A little late, but no less tasty! Who made the cut for my holiday Best Bites, the tastiest nibbles I enjoyed over the Christmas holiday. Let’s take a peek . . .
Best bite: Bûche de Noël at Parker-Lusseau Pastries (Monterey)
I may not be French, but no Christmas is complete without a traditional French bûche de Noël. Also known by the more crass “yule log,” it’s the perfect sweet treat for the holidays. Over the years, we’ve sampled bûche de Noël from a number of local pastry shops. We even tried making our own one year. But we discovered a couple years ago that the best comes from Parker-Lusseau Pastries. Theirs takes the cake—pun totally intended!
This year, the bakery offered four types of bûche de Noël. We opted for the cinnamon-spice variety.
It’s a rich indulgence, so a small cake ($19) was sufficient for the three of us.
The cake was so light and airy, wrapped in a rich chocolate ganache. I loved the bite of spice from cinnamon and clove in the sponge cake. And the orange was a nice accent.
Parker-Lusseau Pastries has two shops in Monterey: 731 Munras Avenue (831-643-0300) and 539 Hartnell Street (831-641-9188). www.parker-lusseaupastries.com.
Quail at Restaurant 1833 (Monterey)
With friends in town for the holidays, I’ve spent many nights catching up over cocktails at Restaurant 1833 this week. On my first visit, I spotted a new dish on the menu: quail. I love quail—it’s a tender little morsel of meat that packs big flavors despite its diminutive size.
The soy-glazed quail was served with croissant stuffing and comes over a quince purée with creamed spinach ($15).
I loved the unusual combination of flavors: savory soy, creamy spinach, tart quince. And the meat was so juicy, with the croissant stuffing absorbing the rich quail flavor.
This new addition to the menu is definitely a must-order for my future visits.
Restaurant 1833 is at 500 Hartnell Street in Monterey. 831-643-1833. www.restaurant1833.com.