Thursday, July 15, 1999
Do not be alarmed if a man--about 5 feet 9 inches, medium-build, sporting a goatee, wearing a white coat--approaches you and demands your lemons. That''s just Chef Brandon from Stokes Adobe, who is regularly moved to make impassioned pleas for the under-utilized Meyer lemons dangling their sprightliness all over Spaghetti Hill and torturing his dreams with all the lemon curd that will never be. Please don''t press charges if you should notice lemons rolling out of his pants legs.
Other interesting news of the culinary kind: Jeano and Nina Brucia-Abraham of Allegro Gourmet Pizzeria are celebrating 11 years of tossing and topping what started as four and has grown to 22 kinds of pizza (a frequent favorite pick in the CW readers'' poll) at their Forest Hill Plaza location in Pacific Grove. "We started out with just 12 seats," Jeano reminisces, "and since expanding twice, we''ve grown to 90 seats, with two private banquet rooms."
After making a cultural tour to study how other parts of the world did pizza, the couple started experimenting with different doughs and toppings, and a concept they brought back with them from Italy. "We wanted to be a neighborhood restaurant where you can come as you are, and enjoy a large selection of pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches--just like you find at pizzerias in Italy. When we started out, the porcupine pizza--made with ham and pineapple--was about as innovative as it got. Now we have 22 kinds of pizza, 20 pasta dishes, 12 salads, and 10 sandwiches, made on our own homemade foccacia." Along with opening a second store at the Barnyard in Carmel six years ago, they''ve also added to the indigenous waitstaff two sons, Paul and JP, who''ve grown up in the business. You''ll find lots of anniversary specials on the menu to celebrate all month long.
If it''s blue sky you''re looking for, you''ll find a philanthropic nod aimed toward fog-frustrated sun-worshipers at Los Laureles Lodge. For the price of lunch alone, you may now avail yourself of the revamped heated pool, cabana, and low-key, sun-soaked Carmel Valley resort atmosphere. It''s part of the hospitality spirit that accompanies the new management under Daniel Barduzzi, well-known for the similar positions he still holds at both Stone Pine and Robles Del Rio resorts.
Los Laureles has a wonderful history, and has been a gathering spot since the 1890s. It''s also been the site of much coming and going in the last several years. Its devotees are always cheered when it looks like new management is going to elevate the place to its historic best, as it now seems. Barduzzi brings with him a fascinating career from all over the world--as well as a new chef, Richard Monreal, to run the kitchen.
Also don''t forget about Sunday jazz brunches at Caf Abrego in Monterey. Known as the Clock Garden in its previous life, it is newly groovy under its present ownership, Malachi Harland as chef, and the patio makes a wonderful place to celebrate a sunny, serenaded Sunday. The Caf will be joining with Morgan Winery in their first winemaker dinner that Harland describes as "a representation of what guests might expect dining with us on a day-to-day basis, similar in style and presentation." Mark your calendar: Thursday, July 22, by reservation, 375-3750.