Go Time at 1833
The most anticipated debut of the decade, plus Mundos’ Squealing Pigs.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
If I had a flaming absinthe cocktail for every time someone asked me, “What is the deal with Restaurant 1833?” my life would be one big fat fire-hazard of a hallucination. And that’s something which those closest to the chronically delayed destination (and its resident ghosts) can understand.
But yes: The epic undertaking that is the opening of Restaurant 1833 (643-1833) has found an end point.
Friday, June 24, parent company Coastal Luxury Management co-founders Rob Weakley and David Bernahl, GM Tobias Peach (who happens to be the creator of the tableside flammable absinthe experience), Chef Levi Mezick and the wider army of Velardes and Funks, Potters and Pages will swing the doors open as widely as their smiles.
Hit the blog for a compilation of stories tracking 1833’s evolution, from its original imagining to its bumps in the road to its comely realization (which arrives a day after sibling Cannery Row Brewing Company’s one-year anniversary party this Thursday), and some photos, menu peeks and tasting notes plucked right at press time.
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It’s hard to argue with the philosophy behind a new pop-up restaurant concept that completed its first installments this week. FÜD wants to spotlight under-the-radar chef talents, give a little back to the community and, well, enjoy fresh, foodie, oh-goodie grub.
It clicks like this: the dinner takes place twice a month with a different location, nonprofit and culinary team. Round one that was Food Bank for Monterey County and Roy’s at Spanish Bay’s Jon Knight materializing at East Village Coffee Lounge for $45 (includes a cocktail but not tax ‘n’ tip; thankfully BYO wine’s OK).
Knight proceeded to roll out a smashed plantain dish loaded with fresh shrimp, a green-tea-and-plum granita, coffee-brined duck mole and a rum-laced yeast cake with apricot glaze and “bacon bash” hot chocolate. That’s flavor that pops. Check www.wherewegrub.com.
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The Squealing Pig ($6.99 with potato chips) and its “bacon-infused patty” present an aptly oinky microcosm of the sandwich experiment brothers Fernando and Eliseo Mundo are conducting at Mundos Cafe (656-9244), which has been open two months near Big Five on Fremont in North Monterey.
“Anyone can do a burger,” Eliseo says. “We want to do something different.”
The Choriqueso Burger ($7.49) qualifies, thanks to its unconventional combo-crown of chorizo and mozzarella. The soft, melted mozz provides good connective flavor, and the only thing it’s missing, really, is a touch more chorizo.
The inventiveness sizzles from there. A wealth of options decorate the wall above the Cypress Bakery goods in the display case and the sign for banana-hazelnut crepes ($5.99). There are more burgers like the Wild Wild West with muenster, chipotle barbecue sauce and fried onions ($6.99) and the portobello veggie burger ($6.75), which benefits big from baby marinated portos rather than a big slice of shroom, as it’s easier to eat and allows the house sauce and Swiss cheese to better mingle.
The Mundo bros are Mexican-American but borrow from other lands, like Argentina, for the tri-tip panini with chimichurri sauce. The classic BBQ Tri Tip (both are $6.49) gets a lift from a rustic ciabatta roll, smoky sauce and just enough tenderness to tempt discerning carnivores. Other categories complement, like the classic deli entries – oven-baked turkey, egg salad, chicken-bacon-ranch and Bella salami among them, with a choice of breads ($5.25 each) – and the specialty lineup, with its “Thanksgiving Turkey” types with cream cheese and cranberry sauce ($6.25 a pop). There’s a “President’s Club” menu (Farmers Delight, Turkey Campestre and Chicken Tuscany, etc., $7.49 each) and a vegetarian menu (Mundos Mozzarella with chimichurri, grilled eggplant, fire-roasted pepper sandwiches, and so on, $5.25 each).
The one-time coffee drive through still carries joe, and a welcoming warmth.
“Just the people coming in making friends has been fun,” brother “Eli” says. “We’re a mom-and-pop kinda place… where you come and eat good.”
That’s the squeal deal.
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Starting this Friday, June 24, Cafe Lumiere (920-2451) is flowing Rasputin, Mikkeller, Dupont and Dieu du Ciel from the tap. There’s a Mikkeller beer dinner and tasting July 3 ($60/beer and food; $30/beer and charcuterie)… That’s also when the Concours de Fromage cheese and wine tasting for Heifer International happens at Laguna Seca with a wheel of artisanal types for $25 and up: refuelraces.com/cheesetasting/… The Monterey Cookhouse (642-9900) is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday, with $7.95 a la carte sandwiches and soup-and-salad combos… Aquarium dive hero George Z. Peterson turned me to a Chardonnay light years tastier than its price tag the other day. Ventana Vineyard’s Pastiche Chardonnay – enjoying both the crisp of a stainless aging and the flavor of oak thanks to a 50-50 fermentation – is going for $5 a bottle. Call 372-7415… Hurry on that, but remember, as the 1833 crew knows well, that “Patience,” as St. Augustine said, “is the companion of wisdom.”