as told to Pam Bonsper
550 Wave Street, Lower Level, Monterey
My idea of a great day: a brisk early-morning walk on the recreation trail while enjoying the smell of sea lions; then a stop at Trailside Café and Coffee House where I take a big drink from the doggy bowl (at the entrance) while Mom looks for a cozy spot on the garden patio.
Lying beside her table, I catch my breath and enjoy an unobstructed view of Monterey Bay. Cannery Row has always been one of my favorite places, especially since 1999, when this homey breakfast/lunch restaurant opened. Free parking off Wave Street makes it a favorite among locals and they know to come even during big events—always plenty of room here.
My great day continues when I see Ruffles and her Dad choose the table beside us. They wouldn’t live a day without the famous French beignets (homemade) and classic and special Benedicts.
Mom serves herself a steaming cup of coffee, which she refills all morning (no extra charge), and orders inside—I love that we don’t have to wait. We’re going big today: she orders the Steinbeck omelet (spinach, sautéed mushrooms, onions and goat cheese) for herself and a “Please Mom, I ran the whole trail, can I have a pancake just today?” . . . yes, a pancake for me!
We sit under an arbor covered with flowering trumpet vines announcing spring. That means we’ll come back Sunday since from spring to fall, live music is provided on Sundays. I love those days; the newspapers are fatter and we stay longer.
Today gets even better when mom refills her coffee, takes out her computer, hooks up to the free WiFi (did I tell you this is our home away from home?), and I get more time to flirt with Ruffles.
“What do you like about this place?” I ask, making small talk.
Ruffles, a food gourmet, barks back, “Everything’s made fresh—very few cans in the kitchen, but lots of fans on the patio.”
She’s right. The place is filling up. Can it be soup and sandwich time? My great day is even better! One big, begging look from me, and Mom goes to get money (cash only here, but the machine is in the restaurant.) I know what that means: she’s been flirting with Ruffles’ dad, and he’s ordered one of the many fantastic beers and she’s checking out the fabulous wines.
Fish tacos and tempura calamari make my nose go wild. I’m tempted, but order just a side of chicken. (I’ve gotta watch my waistline—Ruffles seems interested.)