Jullie: Carmel-By-The-Sea

Back in July, my cousin Samantha sent out a group text to all of the Aquino cousins. Get ready for a beach day in August, baby! :D As all of the RSVP’s started to pour in (the group text was LIT)…I started to get really excited for another big family party! It's always a blast when we all get together, and I was definitely interested in exploring the picturesque Carmel-By-The-Sea. :)

That Saturday morning, Sam, her boyfriend Marco, and I actually left from San Jose ahead of everyone else, so that we could claim a prime spot on the beach. There was going to be a lot of us and a lot of food. So we left really early. Like…6:30 am early. We just packed some essentials into Marco’s car…the canopy, chairs, mats…the dessert and the booze *thumbs up*…and then we were off! Fast forward an hour, and we were suddenly driving down the beautiful and ridiculously charming Ocean Avenue! Shops, restaurants, and quaint inns were all over the place, and as we got closer to the beach, there were even gorgeous cottage-style homes. (I was expecting Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to pop out at any moment...)

Once we finished setting up our spot on the sand, the three of us realized how desperate we were for breakfast and caffeine. Sam and I decided to walk back to Ocean Avenue and go check out our options. Luckily, we didn’t have to go far at all, and we ultimately came across Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company!

As soon as we walked in, my eyes were drawn to the display of pastries! The coffee shop had plenty of croissants, cinnamon rolls, danishes, and bagels...There were even brownies and fruit tarts. I was also glad they had a good selection of breakfast sandwiches and croissant sandwiches to choose from. (Marco had requested we bring back something on the heartier side for him.)

I ended up ordering a latte, a lemon bar, and a toasted poppyseed bagel with cream cheese. (And, oh, did I slather on the cream cheese later.) My latte tasted great, and with the coastal morning chill still in the air, it hit the spot perfectly.

Satisfied, Sam and I then took our goods back to the beach, to enjoy while we waited for the rest of our group to show up...

As it turned out, though...the Food Supply Caravan (aka our parents) took a little longer than expected to arrive. A few of my other cousins had already shown up...and, well...we were getting super hungry while waiting. Finally, my cousin Rhea, her boyfriend Justin, and I decided to just head back to the Carmel Valley coffee shop for snack time. Stop #2!

They ordered iced teas, and this time, I got one of the cranberry orange scones. This scone was delicious! (The icing/glaze on top reminded me of fruit loops!) It was my favorite thing I ordered all day. The scone itself was moist, not too dry, and I loved the tart cranberries sprinkled throughout. I was munching on and raving about this scone the whole walk back to the beach...

When we did return, thankfully, the Food Supply Caravan and the rest of the family had all arrived! :D Here's a quick recap of the the day, made from some clips from my Snapchat!

See, I really did talk about that scone a lot. I even saved half of it for the car ride home that night. (It was a pretty huge scone, okay...) Later on, I decided to email the company itself to ask about their menu, and I was fortunate enough to hear back from the lovely Janet McAthie, who co-owns Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company with her husband Dean.

She shared with me that all of their breakfast sandwiches are prepared daily at their Seaside location deli. Fresh baked goods are also delivered daily, by local bakeries. Carmel Valley Coffee is also certified organic, and it's the only certified organic coffee roasting company in the area. They currently have seven coffeehouses located throughout the Monterey Peninsula.

If you're in the area for the day, or passing by in the middle of a road trip, I definitely recommend making a stop in Carmel-By-The-Sea and checking out the Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company. Good food, friendly staff, and a great, relaxing atmosphere! You're right in the middle of a beautiful beach town, with the ocean just a short stroll away!

Family day at the beach was a total success! Thank you to my cousin Sam for planning and putting it all together! It was the biggest group we've wrangled up in a while (aunts, uncles, cousins, and all the grandkids too!), and we all had the best time...eating, laughing, eating some more, and okay, a few cousins wandered off to go hunt for Pokemon at one point...It was just a fill-your-heart/recharge-the-soul kind of weekend, and I can't wait for the next one!