On a recent trip to Big Sur for the infamous Big Sur International Marathon, our appetites and Yelp! App led us to one of the highest-rated restaurants, yet best-kept secrets in Monterey, California. The unassuming Taqueria del Mar, a Mexican eatery, is a beautiful hidden gem found on Lighthouse Avenue.
Its calm, warm ambience with simple decor offers the freshest, made-to-order fare you may find in the area. (Trust me, I ate my way through the region!) Worthy of its cult following, the carnivore, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items range from the expected, such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas to the quite unexpected, like guaraches, chimichangas and carne al pastor!
The food at Taqueria del Mar is nourishing, delicious and prepared with care; the airy, open space with its bar of window-seating facing Lighthouse Ave and Mexican tile floor reinforces the simplicity and authenticity of the cuisine. Within walking distance of Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fishermans’ Wharf, it’s a convenient “must-try” for your next adventure along the Monterey Bay!
Taqueria del Mar 530 Lighthouse Ave Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 372-7887
I took a little road trip recently to the Holy City of Charleston, SC. One my absolutefavorite places in the absolute world (ok, at least among the many places I’ve visited), Charleston hosts, among other things, some pretty fine eateries. From farmers markets’ fresh fruits and veggies to the soulful fare and Southern cuisine on E. Bay St. to local taquerias on King St. (not to mention Shem Creek, IOP and Mt. P, oh my!), there are endless epicurean adventures to be had, particularly on the weekends. Hello, brunch! With my dear soul sister, Ms. Disco Teepee herself, Meggie, leading the way, we took to a cafe in her new neighborhood for Sunday brunch with our close-knit framily in tow.
The Park Cafe, a gem in the Hampton Park neighborhood of Charleston, is just… well…wonderfully… honest. That is the best and only phrase I can use that even comes close to conveying the look, feel and flavors of this place. A come-as-you-are, welcoming hideaway that reminds me of what it felt like when I was growing up and ate lunch at a next-door neighbor’s house on a Sunday afternoon; her mom genuinely concerned that the food we ate was healthy, yet tasty and satisfying, having prepared our meal with care. Not overly casual, nor pushy, superficial or pretentious, just attentive, genuine and familiar, and…honest. As they say, themselves: “At The Park Cafe, we believe that great food isn’t complicated.” #True. Every dish we ordered was made of simple ingredients, locally sourced, and was just superb, as you’ll see! (ALERT: your mouth may water when you see the French Toast.)
One last thing: As we all know, the dining experience is more than just the food quality, isn’t it? Lousy service or rowdier-than-necessary (especially before the first round of coffee) can quickly tarnish the entire experience. No worries on either of those fronts at Park Cafe. From the servers, to the manager, to the clientele themselves (some even four-legged and furry!), the entire experience could not have been more lovely.
If you are in the Charleston area and looking for a refreshing, honest-to-goodness spot to savor your Sunday (or any day, really!), Park Cafe should be your g0-to. I am absolutely mandating it be on the agenda for my next weekend in CHS.