Q). John, I love your
column (and the Blue Moon). A few years ago, I read your column where
you volunteered your brother-in-law's phone number for anyone who wanted
to learn how to make salted anchovies. Boy, was he steamed. "He did
what? He published my phone number in the paper?" After he got over the
shock, he invited me over and showed me how. However, I have had a
terrible time trying to get anchovies. Two questions: 1) Where can one
find large anchovies? 2) I had mentioned to
some friends that tri-tip is not commonly available on the east coast.
This turned into a long debate and a high stake bet of one dollar. The
bet is "Tri-tip is not commonly available on the east coast." Who is
correct and how can I find the proof? Enquiring minds would like to
Lance Monosoff, Via email
A). As for my brother in law, now you
know why we call him "the lion". He is a natural teacher and sometimes
has a big bark and no bite. The trouble with anchovies is that you never
know when they catch them, but you can salt other fish too - salmon for
instance. Our local commercial fisherman fish in Alaska and bring back
five-gallon tubs of salted sockeye which they treasure like gold. It is
very good, however if you have high blood pressure, I recommend you
don't eat a lot of it. If you are sure you want to do this, give John M.
a call (372-2655) and he will help you.
You win the tri-tip bet. Also known as
sirloin triangle tip or triangle sirloin, this cut is popular in
California, but you might have trouble finding it elsewhere. This is a
very flavorful cut that's great for barbecuing as long as you take pains
to keep the meat from getting too tough. The trick is to
the fat until the roast is cooked
so that the juices can tenderize the meat. When it's done, slice it
thinly against the grain. Most tri-tip is shipped out here, to the
Western U.S., where it is very popular. Tri-tip is even included in many
West Coast barbecue competitions as an optional category. It is often
associated with California's central coast region and the Santa Maria
Valley in particular, where "Santa Maria-style" tri-tip is the meat of
choice. In a tradition going back to the days of Spanish rancheros, the
meat is heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, cooked slowly
over a red oak fire, then sliced and served with fresh salsa, cooked pinquito beans, guacamole and warm tortillas.
Q). Being a local guy, I know you
don't own a fried chicken joint! We do enjoy your restaurants,
especially Abalonetti's for calamari. I love Marty's! My question is,
where is there a good fried chicken place in the Monterey area. Don't
say the KFC word, John!
Mark C. Klein,
A). Boy, do I love fried chicken. There's nothing like fried
chicken made at home, depending on a few factors. I don't think everyone
deep-fries it. I believe the best results come from is when it's done in
a cast iron pan. Fried chicken, potato salad, sweet corn, Cole slaw -
good stuff! Start with the best ingredients. For the chicken, I prefer
small fryers. There's a new product called Smart Chicken that's not
processed in water, but air- dried
(Europe-style). Recently I did a test
and, while the regular chicken was juicier, the Smart Chicken had
slightly better flavor and was more condensed. Another benefit of Smart
Chicken is that it will not spatter because of the low moisture content.
Local fried chicken? Many years ago there was a place at the end of
Fremont Street that had a big neon sign of a chicken in a roaster in the
1950's & 60's. It was a nice family-run restaurant with Grandma cooking
in the back using a bunch of cast iron pots for frying. The menu
consisted of roasted chicken, roasted duck and fried chicken and had
only four or five tables. I remember the owner saying that she was doing
this to put her children through college. I remember the cornbread and I
remember that fabulous chicken and duck. Once the kids where out of
college, she closed everything up. Too bad! What a jewel of a
place. Done properly,
I think a good chicken restaurant would do well here. Got any spare time Mark?
tip: Never store or refrigerate fruits and vegetables in plastic
bags - they will spoil very quickly and will turn to mush. They need to
breathe. Tomatoes go especially fast. Store them in a cool, dark and
Great News: Monterey's Cookin' Pisto Style is now shown in
Hawaii! Aloha and Mahalo, braddahs!
Anyone interested in medicinal mushrooms? The International
Medicinal Mushroom Conference will be held in Port Townsend, Washington
from October 12 through the 17, and I'll be there cooking in my giant
paella pan. For more information, check out
Q). You know those little grapes in
the grocery store called "champagne grapes"? Do they really use them to
A). Interestingly enough, they are called that because, if you
hold them up in a bunch, they look like the bubbles in a glass of
champagne. Champagne and sparkling wines are most commonly made from
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
This should get you thinking folks,
if you're in your late 50's or early 60's. Think of how you want to
spend the rest of your life. I'm sure not everyone thinks about it too
much, but friend Ted B. gave me some very sobering info. Let's say
you're 60, it would be safe to say you can go until 80 in really good
health, if you watch yourself. That translates to 20 summers, that's
right only 20 summers. Now start writing down how you want to spend
those twenty summers. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Sounds a bit
gray - where's the sun damn-it! Enough of this gray!
Q). Recently I purchased some vanilla
in Mexico. Why is it clear?
Alf, Monterey, Phoned in
A). I hope it didn't say it was "natural" because if the vanilla
is clear that means it was made by combining propylene glycol or
glycerin with artificial-vanillin. Also, Mexico has no truth in labeling
regulations or any organization like our FDA. Many times the vanilla
will contain artificial flavors or enhancers, such as coumarin, which is
a carcinogenic product that has been outlawed by the FDA for the last 30
to 40 years.