Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trailside Café Carmel Valley is a Post-Hike Haven {Edible Monterey Bay}

October 21, 2014 – this piece went live on the Edible Monterey Bay blog. Read it there.

Trailside Café Carmel Valley is a Post-Hike Haven
Story by Camilla M. Mann
Photos courtesy Sean Allen, Trailside Café 

October 21, 2014 – The new Trailside Café and Beer Garden in Carmel Valley Village is nearly complete and owner Sean Allen hopes to open within the next week. While scoping out possible locations for his second Trailside Café, Sean stood on the deck of the old Toast Café and he found himself staring at the fire watchtower in Garland Ranch Regional Park atop a crest in the neighboring Santa Lucia Mountains.

He realized that this new location retained the relevance of the name—Trailside Café—and he set out to secure the space and transform it into a post-hike haven. After months of renovation, Trailside Café Carmel Valley has the look of a bucolic cabin. The motif continues inside with rough-hewn beams, a redwood bar, and rustic lanterns. And a wood-burning stove divides the main restaurant space from the bar. It’s a comfortable space with a casual feel. It’ll be the ideal place to kick off your boots after a day on the trails in Garland Ranch Regional Park. Meandering through thick chaparral, maple-filled canyons, and ascending to spectacular vistas of the entire valley can work up an appetite. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a pre-hike meal to bolster your adventures, the new Trailside Café is the answer.

Trailside Café Carmel Valley plans to open from 7:30am to 9:00pm, 7 days a week. Their breakfast menu will mirror the original Trailside Café and Coffeehouse on Cannery Row with everything from their overstuffed breakfast burrito to their delectable benedicts; the lunch offerings merge seamlessly into the evening hours as well, including pasta dishes, hearty burgers, and fish-and-chips. Allen plans to add some small plates that can be devoured both in the dining room and at the bar. Sports lovers can enjoy their favorite events on a trio of screens in the bar area.

The mural behind the taps is a topographic map by a local artist.

In a village dotted with wine tasting rooms, Trailside Café Carmel Valley is a welcome addition to the neighborhood for beer-lovers. Allen will have thirteen beers on tap, comprised of rotating taps from up and down the California coast as well as a three-door cooler with chilled bottles ready to enjoy. He’ll be pouring selections from Carmel Valley Brewing, Peter B’s, Drake’s Brewing Company, and North Coast Brewing, including their Scrimshaw Pilsner and Old Rasputin on nitro. I have to admit the heart of this beer-loving gal fluttered a little at mention of Old Rasputin. While I love a good stout, Old Rasputin on nitro softens the standard high-octane edges of the beer with a waterfall of bubbles that yield a thick creamy head. It’s fantastically robust and simultaneously silky smooth.

Not to worry, if you’re not an ardent beer fan, Allen has a selection of California wines – some local, some from slightly further afield – ready for pouring as well. And, after your meal, there are sweet treats for every palate in the family.

While Trailside Café Carmel Valley will carry some of its Cannery Row history with it, it will be a stand-alone family-friendly spot poised to win the hearts of locals, beer-lovers, avid hikers, and anyone in search of a filling, home-cooked meal. I, for one, can’t wait to hit the trails in Garland and find my way to the new Trailside.

Trailside Café and Beer Garden • 3 Del Fino Place, Carmel Valley • 831.659.8500

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