Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

That’s right folks! Kappy is leaving her 20s behind in a few weeks! T____T?

I have been hearing horror stories from my co-workers about turning 30 and how your body functions start to crack. Lol. But what I really feel is a sense of self-satisfaction. I remember blogging about my elimination of sugar/soda and inclusion of regular exercise a year and a half ago. I’m still loving and doing them on a daily basis! *proud face* Instead of feeling like it’s the end of my youth, I feel like I’ve just started to bloom. I have always been the late bloomer in my group of friends, and I want to let others know that it’s okay to be different, okay to take things slow/fast, okay to be scared and uncertain, okay not to know, okay to still be learning as you age. At the end of the day, you….are YOU. Do what makes you happy in life. Good Health and happiness will take you far, farrrrrr in life.

With that being said, after having worked constantly in my twenties, now I can afford to travel! It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to use your own money to fund your traveling! This is where I need everyone’s help! What to do, places to see, and more importantly hot spots for food in Monterey/Carmel/San Francisco (for a little bit). I don’t mind doing touristy stuff but do give your home girl some hidden gems and must-see places! If it works out, maybe we can have a vacation diary. I know Wheebee is our resident traveler person! =)

  1. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy milestone! It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been in norcal, and I went as a poor college student so I’m of no help as far as nice restaurants haha. I was also there in the summer so much of my memory was a charming Carmel with tons of pretty plants, and cold/windy/pollen infested Monterey Bay. Definitely bring a jacket. We did the 17 mile drive and just pulled over every so often to enjoy the view. Haven’t been back to SF recently but my brother who lives and works there says it’s pretty littered with human urine and poop -_- so maybe steer clear of SF? I did remember some pretty good duck in Chinatown, but can’t remember specific names.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Sometimes when you’re poor, you discover the best hidden gems! =D

      Our flight will drop us off at SF and we will visit a friend and only might stay there for a few hours before heading off to Monterey and Carmel (airbnb place).

      Heard good things about the 17 mile drive and will definitely do it!

  2. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Welcome to the 30s club, Kappy! I have nothing to offer in terms of traveling tips to that area of California, but I hope you have a wonderful trip and birthday! Treat yo’ self!

    Coincidentally, I am turning 33 in a few weeks and am still thinking about how to celebrate. Gotta pick out a bottle of wine and get me some cheese. =P I will start from there first, haha.

    Turning 30 was a game changer for me. I definitely don’t miss being in my 20s.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      I remember you as a fellow November baby Polaris! =D

      I have a collection of wine bottles at my place right now. xD Looking forward to find some wine trails in CA!

      • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

        Drink away, Kappy! A toast to you 🙂

        Yes to wine trails!

  3. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy BIG 30, Kappy!

    The Monterey/Carmel area was very beautiful and quiet when I visited it twenty years ago. Such a difference from Los Angeles! I wanted to move there immediately. I didn’t even make a dent in that wishlist.

    I am sure that it will be chilly at night in SF, M and C. Have a fun vacay.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Thanks in advance SHQA!

      I was looking at the weather and a little sad it’ll be in the 60s. T_T Mid 70s is my happy land. I hope the area is still somewhat quiet. 🙂

  4. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Omg my mom LOVES Carmel by the sea! If you like Italian, like, fairly legit Italian, La Bicyclette Restaurant in the area is pretty good. There’s a nice Cypress Grove Trail nearby that’s nice too just to walk through. It’s just a nice area.

    Also, congrats on the life-milestone! It’s great that you entering your 30s with such confidence and positivity! I love your message about how it’s ok not to try to make your 20s a peak.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Thanks for the food recommendation Juli! I love trying out different foods! And the trail for a little exercise after. hehe!

      I want to follow Jacky Cheung’s words. People call him the God of Songs and he doesn’t like it because it means he has reached his possible best. I’m still blooming! ^_^

  5. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy early birthday Kappy!~ I don’t have any suggestions lol, but have a lot of fun on your trip!~

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Thanks Iri! =D

      I will try to let loose. 😉

  6. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    A little late, but congratulations in advance, Kappy, for hitting the big 3-O! And kudos to you for maintaining a healthy body. Thank you also for keeping this blog all this time while going to school and hard working afterward. I found your blog, like, 7 or 8 years ago when I just ventured into Chinese dramas and showbiz. (I grew up watching HK dramas, but there was a 20 year-gap before I discovered Chinese dramas thanks to LOCH 2008!) At that time there were very scarce resources on Chinese dramas, so your blog practically became my bible, LOL. Again, my most sincere thanks to you! You deserve a great vacation. Unfortunately, I’ve only been to Monterrey and Carmel once yeaaaars ago, so I won’t be able to recommend anything. San Francisco is a great city! You definitely need to visit the Chinatown for great culinary tour, LOL. It’s also close to the Fisherman’s Wharf, so it’s better to get your lodging in the area!

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Now that you’ve said it, this blog is like my teenage kid, Lenje! O_O!!

      The blogging world is so different now, with so many new resources that I sometime think it’s my time to bid goodbye as I age and have less time to blog. Which has been a struggle this past year. Adulting. Lol.

      Thank-you for being a part of this journey with me! Food tours and wine tours are up my alley. hehehe!

  7. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy early birthday Kappy~ Congratulations on your milestone! I’ve been wanting to do some traveling, down a few years later tho lol ~ I’ve been a late bloomer myself so I take it slow at times~
    For Monterey Bay, it’s the Monterey Bay Aquarium! I know it’s well-known and touristy, but I love the marine creatures ^_^ Monterey Bay has a very nice marine feel~ Also there’s whale watching! I believe tours are year-round and you’re in the middle of the season for humpback whales and dolphin migration along the coast.
    Haven’t been to Carmel, heard it’s a nice artisan vibe, have fun there~

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Don’t wait to travel Choco! My second bro lives the exact opposite life from mine. He has no money and can afford to travel. He’s freeloader and he knows how to get it! I’m always impressed. Lolol.

      Yes! Thanks! Adding the Aquarium to my list! =D

  8. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy early birthday Kappy! Thank you for sharing what’s going on with life. 🙂

    I second Monterey Bay aquarium. It may well be the nicest aquarium on the West coast. Also, walk near the beach while in Monterey in general. You may see dolphins or sea otters. Be careful walking on the beach. Don’t step on jelly fishes. They sting. Autumn/Winter in this area and nearby Big Sur sometimes offer huge white waves that are very nice to watch too. A cliffwall-y area will be more fun to watch. Don’t stand too close. Avoid stepping on slippery cliffs!

    As you read below, keep in mind idk what kind of food you like to eat. lol. But I did check that these all have reasonably high ratings on Google and/or Yelp. 4+ stars.

    30 min drive from Carmel by the Sea, I still remember Passionfish restaurant in Pacific Grove. PG is known for golf course. Supposedly the monarch butterfly migration is in season while you visit. It’s Oct-Mar per Google. So it may be worthwhile to visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.

    If you’re prone to motion sickness and want to do boat cruises or whale watching, check the weather/wind forecast ahead of time. It’s not fun to be on a bumpy ride.

    For SF restaurants, I like Da Flora (Italian. I particularly like its sweet potato gnocchi), La Mediterranee (There are at least 2 locations. This is the cheapest restaurant on this list), Cocotte (French. I like their Beef Wellington. Slightly sweet & savory beef encased in a puff pastry).

    Michelin has rated a number of SF eateries, including the less expensive bib gourmand ones. So you may want to google some of them. I was interested in one of their Thai restaurants but haven’t tried it. There are several Michelin-starred restaurants too. I haven’t tried any of those.

    For SF seafood and for touristy experience, I dined at Tadich Grill. Their portions are huge. Don’t order too much. I also like Burma Superstar restaurant (Burmese Tea Leaf Salad) although they don’t seem entirely authentic.

    T Grill has long lines. Arrive early. I made reservations for Da Flora, Cocotte. It’s probably safer to make a reservation for Passionfish in advance too if you’re interested.

    I like walking Land’s End trail in SF. But be aware there are limited restroom facilities there. But this is not an efficient way to spend your time if you have a short visit. There are a lot of warning signs around Land’s End. Signs like “People have fallen to their deaths on this location”. So don’t deviate from the intended paths. I think most tourists prefer to see downtown SF like Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf. Near that area, I like walking up Telegraph Hill. You get a nice view from the Coit Tower area. There are a lot of SF walking etc videos on Youtube.

    I’ve eaten in C-by-the-sea, but didn’t have anything memorable. Cannot think of any names to recommend.

    Hope this helps. Hope you’ll have a great time on your birthday.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      Thanks for all the recommendations An!

      I’m pretty good with food, I just don’t do raw dishes nor delicacies involving insects. Lol (I’m only adding this because of my brother’s adventurous stories!) I will google some Asian restaurants as well, love me some noodle dishes, like Pad Thai. 😛

      Hopefully, I will eat something memorable in Carmel too since the scenery is quite lovely already. <3

      • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

        (Thai) Basil Restaurant on Folsom in SF is decent. They have the best pad prik king anywhere.
        I think their pad thai was ok. I had mediocre duck, seafood dishes there. One time I noticed they had a low health inspection score. When I yelp-searched them a few years ago, a special window appeared to warn of their “57” or something score. This seemed like something specific to SF maybe? A few months after, their hygiene inspection score climbed to 80+.

        Michelin likes Farmhouse Kitchen Thai. Unfortunately this restaurant isn’t in the first-tier SF tourist sightseeing area. I’ve never tried this restaurant. Maybe it wasn’t around yet when I visited that area.

        For a quick bite in touristy area, you can try browsing the Ferry Building in Embarcadero area. Ghirardeli Square is also a nice enough touristy area to browse.

        If you have sufficient time in SF and are looking for a quieter experience, head to the Presidio area. But there are limited facility in that area, so eat etc before you go. Fort Point area isn’t a bad place to take some Golden Gate Bridge pics.

        Mostly I only end up eating raw dishes when I’m with my J SIL. I feel I suffer (lol ;P ) the most when I dine with her. 95% of the time, it’s deep-fried, cold raw dishes, or giant slabs of bread.

        I think only Passionfish may offer a couple of raw dishes, but everyone else has minimal raw dishes beyond salads. Fortunately for me, a lot of my friends don’t like raw dishes. But then Kappy, wouldn’t a trip to J be incomplete if you don’t eat raw fishes??? lol

        If you end up doing/trying some of these, let me know which ones you like or dislike. That’ll help me figure out your taste.

        BTW, Burma Superstar isn’t in a touristy area and has a queue too. There is 1 old, touristy Chinatown in SF that everyone flocks to. Then there’s an informal second Chinatown in Richmond District and Outer Richmond. Burma Superstar is around here. Along with Dragon Beaux dimsum etc. I haven’t had DB’s dimsum. Near DB is TonKiang, a Canto restaurant with a decent reputation for the last couple of decades. For many years, the “2nd Chinatown” has better restaurants. idk how things stand right now though.

        LA is much more known for C and Tw restaurants compared to SF. So I’m more familiar with non-C restaurants in SF. But I know in old SF Chinatown, R&G lounge is the Canto restaurant that people go to. I’ve eaten at the others nearby and none were memorable to me a couple of years ago. Now they have newer ones, Begoni Bistro etc.

        Enjoy your trip and birthday!

        • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

          I love that you included limited facility in your comments. It tickles my well-known (w/ close friends) tiny bladder. =D This is why I don’t do hikes more than 2 hours. My first hike ever was 7 hours at the White Mountains and I refused to drink anything the entire length. Not a good idea but no one AND nothing was gonna peep at my nekkid bum! XD

          I have tried raw food before and I can’t hold them down. Even my steak needs to be well-done. My friends all shake their heads at me.

          I’ll try to remember and document a Vacation Diary when I get back! Excited! Excited! Excited! 12 more days!

  9. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Wow, what a coincidence! So I turned 30 last year and actually did a PCH/Big Sur trip up the coast from LA to SF, as I live in LA and my sister lives in SF. There are plenty of little spots to stop at along the way, although I’m not sure how far south you’re planning to go. This is kind of a mix of the highlights I remembered –

    Seaside, CA – Just a short drive from Monterey. If you like Italian, Gusto Handcrafted Pasta & Pizza is a seriously amazing place. We heard about it from others and it lived up to the recommendation.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium – I hadn’t been back here since I was a kid and it’s better than I remembered. They have a super cute sea otter exhibit and also some great shows for the deep sea (sharks, tuna, etc.). We spent a whole day there and still didn’t see quite everything, so I would budget at least a half day to catch your favorite timed exhibits.

    Solvang – little Danish town, you can go see a small free Hans Christian Anderson museum (inside of a little bookstore) and there’s also a small replica of the Little Mermaid statue. Nice to just walk around to see the architecture and grab some pastries/coffee.

    Hearst Castle – this comes up a lot as something to do during a Big Sur trip, but in my opinion, it’s really NOT WORTH IT. Tickets are expensive (something like $25/person) and the tour is pretty awful. The whole place is kind of run down anyway and the people operating the shuttles/buses to go up the mountain were super rude and order you around like children.

    McWay Waterfalls – We didn’t do any of the longer hikes around that area, but any pictures you take are not going to be half as good as what you can find online. I mean basically you get to see a small waterfall going straight into the beach. It’s pretty, but the fenced off area for pictures (no one is actually allowed to go down to the waterfall) is also jam packed with people and everyone was kind of irritable trying to get their 3 minutes in to take pictures. It’s worth a stop though since it’s an iconic part of Big Sur.

    Point Lobos State Natural Reserve – There are tons of hiking trails in various state parks and reserves but this is the one we chose to go to, I can’t remember exactly why. It was a great area for hiking & taking pictures though and goes to the seaside, with some gorgeous views of cliffs, trees, and water. There weren’t that many people and there are a variety of short (like longest was 2 miles) trails, most of which are loop trails. You basically see a little bit of everything.

    We also stopped by some place in Carmel By The Sea which was famous for their clam chowder, but I can’t remember the name of the restaurant. The decor inside was pretty distinctive though and the clam chowder really was AMAZING, so I’d say it’s worth a stop just to try that. I’ll try to look up the name of the place and comment again if I find it.

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      That’s a crazy coincidence! And you write DBSG fanfics?! Killing me!

      Thanks for the lengthy recommendations dear! I like the short and safe hikes with stunning views to take pictures! =D

      Some of my coworkers say going at this time of the year is less crowded then say the summer, which is a piece of good news. I have waited in line before to take pictures of a famous landmark. Lol. It’s like a contagious disease. You see people do it and you want to do it too. 😛

  10. 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

    Happy early birthday. It’s been a while since I have commented on any post I feel like.
    Sorry I have no recommendations for any travel in the California, but if you ever want any in Asia let me know . When I turnned 30 I went on my first solo trip to singapore and Malaysia and at 31 to Korea, Japan and Taiwan.they were all amazing. I was very scared of turning 30 but I want to be brave and embrace it. Live as if I was in my 20s, I feel like if I don’t go out and travel now I won’t be able to later.

    Enjoy your trip and and your 30s!!

    • 23 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Turning 30 and Need Help Vacationing around Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea

      It has been a while Miss Hottie! What’s going on? =D

      I will seek out your advice when I go outside the US because I will! You’re brave traveling solo. I’m a big chicken and not direction-oriented enough to do that. Lol….

      Yes, I don’t want to start traveling when I’m older and tire easily. xD

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