Thursday, April 15, 1999
Chocolate bagels, sun-dried tomato bagels, omelet bagels--at Bagel Bakery, they even make doggie bagel biscuits to take home to Fido. For 22 years they''ve been on the scene, bringing you the latest in bagel technology, and now with seven stores to serve you (the latest in Sand City, home of Monterey County''s first bagel drive-thru), you''re never too far away from a hole-y encounter.
Runner-up: Marina Bagels, Marina
271 Bonifacio St., Monterey, 646-1620 1232 Broadway Ave., Seaside, 394-7798
Over the last 15 years, the amount of yeast used to raise Paris'' incomparable breads would, rising all at once, be enough leavening action to blow up New York. (Luckily, this prediction by Junior was off the mark.) From traditional baguettes to francese, brioche, whole wheat, walnut cinnamon, organic 9-grain and much, much more.
Runner-up: Palermo, Seaside
296 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 655-1544
Almost three dozen cakes to choose from is how Layers loves to boggle the minds of cake consumers. From Tuxedo cake, to Black Forest, to Italian Rum or Margarita Cake, until Death by Chocolate do you part, these cakes alone are reason enough to throw a millennium party.
Runner-up: Paris Bakery, Monterey and Seaside
470 Alvarado St., Monterey, 647-3100 207 Crossroads Blvd., Carmel, 626-8054
Junior vibed the real deal when he mused on the burger of the future. "It will be a 6-ounce hand-formed beef patty," he divined, "and it won''t just be good. It will be Real Good." Thus was created the namesake of RG burgers, whether of the beef, chicken or falafel varieties. Always served with RG sauce, they come to you in a dozen or more guises--Western barbecue, Mediterranean-style with feta and sundried tomatoes, even dressed in creamy Bernaise sauce with sauted mushrooms--these are patties with passion.
Runner-up: Del Monte Express, Monterey
Best Caesar Salad/Best Gourmet Pizza
3770 The Barnyard, Carmel, 626-5454 1184 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, 373-5656.
This is the uncontested best Caesar salad since the Weekly became the Weekly. Ten years worth of garlic, Parmesan, anchovies, lemon and olive oil have dressed enough heads of Romaine to fill the World Trade Center twice, a rate rivaled only by the untold thousands of pepperoni wheels that tirelessly circumnavigate copious disks of religiously homemade dough.
Runner-up Gourmet Pizza: Gianni''s, Monterey Runner-up Caesar Salad: Tutto Buono, Monterey
57 Fisherman''s Wharf, 373-1851
With almost a dozen calamari specialties of the house to choose from, Abalonetti''s knows how to cook squid. Marty''s special squid and eggplant Parmesan is one to write home about, a menu favorite that never goes out of style.
Runner-up: Fishwife, Pacific Grove and Seaside
Best Clam Chowder
Vivolo''s Chowder House
127 Central Ave., Pacific Grove, 372-5414
Junior predicted Mark Davis would be seeing stars if he brought his Boston-style clam chowder to Monterey. Vivolo''s has collected a whole constellation of them, as the ongoing chowder-head''s choice for creamy clam goodness.
Runner-up: Old Fisherman''s Grotto, Monterey
Best French Fries
Mickey D''s goes through more spuds a day, just in one location, than the average potato-head will consume in a decade, and Weekly readers give a big thumb''s up toward the Golden Arches.
Runner-up: RG Burgers, Carmel and Monterey
Best Oyster Bar
Monterey''s Fish House
2114 Del Monte Blvd., Monterey, 373-4647
Salinas Valley Fish House
172 Main St., Salinas, 775-0175
Junior predicted it, but then couldn''t believe how thoroughly addictive these beautimous bivalves really are. You''ll say "hubba hubba" for the oak-barbecued hama hamas, the Washington state oysters that the Fish House uses exclusively. On the half shell, fried, stewed or ''cued, this is Oyster Heaven.
Runner-up: Moss Landing Oyster Bar, Moss Landing
125 Ocean View Blvd., Pacific Grove, 372-1125
171 Main St., Salinas, 784-1125
Sure, you can order a full stack of cakes at First Awakenings, but you might get your picture made if you actually get to the finish line. These are made-from-scratch monster cakes that promise to make a lasting impression. Banana-germ, blue-germ, fresh apple cinnamon and oatmeal, raisin walnut: These are the pancakes that legends are made of.
Runner-up: Old Monterey Caf, Monterey
Best Local Winery (Red Wine)
4 Pilot Rd., Carmel Valley, 659-1050
Dionysus himself couldn''t have predicted this kind of lusciousness from the vine. With quality standards that limit current production to only about 1,000 cases of Georis Merlot--all estate-produced--it''s the hand-crafted character that makes Monterey County oenophiles raise a toast and cast their votes for Georis Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Runner-up: Smith & Hook, Soledad
Best Local Winery (White Wine)
5 West Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, 659-1900
Bernardus (Ben) Pon believes in Carmel Valley''s potential to be the best viticultural appellation in America, and devotees of Bernardus Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are in complete agreement. Look for the opening of the very exclusive Bernardus Lodge this coming June, where guests may expect to be greeted, fted and tucked in at turn-down time with a great glass of Bernardus wine.
Runner-up: Talbott, Carmel Valley
Best Traditional Pizza
725 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 649-1500
They toss ''em by hand at Gianni''s and they''re so good at it that they give the sauce a stir before they catch ''em again. "We can make any combination you want," they assure. Gianni''s fun-filled atmosphere and full bar make going out for a pizza delicious and fun.
Runner-up: Round Table, multiple locations
300 Del Monte Center, Monterey, 647-8943
Ten--count ''em--10 salads are yours to choose from at Fresh Choice, where they''re always made fresh, never frozen. There''s Mom''s Mac (with elbow macaroni, hard-boiled eggs and relish, just like mama used to make), Caesar''s, Chinese Chicken, Tuna Tarragon and plenty more where these came from.
Runner-up: Chart House, Monterey
2000 Prescott Ave., Monterey, 375-5987
They''ve been making piled-high deli sandwiches for 36 years at Compagno''s, a family-run neighborhood market where Mom makes the behemoth cakes, and they still roast the beef in the back. Good breads, lotsa condiments to choose from, 20 cold sandwiches and seven hot (meatball, Italian sausage, chicken breast Cordon Bleu), and a nice selection of prepared salads make this the little place where you get a lot more than you bargained for.
Runner-up: Goodie''s, Pacific Grove
398 Alvarado St., Monterey, 655-9696
Edgewater Shopping Center, Sand City, 583-9696
Junior sez jam on at Jamba, now with two locations to juice you. Get in the groove with a Citrus Grove, Berry Patch, or tropical smoothie, or go for a Power punch--choose from the fatburner, coldbuster, powerbooster or protein with pizzazz. Or choose from five specially formulated blends to juice boost you five separate ways!
Runner-up: Juice & Java, Pacific Grove
Whaling Station Inn
763 Wave St., Monterey, 373-3778
Junior can tell that you want to know what the big deal is about USDA Prime. The deal is, only the top 1 percent of ALL raised beef is given that lofty distinction. Chef John Pisto brings you corn-fed, USDA Prime, aged 28 days to maximize flavor and tenderness, and eight cuts to choose from. And if you''re going for the 22-ounce Porterhouse, bring an appetite as your escort.
Runner-up: Charthouse, Monterey
3658 The Barnyard, Carmel, 624-2643
Rock-n-roll, spider roll, Louisiana roll--they know how to keep the sushi rolling at Robata. Along with dozens of sashimi, makizushi, and nigirizushi selections, a huge appetizer list and grill menu are standing by, along with an interesting selection of sakes and a full bar.
Runner-up: Ichi Ricki, Seaside
Best Wine Tasting Room
Taste of Monterey
700 Cannery Row, 646-5446
Find Taste of Monterey at the back side of the 700 building (up from Sly McFly''s) where bay views go on forever and Monterey County wines are poured, seven days a week. With seating alongside floor-to-ceiling windows right over the water, the tasting room provides a great opportunity to taste some of the best local vintages and it''s an escape from the fray on the Row below.
Runner-up: Bernardus, Carmel Valley