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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Savory Salinas Storylines

1. The Steinbeck Festival's got a lotta love for foodies.

The National Steinbeck Center is opening easily its most ambitious and diversified Steinbeck Festival outing ever—its 30th annual—on Thursday, Aug. 5 with a world cuisine highlight reel directed by deliciously talented food artist Wendy Brodie.

Brodie’s done more than inspire Californians with her craft and her TV show. The well-traveled toque has developed menus at five-star hotels in Europe and the Jockey Club in Hong Kong among other travels, so this “Circumnavigating the Globe Through the Art of Food” sucker should be seriously savory.

“The food will visit places Steinbeck did,” she says. “Mexico, Japan, Russia, Paris and Berlin and of course we can’t forget Cannery Row-Monterey-Salinas.”

And the price is a bargain, especially for members ($10), though us civilians cough up less than a twenty ($18), 775-4721.

2. Habanero is back and as hot as ever.

Habanero (757-1975) reopened last week in the heart of Oldtown after being closed for a couple of months due to drama with the sales tax man.

Place is quick, good, convenient and delicious. Owner Miguel Martinez recommends the signature brochetas ($12 with rice, beans and tortillas)—skewers of a range of spiced meats blanketed with fresh melted cheese.

And his housemade salsa can stand up to anybody’s.

2. The Oldtown Bar & Grill as you know it is history.

Change is afoot at Oldtown Bar & Grill (757-2720) as Mike Hackett, who also directs traffic at Casa Sorrento (757-2720), is selling the popular spot.

Hackett’s a big idea guy—he once told me he wanted to bring Salinas its own Catalyst a la Santa Cruz—so don’t expect him to go quietly into the valley night.

Former manager George Ramirez says a mariscos seafood spot is expected to move in some time in August.