For Memorial Day weekend, E and I headed down to Monterey for a weekend away. Along the way, we decided to stop in Gilroy (you know, the Garlic Capital of the World?) for lunch.
Previously, my exposure to Gilroy had been a trip to the outlets to buy clothes for my summer associate gig, and a stop at the The Garlic Shoppe with E2 on one of our drives back from a visit to my gran.
This time, E and I headed to the downtown. I knew there was a Caltrain station, so I figured it had to have an adjacent downtown, just like most of the towns on the peninsula with historic train depots.
We couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. First, it was a gorgeous sunny day, and we enjoyed our walk around the quiet downtown while searching for a lunch spot. Second, we quickly found our way to the The Pet Peddler (how great is that name? E could not stop snickering...) where I exclaimed for the millionth time, I want baby chicks:
They also had adults, to help me understand that baby chicks wouldn't always be this cute:
From there, we found our way to the Lizarran Tapas (Pinxtos) restaurant. It was, quite honestly, some of the best Spanish food I've ever had (including in Spain).
We both opted to start with a bowl of Salmorejo, which the menu described as a cold tomato and bread soup (like gazpacho):
More like gazpacho and an entree of meat and eggs and bread all in the same bowl. But damn... so delicious.
From there, we shared a Spanish charcuterie and cheese plate (which was probably completely unnecessary):
And, as if that wasn't enough, we also shared a dish of grilled octopus over potatoes (E can't help but order Pulpo -- it's his favorite):
We were full after the soup, but we forced ourselves to finish all of the meats, cheeses, and octopus because it was just that good. It didn't hurt that we had the courtyard to ourselves:
While we were slowly finishing the last bites, we enjoyed a tour of the restaurant. It turns out, the building was the original Gilroy City Hall:
Which means the bathroom experience is very unique:
and the wine cellar is the old town safe:
The server asked us where we were from when he saw me taking pictures, and when we told him, he seemed surprised. He asked why we chose to leave the highway and come into the town. And frankly, we didn't have a good answer other than, uhh... because we were hungry and it was on the way to Monterey and we didn't want to eat fast food. But next time, we'll have a much better answer. We'll say that we stopped, on purpose, on our way to Monterey, because this restaurant experience is so good that it is worth the pause on the drive.
Oh, and of course, I have to share gratuitous beach pictures from the trip.
The view from Highway 1, headed into Monterey Bay:
The view from the restaurant in the Best Western in Sand City (highly recommended for a stop on your way out of town):
The beach below the Best Western's retaining wall on the North end of Monterey Bay (looking across you can see the harbor and Pacific Grove):
Entering the beach from the immense protection of the retaining wall:
California is a wonderfully diverse and gorgeous place.