Santa Cruz and Monterey both make great day trip destinations from the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the best places to stop for brunch/lunch/dinner when doing this road trip is at "The Haute Enchilada" restaurant in Moss Landing!
With a surprisingly eclectic menu and eye-popping interiors, they offer everything from paella to ceviche and several other Peruvian dishes and Spanish tapas. Everything is organic, including the finger-licking "Chicken Mole Enchilada" we ordered, which came with a unique and delicious quinoa & guacamole salad.
I saw "Crab and Black Truffle Mushroom Enchilada" on the menu and had to absolutely get that! A clear winner, this came with delicate dungeness crab meat and black truffle mushrooms whose earthy taste absolutely hit the spot, accompanied by flavored spanish rice, beans and a spicy habanero salsa .... verdict: DELICIOUS!
"The Haute Enchilada" is conveniently located midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey. It doubles as an artist galleria with several interesting paintings hung up on the walls, look for the colorful one of "Frida". And there's no way you'll miss the come-hither painting of Marilyn Monroe hanging right above your table. All in all, this place makes for a great experience after spending the day at Santa Cruz or Monterey.
Oh, don't confuse this with "The Whole Enchilada" which is another restaurant in the same area specializing in Mexican food.