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Update on King City Chow

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Update on King City Chow

Melanie Wong | Mar 14, 2003 03:46 AM

Two weeks ago I revisited King City staying at Keefer’s again, and had essentially the same meals. (link below) The food seemed a touch better, in fact. I skipped the salad bar at dinner, opting for a cup of soup instead. The housemade clam chowder was very tasty with lots of tender clams. Wish it had more cream and less floury/grainy thickeners, yet still a credible job. The small cut of prime rib was very good, too much again, will have to order the sandwich next time. I tried a bite of Tim’s glazed double-cut pork chops. They looked beautiful, but were too dry.

The corned beef hash for breakfast was terrific with chunks of meat and a nice crusty exterior. The accompanying biscuits would have been good, except that they had been heated in the microwave ruining the crust. The buckwheat pancakes were more interesting this time with more malty flavor. I liked the slightly chewy edges, whereas Ann thought the tender interior was better. The syrup was more maple-y and served hot. The patties of sausage were inedible, so dried out that they tasted cardboard-y and were almost impossible to cut with a knife. Fresh squeezed red grapefruit juice hit the spot.

The highlight at lunch our first day of judging was the chicken enchilada plate. Strips of poached white chicken were swathed in a creamy cheese sauce, rolled in corn tortillas, topped with cheese, and baked. This was accompanied by yellow rice, mixed vegetables, and some very spicy roasted tomato salsa. Lunch was catered by Rosa’s Catering, 44429 Teague Ave., Greenfield, 831-385-0437.

Kendall-Jackson’s new winery was the venue for dinner prepared by Valley Catering. The grilled tri-tip seemed plainer this time with less seasoning. What was special though was the tip Dave got to wander over to the bed of the pick-up truck where the meat was being carved and dip the garlic bread in the beefy juices. Good stuff.

On Sunday I ducked out during the morning break to wander through the flea market. An elote stand was a new addition. I bought menudo, which came with handmade tortillas cooked to order. Enjoyed for dinner later, it was as good as I remembered.

For lunch I headed downtown to Mercado La Mexicana, a small grocery store at 327 Broadway which was having a special of two tacos for $1. I tried the chicharrones guisados and cachete. The cachete was beef cheek meat, and unlike the stewed versions I’ve had elsewhere, the crusty edges on the fine dice seemed like it was roasted or cooked by dry heat. The flavor was much more intense and beef-y. The chicharrones were stewed in a VERY spicy chili sauce. I quickly ordered a fresh orange juice ($1.75) to quench the flames, which was squeezed to order. These were nice tacos, especially at the price, topped with chopped onion and cilantro and a thin, slightly bitter and fiery red-orange salsa. My only complaint was that the doubled corn tortillas were not heated.

Next was 4 Hermanos, 101 Bassett St. (also in Soledad and Paso Robles), for what I’d heard was the best chile verde in town. The Sunday special was tostada de ceviche ($1.75). This turned out to be a huge amount of white fish ceviche topped with three thick slices of buttery avocado. The ceviche was very fresh and limey, but strangely a little too chewy. The basket of chips merits a special mention. While not that thin, the chips were really intensely flavored with a crackly fresh crunch and well-salted. The chile verde burrito ($2.75) was smaller than what we’re used to in San Francisco. The top quality chewy flour tortilla was well-blistered from grilling. Chunks of pork shoulder were firm and moist in an assertive but not flaming hot green chili sauce. A little bit of yellow rice to soak up the juices was the only other ingredient in this delicious burrito.

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