Thursday, December 18, 2008
These are not the places where the lady in the Lexus stops for lunch. They’re the spots for the guys in the truck looking to stretch a buck.
Recession-friendly Randy’s Sandwiches (375-9161, http://randyssandwichshop.com/) chugs along in its shoebox spot next to Aguajito Veterinarian near NPS and Hyatt Monterey, sliding huge lunch and breakfast sandwiches across the counter quickly and cheaply. Four bucks for an eight-inch sausage (or bacon or ham) sandwich with potatoes and egg on a monster sesame roll (or wrapped into a burrito) offers bulletproof, no frills value – especially considering that for most mortals it’s enough for two meals. The Godfather (Italian meats, ruthlessly delicious) and the Jaws (roast beef, ham, turkey, pastrami, salami, bologna, three cheeses) are top sellers at $4-$5, generating so much business from 6:30am on that they close by 2:30pm.
Mal’s Market (394-1881) is another blue-collar community pillar in Seaside on Noche Buena. I knew their Bomber (ham, turkey, roast beef, bacon and swiss, $7.95) was the stuff of local legend when a reliable source told me their Philly ($8.95) is the best he’s had, so I promptly tangled with one. Way too much for one sitting. Lots of little tender bits of mushroom and steak on a massive 8-by-four-inch piece of tasty flat bread melted with cheese and elevated to excellent by way of a delicious garlic spread.
And speaking of locally owned Seaside lunch joints, there’s a new Jersey’s sub shop (899-8400) next to Bad Ass Coffee on Fremont in Seaside to complement the one in Sand City (899-7677). Dug into their specialties earlier this week, the Jersey Original (cappicola, dry salami, pepperoni, provolone) and the California Original (turkey, ample avocado, jack cheese). They bake their bread at the other store and hand slice the meats and cheeses right there, and the favor reflects the freshness. Now they need more help. For wide 6-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch sandos, the prices run $4.99, $6.99, $8.99, respectively.EVERYBODY SALSA
A new taco shop was just set up on Del Monte Boulevard in Monterey between Dodi’s Auto and Napa Auto Parts: the parking is tight, but the portions are expansive. Free fresh tortilla chips were good, and made better by house salsas befitting a place called Pico de Gallo – a wise green (spicy with a hint of lime and not too much acid), a smoky red and a money pico de goodness). Flautas ($6) are made to order and, just like the carnitas tacos ($2), are plentiful but plain on flavor (hint: cue the salsas).
The not-quite-as-new Cafecito (899-9922) on the north side of Seaside across Fremont from Cost Plus doesn’t see many gueros, which of course is a certifiable sign that the food here is authentic. The chilequiles (the delicious Mexican breakfast dish built on top of tortilla chips, with a heroic green sauce) are expert enough to earn some ink. As I enjoyed them, a good-looking Mexican chap salted his 10am beer and selected some legit Rock en Español from the digital jukebox mounted on the wall.
AROUND THE HORN
After some rumored rough going getting things situated, El Mariachi Restaurante Cantina just swung open the doors last week in the second floor of Cannery Row across from Sly’s in what once was Monterey Jack’s.
A fundraiser with a lot of heart happens at Doc’s in Monterey this Sunday, Dec. 21, from 4-8pm: the annual musical holiday variety show to boost Frank Sollecito Jr. Leukemia Fund, this edition in special memory of sorely missed Frankie Bruno. Both Mike Marottas play, Dennis Murphy joins in, appetizers from local spots appear and local kids fighting cancer benefit. 915-2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
A celebratory champagne tasting bubbles up at Zeph’s One Stop (757-3947) Thursday, Dec. 18. Seven different wine suppliers pour dozens of brut, blanc de blanc and blanc de noir bubblies for $50. Can’t hurt to come into the holidays ready to pop.