Day 250—Thelma and Louise 2012: Day 2—Sharks, Jellies, and Monkfish

We slept in this morning and took it easy, lazing in our room at the Wayside Inn waiting for the clouds to burn off.

We arrived at the Montery Bay Aquarium about 11. I loved the Aquarium. It is beautifully designed and a fascinating journey to a world that is exotic and one we would never be able to visit were it not for this wonderful place. I was fascinated by the schools of sardines and anchovies, taking endless photos trying to capture their silvery magic. None of the photos turned out to my satisfaction. But when we entered the “Open Ocean” exhibit, I couldn’t pry myself away. It was like watching an aquarium video. I was mesmerized by the schools of schools of fish circling behind the 14 inch plexiglass, which plexiglass made it impossible to achieve crisp focus, even with my 24-70mm lens. The hammerhead shark was elusive but I managed to capture one acceptable shot. Then we entered the jellies exhibit. I was blown away.

On the way home from the Aquarium, we took the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach.

For dinner, we returned to André’s Bouchée and sat at the Chef’s Table for another delightful evening with Chef Jacques. Honora had short ribs and I had a curried monkfish. It was almost as if we were back at the Aquarium, with Chef Jacques demonstrating the swimming capabilities of a recently departed Dover Sole. The entrée was preceded by an incredibly sexy mushroom soup; deceptively simple with the complex flavors of chanterelles and porcini and I don’t know what other mushrooms. It was the kind of flavor that almost triggered me into an imitation of Meg Ryan’s performance in “When Harry Met Sally” but having done that just the previous Saturday at Lucca in Saramento over the indescribably delicious chocolate dessert and which prompted a person at the next table to mimic the line from that movie, “I’ll have what she’s having,” I decided it was probably too soon for a repeat performance. And for dessert, yet another chocolate delight made with a French caramel candy combined with the molten chocolate. Oh, my.

I had switched to my 50mm lens and with it wide open of course the depth of field was incredibly shallow. That, coupled with having already consumed the complimentary glass of bubbly and more than my share of a bottle of Pinot Noir, my food shots, and those of Jacques, are not focused properly, but you get the idea.

Day 249—Part II-Thelma and Louise 2012—Our Dinner With André–André’s Bouchée, That Is!

We capped off a wonderful first day of our trip with a delectable dinner at André’s Bouchée, just a block from our hotel. Honora’s friend Megan recommended it highly and suggested we request to dine at the “chef’s table.” We made reservations on our arrival in Carmel and as we walked around Carmel in the afternoon, we met a local jeweler who recommended the best Carmel restaurant he’s eaten at in his twelve years here: André’s Bouchée. We were not disappointed. We sat at a granite topped counter looking into the kitchen and were entertained by the very outgoing Chef Jacques Zagouri and the very shy sous chef, Betoin.

Our appetizer was mussels with garlic, butter, bread crumbs and parsley, baked on a bed of sea salt. Here is the empty serving dish!

Honora ordered quail and I ordered scallops. We each sampled the other’s fare and both entrées were indescribably delicious.

Of course we had dessert: a fig tart and two flavors of crème brulée.

We had such a wonderful meal and such a delightful evening spent talking with Chef Jacques and observing a master chef in action that we decided to return tomorrow night for another exciting adventure. We told the chef about our trip and when we mentioned Morro Bay was one of our stops, he asked if we liked oysters and told us he would serve us oysters from Morro Bay when we return tomorrow. Honora said she didn’t like raw oysters and although the kitchen was closed by then, Jacques disappeared and returned with a single oyster which he shucked as we watched and then he came out of the kitchen to where we were seated and fed the oyster to Honora in the ultimate act of personal service!