Morsels 07.23.20

Upstairs at Vesuvio in Carmel-by-the-Sea

DOG DAYS… It feels like an era of slowing down, but some new food businesses are just kicking into gear. Lucy’s on Lighthouse is now open in Pacific Grove (at 1120 Lighthouse Ave.) with beer, Marianne’s ice cream, and gourmet hot dogs named after surf spots, like the Peaks – a dog piled with pulled pork, kimchee, pimento cream cheese, slaw and “Lucy’s sauce.”

KICKING THE CAN… Remember the great wing shortage of 2017? Well, that’s nothing compared to the new aluminum shortage. With shelter-in-place shifting alcohol consumption away from bars and into the home, beer, soda and hard seltzer makers are having a more difficult time finding orders for aluminum. Luckily, some restaurants are making the socially-distanced social hour a thing with great drinks – especially the Old Fashioned.

ON THE STREETS OR ON THE ROOF… Downtown Carmel packed with cars and tourists? It’s back, even if indoor dining is out. Among the spots doing outdoor dining are Vesuvio, where Rich Pepe is serving food and drink both on the street and the same old rooftop as before. Their Old Fashioned sits in its barrel for a whole year before it is ready to be served. This makes it not only a great drink, but it also brings comfort knowing that the whiskey you are drinking was poured before anyone had any idea what 2020 would look like.

GRASS FED… Carmel’s charming courtyards are suddenly more relevant than just their charm. Consider Cultura Comida y Bebida, still serving up Oaxacan inspired plates and cocktails (with an emphasis on mezcal) in the communal area next to Rieser Fine Art. Since we are on the topic of the classic Old Fashioned, venture out and have one made with mezcal. Same ingredients but replace the whiskey with mezcal for a distinct smoky taste that’s not overpowering. Add in an order of their delicious chapulines – grasshoppers – and you’ll be traveling to México, all while sitting in the middle of Carmel.

FOR THE HOMIES… Even as restaurants do their best to keep us safe, a lot of us will continue to stay home and consume food (and tasty beverages from a can) via delivery. If you use a food delivery service like DoorDash or Uber Eats, be sure to tip well. As one driver puts it, “I used to make decent money. But lately it’s just not worth it anymore.” If we can’t help with the aluminum shortage, let’s help out by supporting the workers.

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