Thursday, October 25, 2001
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES...Meanwhile, over in Pacific Grove, another institution went through some changes. TILLIE GORT''S, the venerable vegetarian vittles venue (ouch), has transferred ownership from longtime caretaker, MARGOT TEGTMEIR to a longtime employee--who is now a former longtime employee--CARMEN NAZAR. Along with partner RANIERI GUIMARAES, Carmen promises to maintain the integrity of Tillie''s as a neighborhood hangout for folks looking to find good food at fair prices, good fellowship and good times.
When I stopped by to talk to the new owners about the changeover, I was impressed with their sense of loyalty to the spirit of Tillie Gort''s. The business goes back 33 years and has become an important component of the neighborhood, so there won''t be much in the way of changes. They will be offering breakfast on weekends beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving. Outside of that, it will be business as usual: Good vegetarian food at reasonable prices in a comfortable setting. Congratulations Carmen and Ranieri. Here''s to a long and prosperous venture. Tillie Gort''s, 111 Central, PG, 373-0335.
WILD THING...Speaking of new ventures, THE WILD PLUM CAFÉ AND BAKERY, located in Monterey between Margie''s Diner and the Thai Café, opposite Casa Munras, is up and running. The place is owned and run by PAMELA BURNS, who is also responsible for baking, making, moving and shaking--she''s the hardest working woman in the food business. I stopped in for her pre-holiday open house recently and had trouble pinning her down, even for a few minutes, to pick her brain about the business. What I did ascertain was the fact that the goodies in this joint are so super homemade they look like the stuff your grandma used to feed you.
Queen Ann of Winchester (Sweet Thing''s mother) was in town visiting and we took her to the open house. Her Highness has a bit of a sweet tooth and when she laid eyes on those home-baked spiced muffins, apple tartlets (when I was younger I fell victim to an apple tartlet or two), bear claws, apple cinnamon brioche and others, she started reciting royal proclamations left and right.
The Wild Plum, in addition to the baked items, comes across with a full lunch menu loaded with great sandwiches, salads, soups and other stuff. They make everything in house from the roasted meats to the breads as well as most of the condiments. If that isn''t daunting enough, Pamela also offers a full catering menu for special occasions like weddings, corporate events and any other parties.
The café hours are Monday through Saturday from 7am until 5:30pm. Check this place out; you won''t be disappointed. Just don''t expect to be able to talk to Pamela for too long...she never stops moving. The Wild Plum, 731 Munras, Monterey, 646-3109, fax: 647-3147, www.eatfree.com/wildplum
FIFI FIE FO FUM...Speaking of wild plums, those wacky and loveable allies, CALVIN and MICHELE WILKES of FIFI''S in PG are up to some new tricks. They''re doing a happy hour each day between 5 and 7pm. Free hors d''oeuvres will be served at the wine bar along with a wonderful selection of wines by the glass and bottle. They''ve also introduced "comfort food to go." Items like Beef Bourguignon, various pasta dishes, plus other hearty dishes to be taken home and heated (then eated) make a great alternative to cooking yourself or eating out. The obvious strategy seems to be to pop into Fifi''s for happy hour, enjoy a glass or two of wine, some hors d''oeuvres, order a meal and a bottle of wine to take home and enjoy the evening in your jammies. Then, come out on Saturday night for Fifi''s ongoing French regional wine dinners. Call for highlights. Fifi''s, 1188 Forest, PG, 372-5325.
--Raymond Napolitano (firstname.lastname@example.org)