Looking for lighter fare

In case you missed it, here’s my roundup of lighter lunchtime options that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald.

The holidays are notoriously full of rich foods, sweet treats and caloric excess. This time of year, I’m eyeing salads over pommes frites. But where can you get a good salad around town?

This arugula and beet salad at Cantinetta Luca was hearty and flavorful, but remarkably light.

You’ve spotted a few of my favorites in my recent reviews and “best bites” — the endive and roasted apple salad at the Point Pinos Grill (Pacific Grove) is hearty and full of fall flavors; Cantinetta Luca (Carmel) has a refreshing beet and arugula salad; La Bicyclette (Carmel) always features some great salads.

If you’ve got company in town and you’re planning a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, check out their restaurant, tucked away behind the self-serve cafeteria.

Cindy Pawlcyn — of Napa fame — is at the helm and right now the menu features a mighty tasty salad with local Swank Farms produce — including roasted beets, fennel and watercress. (And locals, don’t forget the aquarium is free for Monterey County residents Dec. 3 to 11, with proof of residence.)

Nearby, Happy Girl Kitchen (Pacific Grove) whips up some tasty vegetarian fare, including unique salads featuring farm-fresh local veggies. These days, look for salads featuring apples and other fruits of the fall harvest.

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