Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip -Monterey Bay,CA

After spending a few hours at San Luis Obispo (click here to read about my SLO adventures) the next destination was Monterey Bay – Home of the World Famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. But before seeing some cute sea otters we drove past Bixby Bridge – a historic landmark with a great panoramic view of the ocean in Big Sur.

For my readers just tuning in, click here to see my original post outlining the finances and pit stops with hyperlinks documenting my journey!

It’s a popular tourist attraction and many patrons parked alongside the road or the mini lot on the side to snap some selfies and obviously I couldn’t resist either. It was also a good opportunity stretch your legs and take a break from driving.

Soon afterwards we headed to Monterey Bay. Both my friend and I had visited the world famous aquarium so we decided to try to see the adorable sea otters in an alternative and more frugal manner.

I got a tip that Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar in Cannery Row (made famous by John Steinbeck’s book with the same namesake and footsteps away from the aquarium) oversees the bay and that guests often saw wild otters from the restaurant window. I also read up that the restaurant offered a happy hour (4-5:30; Monday – Friday) – sweet!
My friend and I ordered two items from their Coastal Hour Small Bites, which were split into there categories ($3, $4, and $5). They also had cocktails ranging from $6-$10. The service was polite and the view was breath-taking; however, to be honest I was quite disappointed in the two items we ordered. The calamari was mushy and tasted as if it were reheated in a microwave and the artichoke frittata wasn’t memorable; however from my research many patrons enjoyed the homemade clam chowder. I had a big bowl earlier that day so I wasn’t in the mood to sample theirs. I had also heard good things about their seafood ceviche – next time!

Alternatively, you can consider ordering something from the dessert menu if you happen to be in town when it’s not happy hour. It’s a great way to sample their offering without paying the $$$ price tag for a full entree.

The view at this establishment is hard to beat and while the sea otters didn’t come out to play on our visit, I would certainly return to catch them again

After enjoying the peaceful view we took a stroll down cannery row, which is home to your typical tourist shops and attractions. In some way it’s like SF’s Fisherman’s Wharf but on a much smaller scale. If you walk a few streets up you can find a lovely new bakery called “The Perfect Crumb Bakery” where the owner uses her own recipes to make delicious desserts and treats. The key lime pie sounded amazing, but I wanted something a bit lighter and opted for a traditional chocolate chip cookie. It was soft and just what I needed before heading off to our next destination.

Did I miss a frugal find, comment below and let me know!



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