Mexico City, Mexico
April 5, 2005
Walking the streets of Carmel, we saw many lovely, inviting restaurants.
Some we fondly recalled from previous visits, when my wife and I had based our
selection on personal preference, the menu, and perceived ambience. This time
round, with two small children in tow, we had to opt for somewhere without huge
crystal glasses. Village Corner fit the bill perfectly.
The weather was sunny, so we were drawn to the outdoor patio, where several
other strollers and small children indicated that the arrival of our troop would
not be wholly unwelcome. We were fortunate to find a corner table where we could
park the stroller out of the way and enjoy an unhindered view of the passersby.
Gas heaters, as well as a central fireplace, were in operation – the sun was
enough for us, but true Californians might have been shivering.
The Village Corner describes itself as a Mediterranean bistro, and the menu
reflects this. Most main courses were around $10, with a selection of salads and
appetizers also available. As this was going to be our last lunch for some time
on American soil, we were more drawn to the ample choice of standard American
fare. My wife ordered a cheeseburger, the toddler wanted a pasta, while I opted
for a clubhouse sandwich. With the drive back to San Francisco International to
follow directly after the lunch, we had to forsake sampling the local wine and
remained dry with Diet Coke and a very refreshing and tasty local soda water.
Although our drinks arrived promptly and in appropriately large American-size
glasses with ice, it took some time for the main courses to appear. While
waiting, we enjoyed some warm bread, which was good enough for us to request a
second basket even though we had bread as major ingredient in our awaited main
The portions were a reasonably large size without being obscenely so. I was
pleasantly surprised by the large salad serving that accompanied my sandwich. It
had a wide range of fresh ingredients and represented much of what we love of
California and so sorely missed when an ocean or more away. We did not hesitate
to ask for two cappuccinos to finish the meal. In Germany, I am often stuck with
the question of whether to ask for two cappuccini and sound pretentious or ask for
two cappuccinos and sound ignorant. This question is particularly relevant in
Germany’s plethora of Italian restaurants, which are often staffed by Italian
waiters. In the English-speaking world, "cappuccinos" was the way to go,
and fortunately, the taste was strong and closer to Italian than the weak,
watered-down coffee that had confronted me frequently during the previous two
Village Corner is a very pleasant, casual restaurant where almost anyone will
feel welcome. It has the same great taste as many other Carmel restaurants but
without the pretense or high prices. Service is very pleasant, too, without being
pushy or irritating.
From journal Charming Carmel-by-the-Sea