Best bite

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. Check out this week’s Best Bite–a recap of the week’s tastiest treat! As an added bonus, check out some extra tasty bites I found this week dining around town.

Best Bite: Chicken pot pie at Cafe Rustica (Carmel Valley)

The nice weather this weekend was the perfect excuse for lunch out in the valley at Cafe Rustica — their patio offers a nice respite from the (relative) hustle and bustle of the Monterey Peninsula.

The standout of lunch was the day’s special — chicken pot pie. This simple, sophisticated preparation of a classic pot pie was packed with large pieces of succulent chicken, lots of tender carrots and a sprinkling of peas, then topped with a disc of puff pastry.

Simple comfort foods, like chicken pot pie, are perfect for brisk winter weekends.

Too few restaurants around town offer chicken pot pie — it’s really a shame because this iconic comfort food can be so refined in the right chef’s hands.

Cafe Rustica is at 10 Delfino Place in Carmel Valley. 659-4444. www.caferusticacarmel.com.

Honorable Mentions:
Funghi pizza at Cantinetta Luca (Carmel)

This past week, I sampled many delicious dishes at Cantinetta Luca while redeeming my Groupon deal. You already spotted one of my favorites–a duo of egg ravioli–in my column this week, but many other tasty bites were consumed during dinner.

The funghi pizza included a generous sampling of wintertime wild mushrooms.

Another favorite was the funghi pizza, topped with crimini mushrooms, sweet gorgonzola cheese and spinach. The sweet–yet tangy–bite of gorg was a nice complement to the earthy mushrooms and the slight hint of smoky char on the wood-fired crust.

It’s so rare to find fancy pizzas around town–but this one at Cantinetta Luca is definitely going to stick in my memory for a while.

Cantinetta Luca is located on Dolores Street, between Ocean and Seventh avenues, Carmel. 625-6500. www.cantinettaluca.com.

Peanut butter froyo at Pinkberry (Monterey)

Pinkberry is quickly becoming my go-to stop for a late-night sweet snack. With the holidays behind us now, they’ve retired the peppermint froyo. In its place, Pinkberry brought back peanut butter, albeit for a limited engagement until salted caramel joins the menu later this week.

I've been to Pinkberry almost every night this week to get my fill of peanut butter froyo during its limited return.

I’ve already sung the praises of the peanut butter froyo–it snagged the Best Bite title earlier this fall–but I’ll say it again: it’s the best froyo flavor in town. It’s so rich and creamy, but not overwhelmingly so. And topped with brownie bites, Heath Bar chunks and crispy chocolate bites, it’s a great dessert–or late-night snack.

Pinkberry is located at 316 Alvarado Street in Monterey. 375-9900. www.pinkberry.com.

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