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All roads lead to The Monterey Jazz Festival

The Haute Enchilada has the best Green Chile soup
The Haute Enchilada has the best Green Chile soup
Kate Mulligan

Who doesn't have 'The Blues' these days? One cure is to head out the door to The Monterey Jazz Festival 2011 this weekend at The Monterey County Fairgrounds. How to make getting there part of the fun? All the restaurants that lead you to your favorite music. From Hwy 68, Hwy 101 Northbound and Southbound I have a few recommendations:

Best Green Chile Soup EVER, not to mention Artichoke Cake with Cream Cheese and Walnuts, Mango Mousse,Sticky Ginger pudding...
Kate Mulligan

Hwy 68 ~Stemming from Hwy 101, about half way to HWY 1, is Toro Place Cafe 831) 484-1333 ‎ touting the best hamburgers, (but not the best coffee), you'll find it just before San Benancio Canyon road and if you hit Laureles Grade, you have gone too far, Tarpy's Roadhouse Restaurant an old favorite, is closer to the Fairgrounds, just after the HWY 218 junction. There you will aslo find a new eatery, where Clemintines used to be – heard great things about it, but have not been there myself, Just look in the set of stores across from Starbucks on that corner..(I will find the name later today)

Southbound on Hwy 1:

Just past Watsonville, There's a bend in the road called Moss Landing, (Quaint, colorful and chock full of seafood thatnks to the harbour there) A handuful of different restaurants have their unique approach: Phil's Fishmarket, has a bit of the Italian bent. where they now partner with Safe Harbor, a comprehensive seafood safety certification program for those concerned with healthy eating. Here the portions are hearty, and they have THE BEST white chowder in the county. The Haute Enchilada, serves THE BEST Green Chile soup you will ever taste. The salsa is also divine. The Haute is also very artsy, making the overpriced wine well worth the atmosphere, and their gallery features local artists. The Snack Shack, The Whole Enchilada, (good crunchy chewy tacos with lots of meat), and The Surf City Coffee Company. The Lighthouse Harbour Grille (great breakfasts) have lots of locals attending, which will tell you a lot about a restaurant.

You are crazy if you don't stop by the Moss Landing Vegetable market for I like the tiny artichokes, ten cents apiece, , placed in the microwave with a few tablespoons of Mediterraneo's Imports' Lemon infused olive oil.Click HERE to a link to the easiest recipe...

I have heard The Lemongrass Thai Cafe, located at the end of town is worth stopping at, and Yelp gives it 4.5 stars....but in my experience, getting my order wrong, and making me wait wait wait for a take out that wrong soup has made me loose interest,

Heading farther south, I am sorry to say that the diversion to Castroville does not lead to the best artichoke menu, even though they are the well deserved 'Artichoke Capital' of the world.. I will be happy to try out any venue you care to recommend. So far I have been uninformed and unsatisfied.

Now heading up HWY 1 from San Simeon: There are a few really good places to eat, usually I only get as far as Nepenthe, and I melt into the scenery and then into the food....Rumor has it that The Big Sur Bakery is THE place to 'just be' if you are 26 miles south of Carmel, I think you will want to stop by for anything they offer: wood fired fresh baked breads, or the Lavender creme Brulee, home made ice cream, and extraordinary wood grilled everything...

Check out the review of the food booths at the Monterey Jazz Festival coming next...