Best Bites: December 30, 2012

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)

Parker-Lusseau Pastries makes the best bûche de Noël in town. It's a must-order every Christmas!

Parker-Lusseau Pastries makes the best bûche de Noël in town. It’s a must-order every Christmas!

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.

I loved the hints of cinnamon, clove and orange.

I loved the hints of cinnamon, clove and orange.

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).

Honorable Mention:
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 quail is quickly a contender for the best dish on the menu at Restaurant 1833.

The quail is quickly a contender for the best dish on the menu at Restaurant 1833.

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.

This entry was posted in Best Bites, Holidays, Restaurants, Sweet Treats. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Best Bites: December 30, 2012

  1. Dmitri Fridman says:

    I’ve never tried their bûche de Noël. Provence bakery in Del Monte mall make a great one as well.We’ve ordered white chocolate-raspberry for Christmas, it was very good.

  2. Ah, too bad I didn’t find this post before the holidays. Had a hazelnut bûche de Noël at Paris Bakery and was sorely disappointed. Its rough sugary frosting made me gag. I really want to like the place, but… I recently ran into an old friend who raved about Parker-Lusseau and suggested I try the Munras location over the Adobe so as not to be served the goodies on paper plates. It’s on my list to visit the next time I have a sweet craving.

    I’ve been wanting to try 1833, but the price points appear to be a little high for my budget. Did you get a discount on the quail? $15 seems very low compared to their July 2012 online PDF menu where the average entree price is $31.64. My husband tried their bacon cheddar biscuits at the Old Farmers Market this week and fell in love with them.

    I’m glad to have found your blog, since yelp sometimes leaves me wanting specifics about the taste of the food.

    • Raul says:

      I love Parker-Lusseau—great choice for morning pastries and special-occasion/holiday cakes.

      Definitely a fan of Restaurant 1833. It’s a little pricey for entrees, but the pizzas are a great budget-friendly option. And nope, no discount on the quail. It’s an “appetizer” but a sufficient portion for dinner, honestly. One of the best bargains I’ve found around town lately.

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