August 27, 2010
I've tasted his grade AAA crock-pot jumbalaya and scouted some of the best barbecue in Texas under his direction, so when veteran Weekly contributor Stuart Thornton tells me he's got something worth chewing on, I tend to listen. He filed this report on a once-a-week winner on Calle Principal in downtown Monterey.
Like a shooting star or a rare seasonal wildflower, Café Lumiere’s patty melt specials don’t stick around for long. This past Thursday, the special sold out in just over an hour. It’s easy to understand why after biting into the hot sandwich, which includes a seasoned beef patty, caramelized onions, fresh avocado, melted Swiss cheese, grilled sourdough bread and, best of all, a tangy chipotle mayo sauce.
Café Lumiere (920-2451) is hoping to offer the melts every Thursday, and Lumiere cook Cirilo Aragon lets me in on his secret to crafting the quick-selling item.
“It’s all fresh,” he says. “It’s not frozen meat. I buy it the day before, and it makes all the difference.”
Hopefully, next week, Aragon will buy more so this tasty lunch special sticks around a bit longer.
The special, $7 with a salad, starts flying out of the kitchen at 11am.
And there are other daily specials. Friday rotates between chicken posole with quesadillas or burritos and Southeast Asian style plates like chicken curry.
My favorite hits Wednesdays with Aragon's big bowl of Vietnamese pho ($7) luxuriated with fresh bean sprouts, mint, basil and sliced peppers (it's big enough that a half orders might be advisable for $5.50). Then again, I haven't played the patty.