Thursday, November 15, 2012
Ryan Sanchez had me at “stuffing.” But he kept preaching poultry. By the time he was done, there was a drool pool at my feet and strange visions in my head.
The close-knit crazies at his family’s time-honored Bruno’s Market in Carmel (624-3821) not only refuse to close for holidays, but insist on taking a boneless turkey and stuffing it with spinach, bread crumbs, cranberries, raisins and walnuts. Then they stuff a boneless chicken in the turkey, then stuff that with celery, green onions, red onions, mandarin oranges and slices of lime. Next they somehow wedge in a boneless duck stuffed with rice, water chestnuts, parsley and mushrooms. And roast it six hours.
Divinely fowl stuff, but I don’t have enough anatomy or physics insight to even picture that turducken ($5.99/pound) – let alone assemble it – so I’m thankful Bruno’s is there to do the turducking. Which got me to thinking: What else merits thankfulness?
•That we get a shot at a world record. Sierra Nevada assembles the most taps from one beer maker in one spot at the same time – 73 including Hop Syndicate, Baltic Joy and ApriQuat – at Cannery Row Brewing Company (643-CRBC) all weekend. Beer dinners, live music and a beer pong tournament run Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 15-18). Peek CRBC’s Facebook for more.
• That a brawl didn’t break out at the Party in the Hangar. After Dan Tudor offered Gary and Scott Caraccioli a Best of Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk map, a card chamber wineries like Caraccioli Cellars see as a rip-off of their Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea, some cussing and grabbing ensued. “I don’t want to get in it with [Tudor] any more,” Scott says. “I just want him to stop confusing customers.” Tudor, meanwhile, is pressing charges against Gary.
• That Todd Fisher’s United States of Bacon is in production for its debut season after a successful pilot, which means more love like the chicken-fried bacon and pulled bacon steamed buns at the hangar party. Makes me hungry for his bleu bacon burger at Sticks in Spanish Bay (647-7470), where he’s chef.
•That Seaside’s City Center is filling a conspicuous void, albeit with a chain, Buffalo Wild Wings (394-4483). It’s set to open Monday, Nov. 19. The first 100 peeps in the door score six wings a week for a year.
• That Phat Burger (394-7428) now does breakfast with stuff like the sourdough sandwich with hash browns, egg, sausage and cheese ($5.95), the bacon-ham-egg-cheese croissant ($5.95) and the New York steak and egg burrito ($7.95).
• That C Restaurant (375-4800) dishes wine dinners where you sit with just your party (not a whole raft of people), and that the cheeses that starred Friday alongside Jordan wines – and after Jerry Regester’s insane Hawaiian kampachi crudo, pork terrine-dungeness crab salad and bacon-wrapped venison – are available at The Cheese Shop (625-2272), from the black truffle to the semisoft fennel-seed French. Good to see Thamin Saleh in place as GM, too.
• That the Mucky Duck (655-3031) will host its second annual complimentary Thanksgiving meal for local active-duty military personnel.
• That the saunas are cooking at Monterey Sports Center. There are few better post-wine dinner detox double plays – or Thanksgiving recovery sequences – than a hot sweat and a cool swim. Speaking of staying fit while living fat, CrossFit Monterey is doing free 10am Saturday workouts. (Spots fill up so RSVP at crossfitmonterey.com.)
•That Chef Jason Balestreri shaved seasonal spring truffles tableside onto fresh housemade chanterelle risotto. And that the cured symphony of artisan prosciutto, capicolla, speck, fennel salami, mortadella ($24.95 for eight epic meats) with nice burrata cheese ($9.95) plays on – and that seamless Giuseppe Panzuto is back directing traffic as food and beverage director and partner.
• That crab season is here, which will have me scuttling to Wharf 2’s Royal Seafood (917-3904) to start crackin’.
• Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Month for December is Michael Lay of Restaurant 1833 (643-1833). His smoking “So Apropos” remains the single best cocktail I’ve ever tried (which means it merits the $20).
• After surviving some approvals for interior design and paint, Beach House at Lovers Point powers-that-be say opening date may just come by the end of the calendar year.
• My Attic (647-1834) hosts a tequila tasting ($25) with the Monterey Tequila & Mezcal Expo folks 6-9pm Thursday, Nov. 15.
•Joullian Vineyard’s 14th annual Wine & Wreaths open house/holiday food drive ($45) to boost the Food Bank for Monterey County is 11am-4pm Saturday, Dec. 1, with wreath-making, wine tasting and barbecue.
•The ice rink is back in Custom House Plaza Saturday, Nov. 17. A ticket stub translates to $10 off a purchase of $50 at Cafe Fina, Domenico’s on the Wharf, Peter B’s Brewpub or Jacks Restaurant.
•Annual Pie Tasting Day – lemon tart, pumpkin, pecan, apple, ollalieberry, strawberry rhubarb, apple crumble – chows down 2-5pm at Sweet Elena’s (393-2063) Saturday, Nov. 17: $5 for five small slices.
•Their massive crab feeds are the stuff of legend. Now the folks at FDES Portuguese Hall in Monterey (204-0584) are plating steaks and all-you-can-eat steamed oysters Saturday, Nov. 17, plus baked potato, salad, bread, wine and dessert. $35, 204-0584.
•Surf N Sand (624-1805) now hosts wine tastings 5-8pm Thursdays, with labels like Pessagno (today), Hahn (Nov. 20), Joyce (Nov. 29), and Manzoni (Dec. 6) on the way.
• Few patios outperform Bistro Beaujolais (624-5600) for al fresco breakfast, from Jennifer Mendoza’s dog love (and treats) to the salmon galletes ($12.95) to the popular quiches ($10.95) to the red-velvet pancakes ($10.95). The patio’s also where live music strokes on 6-9pm Thursday-Sunday.
• “If the only prayer you said was thank you,” Meister Eckhart once said, “that would be enough.”