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 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.