Taqueria Zarape's buildine
Photograph of the exterior of Taqueria Zarape.

Place: Taqueria Zarape

Category: Mexican

Website: http://taqueriazarape.com/

Yelp: https://yelp.to/T86mL63Fvdb

Location: 1107 Fremont Blvd. Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2021 January 31

On Sunday, January 31, 2021 I went to Taqueria Zarape for the first time. I really have no excuse for not getting to this place before because it has always been on my list since I moved to the area. The old time drive-up style building is very inviting. I think the main reason I haven’t been here before is I tend to acquire my tacos from food truck so had no need to go get a taco elsewhere.

While we are once again allowed to dine outside in Monterey and Taqueria Zarape had a few tables set up, I decided to get my food to go. I ordered a taco and enchilada combination platter for $9.99 before tax.. The combination platter came with beans and rice as well as some salsa and chips. I noticed that they have a salsa bar which was obviously closed due to the current circumstances. However, I’m intrigued.

Taco and enchilada combination platter
Taco and enchilada combination platter from Taqueria Zarape

Taqueria Zarape has a wide range of meat options. For the more adventurous readers choices include beef tripe, beef tongue, and pig stomach. I was not that adventurous and got a carne asada (beef steak) taco and a carnitas (shredded pork) enchilada. They also have a couple of chicken options, a couple of other pork options, and chorizo.

The taco was pretty big. The carne asada filling and the toppings were delicious. The enchilada was also a good size. The carnitas inside was cooked perfectly and the enchilada sauce was tasty. I really enjoyed both and don’t know which one I liked better. The chips, beans and rice filled out the meal nicely. They all tasted good and between all the food I was fill by the time.

As usual it is hard to judge customer service when getting take out but I definitely have no complaints. The staff was friendly and there was no delay in getting my food. Instead of ordering ahead, I ordered when I arrived. It did not take them very long before my food was ready—I was actually surprised it was ready so soon!

I definitely will be bag to try some of their other foods and different meat choices. I doubt I’ll be adventurous enough to try the pig stomach or the beef tripe but perhaps I’ll give the beef tongue a try. I also noticed they have some breakfast platter and breakfast burritos for reasonable prices. I really haven’t found many breakfast places I like in Monterey. There are some places that have great food but they are not all that cheap. Perhaps Taqueria Zarape’s breakfast offerings will fill that void for me.

Place: German Restaurant Stammtisch

Category: German

Website: https://www.stammtisch-seaside.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/german-restaurant-stammtisch-seaside-2

Location: 1204 Echo Ave., Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 December 22

Stammtischschnitzel (breaded pork steak, smothered with fresh bacon, mushrooms and sautéed onions) from German Restaurant Stammtisch.

On Tuesday December 22, 2020 I order takeout from German Restaurant Stammtisch. I heard about this restaurant slightly after I moved to Monterey a few years ago but for some reason I thought it closed. I think I had the location incorrect and I saw a new restaurant open where I thought it was. Regardless of the reason, because of that I never been here. Definitely my loss! I really enjoy German food and the meal I got from Stammtisch was outstanding

With COVID restrictions not allowing dine-in (or even outside dinning) right now, Stammtisch has a limited menu available for takeout but that menu includes many of the items you would expect. After going back and forth between Jaegerschnitzel and Stammtischschnitzel, I chose the latter mostly because I figured the gravy in the Jaegerschnitzel might soak into the meat too much as I drove home after picking it up (although I’m sure I could have asked for the gravy in a separate container). Additionally the Stammtischschnitzel has bacon in it so of course that was also a huge factor! Their menu describes it as “breaded pork steak, smothered with fresh bacon, mushrooms and sautéed onions.” It was served with home fried potatoes, salad garnish, and the soup of the day. I also got some German beer (on tap) to go (it was a lager but I am not sure what brand).

Cream of Asparagus Soup from German Restaurant Stammtisch

The soup of the day was a cream of asparagus. It was amazing. I can’t say I’ve had cream of asparagus soup a lot but I do enjoy cream soups (usually cream of mushroom or cream of broccoli) and this was possibly the best I’ve ever had.

The pork was cooked perfectly and the topping of bacon, mushrooms, and onions was delicious and the amount of each ingredient was good. I particularly liked that they did not use too many onions. I would highly recommend the Stammtischschnitzel. The fried potatoes were also extremely good.

I felt the price was better than average for the area considering the quality and quantity of food. Service-wise it is hard to judge when getting takeout but the food was ready when it was supposed to be and the staff (owners?) were very friendly and even gave me an extra container of beer for Christmas (They mentioned that they needed to use it up or it would go bad, so I was happy to help them out!). They also helped me carry the food out to my car. The interior of the restaurant looked nice and I look forward to dinning in person at some point in the future.

Really, everything was excellent and my only complaint is I didn’t go here sooner! If you live in the area (or are visiting) and like German food, definitely check German Restaurant Stammtisch out.

Place: By the Bay BBQ

BBQ platter
By the Bay BBQ’s 2 Smoked Meat Platter with Ribs and Brisket.

Category: Southern barbecue

Website: https://bythebaybbq.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/by-the-bay-bbq-seaside-3?osq=bbq

Location: 775 A Trinity Ave,, Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 December 17

On Thursday December 17, 2020 I order takeout food By the Bay BBQ in Seaside, CA. This is a new restaurant located where the Fishwife was in Seaside on the corner of Fremont and Trinity. I am a little confused as to what is going on but it looks like there are now two restaurants in one place: By the Bay BBQ and Seaside Seafood & Market. The Seaside Seafood & Market has a message on their website as of this writing that says “In addition to our Seaside Seafood & Market, we our debuting out By the Bay BBQ menu for your Southern Food needs.” It appears to be the same business but with two separate online presences and completely different menus, however, I am not 100% sure what the true connection is. Anyway, the BBQ portion is new and I only found out about it because I was browsing Yelp! in search of a new place to try and it popped up.

Some of the menu items are named after famous Alabama barbecue places. If you are going to name one of your dishes “Dreamland” Pork Spare Rib Plate you obviously think very highly of your BBQ skills or are delusional (maybe both?). I lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama so I know Dreamland Bar-B-Que. When I was considering my order I thought to myself if they are even half as good as Dreamland they will do good here.

Another thing that stands out on the menu is that they seem to specialize in Alabama White BBQ sauce. I general I do not like white sauces of any type and I definitely do not like white BBQ sauce. It is an evil trick to get you to eat mayonnaise. Yuck! While they added a container of the sauce to my order I refused to partake in even a small sample so I can’t tell you how well they made it. If you like mayonnaise, however, you should give it a try because I hear mayo lovers say it’s good, especially with chicken. They did not put in any regular BBQ sauce so I will need to ask for that next time (assuming they have it).

Baked Beans
Molasses Baked Beans w/ Pork Belly from By the Bay BBQ.

I ordered the Choice of 2 Smoked Meat Platter. I chose the ribs and brisket for my meats and for my 2 sides I ordered the molasses baked beans w/ pork belly and  collards w/ smoked ham hock. They also threw in some of their “B+B’s” signature bread & butter pickles.

Let’s start with the three sides. There were all amazing. I. think I liked the collards a little more than the baked beans but both were delicious. The pickles were also extremely tasty. Definitely don’t just buy the meat if you go to By the Bay! I look forward to trying some of their other sides in the future.

Collard greens
Collards w/ Smoked Ham Hock from By the Bay BBQ

As I mentioned earlier if you are going to be Dreamland on your BBQ menu you better have top notch BBQ. I will say the flavor of both the brisket and the ribs were quite good but, as expected, they were not Dreamland tasty. While I enjoyed the flavor I felt that both the of meats I tried were not as tender as I’d like. I wonder if  maybe they had a huge rush on orders and I ended up getting something, while cooked through, was not cooked as long as it should’ve been to be fall off the bone or fall apart tender. I say this in part because some Yelp! reviews had high praise and one even mentioned “fall apart brisket” which is not how I’d describe what I ate. That said, they were still good and I should add that the ribs were very meaty. Based on the reviews I think I might have not got their best product as far as the meat tenderness goes so I will give them another chance (and regardless of the meat, I need more of those collards). I’ll update my review or put something in the comments after I go back. Next time I’ll probably try the pulled pork but I’d also like to give the ribs another chance.  

When I was placing the order I thought they were a bit overpriced. After tax my order came out to just over $30.00. Once I picked up my food, however, I changed my mind. The portions are very generous so you get what you pay for (at least on the Monterey/California curve where everything is expensive). So if you look at the menu and think the prices are too high, remember that they do not skimp on what they give you. My meal was probably enough for two people although I might order an extra side if I was ordering for two adults.

We are in COVID lockdown here in Monterey County so I got the food for takeout. As with my last post, I really can’t say much about the service but the person that gave me my order was friendly and the food was ready on time so no complaints. I’ll definitely try By the Bay BBQ again and I also plan on trying their other restaurant, Seaside Seafood & Market, in the future.

Place: Lucky Bamboo

Strawberry Latte
Fresh strawberry latte from Lucky Bamboo. It consists of milk with fresh strawberry jam mixed in.

Category: Chinese

Website: https://luckybambootogo.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/lucky-bamboo-seaside

Location: 1784 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 December 9

On Wednesday December 9, 2020 I order takeout food from Lucky Bamboo in Seaside, CA. I enjoy Chinese takeout but I haven’t actually gotten food at many of the Chinese restaurants in the area. I found one I really like: the food is good, prices are good, and owners are nice. Therefore, I didn’t go looking for another one because I had no reason to. However, with the goal of trying a new food place every week, I decided to venture out to a different Chinese restaurant. After looking at Yelp reviews, I decided to try Lucky Bamboo mostly because the other place I was considering didn’t have General Tso’s Chicken on the menu. I think the other place is more focused on traditional Chinese food versus American Chinese food. I wanted American Chinese food this night! I’ll try the other place at some point when I want something a bit less American.

As you would guess from above, I ordered General Tso’s Chicken. I ordered it in the form of a dinner special which included egg fried rice and an egg roll. I also ordered a fresh strawberry latte. For those that might not know what the fresh strawberry latte is, it’s fresh strawberry jam with the milk. Not much to say about it besides that it was delicious. Just as good as a milk shake although not quite as cold. I’d definitely order one from them again, I actually want another one right now!

General Tso's Chicken
General Tso’s Chicken from Lucky Bamboo

I felt that the General Tso’s Chicken Dinner Special was a good value. The chicken and sauce was great. It is interesting that every place, or at least in different regions of the U.S., serve this different. Back east I remember typical it was served with broccoli. Other places I’ve had it at didn’t include any vegetables. Lucky Bamboo served it with carrots, squash, and peppers. I am not a squash fan but I have to say the squash was well-prepared and I actually ate it all. That’s high praise! The carrots and peppers also were tasty with a good texture. Overall, I was quite pleased with the main dish. The egg fried rice was good but it was egg fried rice and not something like pork fried rice which I would have preferred. That said, the rice was perfectly prepared and vegetarians would have liked it (well, at least the set of vegetarians that eat eggs, I know some do and some don’t). The egg roll was good but nothing exciting. I was happy it was included and enjoyed it but I am not going to go out of my way for another one.

Since this was takeout I can’t say much about the service but the person that rang up my order was friendly and the food was ready on time. That’s what I like. Inside dining is currently closed in the area due to the pandemic but Lucky Bamboo has a nice, albeit not huge, dining area and a small bar. Unlike some Chinese restaurants that focus on takeout, the dining area had more of a casual restaurant feel than a fast food place feel. I think once we can eat inside again I will go and have a meal in the restaurant. I am not sure that Lucky Bamboo will knock off my regular go-to Chinese restaurant but I will add it to the rotation as I think they are neck and neck and I suspect it will depend on the individual meal or whatever is more convenient at the time to go to

Baked goods on a rack
An assortment of baked goods on racks at Lupita’s Bakery.

Place: Lupita’s Bakery

Category: Mexican, Bakery

Website: https://www.lupitasbaking.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/lupitas-bakery-seaside-2

Location: 1048 Broadway Ave., Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 November 22

I wanted to get some rolls so I decided to check out a new-to-me bakery. The choice was Lupita’s Bakery in Seaside, California. It is one of a number of Mexican bakeries in the vicinity and, like most of the others, besides having baked goods they also have “fast” Mexican food including tacos, tamales, burritos, and gorditas. They also have breakfast offerings for a reasonable price. I can’t speak for these any of these dishes as I only tried the baked goods.

Corn muffin and two rools
Two rolls and a corn muffin from Lupita’s.

I purchased two rolls and a corn muffin for a total of $1.70 which I felt was a good deal. The corn muffin was a little sweet for my taste but otherwise was very good. It was the size of a normal cupcake and not a huge muffin like you get elsewhere but priced accordingly. Get two if you’re hungry! I should note that I do not have much of a sweet tooth and tend to not like things as sweet as others so do not take the sweetness as a criticism but more as an observation. If you like your corn muffins sweet, I don’t think you will be disappointed  The texture was just about perfect and the muffin had a nice corn taste to it.

I think the rolls were slightly above average for the bakeries around here. I like a little more crunch in the crust and a bit more fluffiness inside. However, I’ve come to realize something as delicious as a New Jersey hard roll is not something I can get away from New Jersey (well, maybe I can in the Czech Republic or Germany, but I digress). Oh well, the search continues but as I said these weren’t bad and I’d get rolls from Lupita’s again.

Exterior view of Lupita's Bakery
Exterior view of Lupita’s Bakery.

The variety of breads and pastries are not as huge as some other places but they still have a good selection. Apparently they switch up the bakery offerings so you may not see all of the same choices every time you go.

Since I just picked out my baked goods and took them to the counter I can’t really say much about the customer service but the person that checked me out was friendly and quickly rung me up.

I would definitely go back to Lupita’s Bakery. Next time maybe I’ll go there for lunch or dinner and try some of their food offerings.