Youth-boosting events headline a buffet of nourishing food news.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Chewing on a partially lit cigar, George Lopez took a chomp out of Pacific Grove. Lopez, who has a home on the links in Pebble Beach, took to gnawing on P.G. after the AT& %s Pro-Am’s Charity Shootout when a knucklehead reporter erroneously pegged him as a (part-time) Pagrovian.
“Nothing against Pacific Grove,” he said, “but I like to get a drink after 9pm.” But while the Grove may be a little watered down on the watering holes, they have a robust restaurant lineup that, capita per capita, can bang with some of the best destinations in the West. Many of the best of that roster will rally behind P.G. schools Sunday, March 15, for the 20th Annual Great Taste of Pacific Grove. Between the Patisserie Bechlers and the Aliotti’s, the Fandangos and the Joe Rombi’s – and a chorus of great wineries – delicious discoveries were unavoidable, including the fact that at $50 it ultimately proves to be a deal. Call 642-4943 to get in.
There are a number of other events dedicated to rallying support for local youth coming down the hatch as well: Community Partnership for Youth salutes a parliament of angels – including Rancho Cielo pointman and retired judge John Phillips, Siobhan Green of CASA and Ron Johnson of the Boys and Girls Club – at their annual Honoring Those Who Honor Youth on March 14 (394-4279). April 4, CASA hosts its own “Lighting the Way” annual dinner-dance, one of the year’s most brilliant community building events. This year it happens at the Hyatt, features a Cotton Club theme and stars the indomitable Dennis Murphy and his 18-piece Big Band – with a guest appearance by 9-year-old mini-diva Mimi Sledge (455-6800). The Boys and Girls Club’s hits a week sooner at the Monterey Conference Center Saturday, March 28, when 16th annual edition of their Comics for Kids Dinner will star Kevin Nealon (394-5171 x215).
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I can’t say that I’ve ever competed in the World Pizza Games, but I can now say that I have tangled with one of its champions: Pizza My Heart’s “Big Sur,” which pulled in 1st Place for the Western U.S. at the ’08 Games. Organic tomato sauce, quality pepperoni and sausage, big slices of portabello mushrooms, green onions and a tasty seasoned crust have a lot to do with that. But 40 other things have the most sensational impact: 40 whole cloves of fresh garlic.
That’s about five a slice for a $22.25 14-incher. Hallelujah. The Big Sur’s got a new believer.
Next up in my championship career: The Watsonville Apple (also $22.25 for a 14-incher), Best Gourmet Pizza 2008 West Coast Pizza Championships – a red sauce-free pie with green apple slices, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, green onions, gorgonzola and garlic. Call 656-9400 for a shot at the crown.
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As if we needed another reminder hospitality’s a tough business (even when the economy isn’t on a crash diet), Rosemary Voong reports that the Chinese food destination in Carmel’s Barnyard, Golden Buddha, is closing. The last day they’ll open our doors will be March 15, 2009.
“We arechoosing not torenew our lease,” she wrote, “and hope thatwhen the economy improves wewill look for another location.”
A lot of locals will share that hope with Voong.
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Fear not, pad Thai junkies. The locally adored My Thai legacy is in good hands in Marina: New owner/chef Anna Sawadpeera has the appropriately renamed D’Anna Thai Kitchen humming along at 210 Reindollar Ave. Good-looking lunch specials are available for $6.95 and up from 11:30am to 3pm during the week and noon to 3pm Saturday. I carried out the ribs and a shrimp curry for a lunch date with my laptop and the sweet, tender meat and chunky panang curry (they squashed a lot of pumpkin in there) of the respective dishes definitely didn’t disappoint. And they’re open for dinner 5-9pm Monday through Saturday.
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As the Weekly reported two weeks ago, Growers Pub opened in mid-February with the stated objective of taking things slow to make sure they properly cultivated the longtime Salinas landmark at 227 Monterey St. – with lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner limited to Saturdays only.
Apparently the people wanted more of the throwback booths, high-grade steaks and Dawn Madri’s hospitality, because they’re now they’re doing dinner Tuesday through Saturday (5-9pm) in addition to lunch (11am-2pm). 754-1488… It seems like every week the River Inn has another magnetic deal going down. Right now they’re offering two-for-one lunches – grab a pal, linger by the river, and treat her to lunch. (Rooms are affordable, too – lodging for two with dinner and breakfast is $160)… Make plays.