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Entries in Monterey (2)

Monday
Nov282011

Brunch at the Monterey

This was my second (on consecutive Sundays!) visit to the Monterey for brunch.  Last week Sophie and I had made the mistake of having a piece of toast earlier in the morning which left us too full to finish our meals.  She was determined to destroy the apple pop tart this week. 

It was easy to talk Maddy into the Fried green tomatoes with fried eggs and Crystal hollandaise---knowing she would never finish it allowed me to steal a few bites.  How do they get those tomatoes so deeply crispy? If you need to have one meal last you all day this is the choice for you.  Maybe you should take a baby aspirin with it if you are over 20 years old.

If you are a kid at heart you need this apple poptart in your life.  Last week it was dusted with finely grated cheese--Sophie preferred this version with its festive sprinkles.  Our waitress made sure the chef didn't skimp on the sprinkles.  The flakiest dough with a warm apple filling and icing--you will never go back to Kelloggs.  Expecting to pull back a bloody stump when I reached for a bite--Sophie graciously allowed us to sample her pastry.

Perhaps because I had shared this blackberry macaron that came with my coffee--score!

And because she had an order of crispy Benton's bacon.

I had the house cured salmon. Hoping this stays on the menu.  The fish was velvety soft and the garnish of capers/dill/egg and onion was pitch perfect.  A lighter option to be sure allowing me to sample with abandon.

The bacon cheeseburger with Waygu beef and the best french fries ever.  Ian had a plane to catch and wanted to be sure that he had one good meal before his flight.  This didn't disappoint--points for flavor and satiating capabilities.  Another humongous meal for the vegetarians in your party is the Bananas Foster French Toast ordered by a friend at our last brunch outing.  She described it as "tummy armor."  If you leave hungry it's your own fault.

We tried to sit outdoors on this blustery day--love, love the outdoor patio but the staff was very accommodating as we scurried inside when we realized our mistake.  If it hadn't been windy it would have been tolerable with the blankets and propane heaters.  Looking forward to a glass of red wine some chilly winter evening under the stars.

The Monterey on Urbanspoon

 

Sunday
Oct232011

The Monterey

The Monterey is officially my new favorite restaurant in San Antonio.  The backyard patio feel will draw you in, and the food will keep you coming back.  As you gaze up at Hemisphere Tower for once you won't be thinking "I wish I was in Austin."  Far removed from the touristy Riverwalk scene and free parking to boot.

We went with a small group of friends early one Friday evening--early enough for happy hour specials on all Texas brews and a selection of wines by the glass.  Sophie had her first Mexican coke.

 Enjoy, that's the closest I will let you get to Mexico.

While awaiting the arrival of the remainder of our party {$#%@ Friday traffic} we shared an order of the fries with charred jalapeno mayo.  The fries were out in a blink of an eye and perfectly crispy and boiling lava hot just like we like them.

The mayo was not too spicy--more like aioli but delicious nonetheless.  The server was very patient and explained each dish in detail, gave recommendations and was generally a delight.  She even made sure Sophie had her grilled cheese on the table as the adults at the table remained indecisive.

 This is what a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich looks and smells like.  I scooped up her pickled vegetables--kimchi-esque and tasty. 

The brussel sprouts are back!  Nearly every review I read for the Monterey heaped praise on these tiny cabbage harbingers of the coming season.  I couldn't leave without trying them.  Now I will go to my grave trying to figure out the right combination of sweet chili sauce and peanuts to recreate these at home. 

The server described the pork belly dish as "sort of a play on Buffalo wings."  Sitting atop their bed of egg salad and surrounded by crumbled blue cheese and celery--they were reminiscent of the ubiquitous bar food.  The tangy hot sauce cut through the fattiness of the dish and prevented it from tasting obscenely rich. 

The braised beef cheeks were, as marketed, fork tender.  They also had that beautiful glossy sauce that comes with hours and hours of cooking--missing something to mop it up with was a shame but next time we'll just order some cornbread.  Topped with watermelon radish--beautiful and crunchy, a lovely foil to the meat.

Since my selfish companions had already chosen the dishes I would have picked I was forced to order the barbecued fried chicken.  Ordering fried chicken always seems so gluttonous that I will rarely commit {like that pork belly dish was any less fattening}.  The chicken is first smoked, then battered and fried and needed no accompaniment.  I grudgingly shared with the table, but this is the kind of chicken you want to hunker down and eat like a farm hand.  Can't you just see the crunchiness?  Maybe I can convince Sophie to order this the next time we go because she would never be able to finish it all.

Desserts are a must in our family and we tried both of their selections.  Pictured above is the banana panna cotta with peanut brittle and parsley {!?} The peanut brittle was light and airy--I hate to say it, like Captain Crunch but without the roof of the mouth shredding properties.  I wished for a whole bowl of it.  Even the most staunch banana hater in the group tried this dessert.  No one was sure what to do with the parsley.  The chocolate pudding with raspberry jam and cubeb pepper (not a typo for cubed pepper but a type pepper) was pure comfort food. 

Can't wait to come back for brunch.

The Monterey on Urbanspoon