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Six Fresh Reasons to go to Monterey

So much more than just the aquarium (the aquarium is dope, though).

Bright Coffee

Bright Coffee


The land of whale-watching, aquariums, and Steinbeck has a few new draws worthy of a weekend trip this summer. Here are some of our favorites.

The Wharf Marketplace might be housed in a defunct 1874 railway station, but its modern day inspiration is the San Francisco Ferry Building. Inside you’ll find similar high quality provisions from local farmers, fishermen, and purveyors, but with half the ego and a fraction of the crowd. South of the city wines, mostly from the Santa Lucia Highlands, and Salinas Valley produce are hot commodities, but the oysters are of particular interest—especially when barbecued with slabs of butter and lemon on the outdoor grills. 

Perk Up
Bright Coffee pours extra strong single origin java and a compelling rotating blend for espresso drinks, served in a bright, gallery-like space with a sleek handmade herringbone wood bar nothing like the salt-worn cafes closer to the coast. Try the handmade Mexican chocolate syrup, or spring for the signature drink: drip coffee with charred citrus. 

Lillify looks as if it could be right at home in Hayes Valley, yet it’s tucked away among the cartoonish tourist shops of downtown Monterey. Selling wares from Monterey artists, like asymmetrical ceramics, modern folkish home wares, and their own quirky take on the pop-up, in true Monterey style: pairing a local artist with a local food purveyor (like paintings with artisanal caramels or bird illustrations with local baked goods). 

Monterey Bacon Fest—yes, BACON FEST—kicks off the end of this month, on June 27 and 28 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. And it’s everything you would dream a festival of cured swine to have: bacon margaritas, bacon Bloody Marys, bacon cupcakes... basically, anything that is delicious and already bad for you, but with bacon added in, for good measure. 

Restaurant 1833 first turned heads several years ago when it began pouring absinthe cocktails a massive haunted mansion a few blocks from downtown. This spring, they’ve revamped their menu and brought on a new chef, three-time James Beard Award finalist Jason Franey. The mansion might still look haunted, but dishes like guajillo chili-crusted baby back ribs will make you forget that. 

Newcomer Alvarado Street Brewery is taking up residence in the century-old Monterey Elks Club digs. A rotating roster of home-brewed beers salute local landmarks, like the crisp and light Bixby Blonde, and pair will with their elevated take on pub food (think hand-cut fries topped with pan-smoked mussels, curry, and coconut milk). 


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