“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
This past Saturday I attended the Flavors of Pacific Grove, an annual event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year it was held at the Pacific Grove Golf Course Club House and featured over a dozen chefs from local restaurants plus several wineries, breweries, and my favorite root beer maker, Sparky’s. I took my college roommate who was visiting me from Los Angeles and we met some friends, my mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law. We made sure to get there as close to doors opening as possible but it was already packed!
I grabbed a glass of wine and a plastic plate that had a holder for my wine glass; which made eating and carrying my wine glass very efficient. It was a bit overwhelming at first, there was food and people all around me and I didn’t know where to begin, but I managed. I started with a glass of Chardonnay from the Trader Joe’s booth. It was pretty cool to see Trader Joe’s join in the small-town festivities. Next and in no order, I grabbed the salmon dish being served by Asilomar. It was a piece of smoked salmon over a potato latke with some wonderful pickled garnish. I ran into so many people I knew from around town and found myself regularly excusing myself from the conversation to make sure I didn’t miss out on the food.
Pizza My Heart was serving a salmon pizza and a vegetarian pizza, both amazing. Fandango’s featured paella with generous amounts of shrimp and sausage. Thamin Saleh from Jeninni—a restaurant that I cannot believe I haven’t written about yet in my column because it’s one of my favorites in the area—was serving a butternut squash bisque topped with a pomegranate relish that was perfectly combined. Monarch Pub was generously pouring beers from a tap. Vivolo’s was sampling their delicious clam chowder. Serving from the kitchen counter was AquaTerra and they had an herbed gnocchi with lamb. Yum! In the other room—you see there were two rooms, the large dining room and a smaller room—I started and thought I would make my way clockwise around the room. You know, systematically so as to not miss anything. There was a fried chicken bite. Endive bites with a fresh cheese from Poppy Hall, Pacific Grove’s newest restaurant. Pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw being served by The Bridge Culinary; an affiliate of The Bridge Restoration Ministry a non-profit that focuses on helping people get a second chance at life and whose mission is to provide these people with vocational training to include a culinary program. How cool! These guys were so fun, the food was fantastic and I have to admit, several in my party went back for seconds.
Sparky’s served up their famous root beer…I just wished they would have had vanilla ice cream to make a float. Maybe next year! Canterbury Woods’s smoked duck was phenomenal. Another stop we frequented.
All in all, it was a great event that left us all very full and very happy. I love this small town. Everyone in my group found several bites they absolutely loved, and we all look forward to next year.