Thursday, January 12, 2012
Marina resident Domingo Rivera does some things. He helps host KDON’s Morning Madhouse and helps host VIPs at top-spots like Surrender and Encore Beach in Las Vegas. He started working at Marinus by 22 and launched his own food op by 24. Now 26, he surfs a mean wave and makes a mean hot dog. What he really does, though, is bring the party – which means his very small, new Doggie Stylez (917-7645) on Lighthouse in New Monterey will have a very big party on its buns come 3pm Saturday, Jan. 14.
First the party resume, then the Saturday plan. When he’s not organizing endeavors like the Electric Jungle at the Fairgrounds, starring a half dozen DJ teams like L.A.’s Sex Panther, Rivera’s inking another tattoo like the pink elephant on his caboose, which he calls “an ode to my partying that comes from a reference to drunk hallucinations in an old Jack London novel.” This fall he started orchestrating ambitious pub crawls on the last Saturday of every month in which he asks his masses to throw on costumes and strap on a wristband for $5 (or a donation) in exchange for bargains like $2 or $3 beers, discount house shooter deals and communion with a raft of rowdies that flows across Cannery Row and beyond. Last month was ugly X-mas sweaters and a kid’s gift to get in, before that Pilgrim, Indian and turkey outfits and canned food. This month (Jan. 28) it’ll be Snuggies and onesies. He’s also starting Cellar Nights on Thursdays at CRBC (643-2722), which feature a movie then a DJ and drink specials; the final Thursday of the month brings in horror flicks and a battle of the bands (like Jan. 26). His new Sunday sessions at Mucky Duck (655-3031) feature live band-DJ mashup-style situations. This Sunday, Jan. 15, three DJs follow a reggae band and a free mimosa bar from 3-4pm.
Those are recent developments. “Dingodog” launched his hot-dog project two years ago and served Planet Gemini (373-1449) on party nights and fed hundreds at Fox Theater in Salinas at MMA fight nights with dogs like “The Duke” with bacon, pineapple and teriyaki ($5). The grand opening will go off for a few reasons: The new joint in the former Miriam’s Cafe represents the first permanent home for Stylez (to start they’ll serve 2pm-3am Monday-Saturday and 10am-2am Sunday). He has thousands of folks flagged on Facebook. His Notorious D.O.G. ($5) and Dirty Harry ($5), built with Nathan’s meats, are pretty damn good, and he’s added items like a Marilyn Monroe truffle grilled cheese ($6) and a Manny Pacquiao adobo sandwich ($5). Neighboring Bulldog Pub (658-0686) is pledging happy hour deals for anyone who buys a dog and even spins in a DJ.
“It’s gonna be ridiculous,” Rivera says. “There’ll be so many people.”
Ah yeah. That’s my dog.
• The Greatest Chef to Ever Live, the late Auguste Escoffier, lives. And does it quite vibrantly right around here, no small distance from his Paris headquarters. That’s because local chapter chief of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, cookbook author Mary Chamberlin of Carmel, is buddies with his great grandson Michel Escoffier and the stateside agent for both the family’s foundation and its museum of culinary art. Now her Dames are hosting Michel Feb. 12 as he inducts some distinguished “Disciples of Escoffier” at Bernardus Lodge: David Fink (Mirabel Group), Jeff Jake (Silverado), Cal Stamenov (Bernardus), Percy Wahtley (Awahnee Lodge in Yosemite) and Didier Dutertre (Bistro Moulin). 624-0830 for $155 tickets that include lofty apps, dinner and a ceremony with giant spoons.
• Got by Dutertre’s Moulin (333-1200) last week to make good on a resolution to eat more escargot. The sizzling little snails didn’t disappoint – an order of those, some spinach gnocchi ($16.50) and a glass of manager Colleen Manni’s latest French Rosé find and I’m happier than Napoleon after a victory. For good measure we took down some precisely done coq au vin ($21.75) and steamed mussels ($18.50). The most delicious surprise: That Manni convinced her sweetie Duertre to do a truffle gnocchi, and it’s as good as the melty spinach dream puffs. Escoffier would approve.
• The Big Sur Chanterelle Cook-off will be back, thanks to timely hosting help from Ventana Inn (667-0119). Tentative dates and spots: Feb. 24-25 at Ventana and Big Sur Lodge. Wendy Brodie will coordinate chefs and tastings.
•Hooray: There’s movement at the old Hullabaloo in Oldtown Salinas. On the ABC permit: Paolo Kautz, who once owned and ran Cafe Rustica. Rumor on Main Street: He’ll open a Rustica-like place called Patria.
• God bless Brian Christensen. The one-time Stokes Adobe chef already had one of the more undercover creative kitchens in Carmel going at Brophy’s (624-2476) with his friend and owner Brett Wales. Now he’s got a five-pound breakfast sandwich to rival his coma-requiring BC Benedict (with fried chicken). And the best homemade hot sauce I’ve seen a chef style around here in some time. From now on, I’ll ask for the Crying Tongue every time I go in.
• The AT&T Pro-Am-synchronized Clambake for a Cure ($125, www.clambakeforacure.com) is already an excellent and anticipated annual foodie affair after just two rounds. This year’s cracks open Friday, Feb. 10, at the Marina View Lounge at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf, with chefs like Mark Ayers (Cannery Row Brewing Company), Tom Snyder (Esteban) and Casey Thompson (Top Chef).
• Locals flashing ID with a “939” zip – which accounts for most of the county – get free parking in Cannery Row garages after 4pm. Now MYO Yogurt (375-3769), The C Restaurant + Bar at The InterContinental (375-4500), Cannery Row Brewing Company (643-2722), Louie Linguini’s (648-8500), El Mariachi Restaurante y Cantina (324-4953), The Fish Hopper (372-8543) and Sardine Factory (373-3775) all do their own locals-only deals too (usually it’s a 10-percent break, but bargains vary). To the Row we go.
• “A hotdog at the ballgame,” Humphrey Bogart said, “beats roast beef at the Ritz.”