Living for Today
A great day of grazing in Monterey County. And then some.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Today, the day this paper publishes, is a beautiful day.
That’s because it may have begun with $4.99 all-you-can-eat pancakes at Woody’s Bayview Grill (649-6800), as that deal runs Thursday through Sunday. An ocean view, mimosas and bloody marys: That’s a lineup as stacked as the pancakes.
Or, better yet, it started with a free breakfast at spots like REI, Joselyn’s Bicycles, Light and Motion, Haute Enchilada Café or CycleAware, where the organizers of the 16th Annual Monterey County Bike Week distributed fresh fruit, pastries, bagels, muffins, orange juice, coffee and tea for Bike to Work/School Day. (The motto applies any day of the week: “Healthier. Greener. Cheaper. Smarter.”)
Today also means further affordable nourishment for bellies on bikes: HER Helmet Thursdays continues to partner with an army of hotels, entertainment/educational venues and restaurants who kick down discounts for those rolling vehicles with kickstands (or just spokes). Check out www.bicyclingmonterey.com.
This day in history also means more mochi and maraschino cherries, more Snickers and Twix, more yogurt chips and chocolate chips, more brownie bites, caramel cups and Captain Crunch. (OK. It also means more yogurt-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered espresso beans, more pecans, peanuts and walnuts, fresh fruit delivered daily – blackberries, raspberries, blueberries – and sauces like marshmallow cream, kiwi and caramel.)
That’s because starting today, MYO Yogurt (649-FROYO) is doubling its ability to pile those ingredients on froyo flavors like cupcake batter, red velvet and rootbeer float at 491 Alvarado St. in Monterey, next to another brand new sequel, Karma Cafe, from the folks at Indian Summer.
Both additions are good things on a central street still recovering from a fire that cooked the better part of two blocks. The locally-owned MYO – and its standing locals’ discount – does such a good job with its range of indulgent and sugar free/probiotic yogurts that it won Best Local Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Shop from Weekly readers in March. Tough to top that.
Just two blocks away, today could also mean a craft draft beer in a coffee shop. East Village Coffee Lounge (373-5601) already offered above average joe, diverse teas, organic wines, tasty quiches, a big patio, and cool art – now they’re doing flatbreads including an artichoke-asparagus number ($4.95) I dug the other day, and said draft beer deal starting at 6pm for just $3. They go through kegs quick, so the elixir is often changing, but it’s always good. I’ve seen them serving Black Butte and Green Flash IPA. And today is also a Roots and Vines reggae-sustainable wine-local beer tasting from 9-11pm.
And as if today couldn’t get much better, there’s a basil burger on a house baked bun just up the street at the best kept semi-secret in Monterey, Wild Plum Café and Bakery (646-3190), tucked away on a side street behind its culinary counterpoint, Denny’s.
The fresh flowers in mason jars on each table work as a metaphor for what makes the Plum so juicy: The joint is fresh, colorful and thoughtful. The ingredients are crucial, with the breads and pastries baked there and the salads, soups and sandwiches built upon things like hormone-free Diestel turkey roasted on site and free-range, grass-fed beef.
I like the grilled four cheese (provolone, jack, cheddar and moz on WP foccacia), which comes with a potato, pasta or house salad for $7.95. Salads like the super natural, greek, sesame chicken or the house (organic greens with baby tomatoes, parmesan, roasted onions and peppers and their own vinagrette) are a hit at $6.50-$9.75 for a small and $7.75-$10.75 for a biggie. There are omelets, whole-grain waffles, BLTs and grade-A “box lunches” to go for around 10 bones.
My last plate there, a “Pacific steamer” with smoked salmon, scallions, cream cheese, parmesan and tomato caponata, with country potatoes and toasted house bread ($10.95), was a fluffy wonder swimming with big pink chunks of wild fish.
Today gets more festive from there, because the happy hour Tuesday-Saturday at Hula’s (655-4852) are actually four hours (2-6pm). Anticipate seared ahi won ton and the coconut shrimp rolls for $5. Pink martinis, Red Stripes and lilikoi bellinis are but $3. Mai tais, painkillers, mango-and-lilikoi margaritas and “Hawaii 5.0s” are $5.
Another deal keeps today going – Yama Sushi’s 1-cent sake runs Monday through (yes) Thursday. The 50-percent-off-rolls hook-up happens daily.
And no day is ideal without something to look forward to. Tomorrow Dangerous Catch Captain Johnathan Hillstrand – the guy that braves graveyard-cold winds and murderous seas on Discovery Channel – will be docked at Domenico’s (372-3655) 5-6:30pm Friday, May 14, signing copies of his crew’s portrait while a three course meal with Alaskan king crab or Alaskan salmon main course ($50) honors the occasion. The Artichoke Festival (633-2465) sprouts big this weekend in Castroville. Cooking for Solutions (644-7561) is just around the corner, May 21-22.
With apologies to Ice Cube, I gotta say: Today is a good day.