Foodies Will Love This Delicious Dish Served In Monterey Bay Restaurants
One of California’s true culinary delights is abalone. It’s delicious! But it’s also rare, hard to find and expensive.
Yet there is a tasty alternative in Monterey Bay: sand dabs.
Sand Dabs are small fish that pack big flavor. I mention them as an abalone alternative because they are both prepared in much the same way.
They are lightly coated in seasoned flour, sauteed in a hot pan with oil and, well, that’s pretty much it.
The result is the much the same. The flavors are light and simple, yet will have you falling back in the chair saying “oh, that is de-LIC-ious!”
Then you will be reaching for your wine.
Like abalone, sand dabs are a true California coastal dish. In fact, I’ve only seen sand dabs in Montery Bay. I live in Southern California and have never seen them on a menu here. Nor even in San Francisco.
So go to a place like Abalonetti Seafood Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey and have some sand dabs. Abalonetti, by the way prepares squid like abalone, thus its name.
So that’s yet another abalone alternative, exclusive to this restaurant.
Now, if you really want abalone, then the Little River Inn located four scenic hours to the north in Mendocino County, has a special promotional package where you can both catch and eat this rare California treat.
Private Pilots & Visitors Get A Feast At DC-3 Grill High Above Avalon
Veteran visitors to Catalina Island know a secret: There’s a place off the beaten tourist path that has the island’s best buffalo burgers.
It’s at the so-called “Airport in the Sky,” a refuge of sorts for Southern California private pilots. But anyone can go to it and in fact everyone is welcome to its monthly summertime BBQ s.
You just have to get there, of course.
The BBQs are parties that take place the second Saturday of the month.
And instead of the famous buffalo burgers, it includes tri-tip or chicken, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, garlic bread and hot apple pie a la mode, for $28.50.
Of course you can have the buffalo burger if you prefer it and Surfside Sam certainly recommends you put this on your foodie bucket list at some point in your life.
More than 200 people attend these BBQs, mainly private plane pilots, which makes for a very special bonding experience. But you don’t need a plane to get there; you can take a bus called the Wildlands Express from Avalon’s Plaza ($32 R/T).
If things progressed to the romantic stage, then he would certainly be in the right setting to take advantage of it.
If nothing else, he’s a sailboat captain and if things did not go well, he would at least enjoy the view. Plus, BALEENKitchen has bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys on weekends ($18, till 2 p.m.), so that could surely enhance any date!
As it turns out the date went longer than expected. I had invited him over to my place in Hermosa Beach later in the day and he never showed up here.
At about 2, I sent him this text: “Are you making out by the dock!?”
A couple days later, I called him.
“The location was perfect,” he said. “The food was good but not expensive (brunch items are in the $12-15 range, ideal for a first date), the place is beautiful and the location ideal.
His date must have felt the same way because she invited him to a work function a few days later.
So if you’re single and looking for a great first-date place for a weekend brunch in the Los Angeles South Bay Beach Cities, make it BALEENKitchen at the Portofino Hotel.
Mendocino County’s Little River Inn Offers Travelers & Divers A Rare Hotel Package
Shortly after moving to California, I was having beers with native neighbors who were talking about the state’s many virtues. One of the things they mentioned that I had to try at some point was abalone.
The more they described it, a delicious delicacy that’s kind of like a clam only much more tasty when lightly battered and sauteed, the more I wanted it.
Unfortunately, they said I was unlikely ever to have it because it was so desirable it was hunted to near extension and if you could even find it in a restaurant it would cost $50 or more as a mere appetizer.
It seemed like a cruel tease, like flirting with the prettiest girl in the bar only to have her bulky boyfriend come up the minute you’re about to ask for her phone number.
Well the pretty girl’s wink can sometimes become a hug. The Little River Inn located in Mendocino County north of San Francisco is offering people the opportunity not just to dine on this California delicacy but dive for it, as well.
That’s right, you go down and catch your own abalone, bring it up, then have the hotel’s chef prepare it for dinner that night. Called the “ABCs Of Abalone,” it’s a two-night package that is as rare as abalone itself: a true once-in-lifetime experience.
The cost is about $900 with the necessary licenses and everything you need for two days of diving with an experienced host. The latter is very important because the rocky Mendocino Coast is as dangerous as it is scenic and diving for abalone should only be done with guides.
Gaslamp Quarter Restaurants To Get First Look During This Food Feast
With more than 180 restaurants participating, it’s impossible to go to every one of them, even if you’re got a week to do it.
So here’s my plan for dining during San Diego Restaurant Week, Jan. 19-24.
I’ve just relocated (temporarily) to the Gaslamp Quarter. So I am going to be spending the next few days walking the area, with a list of restaurants, and scout out the places I where I would like to eat.
At $10, $15 or $25 for lunch, and $25, $35 and $45 for dinner for an appetizer, entree and dessert (well, I don’t eat dessert so maybe they will trade it for a glass of wine!), it’s the best way to check out a number of high-end restaurants at a very good price. Some restaurants only serve dinner, by the way.
There are 46 downtown participating restaurants, so I had better get moving! Already on my list is Fish Grotto, Athens, Market Taverna (I love traveling to Greece so Greek tavernas always catch my attention),Nobu Ostra Fish House, Osteria Panevino, Searsucker (which also has a great singles bar scene), Wine Vault & Bistro
I’ve already been to Banker’s Hill Bar + Restaurant and can report it’s outstanding, and of course have been to Fleming’s.
If I venture out of the Gaslamp, then I might head up to Point Loma for a $10 lunch at the Blue Wave Bar and Grill or a $25 dinner at The Boathouse.
I could also take a ferry for $4.50 each way to Coronado where there are seven restaurants on the list. With this flawless San Diego weather, that would be a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Leroy’s Kitchen Lounge, a place that sounds quite interesting, has lunch for $15, as does Vigilucci’s Ristorante.
Other neighborhoods include La Jolla, the Beach Cities, Old Town and North County.
Central California Restaurants Offering Prix Fixe Menus In Central California’s Wine Country
If you think your feasting is finished just because the holidays are over, then think again, for January is Restaurant Month in San Luis Obispo County along the central California coast.
Nearly 50 restaurants from Cambria to Arroyo Grande are taking part by offering special menus, most of them a three-course, prix fixe meal for just $30 per person. And since it takes place in one of California’s top wine-growing regions – Paso Robles is recognized as producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noirs – you can enjoy the local beverage with the courses. For an additional charge, of course.
The town of Paso Robles has the second-most participating restaurants with 12, including Thomas Hill Organics Market Bistro & Wine Bar, which seems appropriate. With 18 restaurants participating, San Luis Obispo has the most choices.
Other cities involved in Restaurant Month are Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach.
Restaurant Month, just as the name implies, runs from Jan. 1-31.
For accommodations, there are several choices in the area from Cambria Inns. Website: www.cambriainns.com.
Highly-Acclaimed Italian Restaurant Featuring Three-Course Menus
This isn’t your usual turkey-and-mashed potatoes Thanksgiving weekend dinner. Or leftover turkey sandwiches (delicious as they may be the next day).
Michael’s On Naples doesn’t do things that way.
The highly-renowned Italian restaurant in Long Beach, CA – it was named as the Best Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles by Zagat, among the Top 25 Best Italian Restaurants in the Country and boasting one of the Top 10 Wine Lists in Los Angeles according to Gayot, Michael’s– is hosting pre- and post-Thanksgiving prix fixe menu. Italian style.
On Wednesday, Nov. 27 and then again on Friday, Nov. 29, it is featuring a three-course menu for $50 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. The restaurant’s regular menu will also be available.
Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento! (Happy Thanksgiving in Italian.)
Here’s the menu items for the three courses:
Kale salad with caramelized pear, gorgonzola, pancetta and almonds
– or –
Agnolotti di Manzo
Short rib stuffed pasta with horseradish and veal reduction
– or –
Capesante in Padella
Pan seared scallop with pumpkin puree and toasted faro
Polpettone di Carne
Bacon wrapped meat loaf with mashed potatoes
and Brussels sprouts
– or –
Vitello alla Milanese
Ciabatta breaded Veal with forest mushrooms,
polenta and romanesco
– or –
Branzino alla Griglia
Grilled Mediterranean sea bass with
roasted cauliflower, heirloom carrots and confit artichokes
Strawberry cream with almond crumble
– or –
Gelato della Casa
Chef’s choice of homemade gelato
Michaels is located at:5620 East Second Street, Long Beach, CA.