogs are welcome on this beach and the water is perfect for boogie boarding and surfing. Great for activities for all ages, it is ideal for flying kites, playing catch or a game of volleyball with courts located right off the beach. For picnickers that are planning to stick around after sunset, be sure to bring ingredients for S’mores along with firewood, since beach fires are permitted.

Lovers Point – The teal waters, protected swimming coves and tide pools galore make Lovers Point the perfect spot for picnics! Make camp on the sandy beach or in the park just above the beach at the picnic tables. A protective cove makes this beach a little warmer than the others and once lunch is fully digested, wade into the Bay or take a dip in the Lovers Point Children’s Pool open daily from noon to 4:30pm.  Kayak and paddle board rentals are also available at the beach from Adventures by the Sea.

Asilomar State Beach – Just south from Monterey in Pacific Grove are the white sands of Asilomar State Beach. Asilomar is Spanish for “refuge by the sea,” and it lives up to this name. Picnickers and their dogs too, can spend all day walking the boardwalks surrounding the beach and the sand dunes, exploring tide pools and watching the surfers catch big waves, as a State designated beach, beach fires are also permitted.

Carmel Beach – Bright blue waves, white sand and dogs galore await you at Carmel Beach. The long stretch of beach with views of golfers on the Pebble Beach golf course, quaint Carmel homes and the luscious scenery of Point Lobos will keep picnickers entertained for hours. The world-renowned beach attracts people from all over the world to picnic by day, take in the beautiful sunset and set up bonfires by night.

 

Step Two – food and beverage. The Monterey Peninsula is jammed packed with great restaurants and cafés that serve food to go. We have picked a few that will delight the taste buds with a little local flavor!

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge – Located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Jacks is one of the Peninsula’s most popular spots for lunch and is available for take-out.  As a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program, Jacks is committed to using healthy, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.  Jacks lunch menu features a Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich, Whole Wheat Chicken Wrap and a Classic Club Sandwich, just right to pack in your picnic basket. For something a little lighter, try their Warm Chicken & Cashew Salad or a Crispy Dungeness Crab Cake Salad, pair these with the perfect wine and you’ll be all set!

Happy Girl Kitchen – Two blocks form the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Happy Girl Kitchen is a café and cannery that specializes in house-made baked goods. Delicious organic breakfast and lunch options include sandwiches, soups and delicious cheese and cracker plates. This spot also specializing in preserves so be sure to grab one of the jams, pickles or a jar of local honey.

Troia’s Market – Located just a few blocks up the hill from Portola, Troia’s Market is a great place to stop to pick up traditional quality deli sandwiches, a selection of sides such as potatoes salad and other homemade options such as mac and cheese, salads and lasagna. There is a vast assortment of snacks to grab and a nice beverage selection for those of age.

Whole Foods Market – Located right off the freeway at the Munras exit, Whole Foods is a great option for picnickers on their way to Asilomar or Carmel Beach. Offering a full service deli, sushi bar and big selection of ready food to go, Whole Foods is a great place to stop to ensure that everyone in the picnic party will be able to enjoy their favorite food on the beach.

Wine – What is a great beach day without a bottle of wine? Just steps from Portola are two great places to pick up world famous local Monterey County wines. Stop in Wine From the Heart or Terranova Fine Wines to taste a few before purchasing your new favorite bottle and heading to the beach.

It’s hard to go wrong on the Monterey Peninsula when selecting a location along with food and beverage for a picnic. Don’t forget sunscreen, towels, a blanket, chairs, sand toys and a football or volleyball!

When it comes down to it, finding the time to relax and be around loved ones is precious, so get out there and have day on the Peninsula that everyone will remember!

Explore Monterey
Staycations are the Best!

May 16th, 2014
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Calling all exhausted parents, worn out families, and couples in need of a romantic rendezvous in the 831; this post is for you!

Just because there’s no time for an actual vacation doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a break.  Monterey’s Portola Hotel and Spa is here to provide the perfect solution!  Why not skip the hassle of booking flights and hotel rooms out of the area, and take a staycation instead.  You don’t have to leave the country to get out of the house.  All you need to achieve the relaxing staycation you so well deserve is a small bag and a quick drive to downtown Monterey.

Reserve a luxurious room and enjoy all of the lavish amenities that Portola has to offer.  Spend your days in rejuvenation at Spa on the Plaza.  Drop in for a facial or a heavenly massage, after, take a relaxing steam or kick back in the sauna. Perhaps taking a dip in the pool is more your style, cozy up in one of the private cabanas on the pool deck and read that book you’ve been meaning to finish for the past few months! After, stop by the concierge desk and play tourist for a day.  Explore the town you live in through a fresh set of eyes and try out new attractions you’ve been too busy to investigate.

You don’t have to go far to experience the bliss of being pampered.  Take a the day off from cooking and experience the Portola’s very own Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Monterey’s first craft brewery, Peter B’s Brewpub.   After dinner, spend your evening on a moonlight walk along Old Fisherman’s Wharf or stroll nearby beaches and listen to the peaceful sounds of the tide going in and out.

You may not have time to be a full-blown jetsetter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a local weekend getaway.  Make the Portola Hotel and Spa your next staycation destination.

Happy travels!

Local Events
Monterey Rock & Rod Festival

May 7th, 2014
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Going strong since 2006, the Monterey & Rod Festival is back in town.  Take a trip back in time this week, May 9-10 and experience the iconic era of rock and roll.  Let the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival act as your own personal time machine and enjoy the era that gave us malt shops and sock hops. This fantastic combination of live Rock n’ Roll music from the 50s and 60s and displays of the classic cars that defined their decades, there’s a reason the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival is a beloved and much anticipated event on the Peninsula.

A perfect event for car buffs and vintage lovers alike, this celebration of 50s and 60s-era music and custom and classic hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and trucks, this festival is more than just a good time. The festival helps to raise much-needed funds to support the Gateway Center of Monterey County.  With food and vendor arcades set up around the Monterey County Fair Grounds the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival promise top notch entertainment and has the little edge of nostalgia to bring you back to the good old days.

Enjoy a Friday night Sock Hop at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center and a full weekend of car shows and live entertainment at the Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey.  Musical entertainment throughout this two-day festival includes Terry Sylvester, formally of The Hollies, Ron Dante of The Archies and Monterey’s own Chicano All-Stars and so much more!

So, don’t miss out on this weekend of hot rides and catchy beats, we look forward to seeing you there!

Craft Beer
American Craft Beer Week at Peter B’s

April 30th, 2014
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Cheers to Beer!

American Craft Beer Week at Peter B’s

As the Craft Beer scene continues to explode, so do the opportunities to experience some of the best brews in Northern California. American Craft Beer Week brings the growing scene to the forefront May 12 – 18, 2014 and Peter B’s Brewpub, Monterey’s first craft brewery, is in on the ground floor with a full slate of events and specials!

The week kicks off on Monday the 12th with Brewmaster Kevin Clark’s release of his award-winning Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat Ale with $2 pints all night long.

Tuesday is Peter B’s Mug Club Appreciation Mixer with all members receiving one complimentary pint of Alvarado Street Raspberry Wheat Ale.

KRML Radio’s Pub Talk is in the house Wednesday the 14th with a live broadcast starting at 5pm. It’s also Firkin Wednesday with 50% off all refills.

Thursday through Sunday features special Celebrity Cask Tappings and on Saturday the 17th join in the fun during the San Francisco Giants Brewfest Roadtrip.  Join the Peter B’s Crew with a special buffet lunch starting at noon. At 2pm, you’ll board a bus at the Portola Hotel & Spa and travel up to AT&T Park for Brewfest @ Giant’s Stadium. At 6pm, the Giants take the field versus the Marlins and following the game, attendees are shuttled back to the Portola. For more info and tickets click here.

For up to the minute info on events and schedules, follow Peter B’s on Facebook or Twitter and join the American Craft Beer Week party with the hashtag #ACBW!

So celebrate Craft Beer in style at Peter B’s Brewpub during the American Craft Beer Week.

Explore Monterey
The Monterey Bay Spring Foodcast – Guest Staff Member Post

April 25th, 2014
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This spring, treat your taste buds to some of the most appetizing restaurants in Monterey. The neighboring Salinas Valley, fondly known as ”Salad Bowl of the World”, Monterey County yields a great portion of California’s rich agriculture. Savor, locally grown fresh strawberries, raspberries and the unique olallieberry and make sure peruse the amazing, fresh produce across the way at the Wharf Marketplace and Farm Stand at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley.

Take note from our lovable whales, Monterey is the place to be this feeding season. Whether it’s fresh seafood from the Bay or succulent grapes picked from our world-class California vineyards, get your palate ready for the remarkable food and beverages served at our restaurants in Monterey.

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, inside the Portola Hotel & Spa

For an elegant breakfast, lunch and/or dinner experience, visit Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, located in the Portola Hotel & Spa. Known for their fresh ingredients and impressive wine list, Jack’s exemplifies California’s scrumptious reputation while putting a unique Monterey spin on every plate leaving the kitchen. This kid-friendly restaurant offers a European-style breakfast buffet, an Oyster bar, and an award-winning salad bar. Enjoy your Californian cuisine in the comfort of Jack’s nautical dining room, fireside lounge or take advantage of California’s spring weather on the pet-friendly heated patio.

 

Peter B’s Brewpub, behind the Portola Hotel & Spa

If you’re looking for a bit more amusement in your dining experience, check out Peter B’s Brewpub, also family-friendly and located right behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. This local favorite features some of the best house-made craft brews in Monterey County and a complementing menu of beer-inspired dishes. Dine on the pet-friendly patio or inside with 18 HDTVs and a pool table.

Your taste buds will not be disappointed during your next Monterey Bay visit!