|The Twelfth Annual Cooking For Solutions is a Grand Culinary Celebration in Monterey, CA|
|Protecting this delicate natural resource is one of the missions of the Monterey Bay Aquarium|
their original handy reference cards for your wallet.
|Q: Why is this man smiling? A: His job helps save the seas.|
I was just about the start perusing the many rows of food booths when I heard that Chef Art Smith was ready for a demo on the Great Tide Pool Deck. I have been a big Art Smith fan since meeting him at the Life Kitchen restaurant opening in 2011 when I blogged about this exciting new dining concept. Art Smith is one of the original consulting chefs at LYFE Kitchens. Art has a highly infectious laugh and he entertained us while preparing a grilled shrimp dish on an Asian salad.
|Chef Art Smith was totally in his element having fun with food.|
|Slightly spicy grilled shrimp on a fresh salad courtesy of Chef Art Smith.|
I was like a kid in a candy shop when Art Smith's demo wrapped up. There were so many booths that I couldn't make up my mind which direction to head. The vegetarian sushi booth wasn't a bad start.
|Cucumber, Carrot and Avocado Rolls from Whole Foods.|
|Lev's Original Kombucha|
|California Lavash sheet readying for a sweet wrap|
|Dessert Pinwheel with all the right stuff|
|Michael Passmore (left) tells their story as Chef Jeff Rogers (right) prepares their goods.|
|One of several Passmore Ranch fish prepared by Chef Rogers|
|Lucky us to get this tasty sample of Passmore Ranch Catfish|
|Vandy and Michael Passmore keep their family farming tradition alive at Passmore Ranch|
|Susan Smith, Director of Customer Relations at Trinchero Family Wines in St. Helena, CA|
|Ordinary aromas that become challenging to identify just by nose.|
After a great lunch in the new Monterey Bay Aquarium restaurant, Cindy's Waterfront, we sampled more food booth offerings and then had a wine and cheese reception at the hotel. By then you would have thought that more food would have been not that high on our agenda but dinner awaited us at one of the best restaurants in town, Passionfish. No doubt this trip was a truly a foodie's fantasy come true.
|701 Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove, CA (831-655-3311)|
|Chef Owner Ted Walters|
|Ricotta Gnocchi/tomato brown butter/arugula – $8.00|
|Asparagus fries with sesame aioli – $8.00|
The Sea Scallop starter was loaded with flavors and textures but they all worked together beautifully.
|Sea Scallop/caper-raisin-walnut relish/artichoke risotto cake – $8.00|
|Dungeness Crab and Avocado salad/spicy ginger vinaigrette – $16.00|
|Rainbow Trout/basil stuffed/red wine braised vegetables – $18.00|
Passionfish is not just a fish restaurant. Among their slow cooked meats is one of their signature dishes Spoonable 12 hour lamb breast which is so tender you can really eat it with a spoon.
|Spoonable 12 hour Lamb Breast/Meyer Lemon Tajine/Goat cheese – $18.00|
Even vegetarians have something to shout about at Passionfish. I tried their Warm whole grain "tabouli" and it was one of the most delicious non-meat entrees I've ever had. The crunch from the almonds and the freshness of the English Peas add so many layers of texture and flavors here.
|Warm "Tabouli"/Orange spice gastrique/English Peas/chard/almonds – $16.00|
The first item on their dessert menu is an all-time favorite of mine so I didn't look any further than the Banana Bread Pudding. For me it simply hit every base in the bread pudding ball park. This dessert was the end of our great meal but only the beginning of my trips back to experience more Passionfish.
|Banana Bread Pudding with Madeira caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream – $6.00|
|A landmark eatery at 700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA (831-633-2152)|
|Just the right spices makes Phil's Mary a must.|
So most people including seasoned foodies might have called it a day after this glorious weekend of noshing. I would have too except that we were just so close to Castroville and it just happened to be the weekend of the annual Artichoke Festival. Artichokes are truly one of my favorite foods and I had never been to this event honoring them at their Capital City.
|Artichoke Center of the World and the opening of their season in May|
|What's not to love about mating artichokes and cupcakes?|
|Both sweet and savory sort of like carrot cake. A nice finale to the weekend of fantastic food.|