When we last left me, I was reveling in the tranquil charms of Capitola’s Monarch Cove Inn… But another sublime experience awaited me in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I was welcomed to L’Auberge Carmel by a smiling host proffering a fresh watermelon cooler, and I easily settled into the laid-back luxury of this European-style hostelry. The lavishly appointed guestrooms embrace a charming garden courtyard where intimate events are held, but now all was quiet, save for the trickling of a fountain.
The venue’s acclaimed new restaurant, Aubergine, was the scene of my most memorable meal to date—one minute the engaging and talented Chef Christophe (the perfect Food Network star!) was sending out imaginatively presented, vegetable-centered dishes for me to sample; the next he was pulling up a chair and chatting amiably about the quality of the tomatoes at the local farmers’ market. The sommelier was equally impressive and Pastry Chef Mendoza’s fruit carpaccio, arranged like flower petals, was a visual masterpiece. I envied the lucky bridal couples, who can entrust their gourmet wine and food dreams to this talented culinary team (no doubt wowing their wedding guests in the process)!
The Monarch Cove Inn made me feel refreshed, and L’Auberge made me feel pampered. All in all, not a bad two days’ work!