Thursday, November 13, 2003
Fandango, a leader in the restaurant community since 1983, has enthralled diners with great food, service and ambiance, enhanced by the Bains'' omnipresence throughout the restaurant. Loyal staff, including the chef and other key kitchen members, have remained for long stints at Fandango, some from the very beginning. Doubtful if there is a better selection for this year''s award.
At the dinner, which was held at Pasadera (another reason I''m bummed about missing it), local dignitaries like Ted Balestreri, Dave Potter, Morris Fisher and a host of local restaurateurs presented the Bains with all forms of plaques, ribbons, trophies, etc. Knowing them the little I do, but with a touch of insight into their essence, I would venture a guess that the best award they received was when Arancio from Palermo Bakery got up and sang for them. In the words of the irrepressible Cheryl "What Bone Can I Break This Week" Warner, "it was awesome."
AND RIGHT ON FROM RAY: The first recipient of the John Chadwell Scholarship Endowment Fund was announced. He''s Richard Sultanov, a graduate of Carmel High School, who will receive $2,500 toward his education at UC Davis. Richard worked at Il Fornaio. (As you may know, the John Chadwell award is set up by the California Restaurant Association, Monterey Chapter to honor the late executive director of the Pebble Beach Company.)
Also receiving awards that night: The Sardine Factory got the National Restaurant Association''s Restaurant Neighbor Award for the state of California, recognizing its generosity toward the community, and Ledyard Company received a special recognition award for its dedication to the local restaurant industry.
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to all the honorees; it is no easy task to open a restaurant or related business and then attain a high level of excellence.
CRUISIN'' FOR BREAD, ETC.: Right on also to Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant. Miss Thing and I were cruising home from Cambria last Wednesday and stopped there for breakfast. I hadn''t been there in a while and had almost forgotten just how amazing their baked goods are. Breads, bagels, cookies, scones, all made with the best possible organic, stone-ground unprocessed flours and ingredients. This place is so far and away the best of its kind in a 150-mile radius that it hurts me to see them have to live and die by the whims of the traffic patterns in Big Sur.
If you don''t know where it is, it''s only about 25 minutes down on the right hand side near the little gas station. They''re closed Monday and Tuesday so check ''em out for breakfast, lunch and dinner the rest of the week. Every morsel of every dish will be as good as you can get, guaranteed. Call 667-0520 to order a bunch of stuff, then go down, eat there and bring your stuff home. Get some for the neighbors too. Go now...go now...go now.
Catherine Bowie, cleanup hitter for Armanasco PR, sent a really happening tidbit my way: Monterey Plaza Hotel is offering a great Thanksgiving To Go set up for the habitually harried holiday host/ess. Call Doug Phillips at 646-1700 and order a 12-14 pound bird with all the fixings, and I mean all the fixings, enough to serve up to 12 people. The cost is only $110, way less than it costs to hack around the kitchen yourself.
Go roast Bert Cutino at the Bert Cutino Dinner Roast on Nov. 22, hosted by the American Culinary Federation, Monterey Bay Chapter. RSVP by Nov. 15 for this rare opportunity to watch Chef Cutino have to sit there silently and catch all the wisecracks--although I''m sure he''ll be slingin'' a stock-pot full himself. The cost is $50 apiece, $90 if you have a partner. There will be a silent auction. Everything goes to help the Chef and Child Foundation, co-founded by Cutino and the late Jack Braun.
Call Giacomo at 601-2433 or send the check to ACF Monterey Bay Chapter, PO Box 7034, Carmel, CA 93921. The event is being held at the San Carlos Parish Hall, 500 Church St. in Monterey and is semi-formal. A four-course Italian dinner and the sultry, scintillating sounds of Mike Marotta Jr. will be part of the show.