Yikes–it’s been too long since I’ve posted my weekly Best Bites. So to make up for it, how about a lightning round of posts? Here’s a whole month’s worth of tasty meals!
For those of you who missed my column in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald, I’m reposting the stories here on my blog. But wait–there’s more! That’s right, you’ve read about the best thing I ate all week, but what about some of the best bites that didn’t make the cut? Thank god for the internets–now you can see the top three foods I ate this week, complete with mouth-watering photos! Check back each weekend for a recap of the week’s tastiest treats!
Best Bite: Falafel from Mr. Falafel (Monterey, Pacific Grove farmers markets)
As any of my friends will tell you, I have an unhealthy love of falafel.
Mr. Falafel — at Monday’s farmers market in P.G. and the Tuesday Alvarado market — makes some of the best falafel around town. Their falafel nuggets are so flavorful. And they taste delicious when you get them hot out of the fryer.
I’ll often pick up a bag of falafel and munch on them at market — but I have to pace myself with these tasty little suckers lest I devour an entire bag in mere minutes!
Better Bite: Chicharrones at Restaurant 1833 (Monterey)
Now I’ll be the first to admit chicharrones are by far one of the weirdest foods my people ever invented. I mean fried pork rinds? Yeah, not the most glamorous dish, that’s for sure. And it’s definitely not a health food.
I haven’t eaten chicharrones since I was a kid, but when I sat down for dinner at Restaurant 1833 the other night and our server mentioned housemade chicharrones as a menu addition for the night, I couldn’t resist myself.
The chicharrones were crispy, yet still quite light. But wow, were those puppies greasy!
The flavor was light too—almost *too* light—but the accompanying housemade tomatillo salsa verde more than made up for it. That was a spicy salsa—very tasty!
Surprisingly, this menu addition—completely out of place with the rest of the American-heavy menu—was the highlight of dinner at Restaurant 1833.
Good Bite: Pork rack at Bistro Moulin (Monterey)
When I popped in for dinner on Saturday night, I didn’t skip a beat ordering the pork rack. Mmmmm. Pork.
When it arrived, wow, what a huge portion of pork. Hooray! The meat was so tender and flavorful with a caramelized fig demi-glace. The sweetness of the figs paired nicely with the richness of the pork.
And those potatoes. Wow, those were the lightest mashed potatoes I’ve had in a long time. They were so fluffy, and full of flavor to boot.
Honorable Mention: Tomato tart at Esteban (Monterey)
It’s summer and that means Esteban has brought back my all-time favorite menu item—the tomato tart. It’s not just any old tomato tart—this one comes topped with cherry tomatoes, along with rock shrimp sauteed in lobster butter. Oh yes.
It’s a deliciously rich little tart. I was even willing to forgive the overcooked (honestly, burned) tart crust because the tomatoes and shrimp were so flavorful.