Happy to Be Nappy
Thursday, June 26, 2008
CRUSHING DRIVE… In the past, I have periodically focused on some of the more vile members of the sub-class of species running our world into the compost heap of history and fired a few volleys across their collective bow. My vitriolic condemnations of evil-doers everywhere would be acerbic and cutting. I splashed around the swimming hole of toxic human wastewater, thrashing angrily about, treading for my life, cursing its stench, ensnared in its viscous mess. It is interesting how benign my writing has been the past few months, virtually devoid of any diatribic denouncements of humankind’s low-lifes.
I guess I am looking at life from a slightly readjusted perspective. Sure the same SOBS are out there trying their best to screw up the world (and doing a pretty fine job of it, I might add) but what good is my ranting and raving about it. Rather than stuff I don’t want to have anything to do with I’d rather see the beauty in the world, focus on the things I love, like golf.
What better region to live than here on our little hideaway golf lovers’ paradise, the Monterey Peninsula. In addition to getting to play year round, one of the best things is the variety of weather conditions. Just last week I played out at Quail on a Monday in like 50-degree weather, overcast, windy, just great Peninsula weather. Then, on Wednesday of the same week, with the day showing sunlight early, I went out to San Juan Oaks, Fred Couples’ wonderful track near San Juan Bautista, or as I like to call it, San Juan BAU. Temperature low 90s, hot, dusty– sunburn stuff. What a region to play golf in.
HOT LIKE TAMALE… After I was done, I headed into San Juan BAU to satisfy a Mexican food jones I had been struggling with for a few days. Parked the car on a shady side street and proceeded to walk around, allowing my natural guidance system to lead me to the joint I needed to find. The town was sleepy– long-shadowed afternoon reminders of the fragility of small towns. In the center of one side street, a proud-looking rooster casually cockadoodledooed to a friend or foe near enough to return the doodle. Each of the town’s saloons resonated its individualized wavelength, attracting harmonious local patrons of the drinking arts. I stopped to ask one exceedingly local-looking woman for her Mexican food recommendation. Her answer, La Poblanita.
As you travel the main street of downtown San Juan BAU, toward the far end on the left at 313 Third St. is this cute, homey, authentic cocina poblano-style Mexican restaurant run by Irene Teruel and her son, Jose. Irene, the big-hearted, gentle genius in the kitchen, creates delicately prepared versions of traditional dishes like mole poblano, which I had, that are so scrumptiously delicioso I needed to be carried out of there. That’s because, at Jose’s insistence, (he is a very attentive and enthusiastic hospitality host) I also had to try the chile relleno. Think delicate, finesse, elegance– chile relleno as fine cuisine.
The décor is warm, colorful and rich with artwork indigenous to the Puebla region of Mexico, from where this family hails. La Poblanita had a long, successful run up in Mountain View until a couple of years ago when the rent was jacked 300 percent and they had to move. They have been in downtown San Juan BAU for about a year and a half and are finding it spotty, due to the economic climate and reduction of tourism in the region. I say, next time you’re passing the exit on 101, or when you want to take a fun little ride to a unique spot, give this place a try. Jose will set you up with one of his boutique tequilas and you’ll be transported to the snow-capped volcano region of Puebla, 623-2161.
POUR FACTS… Speaking of snow-capped mountains, I mistakenly noted that Marc Cutino was going to be the direct-sales guy for Talbott Wines in Monterey County. Sorry, they are still distributed through Wine Warehouse. Cutino is the winery rep and will add support to the sales force selling the wines.
Alright y’all, it’s time to jump on your tickets for the Monterey Beer Festival at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 12:30 to 5pm. I think this is like the eighth year for this great local event, the only one of its kind on the Central Coast. Beer from more than 50 breweries, great local food vendors, live music from four bands, fresh air, fun and a bunch o’ beer. Also, this year will feature an authentic European-type beer garden, only done Monterey style. Tickets have been on sale online at montereybeerfestival.com, where you can also get the rundown on all the specifics. Meanwhile, on July 1, tickets go on sale at the following locations: Campagno’s Deli in New Monterey, Zeph’s One-Stop in Salinas, Wild Thyme Deli and English Ales Brewery in Marina and at the Fairgrounds office. The festival phone line is 373-2843.
Another fun feature this year will be a special pre-festival dinner at the Culinary Center in Monterey. On Friday evening, Aug. 1, from 6-10pm, join delighted beer and food fans for a strolling international culinary beer feast. Food from eight countries will be matched with special beers from those regions to help prove what Chris “The Beer Geek” Nelson has been saying for years: “Food goes better with beer than with wine.” Only 250 tickets will be sold to this first-time event that Mary Pagan and Jeff Moses are excited about, so get on the phone (333-2133) or stop by the Culinary Center to get in on what will surely be a delicious night.
Hey, you cats out prowling late on Cannery Row can get food until midnight and until 2am on weekends at Cannery Row Pizzeria and Wine Cellar, on the corner of Prescott, 646-0118. They also deliver to homes and hotels until closing time in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Seaside. That’s what I call handy, Andy… dandy.