17-Mile Drive and legendary golf aren't the only reasons to head into Pebble Beach anymore. Tucked inside the wooded area of Pebble Beach lays one of my new favorite foodie finds, Porter's in the Forest.
Not only do they have killer views of the recently renovated Poppy Hills Golf Course, but the cuisine mashes up unexpected creations thanks to star Chef Johnny De Vivo, formally of locals' favorite Casanova in Carmel.
Porter's in the Forest features a kick-back and contemporary dining room, expansive outdoor patio with views of the Pebble Beach's Del Monte Forest.
The farm-to-table and "California Artisanal" dubbed menu is taken to a new level by featuring not only local ingredients but in-house crafted bread, condiments and even Johnny's cured meats; his smoked bacon is just sinful!
Cocktails for lunch are perfectly acceptable (and strongly encouraged) at Porter's. Here you will find a stellar specialty cocktail selection with ingredients made from their backyard, literally! The Lavender Fields Lemonade uses homemade infused lavender syrup with sprigs plucked straight from the course. One sniff of this libation and I was immediately transported back to summertime shenanigans.
I started out with the grilled crab flat bread and wild arugula salad, it was being shared so don't judge! The flat bread isn't something I would normally order but my friendly waiter Laurence had sold me with shitake mushrooms provided by their local forager.
Doughy yet crisp flat bread slices were topped with crème fraiche, hunks of roasted garlic cloves, a heaping amount of crab and fresh fungi. What I didn't expect were the hidden slices of Meyer lemon which gave the pizza intermittent bursts of flavor, truly a welcomed surprise!
The Manquita Farms arugula salad captured fall flavors at its best. Fresh greens came strategically presented with juicy pear slices, luscious goat cheese, colorful pomegranate seeds, and crunchy Spanish almonds all lightly dressed in refreshing pear vinaigrette. Let's just say I have added a new addition to my Thanksgiving Day menu.
For the main event we indulged in the semolina and ricotta gnocchi with a side of charred cauliflower. Fluffy potato pillows emerged from a sea or short rib and broccoli rabe, my fav! This cozy dish would make a perfect appetizer to share around the inviting outdoor fire pits.
Can't get your kids to eat their veggies? Porter's charred cauliflower is a colorful masterpiece and the flavors are out of this world! The accompanied creamy yogurt sauce provided a winning balance with the smoky paprika oil, sure to have your kids screaming for seconds.
Since I ate all of my vegetables I figured I had earned dessert, especially since the warm brownie was calling my name before we even ordered drinks. The warm and comfy creation did not disappoint with hunks of gooey chocolate chips topped off with creamy homemade mascarpone ice cream. Now if I only I had room for another cocktail....
Porter's is open daily for breakfast from 6am-10:45am, lunch from 11am-3 pm and a special twilight menu from 3pm-7pm.