At the heart of Doud Craft Studios at Ocean and San Carlos in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California sits Carmel Belle, a lovely spot to grab a bite to eat and chat with friends. And for all you puppy lovers out there – don’t worry. The restaurant offers pup-friendly tables with a space to attach the leashes.
I must admit. When I walked up to the chalkboard style cafe in the middle of a quirky artistic mall, I wasn’t expecting much. I was, however, really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food the tiny kitchen produces. Lunch was satisfying and truly delicious, made fresh with artisan cheeses, beautiful bread and charcuterie.
With a changing daily menu, the restaurant takes advantage of seasonal fruit and vegetables. For lunch, I had a tall glass of fruit tea and a smoked ham, fontina and pear sandwich on country toast with creamy mustard. Perfectly grilled to a crunchy crisp with a melted center, the sandwich came with a side of dressed arugula salad and cornichons. (The restaurant uses Noosegay Ham – a brand I’ll surely investigate.)
After lunch, miniature baked treats sit waiting under glass domes. The canele intrigued me. It was a dense and rich four-bite treat, with a French vanilla essence that wasn’t too sweet.
Doud Craft Studios, Ocean and San Carlos
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
Open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.