Fishwife, Seaside

On Saturday, July 17th, my mom, sister, and I ate at Fishwife (789 Trinity Ave, Seaside). We drove there after the scary, slightly dangerous Toyota Camry ride through Fort Ord's mountain bike trails (NOT recommended). I chose this place because it's on my "Best Of" list. Fishwife won the title of "Best Restaurant in Seaside." I beg to differ.

The three of us decided to each order a plate and share. I don't get why people don't do that everywhere.... obviously a better idea to try three things instead of just one. We chose:
1. Line caught Sea Bass ($14) grilled, with sauteed spinach & tomato on a bed of rice on a bed of pineapple cream sauce - really? on two beds?
2. Fishwife's Combo Wrap served with a small salad ($13) with sauteed scallops, shrimp, and crab in a lobster sauce rice and beans; wrapped in a flour tortilla
3. Fish/Calamari n' Chips ($?) - their lunch menu won't download on their website so can't get you the info about this dish.

The Monterey County Weekly boasts that locals can get their fix of "the true gift from the Pacific - seafood" at Fishwife. They laud the fish sandwiches, gumbo, chowder, and seafood salads. As you can see, we did not order any of those. Instead, my pick - the fish n chips - was probably worse than a boxed, frozen, back-of-the-supermarket-shelf-variety! My mom's sea bass was delicious, and Nicole really liked the sauteed spinach. I thought the spinach tasted like BOOZE. Maybe that's why Nicole liked it? JK Coley.... She also really enjoyed her seafood wrap. I liked it a lot too, but it was basically a $13 seafood burrito. Hope that means it's loaded with REAL crab. AHEM. Oh, and tip: get it with the Turtle Bay Taqueria hot sauce (their sister restaurant is right next door and stocks the good hot stuff).

I want to give Fishwife another try, maybe for dinner? It won best Seaside restaurant for a reason.  Yup, there was good service (only two occupied tables at the time though), but I just don't think their lunch menu really delivered.

Monterey County's Herald newspaper notes that Fishwife's cuisine has a "Caribbean accent featuring fresh seafood and pasta." Supposedly the daily specials highlight "local fresh catch and seasonal fish including sanddabs, wild caught salmon, mahi mahi, halibut, and swordfish. The chef uses only the freshest produce from the Salinas Valley and offers delicious housemade desserts daily." - Same info is listed on the company's website.

Considering it is in Seaside, this restaurant has a lot of potential. After looking at the menu a little bit further, I'd probably choose an appetizer and one of the Fisherman's Bowls (daily special of fresh catch served in a bowl of rice, black beans, Caribbean cabbage drizzled with a ginger sesame vinaigrette and garnished with fresh vegetable, fresh salsas and golden-fried tortilla spears) - and split both with a friend because the bowls are all $16 - $19. 

Have you ever seen fish n chips breaded like this??
It's a cornmeal breading - not what I was hoping for....
Calamari - best part of my dish!



Last weekend I drove back to San Jose with my mom and sister. Nicole and I met up with Kyle, Jeremy, and Kim and watched Inception at the AMC theaters in Santa Clara. We opted for the IMAX screen, which I highly recommend. Before the movie started, Nicole and Kyle and I grabbed food at one of shopping center's restaurants. 

We did not choose sushi, or sub sandwiches, or Jamba Juice, or In N Out burgers, or pasta from some Tomato place. Instead we went with World Wrapps a fairly local chain that began back in SF circa 1996 (Yelp)...

Notice the world map? That's not the only part of this place that is "worldly" - their menu is pretty diverse too, with Thai chicken, Bombay Curry chicken, Teriyaki chicken, Argentina steak, Spicy Caribbean sole, Samurai salmon, Tequila lime shrimp, etc. Diverse flavors? Check. Vegetarian options for my sister? Check. You can even get your wrap served naked in a bowl with some rice. They have smoothies, salads, and bento boxes too.

I was really satisfied with my Thai chicken shrimp wrap that had Thai peanut sauce, jasmine rice, ginger slaw, cucumbers, green onions, and sesame seeds in a spinach tortilla.

We went to the 7:45 pm showing, and stood in line for a bit to ensure we got some decent seats. Check out this crazy line for the late showing! Inception was reeeeeallly good and I'm glad to see that there's a vampire-free movie out right now that's able to attract such a big crowd. Go Leo.

The Whole Enchilada, Moss Landing

There are three "Whole Enchiladas" in southern California. One is on Yorba Linda Blvd. But that one has nothing to do with this one. They offer a combo punch card, get 9 entrees and the 10th is free. 

This Whole Enchilada is different. Located at Highway 1 and Moss Landing Road in Moss Landing, this restaurant has a WHOLE lot going on. HAH. Wow, bad bad joke. Sarah and I were hoping to go to the Thai Seafood place in Moss Landing two weeks ago. When we got there, though, we saw a sign informing us that the place was closed Mondays... there was only one other restaurant in sight, The Whole Enchilada. This coastal cuisine eatery is open from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm weekly.

"The catch of the day is right off the local fishing boats and prepared in the authentic Mexican coastal style. You've never tasted tamales like ours, fresh sweet white corn tamales filled with chicken and topped with our cilantro cream sauce. Oaxacan tamal filled with fresh albacore or chicken, wrapped in a banana leaf and drenched in a rich, dark mole salsa. Check out Tamale Wednesday and try them all." 
- Whole Enchilada's website

Both of us ordered the Camaron Chon ($14)

House made corn tamal on a banana leaf, filled with prawns, spinach & cheese. Topped with a cream cilantro lime sauce & guacamole. Served with a side of rice and beans. 

It was amazingly delicious and they gave a very generous portion! Seriously it was exploding with prawns. There were about three on top and I was like "okay cool, here are the prawns" but then, as I forked into it, more prawns were mixed in to the mushy gooey tamale innards. Their tamal (tamale? why no e?) was probably one of the best tamales I have ever had. Not kidding.

The B&R side was a LOT bigger than than I thought it was going to be!
Waiters bring by a "salsa pitcher" so you can refill your own salsa bowl! What a clever idea...
The owner/chef guy came by and made sure we were enjoying our meals. Nice touch!

Their bar offers up fresh fruit margaritas (they even have cucumber ones!) and many different flavors of Tequila. On Sunday afternoons there's live jazz and blues music next door at Moss Landing Inn. 

Such a fun bar, makes me want to be a mermaid!
So what's the deal with Moss Landing? The tiny town is overshadowed by the giant towers of the Moss Landing PG&E plant. A few decades ago, most townies were employed by either the power plant or were fisherman. Now there's mostly antique shops, a Monterey Bay Aquarium research institute, and small yachts (can there be a small yacht?) in the Moss Landing harbor. Back in 1864, Moss Landing was a whaling station established by Captain Charles Moss, a sea captain from Texas. 

Unknown fact: the last Sunday in July, Moss Landing hosts the Annual Antique Street Fair. TODAY was that fair! 40th annual, no doubt.

The rest of the menu features quesadillas, nachos, and enchiladas - of course. They also get local and offer up some Castroville artichokes (either steamed or deep fried)...

Next Moss Landing restaurant stop: The Thai Seafood place
And after that... Phil's Fish Market & Eatery, known for their cioppino. Even Bobby Flay can't top Phil DiGirolamo's cioppino making abilities - he lost to Phil on a Throwdown.


Taste of Seaside

I first heard about The International Flavors of Marina food, wine, and beer tasting event via Special Edible's blog. I got really excited about it and wanted to go, but the two people I invited couldn't go because it is on Thursday (tomorrow) from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The participating restaurant list looked amazing, there's live music and a silent auction. Boo Radley's Cupcakes is donating 2 dozen custom cupcakes!

Much to my delight, the Special Edible blog just posted something about Taste of Seaside, a similar event happening on Friday! Hopefully I'll be able to go to that with sommmmebodyyyy hint hint.

Highlights from the event page:
- What: Seaside’s culturally diverse community will be reflected in the wide range of foods served, and local wineries will pour outstanding wines from regional vineyards.
- Where: Seaside City Center
- Time: 6-8:30 pm
- How can I go: Pay $25/ticket and order from the Seaside Police Department; contact Tina Rosa (831) 760-0967 – trosa@ci.seaside.ca.us ; or Patty Perez (831) 760-0968 – pperez@ci.seaside.ca.us
- Why: To get a special Taste of Seaside, while benefiting the Seaside Police Activities League (PAL).
- Also: music, raffle, silent auction
- What's PAL: PAL provides athletic, recreational, and educational activities for at-risk youth in order to enrich lives and help prevent juvenile crime. Police officers, volunteers, and police personnel serve as coaches, mentors, instructors, and role models in PAL.
- Participating restaurants/wineries:

• ACME Coffee
• Angelina’s
• Baywood Cellars
• Breakfast Club
• Chef Rachel
• Coeur D’Olives
• Del Monte Cafe
• Fishwife
• Hahn Winery
• Harumi
• Kahn’s Kabob House
• Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria
• Orient Express
• Phat Burger
• Pho King
• Saigon Noodle
• Scheid Vineyards
• The Chocolate Dipper
• Turtle Bay
• Ventana Vineyards

I'll let you know if I go!


Mountain biking is dangerous

Where: Fort Ord Public Lands
When: Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Distance: 13 miles
Pro-biker who participated in the race: my Aunt Cori!

There she is, waving!
MTV girl aka Emily
Off they go!
My mom, sister, and I went to cheer on Cori last Saturday. If I were to list top 5 most dangerous sports I would definitely include mountain biking as one of them. Loose gravel, steep slopes, downward chutes - sounds like a recipe for disaster. There are some badass chicks out there who can conquer all that ISH and my aunt is definitely one of them! She finished the 13 mile figure eight loop around the hot HOT hot Fort Ord trails in 1:26:35. Such a great time!

After watching the cyclists take off, we tried driving the "back way" to Highway 68. Bad idea. My mom's hybrid Toyota was almost halfway through the craziest dirt trails before she insisted we turn all the way around. And by "insisted" I actually mean screamed/threatened/scared me. FOR the record, Google Maps told us that the "roads" were car accesible. Um, yeah Google, if my car was actually a HORSE. Even then....

Upside: We crossed paths with the bikers.
Go Cori!

MTV crews were there shooting the final scenes for an upcoming episode of Made. A girl named Emily Highland was turned into a "mountain biker" I guess. Here they are filming her employer, a bike shop owner. We heard him say "she's definitely not NOT girly" - two thumbs up for double negatives!

This is right after a quick turn/downhill bit.
She's handling it like a pro.

Despite the heat and jeans, Nicole, my mom, and I hiked up a nearby hill. It was at that moment I was not NOT glad I decided to wear sandals. It gave us a great view:

Click it.
Cheesy - glad she's smiling though!
Photo Op!
Looks like tears - one of her eyes would not stop watering all day!



Is that a zwetschgenkuchen?

My mom has a plum tree in her backyard that’s dropping plums faster than LiLo’s career. Every morning my sister wakes up and picks the fallen plums off the ground to avoid attracting hungry rats. If nobody picks them up, rats infiltrate our backyard, drive our dogs nuts, and then we all suffer – well, not the rats.

Plums are in season May through early October. To combat the onslaught of plums our tree produces, my sister and I decided to make Zwetschgenkuchen, a German dessert.

We didn’t make the Mürbeteig Crust from scratch, instead we used one of the circular, 9-inch roll out ones from Pillsbury.

Zwetschgenkuchen filling:

1/3 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup no sugar added, natural applesauce
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds Shirley Olerich’s plums, washed, quartered, and pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A few shakes of nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2. Optional: pre bake the pastry for a few minutes, take it out, and fork the bottom and sides.
3. Mix peach preserves, applesauce, flax seed, and vanilla extract and spread on the crust.
4. Starting on the edges of the 9-inch pie plate, place the plums in a circle, overlapping each slightly, eventually form a spiral into the center. Keep spiraling in until you run out of plum bits.
5. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon rind, and sprinkle over the plums.
6. Bake about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the plums juicy. At about 35 minutes I put tinfoil over the top so the crust wouldn’t overbrown.

Step Four plums going right round like a record player
Step Five sprinkly sprinkly do daaah!
Our snack while the pie bakes!
Shirley's beautiful flower arrangement
How to find a ripe plum: look for plump, nicely colored fruit that yields to gentle pressure – sort of squishy. Avoid the ones with shriveled skin and extremely mushy spots. Refrigerate ripe plums for up to three days and ripen the unripe ones in a loosely closed paper bag for a couple of days.

We sprinkled toasted oats (oats, cinnamon, dark brown sugar over a skillet on medium heat for a few minutes) on the top as a crunchy garnish.

Tastes like: "The pie's slightly gooey consistency made a spoon necessary to enjoy this delectable dessert. The first bite was different from most pies I've tasted - there was a tart sweetness, but also hidden hints of cinnamon throughout. The toasted oats on top and the hardened pie crust provided the perfect amount of crunch to accompany the soft plum/jam filling."

Pros: yummy dessert, starving rats, quiet dogs, German pride, truly organic plum baking, creating something new with Nicole, something to do on Sunday.

Cons: baking in 100-degree weather, waiting for it to cool when all you want to do is try your creation, this will only subdue the barking dogs, hungry rats, and over-fertile plum tree for a day.