Best bite: January 19

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: Chanterelle mushroom pizza at La Bicyclette (Carmel)

Dinner on Friday night came in stages: small bites at Restaurant 1833 (Monterey), an entrée at La Bicyclette (Carmel) and dessert at Mundaka (Carmel).

A number of delicious dishes were sampled while hopping from place to place, but it was the chanterelle mushroom pizza at La Bicyclette that stood out in my memory most.

La Bicyclette's pizzas consistently wow me with such unique gourmet combinations.

Truffle “pesto” provided an earthy foundation on this wood-fired pizza for the flavors on top — buttery chanterelle mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and fresh maché lettuce.

The pizzas at La Bicyclette consistently wow me, with flavor combinations that are fresh yet familiar.

La Bicyclette is at the corner of Dolores and Seventh in Carmel. 831-622-9899.

Honorable Mentions:
Seafood cannelloni at Bistro Moulin (Monterey)

The other night I had a serious hankering for French fare, so I meandered down to Bistro Moulin. I was *this close* to ordering my usual — the duck confit — when I discovered seafood cannelloni was on the menu as a special addition for the night. I had walked in the door ready for a French feast, but I couldn’t say no to that Italian classic, elevated in chef Didier’s very capable hands.

The seafood cannelloni were the perfect remedy for the chill of a wintery January night.

The cannelloni were stuffed with shrimp, scallops and lobster, with ricotta cheese and spinach, then baked in a housemade pink vodka sauce.

The flavors of the cannelloni were both subtle and strong at the same time. The light touch of the seafood paired with the bold kick of the vodka sauce. That sauce is seriously my favorite pasta sauce anywhere in town. It’s rich and creamy, but without feeling heavy. I went through a second basket of bread just sopping up the sauce.

Bistro Moulin is located at 867 Wave Street in Monterey. 831-333-1200.

Candy cap mushroom flan at Mundaka (Carmel)

This dessert — the final touch in an indulgent progressive dinner last Friday night — was a unique mix of flavors.

This flan was a rich finish to a progressive dinner that started at Restaurant 1833 and ended at Mundaka.

I’m not normally a big fan of flan, but this one had a stiffer texture, not that slimy, gummy flan you so often get. And the sauce — infused with candy cap mushrooms — on top was the perfect sweet complement to the buttery flan.

I’m excited for the winter mushroom harvest, and here’s hoping we see more candy cap mushroom desserts popping up around town.

Mundaka is located on San Carlos Street between Ocean and Seventh in Carmel. 831-624-7400.

Tomato barley soup at Happy Girl Kitchen (Pacific Grove) 

There’s just something classic about tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. When I was a kid, my grandmother made this combo for me all the time. I can remember the gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and a hot bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup.

This soup and sandwich combo at Happy Girl Kitchen took me right back to my childhood.

The soup was made with tomatoes, canned over the summer by Happy Girl Kitchen. A hint of chile pepper gave a subtle spicy kick to the soup. And the barley gave extra meaty texture.

This vibrant bowl of tomato barley soup took me back to my childhood.

The simple sandwich of Gruyere cheese and butter on Parker-Lusseau ciabatta bread made for an appropriately indulgent pairing for the light soup.

It was my childhood favorite, all grown up.

Happy Girl Kitchen is located at 173 Central Avenue in Pacific Grove. 831-373-4475.

This entry was posted in Best Bites, Extra Bites, Herald, Off The Menu, Restaurants. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Best bite: January 19

  1. Great post! La Bicyclette is so amazing… We reviewed it at: //
    Stop by!

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