It’s been a while since I posted but I have been keeping up with trying different food places—I’ve just been neglecting to post them. However, I plan to catch up on them soon.
The first one in my backlog is Mundos Sandwich and Burger House in downtown Monterey. I am not sure why I haven’t been here before but I have heard good things about it so it was definitely on my list to check out for Ed’s Eats. Unfortunately it appears I forgot to take any pictures of my visit so pardon the lack of photos of my food. My visit was on Sunday, March 21.
I decided to try the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. While it was delicious, I do not believe anyone in Philadelphia would recognize it as a Philly cheesesteak. The meat was similar but that is about it. The roll was nothing like a true Philly cheesesteak roll: it was a ciabatta roll. It was a good roll but not what I would prefer for my cheesesteak. The cheese, of course, was not wiz.
I think I made a mistake in going with the cheesesteak and should have tried something else. Like I said it was tasty but I was disappointed only because I was hoping for something different—that was my error as I should have not expected a real Philly cheesesteak. I have heard that their burgers and pork are excellent so next time I’ll try one of those two. As per normally during COVID, this was a to-go order so not a lot to say about service but they were friendly and my sandwich was made quickly.
On Tuesday, March 2, 2021 I tried the Bella Bee Coffee food truck for the first time. I have been following them on Facebook since I decided to start Ed’s Eats and they often post photos of homemade baked goods that look amazing so I was looking forward to trying them but the timing didn’t work out until now.
The special the day when I went was Sesame Orange Blossom Loaf. They also had an Orange Blossom Latte drink special. As people who know me would guess, I went with a regular coffee instead of a fancy latte but I was talking to someone waiting for their drink and they told me the special drinks are always delicious. My coffee was really good. The Sesame Orange Blossom Loaf was good as well. You can tell the person who baked it was a talented baker. It probably wasn’t my favorite choice for a baked good just based on my general taste (and nothing to do with the preparation). However I still very much enjoyed it.
I would definitely get food and coffee from Bella Bee Coffee again. I will keep on following them on Facebook and if they have a fresh baked treat that seems like something I enjoy I will hop in my car and drive to their truck. Because Bella Bee Coffee is a food truck, they change locations but typically, at least as I write this, they spend an hour or so on Cass Street in Monterey and an hour in Ryan Ranch outside of Monterey Spine and Joint but check on their website or Facebook page to find their current times and locations before going.
On Monday, February 8,2021 I went to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market for a sandwich. I’ve heard good things about La Sala’s since shortly after moving to Monterey a few years ago but I never went there basically because there are a number of other sandwich shops that are really good so I didn’t find a need to try another one. However, with the main goal of Ed’s Eats being to visit a different new-to-me restaurant or other prepared food place every week, it was time to finally get to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.
Did I like it? Well, let’s say I went back the following week for another sandwich, so yes! I don’t think it will replace any of the other sandwich shops I go to but it definitely found a place in the rotation. Other sandwich shops in the Monterey area that I enjoy include Randy’s. Mundo’s, Valnizza’s, and Jersey’s Original Subs. The first two are within walking distance so besides have great sandwiches, they are quite convenient for me.
On my first visit I purchased a pastrami on rye with mustard. It was delicious. Now it wasn’t Katz’s deli https://katzsdelicatessen.com/ or Shapiro’s https://shapiros.com/ good, but it was still delicious and I will be ordering it again. The rye bread they used was better than most rye bread I’ve had in California and the meat was really tasty
As I mentioned I went back the following week to try a tri-tip sandwich on a sesame role which I heard good things about. I enjoyed it but I definitely liked the pastrami better. Don’t get me wrong, the tri-tip was really good but I just liked the pastrami better. Also, I would say I’ve had better tri-tip at other places. In particular I
am thinking about various auto racing tracks that have a BBQ grill such as Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and Perris Auto Speedway in Perris. That said, if it is lunch time and I’m in the mode for a trip-tip sandwich I’ll head to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.
On Friday, January 22, 2021 I went to the East Village Café for the first time. Some of you may ask how can a coffee lover living in Monterey for over three and a half years not have been to the East Village Coffee Lounge before? But therein lies the catch: the East Village Coffee Lounge has been sold and has been rebranded as the East Village Café. With new ownership and a slightly different name, I figured it is a big enough change to be considered a new place for Ed’s Eats to visit. So far there has not been many changes but once COVID restrictions loosen up it sounds like their will be some tweaks according to an article on Edible Monterey Bay.
I decided to order a drip coffee along with a spinach and mushroom quiche. I am not a huge fan of quiche but I like it once in a while. However, the person behind the counter said she really liked them so I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did because it was really good. If more quiche tasted like this and had as good of a texture maybe I would become a bigger quiche fan. They had various pastries and croissants that looked really good as well.
The coffee was hot and tasty and hit the spot. It was what you would expect as far as quality and flavor from a café of this type. Next time I’ll probably try a latte or some other type of fancier drink but on a rainy morning I wanted to go with the tried and true American drip. I look forward to when I can go back there and enjoy my coffee inside while using their wifi to work on Ed’s Eats posts!
The staff were friendly and made my coffee and heated up my quiche right away so good marks on customer service.
On Friday, January 8, 2021 I ordered lunch to go from Chef Lee’s Mandarin House in Monterey. I have never been here before because, both from the outside appearances and the website (at least pre-pandemic), it appeared more of a place for in-person dining and I usually am more interested in take-out when I want to eat Chinese food. Just like I wouldn’t go to a nice steak house for takeout, the same goes for Chinese or any other food. Of course, everything is currently takeout so it seemed to be a good time to give it a try. Probably another factor for me not going here before is the online reviews. Their overall rating on Yelp! is not great (3 out of 5). Oddly enough some people seemed to have had a bad experience while others loved it. There are an almost equal amount of 5 star reviews as 1 star reviews; some people say the food was great but bad service and others say the food wasn’t good but the service was great. The reviews are not at all consistent! It is like people are talking about different restaurants. I don’t know what caused this dichotomy and I’m sure my review won’t solve the quandary but as I will describe, I was happy with my meal.
As I stated above, I ordered lunch for takeout. Like many Chinese restaurants they have a lunch menu that offers meals at a cheaper price than dinne
r. I like cheaper! I ordered the Scallop and Chicken w/ Shrimp Rice Plate. This was served with white race unlike some other restaurants that provide fried rice with their lunch and other specials. The rice was perfectly done. The amount of chicken, shrimp, and scallops was appropriate for the price paid ($12.95 before taxes). Overall the main part of the meal (i.e. the proteins and vegetables) was well-prepared and I felt quite tasty. They did not over-do the seasonings which I guess may be a good or bad thing depending on what you want but I found the taste pleasing. The chicken and shrimp were quite good. The scallops were good but not, in my opinion, as good as the chicken and shrimp. To elaborate, they were not under- or over-cooked but they were a bit bland. That said, scallops tend to be that way unless they are drenched in butter or something else so that is a matter of taste.
With takeout it is hard to evaluate service but, as with most of the places I’ve been going to in the area, the food was ready on time and the transactions were pleasant so no complaints. I didn’t take any pictures of the interior because the chairs were on the tables for cleaning and that wouldn’t give a fair impression of what the interior was like but I thought it looked like a nice place to have a sit down meal and once indoor dining opens back up, I would like to check it out.
Overall I was satisfied with my takeout meal. Will I add it to my standard Chinese takeout rotation? I think I will likely get takeout from them again but it probably won’t supplant other places on my regular rotation. This is mostly because I think other places are a better value for takeout. That said, I really do want to give the in-restaurant dining a try when we are able to do that again as I think the ambiance would be nice and they have some dinners (Peking and Chef Lee’s) designed for multiple people, that I assume are served “family style,” that sound really good. I imagine these are Chef Lee’s Mandarin House strength.
On Sunday November 28, 2020 I went to Fieldwork’s Monterey Beer Garden for a late lunch. However, as you can tell from the title, this is not a review of the beer garden as that wouldn’t be new and in normal times they don’t serve food. However due to California COVID-19 restrictions they need to serve food in order to open. If you want to hang out there you must buy food. What’s a beer garden to do? Partner with a local restaurant to prepare the food for you! Other similar places in the area have done this or have brought in food trucks. In Fieldwork’s Monterey’s case they partnered with Pacific Bowls and Sushi Rolls, and this this entry in Ed’s Eats.
I should start by saying I am not a sushi (or poke) connoisseur. I like sushi but don’t have it often. I decided to order a Spicy Tuna Roll and a half Lomi-Lomi Salmon Bowl to go with my beer. One reason why I went with the Spicy Tuna Roll is it was the only roll without avocado. They seem to put avocado on everything out here and I am not a fan. One food item I dislike even more than avocado and mayo and some of the other rolls had that on it. Yuck! I can’t imagine how much I would dislike avocado and mayo on the same roll!
Regardless of the reason for getting the spicy tuna roll thought it was very good. It was also much bigger than I expected for the price ($7.50). In fact, I probably wouldn’t have bought the bowl had I known how big it was. I will say that some of the size was due to the roll having a lot of rice however that does not mean that they skimped on the tuna. For the price there was a good amount of fish—more than I expected—but a lot of the overall bulk was rice. If you are a sushi aficionado you might not want all of the rice on your roll but for someone having lunch at the beer garden I was happy to have more food to eat and the rice was well-prepared. Again, the amount of rice did not mean that they skimped on the tuna and I guess you could ask for less rice or scrape some off.
The half Lomi-Lomi Salmon Bowl was also very good. It contained salmon, ponzu sauce, tomato, green onion, sweet onion, cucumber, furikake, avocado. As you might have guessed I didn’t eat the avocado but the rest was good, especially the salmon. I felt the serving side was appropriate for the price ($8 for a half bowl and $15 for a full).
Personally I liked the roll better than the bowl but that doesn’t mean the bowl wasn’t good, it was. I just prefer rolls.
Since I had my food delivered to the beer garden I can’t speak to the facility or customer service but I will say the food was neatly packaged and it arrived quicker than I expected.
As I said I am not a sushi aficionado, but I would definitely go back to Fieldworks and order food from Pacific Bowls and Sushi Roll again. Unless I was very hungry I would probably just get the roll or a bowl and not both just because it was more food than I needed. Although if it was you main meal of the day it would be worth getting both or multiple rolls.
Incidentally, Fieldwork’s Monterey Beer Garden is a nice place to go. It is completely outside and they have really good social-distancing procedure in place. Also, it is a good place to stop before going into Trader Joe’s since it is in the same shopping complex.