Photo Credit: Jenna Jones

Who knows Monterey best? Locals do. We asked locals what they love most about Monterey County. Whether you are a resident looking for new spots or a visitor looking for some local gems, meet our Monterey locals and hear their recommendations of the best things to do.  

Every month we will share favorite local spots to eat, shop, drink and explore outdoors in our series, Inside Monterey. Now is the moment to explore an unknown side of Monterey County. Get the inside scoop from the people who live here and start adding these local favorites to your next itinerary.   

This month we had the pleasure of speaking with Boo and Sarah Simms, identical twins, best friends and co-owners of Lady & Larder. Building upon the success of their original shop in Santa Monica, Boo and Sarah bring their passion for artisanal foods & culinary craftsmanship back home to Monterey County. 

Meet the Culinary Duo, Boo and Sarah Simms

Boo and Sarah Simms, Lady and Larder Carmel Valley

“We returned to our roots in Carmel Valley last summer when our dad's cancer returned. We brought our husbands and kiddos and rented a house in Carmel-by-the-sea all together. It happened quickly and under circumstances that we weren’t planning, but we are very happy to be home.” Their journey is a testament to their love for their community, commitment to quality, and unwavering resilience in the face of challenges. 

Lady & Larder Carmel Valley

Sarah's background as a private chef for a decade led her to create cheeseboards for her clients. “She started sharing her creations on Instagram and people began to request them. One Christmas holiday we jotted the business idea down on a napkin and the rest is history. We’ve been in business since 2016.”  

How Important Is Sourcing Seasonal Ingredients?

“Sourcing intentionally and seasonally is everything to us. Our entire business has been built around building relationships with makers and farmers and shopping at our local Farmers Markets a few times per week. We love the imperfect things – organic produce always allows for that – interesting textures and shapes that you don’t always see at the grocery store where all the produce is waxed and perfect.” 

Favorite Way to Spend A Day Off In Monterey County

“Boo's partner loves to surf, so we often follow him to different surf spots in Moss Landing, Pebble Beach, Carmel, or anywhere the surf is good. It gives us an opportunity to check out a new beach. For day hikes, we love to explore Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley. We also enjoy walking along Carmel Beach at sunset, which was something our dad did religiously. So, we like to walk the route he walked.” 

Other Brother Beer Co. SeasideSarah always plans her day around stops at the Farmer Markets and local bakeries like Ad Astra Bread Co. We love stopping at Other Brother Beer in Seaside on the weekends, as they often have fun visiting chef pop-ups too. We are also members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and our kiddos love going to see the sea otters and jellyfish.” 

During the summer season, Boo and Sarah enjoy staying in Carmel Valley for the warmth and sunshine. “Places such as Bernardus Lodge & Spa and Carmel Valley Ranch give you the feeling of being on an actual vacation.

Favorite Spot For A Date Night

Chez Noir_Boo Simms“For our date nights, we enjoy sneaking into the bar at Chez Noir in Carmel-by-the-Sea or sitting on the patio at Cafe Rustica in Carmel Valley Village. We also love listening to live music at La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea and the iconic live piano at Mission Ranch. DJ Gwynneth also plays at Pearl Hour in Monterey and other fun spots around town, which we love.” 

Favorite Hidden Gems

Earthbound Farms_Boo Simms

"There are approximately 25 wine tasting rooms in Carmel Valley Village which are located near our new shop. It's a popular destination for wine tasting! We enjoy shopping for groceries at Jerome's Market for our BBQs or getting chicken salads from Taqueria Del Valle, which has the best pickled onions and salsa bar. On the way to the village, you can make a pit stop at Earthbound Farm for some fresh cut flowers, coffee, and a Straus dairy soft-serve swirl cone. In the village, you can also find the Olivia and Daisy Books, which is a real gem of a spot."

Insider Tips from Monterey Locals for First-Time Visitors

Carmel Beach_Boo Simms

“Come in the fall! We love September, October, and November here, the crowds thin out, and the weather and sunsets are truly magical.”