Best Bites: August 17-23

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: Strawberry shortcake at Restaurant 1833 (Monterey)

I’ve been back to Restaurant 1833 a couple times since my original review back in June. I haven’t been terribly impressed with the food — it’s all so heavy! But there was a glimmer of hope here last Tuesday night — an absolutely delicious special dessert.

The strawberry shortcake was an addition for the night — the pastry chef had picked up fresh organic strawberries at the farmers market earlier that evening.

There's really nothing like farmers market-fresh strawberries for strawberry shortcake.

The fresh strawberries were paired with light and fluffy shortcake and a rich vanilla Chantilly cream. The finishing touch of lime zest on top added a much appreciated citrus twist and sophistication to this classic dessert.

I hope this item makes it into the daily dessert menu — honestly, it was by far the best thing I’ve eaten at Restaurant 1833, savory or sweet.

Better Bite: Fig and caramelized onion sandwich at Happy Girl Kitchen (Pacific Grove)

I popped into Happy Girl Kitchen the other day for a quick lunch on the go. I was pleasantly surprised by the day’s sandwich–figs, caramelized onions, goat cheese and mixed greens.

A perfect bite as we gear up for fall: figs, goat cheese and caramelized onions.

It was a refreshing combination that brought together the right bites of savory, salty and sweet. And the textures worked well together too: the figs were juicy and gooey; the cheese was creamy; the greens crispy.

Paired with a glass of the delicious housemade strawberry mint lemonade, it was the perfect escape from a busy day at work.

Good Bite: Nectarine and strawberry ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery via the Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant (Monterey)

This week’s best bites are leaning to the sweeter side, aren’t they? Strawberry shortcake, figs and ice cream. All were quite tasty!

Mission Hill Creamery’s ice cream is always a winner in my book. I was bummed when they closed up shop in Santa Cruz late last year, but they’ve gotten a second life selling wholesale and carrying pre-packed pints at local markets. Our connection here on the Monterey Peninsula is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s restaurant. Sometimes I’ll pop in just for a scoop of ice cream!

A bowl of summer's fruit harvest: ice cream with nectarines and strawberries.

This duo of ice cream–a scoop of nectarine and a scoop of summer strawberry–was easily better than my lunch at the restaurant. Both flavors were packed with pieces of fruit, mixed into the smooth, creamy ice cream. They were rich, but light–well, as light as ice cream can be, I guess. As contrived as it sounds, this was definitely a bowlful of summer!

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