It was a lack of funds that drove me to eat cheap.....That was my first mistake, I should have just gone home. My second was the desire to discover that 'out of the way' place in my end of the sand bar in Seaside by the Sea:
I found several places that should remain unknown, and then I lost my appetite for eating out altogether:
#1 I am definitely not impressed with the Creole Restaurant on Broadway, I guess the sandwiches 'to go' are great for the workweek lunch crowd, but I will refrain from the details about the Gumbo. Just trust me.
#2 The twice baked potato at the Monterey Cookhouse Grill on Fremont arrived luke warm, and had an Elmer's Glue consistency. However, in their favor The Herald has proclaimed this restaurant it to have the best pulled pork on the Peninsula ~ so if meat is your choice, perhaps a test run during happy hour, when you can get a glass of wine and a flame grilled hamburger for$10.00 will indicate a return visit or not. Call (831) 642-9900 to confirm this deal is still real.
Here are a few other eateries in Seaside that I have enjoyed:
Chef Lee's on Fremont, aside from the ceiling which is very distracting...
Saigon Noodle Pho was nearly perfect, located on Broadway, just down from The Taquaria, (and conveniently located next to the 24 hr laundry mat.)
Ichi Riki (They try hard to please, and many people have recommended it to me, though I have not had great sushi in Monterey yet) located at the west end of Broadway on Del Monte.
Sweet Elena's Bakery & Cafe at 465 Olympia Ave, in Sand City, just behind Ichi Riki has had me under it's spell with that decaf cappuccino, the eggplant, even a pot of tea with free Wi Fi, not to mention the display of local artists. They have a simple style that the other eateries do not.
And of course, there is Curly's BBQ on Fremont off 218 for serious BBQ and Sweet Potato Pie, YUM.
What I eventually did discover ~ was that restaurant food when the purse has precious little ~ does not satisfy.Yes you can grab a quick hearty meal, one that sticks to your ribs, but gourmet dining out definitely has a throat hold on your wallet.
"What is a restaurant commentator to do?"
Luckily, the ocean mists in Seaside deliver the fragrances of home cooked meals from one neighborhood to another. Kitchens who's chefs serve only one family, and in this realm it is as close as some of us can get to 'exclusive eateries'.
Inspired by a passing aroma ~ I was inspired to let my own inner chef to emerge:
Weber Roasted Beer Can Chicken, Infused with White Wine, Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, and Smothered in a Blanket of Roasted Garlic, Pink Himalayan Salt and Multicolored Cracked Black Peppercorns. (see slideshow)
The Weber Grill is my favorite, though my tiny one needed extra holes in the base for ventilation, as this size would not fit a 'standing chicken' So after I nailed a few extra air holes at it's base, I started the Mesquite coals. I removed the grill and made a nest of hot charcoal so that the chicken could stand up without hitting the lid. Supported by the beer can, and wrapped lightly in tin foil, (as you do want it to brown as well as roast ~)
I use only Kosher chicken – those are the only store bought ones you can get that have any of the real chicken flavor you crave – It's like you are transported back to the very first time you ever had grilled chicken – the taste buds stand at attention with this recipe. Believe it.
So, start the grill with real Mesquite wood, (see slideshow) and get into your kitchen with the following ingredients...
INGREDIENTS (in order of appearance)
1. Whole Kosher Chicken rinsed both inside and out in cool water and patted dry with a paper towel
2. Two to three hand-fulls of Lemon Verbena Leaves which you should be growing outside in your garden...along side the Basil and Rosemary ...This plant can grow into a tree size in the right climate...so think about that location when you plant it.
3. Add a sprig of Rosemary to the Lemon Verbena leaves, and stuff inside the cavity of the chicken.
4. You'll need one small soda can – without the soda, into which you will pour ¾ cup of good white wine.
5.Place this upright inside the cavity of the chicken, and stand the bird upright
6.Place on a fairly large sheet of aluminum foil, which will protect the bird from the coals, but do not wrap it tightly ~ as you do want the heat and aroma of mesquite coals to give it's blessing upon the bird.
7. For the exterior of the chicken, rub the roasted garlic onto the breast, legs and back of the bird
FOUR cloves of pre roasted garlic, (which is a staple at our house....great in or on most anything savory you can think of).
8. Then with a definitive twist of the wrist, crack both 5.Himalayan (pink) Salt &
9. Multicolored Black Pepper over the bird, massaging all into it's skin.
10. roast your veggies which have been marinated in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper while the bird stands
11. Pour yourself a glass of wine and set the table...prepare yourself for a unique taste sensation as the Lemon Verbena infused flesh of the roasted chicken melts in your mouth.
For more information about Kate Mulligan's availability to write about your restaurant, send an e mail to Mulligan@mail.com.