Thursday, March 16, 2006
BAKERY Paris Bakery
271 Bonifacio Plaza, Monterey 646-1620 | 1232 Broadway Ave, Seaside 394-7798
…It hits you the moment you walk in. From visually stunning confections like tiramisu, princess cake and baba au rhum to the aromas of fresh-baked breads like ciabatta, Parisien and sour baguette, at Paris Bakery it’s all about quality and a vast, varied selection.
BAGELS Bagel Bakery
969 W Alisal St, Salinas 758-0280 | 1110 Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas 449-1110 | 452 Alvarado St, Monterey 372-5242 | 2160 California Ave, Sand City 392-1581 | 539 Carmel Rancho Shopping Center, Carmel 625-5180 | 1132 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove 649-6272
…There’s nothing like warm bagels to bring comfort to an early morning, especially when they come in flavors like cranberry, blueberry, sesame seed, onion and jalapeño cheddar and can be paired with one of many sweet or savory toppings. If breakfast isn’t your thing, check out the lunch menu with its many takes on the noble bagel sandwich.
BARBECUE Curly’s BBQ
1107 Fremont Blvd, Seaside | 394-7274
…You can smell it from blocks away—that smoky, mouthwatering fragrance wafting from the grill in front of Curly’s. Inside it gets even better. The sauce is savory and the meat is always juicy, never dry (a cardinal rule in the grilling arts). Top it all off with some mashed potatoes or corn on the cob and you’ll understand why Curly’s is the best.
BURGERS In-N-Out Burger
151 Kern St, Salinas | 800-786-1000
…In our glorious youth we had a rating system for hamburger stands. We never spoke of it explicitly, but it was understood that In-N-Out Burger served the best. Maybe it had something to do with the idea that prospective employees had to go to hamburger college before they could flip patties and chop lettuce. Today, the Salinas In-N-Out carries on the all-important American tradition of the good burger.
BURRITO Papa Chano’s
915 Playa Ave, Sand City 393-9133 | 462 Alvarado St, Monterey 646-9587
…Life is full of so many choices. For instance, regular, super or jumbo burrito? Whatever the decision, if you’re making it here it’s bound to be a good one. Papa Chano’s burritos are loaded with beans, rice, salsa and your choice of steak, chicken, pork, carnitas, chorizo or chile verde. Not really down with meat? Try the vegetarian burrito. And the best part of all this is the most a burrito will set you back is about $6.50 (and that’s the jumbo!).
CALAMARI Abalonetti Seafood Trattoria
57 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey | 373-1851
…The secret to great calamari is quick frying in very hot oil, the better to seal in flavor without excess grease. No, wait. The secret to great calamari is great squid. No, wait. The secret to great calamari is a great location. Well, whatever it is, we can’t think of a better place than John Pisto’s landmark eatery on the wharf to enjoy top-notch crispy calamari. Add a glass of wine, good company and a view of the twinkling bay and you have a very nice way to while away an hour or two.
DELI SANDWICH Compagno’s
2000 Prescott Ave, Monterey | 375-5987
…Home to 32 different sandwiches, Compagno’s says the No. 27 is the most popular. Like all the other sandwiches, it comes in either the 10-inch or the 6-inch model. Unlike all the others, it’s chock full of Italian chicken breast, bacon, melted pepper jack and avocado. Whether you call it a hoagie, a grinder, a Dagwood or just lunch, it’ll do you right.
BUTCHER SHOP Bruno’s Market & Deli
59 Junipero Ave, Carmel | 624-3821
…The back of Bruno’s Market is heaven for carnivores. The long glass display case holds everything from homemade pork sausages to beef tenderloin, said to be one of the meat department’s most popular items. True meat fanatics can custom order a Turducken, which is a boneless chicken with stuffing crammed into a boneless duck with stuffing shoved into a boneless turkey with stuffing.
CHEESE SELECTION The Cheese Shop
Carmel Plaza, Carmel | 625-2272
…What makes this store such a standout? It’s the chee --- (Sorry. Always wanted to say that.) Like it sheepish, goaty, raw, runny, chalky, stinky, soft? Whatever your cheese needs, this well-stocked emporium with the extensive inventory of common and hard-to-find cheeses is the place to get them met. Pick up your wine here too and make a night of it.
TAKE-OUT FOOD Whole Foods
800 Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey | 333-1600
…You have been stuck at work past suppertime. You have nothing in your fridge but ketchup packets. You want something quick and easy, but you don’t want a Big Mac. Solution: Stop by Whole Foods and get healthy, ready-made fare like sautéed vegetables or the superb vegetable enchilada casserole. It’ll save your sanity in the short run and do your body good in the long.
CUP OF COFFEE Starbucks
…Forgotten in the stampede for frappuccinos and gingerbread lattes and double mochas is the simple, elegant cup of Starbucks’ coffee. Is your local ‘bucks pouring an earthy Sulawesi today? Perhaps a floral Ethiopian Sidamo? An Organic Shade-Grown Mexican brew? For many of us, the cup of brewed coffee is where this whole coffee thing started, and Starbucks honors the grandpappy of the craze with style.
434 Alvarado St, Monterey | 375-1400
…The people over at Rosine’s don’t hold back when making their famed high-altitude desserts. The candy bar cakes—Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Reese’s—involve chunks of candy bar tucked into the layer of frosting slathered like mortar between moist slabs of cake. They also beat out the competition with other baked goods like carrot cake and cheesecake.
ICE CREAM Cold Stone Creamery
1470 Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey 649-1346 | 796 Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas 449-2870
…Cold Stone’s got the award-winning combination down, stone cold. They whip up combinations of ice cream and mix-ins like brownie, rainbow sprinkles and bananas by scooping and blending the ingredients with a spade over a granite stone kept at 16 degrees. Then, when Cold Stone employees are tipped, they sing cutesy jingles like this one, set to the theme from the Addams Family TV show: “We’re cheerful and we’ll holler/ Because we got a dollar/ We’re thankful ‘cause we all are/ The Cold Stone Fam-i-ly.”
725 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey | 649-1500
…This pizza place is fun. It’s big enough that there’ll almost certainly be a table for the whole family. Ordering is quick and easy. There’s beer and wine available from a bar in back and soft drinks for the kiddies. But the real draw at Gianni’s is the pizza pie, which is plain old authentic Italian style pizza. Crisp-yet-chewy crust (not too thick), tasty sauce, top-quality cheese and fresh, delicious toppings. Which is to say: perfect.
SALAD Crazy Horse
1425 Munras Ave, Monterey | 649-1020
…All these fancy salads restaurants are making up these days get a little cloying now and then. Just how many blue cheese crumbles can a human body metabolize? That’s why there’s Crazy Horse—for the days when you crave a mountain of fresh greens topped with your own super-secret combination of veggies, croutons, dressing and fruit and savory salads. You make it as simple or as sumptuous as you want. Now that’s living large.
JUICE/SMOOTHIES Jamba Juice
1552 N. Main St, Salinas 449-3200 | 398 Alvarado St, Monterey 655-9696 | 2160 California Ave, Sand City 583-9696 | 463 Canyon Del Rey, Del Rey Oaks 583-0577
…Such a simple concept, so efficient and clean and tasty. The bright cheery colors, the catchy music, the genuinely stoked employees, the abiding atmosphere of good nutrition and health. Can anything with this much sugar actually be good for you? Who cares?! Yes, I would like an extra boost with that, thank you!
RED WINE Bernardus Marinus
…Marinus is Bernardus Winery’s flagship wine, and rightly so. A Bordeaux-style blend grown on 200 acres of sunny upper Carmel Valley real estate, it consists of 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 percent Cabernet Franc, 3 percent Petit Verdot and 1 percent Merlot—and 100 percent fruity, rich delight. To get varietal-conscious Americans to spring for a blend is an accomplishment. To reward them this handsomely for doing so is a service to the world of wine.
WHITE WINE Talbott Chardonnay
…The grape doesn’t fall very far from the vine. In 1982 Robert Talbott, Jr, like his father and mother Audrey had done with Talbott Apparel, applied the principles of quality craftsmanship, industrious enterprise and integrity to the planting of Chardonnay on the extremely rocky land near his home in Carmel Valley. The Diamond T Vineyard’s grapes, with guidance by winemaker Sam Balderas, produced outstanding quality wines. They continue to do so today. Along the way, acquisition of Santa Lucia Highlands property, including the now-legendary Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, has propelled Talbott to the forefront of high-quality Chardonnay production. Talbott Cuvee Audrey, an unfined, unfiltered Diamond T gem named in honor of the beloved creator of the first Talbott bowtie, gracefully positioned itself at the very upper echelon of California Chardonnays with it first release of the 2000 vintage.
BEER/BREWERY English Ales
223 Reindollar Ave, Marina | 883-3000
…Peter Blackwell was a thirsty man. He had come here from England and just couldn’t get used to our beer. As the old brewmasters’ joke goes: “What is like having sex in a boat?” Answer: “American beer—it’s f***ing close to water.” So he started a brewery where he could create the rich, deep-flavored beers he loved from back home. Ramsay Borthwick was the man he imported to craft the many delicious versions of traditional English-style brews. Now English Ales is an omnipresent component of every tap room between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo.