A Year in Yum: Hits from the Blog, 2012
January 9, 2013
Editor's note: As 2013 rumbles into gear, we've been assembling a buffet of the top food stories in Monterey County from 2012—but those centered on print pieces. Some stories—perhaps driven by a wealth of photos or an exclusive video—were born for a web platform. Joel Ede curates his favorites here:
The year 2012 looked, in a word, scary. And not because of the end of the world.
Not only were three of Monterey County's very best restaurants—Aubergine, Marinus and Sierra Mar—fixing what wasn't broke with significant tweaks at each destination, but lawmakers were taking away foie gras. And sacred crab season was thrown into disarray with another crabber strike.
But there was comfort. Maybe the ultimate comfort.
Montrio chef and entrepreneur Tony Baker led the charge with his English-style bacon enterprise that debuted beautifully at a Montrio pop-up lunch. That was but the beginning, as our coverage would soon include a trial with bacon shaving cream, a local festival built around swine strips and bacon-weaving taking the interweb by storm.
Fueled largely by bacon, the foodie team at the Weekly continued pioneering more foodie videos online and added a once-a-week e-mail newsletter stuffed with news of restaurant openings, local wine finds, quick-bite insights and lots of links to other content, often from the Food Blog.
Many of the blog's most memorable and dynamic morsels appear below:
• Pop-ups themselves seemed to pop up everywhere last year, becoming a trend all their own and even landing a local seafood stockhouse at the end of Wharf II on cable television.
• The birth of the Independent Marketplace took the Peninsula by storm as it unleashed an ultra-local food and community celebration that many lament only goes down once a month—even if there is a charge to enter now.
• Chef Didier Dutertre revealed the technique behind his legendary Bistro Moulin spinach gnocchi:
• Restaurant 1833's Chef Levi Mezick fried up some 70 test varieties of fowl for the restaurant's new Sunday night fried chicken dinner…in one marathon lunch:
• Coastal Luxury Management Co-Owner Dave Bernahl talked year two of L.A. Food & Wine. Mark C. Anderson furnished a photo-heavy blog post showcasing all that was weird and wild at this year's LAF&W. Back here, their original festival, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, celebrated year five.
• Last spring Anderson took a sushi challenge at Harumi that affected him for a good 24 hours. But it was a different sort of food dare when Anderson attempted to keep his breakfast down while pulling nine Gs with Salinas-based stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker. Luckily he didn't have Esteban's new breakfast offerings pre-flight.
• The Weekly's $20 Throwdown Showdown introduced a head-to-head competition to see who can squeeze the most munch out of a 20 spot:
• Bernardus' Marinus facelift was, as noted above, a little scary considering how beloved of a spot it is. There are very few, save those in charge, who want much to change in the gastronomic realm of Chef Cal Stamenov.
• Many found the Five Guys Burger & Fries debut in Salinas as wonderful news. Let from-the-parking-lot-food-reviewer and internet sensation Daym tell you why you need to get yourself one of these juicy cheeseburgers—and reveal why we were much happier with his remixed video than the burger.
• The much publicized foie gras drama as the state attempted to become a no-goose-liver zone led to some interesting places, and led Anderson to ponder the fines attached to foie compared to those on fresh weed and moonshine.
• Thanks in large part to the popularity of the new-in-2012 Wine & Dine weekly newsletter, Weekly readers have touched off some stirring competitions for foodie prizes like festival passes and gift certificates with entertaining results. The most epic just might have to have been the beer haiku contest.
• Anderson and I took you along on a Sunday drive through Carmel Valley (with some surprising twists) and enjoyed every minute of it, even if there was a baseball bat placed in Anderson's face:
In the end, all of these elements were comforting, and there were other things that appeared on the blog too that made us happy, even if they weren't so rigidly food stories and instead featured a local elderly women dancing provocatively to an old Usher hit.