Thursday, November 01, 2007

Weekend Getaway

Recently my wife and I celebrated our anniversary by taking a break in Monterey. For people in the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey makes a great weekend escape.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. This hotel is undergoing a $45 million renovation. The hotel exterior maintains it's classic, rustic charm, but the guest rooms are being renovated to the highest standards. My wife and I were very impressed, and although we were looking forward to a dinner out, we were tempted to stay in the room just to enjoy the well-designed space.

One of the first tasks at hand was to get down to the Fireside Lounge and try out the cocktails. The Hyatt Regency Monterey has a "Get Fresh" bar program running that involves a specialty cocktail list including gourmet fruit purees and local fresh fruit. Some of the cocktails even get the fresh juice added right at the table side. Great idea.

I tried the Tanqueray Ten Raspberry Ricky. Made with gin, raspberry puree, fresh-squeezed lime juice, fresh raspberries and a splash of lemon-lime soda. It was very good, and well-balanced. The easy way out here would have been to design this drink around vodka, but I was glad to see the creativity that went into building this around the flavors of the Tanqueray Ten.

Jane tried a sparkling fresh strawberry lemonade, that was also made with fresh fruit. She enjoyed it and judged it "very refreshing."

After enjoying the Fireside lounge, and the live jazz trio, we were off to TusCA Ristorante for dinner. My photos don't do justice to the elegant and comfortable surroundings we experienced. The concept of TusCa seems to be Tuscan style food, using the abundant local California ingredients.

The menu offers plenty of choice, and the prices are very fair. Jane had a delicious Sea Bass with Artichoke and Fingerling Potatoes that looked very welcoming and tasted great.

I put my trust in the chef and went for the Chef's Special Risotto. It included salmon, yellow peppers, mushrooms and a combination of mozzarella and Romano. Green beans and artichokes rounded out the plate. The risotto was delicious, hearty and rich. It was a perfect match with the Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige.

We finished our meal with some Gelato from Santa Cruz' own Gelatomania. Very good. The meal and the service were both excellent.

If you need to take a break, take an easy weekend to Monterey. It's only about an hour's drive from the south bay, or about 2 hours from just about anywhere in the San Francisco bay area, and you'll feel a million miles away. There's also plenty to do in the Monterey area, even if you may not want to leave the hotel.

You can get more info on the Hyatt Regency Monterey at their website.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa! I'm actually from Monterey, and I have a really hard time finding a decent drink when I go back to visit my parents.

I'm going to make this my second stop this Christmas. My first stop will be at your bar, Jimmy!

8:25 AM  
Blogger said...

So funny - my hubby and I also had a weekend away in Monterey... and sampled the Get Fresh program... I think we must have a few friends in common...

Hope all is well up North!

2:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home