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Did anyone go to the 43rd annual Patterson Apricot Fiesta (Apricot Capital of the World) this past weekend (May 31, June 1-2, 2013?

We went last year. Felt that it was big on local community activities and involvement, but short on actual apricots. Also, being so early in the season, the apricots weren't really ready yet.

Jul 16, 2014
mersidoe in California

Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple 68th Annual Temple Obon Festival - did anyone go Sun 7/13/14?

Missed this one, but Salinas Obon festival is July 27th.

Jul 16, 2014
mersidoe in California

Local Blenheim apricots June/July 2013 - hurry before they are gone! Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Milpitas

We went to the fruit tasting at Andy's Orchard yesterday. It was really interesting. One of the things Andy mentioned was that a lot of the Blenheims were damaged by the heat this year. He said that if they cots get too hot, they can actually "bake" from the pits out. So maybe it wasn't the best Blenheim year, but there are still some good ones to be found, probably depending on the area. Andy was all out in Morgan Hill, but I know they're still doing some picking in Hollister. I guess Mother Nature's going to keep us on our toes, no matter what. Meanwhile, I've made three batches of Blenheim apricot jam so far....

Local Blenheim apricots June/July 2013 - hurry before they are gone! Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Milpitas

Hopefully you've found your California produce by now, but if not, head to a local farmer's market. Not sure exactly where you're staying, but the Ferry building in San Francisco at the foot of Market Street has one of the best markets around on Saturday morning. There are others located throughout the bay area - just ask a local!

IMHO, there is nothing better than an organic strawberry from a farmers market. Blueberries and stone fruit are right up there! Enjoy!

Famous Ike's Sandwiches from SF is now in all places: Salinas!

I have eaten here a few times now, and it's always been great. Personally, I think they located on the wrong side of town (and next to a Walmart!) but they seem to be busy and doing well. They'll be opening in Monterey soon, too.

Mar 28, 2013
mersidoe in California

Fish House - Monterey's

If you are willing to travel outside of Monterey, there are two other Fish Houses run by the same family - the Salinas Valley Fish House in Oldtown Salinas, and the Carmel Valley Fish House in Carmel Valley. I haven't eaten at the Salinas Valley restaurant in a few years, although I hear it's a little uneven, and I don't know anything about the Carmel Valley version, perhaps someone else will chip in with details.

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Salinas Valley Fish House
172 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901

Jan 23, 2011
mersidoe in California

Grobbels Chicago Pastrami at Temple Beth El in Salinas

I missed this review from last year, but I'm happy to announce that we're already gearing up for the 2011 luncheon.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 3, 2011. Same place, Temple Beth El, at the corner of Blanco and Riker Streets in Salinas. Tickets will be available at the door.

If you have a group of 15 or more, within Salinas city limits, they'll deliver if ordered and paid by Tuesday, February 1st.

It truly is an event not to be missed.

Dec 25, 2010
mersidoe in California

Santa Cruz -- Best Current Restaurants

OK, I'm really dating myself, too, but I used to eat at Chef Tongs in the 70's! I attended UCSC in the late 70's, and that was my favorite SC restaurant. I'm still searching for one of his cookbooks. I had it, but lost it in my divorce. Anyone have any idea where to find one?

Feb 06, 2010
mersidoe in California

Hollister CA.

We've only eaten at the restaurant on East. We keep forgetting to try the one on San Benito. (There's a flyer in the menu on East promoting the taqueria downtown, which is what has reminded us, but by then we're already seated.) We will try it soon. I'm a big fish taco fan, and although someone on the board said to stick to the meat tacos, I do want to try the fish ones anyway.

I don't know if this is heresy (is that the right word?) for this board, but we often eat at Super Taqueria on Tres Pinos. It's pretty much only for burritos, though, which is why we've enjoyed La Villa De Jerez so much, as it's more of a sit down place.

I work in Salinas, and probably eat at the El Charrito Market on West Market Street twice a week. It's a deli within a market, so I usually take my food and eat at my office or at a nearby park. No one can beat their Chili Verde burritos - no one! I also enjoy their chicken burritos, and their chili relleno burritos. I stay away from their beef options - usually a little chewy for my tastes. Their regular burritos are under 3 dollars - the chili relleno ones a little more.

Chiquita on San Miguel in South Salinas is another good spot. They have a few tables and a counter but it's also mostly a take out place. They specialize in healthy Mex - great veggie burritos made with a squash/zuccini filling.

Salinas is a bit of a drive from Hollister, but they're still great places!

Sep 12, 2009
mersidoe in California

Salinas Help

There's actually a lot of good sushi in Salinas. Both Shogun and KoKoRo are in Oldtown, and I like them both.Kokoro makes "fancier," more non-traditional rolls. In North Salinas, I hear good things about Samarai in Sherwood Gardens, although I haven't eaten there in a long time. On North Main, try Ikeibana, they also have a lot of innovative rolls.

I'll have to try the Marisco restaurant on Kern. Sounds great.

My day in, day out stop is El Charrito Market on West Market Street, next to American Supply. They have great burritos, especially the chili verde. I think they are about $2.75 each. They also make chili relleno burritos, and tho they can be greasy, they are sooo tasty!

Sep 07, 2009
mersidoe in California

anyone been to the state fair this year?

We went last week, and much to our chagrin, forgot to get a fried twinkie or snickers! There was an article in the Sacto Bee outlining some fair food treats, and it got me to try one of the cinnamon rolls. We all thought it was too sweet. They did mention a fried artichoke sandwich that sounded good, but we never found it.

We started out with 2 big Merlino's orange freezes. The price has certainly gone up over the years (we've only been having them for about 40 years, now,) but they're always great. Believe it or not, probably the best thing we had was a corn dog from one of the nondescript food trailers. My dad had a barbecued turkey leg that was pretty good and very moist, but I'm not sure I'd rush back for one.

In short (!) we didn't find anything super noteworthy, other than the Merlino's, but that's probably more of a family tradition than anything else.

Sep 07, 2009
mersidoe in California

Hollister CA.

Thanks to your recommendations we have now eaten at La Villa De Jerez three times. It's wonderful! We're stuck on the chicken fajitas and the camarones el mojo de ajo. (Spanish for lots of garlic.) We did find out that you have to request the extra-garlicky version, but it's worth it. The tortillas are wonderful, too. We have managed to eat well, and take enough leftovers home for another meal. We eat a LOT of Mexican food, and this restaurant has moved near the top of the list.

Sep 07, 2009
mersidoe in California

Monterey - Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row

I second the Sandbar and Grill. Always wonderful. Be sure to leave room for their chocolate dessert. If you can't find it, ask a local where Wharf #2 is. It's down some stairs on the left side as you're walking out to sea.

Don't take the kids with you if you go to the Mucky Duck! It's got some great deals, (I think the entire menu is half price on either Wednesday or Thursday,) but it's a notorious pick up spot.

Mucky Duck is on Alvarado Street - and it's lined with restaurants, most of them pretty good.

Apr 02, 2009
mersidoe in California

Unable to travel due to health,does anyone know a place that will ship Carne Asada Burritos?

My son is in the military in Texas, and unbelievably, couldn't get a burrito in the small town where he was stationed. I went to his favorite college hangout in San Jose, bought a giant chicken burrito (no salsa, no sour cream) and froze it. I then shipped it Fed Ex. Not something I would do every day, but it made a special treat. He said it thawed and reheated really well.

I didn't have to mess with dry ice. I had a couple of other frozen food items in a styrofoam container, and shipped it overnight standard. He said that everything arrived still frozen. If I were to make a habit of this, I would experiment with two day shipping, as it is much cheaper, but I didn't want to risk it this time.

Obviously, you'd need someone on the California end to help you with this quest, but I wanted to let you know that the burrito did freeze and reheat well. Perhaps you could enlist someone at the San Diego Chamber of Commerce to help you, or even San Diego's Craigslist.

Good luck! As a California burrito afficianado, I understand your quest.

Mar 31, 2009
mersidoe in San Diego

Monterey Seafood

The seafood is wonderful, but they have a chocolate dessert that is just amazing! I don't see it on the website, but as I recall it was in the "death by chocolate" vein. (Chocolate sauce on top of chocolate cake.) Be sure to save room for it!

Feb 08, 2009
mersidoe in California

Hollister CA.

Sorry to report that Dimaggio's Cafe has closed. For a while it looked like it was changing hands, but now it looks closed and empty.

Aug 30, 2008
mersidoe in California

State fair food!

We had our fill of fair food last weekend. For the second year in a row, I hit the Thai food spot. Not great, but better than most of the greasy options available. The Thai ice tea definitely hits the spot on a hot summer day.

I don't mind things that are intentionally fried, like Snickers bars (!), but when it's a pastrami sandwich or the like, grease is not good!

We were a group of 6, all ordering different things, and the winning plate was a great Middle Eastern combo plate (shish kabob, taboulli salad, pita bread, etc.) that was from, of all places, the trailer that was selling most of the fried stuff - including the Snickers bar and the Krispy Kreme donut. I think it was a bright green trailer, but you'd recognize it by all the fried things they were selling. The fried stuff was all out front for all to see, but the Shish Kabobs came from the back.

Near the petting zoo for the kids, and in one of the exposition buildings, were two small, relatively obscure booths selling healthy snacks. Not surprisingly, we didn't see lines at either one. :-) But I did buy some great flavored almonds, as well as string cheese, and some small bags of carrots. I think they were also selling juices and ice cream. We joked with the lady working there about people not eating healthy treats at the fair, but it was nice to have the option, and the nuts and cheese made a great snack.

We also finished with a Merlino's orange freeze. It really hit the spot after a long, hot day at the fair.

Aug 30, 2008
mersidoe in California

Spudnut in Hollister?

As a frequent visitor to Hollister, and being no fan of 101 between the Hollister turnoff and Salinas, I take the "Back Way" quite often. I think the road to Fremont Peak only goes to the park, so if you're thinking of a through road, it's likely San Juan Grade. It's a little bumpy, and narrow in spots, but I'll take it over 101 any day. (And I do!) It does take a lot longer than the freeway, but the views, especially in the Spring, are spectacular. If you've got the time, I heartily recommend it.

Apr 25, 2008
mersidoe in California

Dungeness crab on the Monterey peninsula

Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing usually has some great crab specials. They're not as consistent as they used to be, but when it's good, it's good!

Feb 03, 2008
mersidoe in California

Looking for good eats in Del Rio, TX

Hi, I'm heading to Del Rio next weekend to visit my son who is stationed at Laughlin AFB. It sounds like visit to Don Marcelino's is a must - although we're from California, so we've eaten our fair share of Mexican food over the years. I'm assuming that this will be different, though.

If we can only go one other place, would you go for the Steakhouse, the Italian or is there something new in town?

Incidentally, the one request my son gave me, was could I bring him some sushi? I guess they don't have any in Del Rio, or at least he hasn't found it yet.

Feb 03, 2008
mersidoe in Texas

Best sushi in Monterey Bay area - please don't say Robata's

Believe it or not, there's quite a bit of good sushi in Salinas. Try Shogun or Kokoro in Oldtown, or Ikebana on North main. It's not Carmel, but you can mix it with a movie at the Maya. Ikebana's big on "different" rolls, such as those with Macadamia nuts or Cream cheese, and Shogun and Kokoro are more traditional.

Dec 22, 2007
mersidoe in California

Your Favorite Inexpensive Restaurants in Monterey County, Please.

I second the Baldemiro's recommendation - I ate there yesterday.

I'm surprised that Tabouli's hasn't been mentioned. It's on Lighthouse before the tunnel in New Monterey. Some of the best middle eastern food I've ever had. Plus the owner is so friendly - he runs the place by himself most of the time. He's also at the Farmer's Market on Tuesday's. One side of his menu has exclusively vegetarian entrees so it makes ordering simple if you're looking for meatless options. However, if you order from that side, then you'd miss his garlic chicken (that's not the name, but that's how it tastes.) Incredible! (I see I'm going to have to pay more attention to the "official" names of dishes if I'm going to post on CH!

Sep 21, 2007
mersidoe in California

good vegetarian cuisine in monterey/carmel area?

It might not be super fancy, but there is a great Thai restaurant in Marina called My Thai. They have a huge vegetarian menu and it's always wonderful. The staff is very nice, too. It's kind of hard to find, so you might want to call them for directions. (It's behind the Shell station.)

Feb 08, 2007
mersidoe in California

Don Pepe Drive-Thru in Salinas?

I've eaten here many times, but I usually have the veggie burrito, which is very good, but not very traditional. They have an extensive seafood menu, but at lunch, it's too much food for me, and I've never gone at night. If you stop, I would recommend going inside to order for two reasons. One, the drive through can be very slow, because they do take a bit of time fulfilling orders, and two, they have a great picture menu so you can have a better idea of what you're ordering. I have heard that their quesadillas are very good.

However, if you're on East Alisal, why not just go a couple more blocks to the El Charrito Market on West Market? That's where I usually end up!

Jan 19, 2007
mersidoe in California

Hollister Mexican - Progresso Tamale

The large cookware store was Dorothy McNetts. Sadly, it is no longer in business. Dorothy McNett can now be found at Clementine's Kitchen in Del Rey Oaks. She's teaching classes, and I would assume has some say about the cookware being sold there as well.

Jan 01, 2007
mersidoe in California

Star Market Peanut Oil (Salinas)

Not trying to be difficult, but as a Salinas local, thought I'd clarify. Elli's is not owned by the Hullaballo/Chicken Scratch Flats people, (and CSF is now closed.) Haven't eaten there in years (Elli's - so I don't feel qualified to review.) There is a second Elli's iin Monterey, tho.

Jan 01, 2007
mersidoe in California