Haulin’ Oats’ mosh pit of organic morning-flavor-in-a-jar earns rabid fans.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Historically, when you woke up on the frumpy side of the futon, the Callin’ Oates Hotline was there.
You could ring 719-266-2837 and the options – and your optimism – opened up: Press 1 to hear “One on One,” 2 for “Rich Girl,” 3 for “Maneater” and 4 for “Private Eyes.”
Only now it’s disconnected.
The arrival of locally sown Haulin’ Oats (809-8876), then, comes to folks hungry for help. Now when you start a day deflated and without the desire or ingredients to improvise an antidote, nearby there’s healthy and organic oatmeal pre-packed in a mason jar, spiked with things like hazelnuts and nutmeg.
“When combined with hot water,” reads the tag attached to the jars by hemp string, “it will not only blow your mind, but leave you satisfied and ready to move mountains. Peace, love and oats… ”
When I saw Monterey’s Cindy Muscarello – the same gal who launched LaLa Originals “to save the planet one accessory at a time” with clutches, shrugs and such from repurposed materials – is a partner, I figured she had another business bun in the oven. But her role is more addict than entrepreneur.
She wasn’t the one who packed all sorts of ingredients from places like Whole Foods and Pinnacle Nuts into dynamic flavor combinations like “Lavender Blues” and “Chai a Little Tenderness” – now $5-$7 at Salinas outposts like the DellaRose Deli and new Fresh from D’Vine (see Bites, right), Princess Whaling on the Wharf and Fernwood and Ventana in Big Sur, or by delivery (for orders of six+). Nope, that was a rock star, and one with songwriting chops to make smiley Hall and Oates grin.
Lauren Shera Levine has been lighting up stages from Bonnaroo to SXSW with angelic chords, beyond-her-years lyrics and plenty of original folk flavor. As part of a home-school project, she and her family crafted the perfect day-starter for, say, an artist on tour.
“Oatmeal is our favorite breakfast,” says Tracey Levine, Lauren’s mom and the original visionary. “We got creative.”
When the stash delivered to dad’s office kept getting snapped up, they knew it was time for a commercial push. When the Levines looked to move to greener musical pastures, Muscarello’s first thought was: “Where am I going to get my oats?!” The partnership ensued, and now the biz distributes in Nashville and Monterey County.
The jars are as fun and filling as they are easy to prep. Each has a base of rolled oats, almond butter, coconut oil and brown sugar; Lavender Blue’s vanilla extract, flax seed, cardamom, lavender, hazelnuts, dried blueberries, nectarines and coconut scored well – though the coconut wary will prefer Cinnamon Girl. I loved the plump raisins, crunchy pecans and zingy ginger of the chai most, though it, like each, could use more fruit. Best part: No hotline needed. Just hot water.
• Peter B’s BrewPub (649-2699) realized a dream for every local hop head: growlers to go. A latch-top, 32-ounce bottle of everything from classic brews like its full-bodied stout to seasonal specials like the 8.2 percent Buck Wild Imperial IPA run an introductory-deal $25 (including the bottle; $10 refills). Other seasonals of the moment: a Hefewizen banana-and-clove collaborative work with the Beer Geeks (5.5 and 15 IBV) and an Alvarado Street raspberry wheat (5.5, 10.1). This month B’s is also pouring a fall lineup of pumpkin beer, scotch ale and coffee stout.
• If you needed further evidence that Linda Cantrell’s heart is as big as her hugs, she’s aiming to bring a nonprofit kitchen called Full Belly to Seaside to feed the hungry. “I’ve always wanted to live my life in service,” says the owner-operator of Monterey Cookhouse (642-9900). “It’s the next mission – if everyone contributes, it can be a huge thing.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to lend insight or time or a location.
• Speaking of NFL football, the Cookhouse has one of the better playsets of specials during games: $8 for a massive hot dog, fries and beer ($10 with a burger), plus appetizer deals for $6 or less, $3 well drinks, $4 margaritas, cosmos and martinis, $3.50 draft pints and $17 pitchers. Blue Fin (717-4280) brings on two-for-one apps, $2 domestic drafts and $15 bottomless mimosas. The redone Bulldog (658-0686) has an epic hangover sandwich for $10 with fries and bacon Bloody Mary for $8.95. Baja Cantina (625-BAJA) has a free half-time raffle, $1 tacos, $5 French dip, $4 Hornitos shots on Monday nights, which is when Kula Ranch (883-9479) does a roster full of $2 small plates, $2 Bud Light drafts, $3 microbrews, a whole roasted hog, and Pizza Factory hosts ESPN radio and a chance to throw a spiral through a target for $100.
• It’s happening in Menlo Park and costs $500, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s ocean benefit (Sept. 22, www.montereybayaquarium.org) is notable for more than its aquatic ethos. With stars like Cindy Pawlcyn, Mary Sue Milliken, Nyesha Arrington, Nicole Plue, Jesse Ziff Cool cheffing and winemakers Eileen Crane (Domaine Carneros), Celia Welch (Corra), Pam Starr (Crocker & Starr), Rebekah Wineburg (Buccella) and Nicole Abiouness (Abiouness Wines) doing the juice, there’s another inspiring, long-overdue theme at work too.
• While we’re ranging north, something surreal is happening in Palo Alto: former McDonald’s execs have launched a fast-food take on truly organic-seasonal-local with Lyfe Kitchen. Hit the blog for more.
• Husband-and-wife team Frank and Jenni Devine’s Fresh from D’Vine (455-8878) is turning lettuce heads next to McShane’s Nursery on Highway 68. Quality and prices, plus organic options and artfully arranged produce appear to be the reason why.
• Rio Grill (625-5436) celebrates California Wine Month with a Deadly Zins wine dinner ($80) Tuesday, Sept. 11: braised oxtail, chicken-fried ahi, cowboy steaks and chocolate pâté paired with DZ’s best.
• r.g. Burgers of Carmel Crossroads (626-8054; there’s also the Monterey spot, 372-4930) offers a gorgeous choice of on – and off-menu items, including a Nutella milkshake ($4.95) and a béarnaise burger ($9.95 with fries). And that’s but the beginning. More on the blog.
• Say it ain’t so: Anthony Bourdain’s last season of No Reservations started this week (it rolls 9pm Mondays on Travel Channel).
• “That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things,” Bourdain once wrote, “we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”