Thursday, February 10, 2011
In my experience, seeing someone’s mind get blown has always been pretty cool – you know, watching a niece going on her first roller coaster, or a friend taking a virgin voyage to Cachagua General Store (659-5100) for Monday night dinner.
Not so with the Seaside City Council. This was spooky.
The mind-blower before them: Post No Bills, a craft beer house proposed for one of the chronically vacant spaces at Seaside’s City Center at Broadway and Fremont (with the Erik’s Deli and Me ‘N’ Eds). Patterned after San Francisco’s City Beer Store, it’s a beer geek’s wet and foamy dream, more closely related in tone and spirit to a vineyard tasting venue than any brewery, with 250 hard-to-find beers stocking the coolers and six rotating draft beer offerings available for tasting flights. Guests can linger at the tasting bar or in one of the lounge areas, pop a beer they’re thinking about buying for a $1 corkage and test ’er out.
The council didn’t know what to make of it: Is it the second coming of the Shadow Box!? Can beer be first class? Is the wine tasting room on Broadway proper precedent? City Councilman Ian Oglesby got borderline belligerent questioning a staffer tasked with presenting the item. “You said there was something like it in Seaside, and then you said there wasn’t!” he said. “Which one is it?!”
In their defense, there really is nothing like it around here, which is precisely why Seaside needs it. A community of great beer lovers displaced by the collapse of Ol’ Factory Cafe would swarm this place. Would-be owner Mark Moses’ brother Jeff already has 750 people on his e-mail blast list for his Monterey Bay Beer Festival, not to mention his own stable of small-lot geek beer labels and a vat of industry connections.
Fortunately, with only Oglesby opposing (“I don’t like the alcohol part”), they approved the needed change in use recommended by staff and moved the item to the planning commission for a final nod. If everything goes smoothly, we could be toasting the power of Seaside’s new spot to blow minds by the end of March.
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Turns out Wolfman didn’t get his name from one-time prodigious bristles. He got it from Bill Murray.
Kenneth Wolff was caddying for former Chicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, who played for years with Murray as part of the “Chicago Four” AT&T Pro-Am pairing (see p. 20) that included pros Scott Simpson and Jeff Sluman.
Grace was over a long uphill putt. Murray was blunt: “You’ll never make that.” With Wolff’s guidance, Grace holed the 40-footer and said, “Wolff, you’re the man.”
Murray’s response? “Wolfman!”
I agree with “Gracie,” but for a different reason: Thursday through Sunday afternoons (11:30am-6pm), Wolff – who’s been spotted as the chef at Neilsen’s Market in Carmel and Bi-Rite Market in Monterey and runs A Royal Event Catering – is doing tasty sidewalk barbecue at Del Monte Produce (373-4626) where Monterey melts into Seaside, though with decidedly fewer whiskers than he has cultivated historically. On his recommendation, I had an above-par sausage sandwich ($6) with two links and homemade sauce based on jalapeños, ketchup and sweated onions – “and that’s all [the recipe] you get, my brother,” he says – that was big enough for two meals. There were also ribs ($9.99/half rack; $19.99/full) tri-tip sandwiches ($7.99), and roasted corn ($1.50). “Mention the Coast Weekly,” he added opportunistically, “and you get a buck off.”
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Some comings and goings: Longtime P.G. fixture China Garden (375-1111) has smoothly settled its Mandarin, Hunan and Szechuan grub hub at Munras and Watson in Monterey. And their new P.G. outlet (649-6800) keeps sizzling kiang ton spareribs ($10.95) and kung pao calamari ($13.95) in the one-time Pelican Tavern/Woody’s Bayview Grill locale, now that Mo Ammar and the P.G. Chamber of Commerce pounced on their longtime lease on Central Avenue near Tilly Gort’s (373-0335).
Up Munras from China Garden #2 (in the old Wendy’s/La Giostra), it’s Chopstix (899-2622) watch: Mikey Nguyen, like any good restaurant owner, says they’re “pretty close” to opening #2, and his wife’s due today, Feb. 10; March 10 is the restaurant birthday-to-be.
And Chipotle is in at the old Boston Market in Sand City, which hopefully won’t kill Papa Chano’s (393-9133).
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Firestone Walker Brewing and Brewmaster Matt Brynildson are collaborating with Big Sur River Inn chef Rene Gonzales for a five-course beer dinner Feb. 25. $55 inclusive, 667-2700… American Legion Post 41 (375-9015) is one of the most character-rich watering holes around. Feb. 19 it’ll be rich with crab for a vet benefit that also stars bread, salad, pasta, wine, a raffle, music and dancing, for $35… The yearly Sabu Safari held in October at the Portola Hotel & Spa and the Sabu Shake Sr. Memorial holiday fundraiser collected $130,423… Cafe Lumiere (920-2451) now serves beer and sangria, with an upstairs that’s just 21 and up. My kinda coffee shop… “I eat at this German-Chinese restaurant and the food is delicious,” Dick Cavett said, “The only problem is that an hour later you’re hungry for power.”