The Taste That Keeps On Giving
Sierra Lodestar 10/21/09

A Taste of Calaveras

By Antoinette May Herndon

How many times do you get to go to a party that seems to have been planned especially for you? Now I donít mean an anniversary fete, or graduation gala or even a birthday bash.

What Iím talking about is much more unique than that. Iím thinking of a party that surprises and delights all your senses while informing you of a number of things that you really need or want to know. Beyond that, what about a soirťe that even does a slice of work for you?

Thatís exactly the kind of event that I was fortunate enough to attend recently.

Now I realize that the Angels Camp Business Association didnít have Ďlil ole me in mind when they planned Taste of Calaveras. The afternoon of food and wine tasting, music and art appreciation, was a benefit for the Calaveras Arts Councilís Art in Education Program, but, nevertheless, this dining out columnist wondered at times if she hadnít died and gone to heaven.

Suddenly there before me was a mini restaurant row with a ready opportunity to review some old favorites while scoping out new ones. The dazzling Dove Hill Ranch in Angels Camp wasnít hard to take either. What a setting.

So enough about me getting lucky, here are a plateful of brand new tips and surprises.

` Did you know

that Angels Camp World Mercantile (1267 South Main, Phone: 890-7155) serves food? Check out their new Cafť@the Merc and while youíre at it, try the pulled pork and/or the cranberry almond chicken salad. Both are very, very tastey.

Besides the best locally grown fruits and vegetables, Metzger Farms and Market (1666 Gold Hunter Road, San Andreas. Phone: 754-1010) also serves grilled egg plant at their Tuesday market.

An old favorite, The Thai House Restaurant (Valley Oak Shopping Center, Valley Springs. Phone: 772-8549) is now featuring an extra special curried chicken with potatoes, onions, carrots and coconut milk. Rapidly becoming a signature dish is Thai House Salad (marinated chicken on a bed of lettuce, crispy noodles, tomatoes, cucumbers, ground peanuts and apple topped with the chefís special dressing.)

La Contenta Golf Clubís Vista Grille (1653 Highway 26, Valley Springs, Phone: 772-1714) is now open for dinner Friday evenings. The menu looks elegant and if the clam chowder served at the benefit is any indication, this operation will be a winner.

The Hotel Legerís Thursday Martini Night has catapulted sleepy little Mok Hill onto the merrymakerís map. I know from frequent experience that their martinis are par excellence. Now Iíve discovered the perfect appetizer. Check out the Legerís artichoke bruschetta. (8304 Main. Phone: 286-1401)

Camps Restaurant in Angels Campís Green Horn Golf Resort has a hidden treasure on the menu. Try their fabulous salmon burger. (711 McCauley Rd. Phone: 736-8181)

Cruscoís in Angels demonstrated what an all time great restaurant they really are by serving an amazing polenta topped with three mushroom Marsala sauce. Stay tuned for a column dedicated to this dynamite restaurant. (1240 South Main St. Phone: 736-1440)

Did you know that Murphys has an authentic Italian delicatessen? Try Deli Niniís for an electrifying variety of hot and cold paninis, not to mention handmade lasagna and bare veggie salads.

VITALS: Taste of Calaveras is an annual event. Watch for it same time next year. Not only is the food fabulousóa rare sampling of the best that Calaveras County has to offeróbut also the wide variety of wines. As you browse, not only the many food stations but also the many exhilarating art displays, youíll be serenaded by a wide variety of talented musicians. This event, truly a celebration of all the senses, offers a unique opportunity to sample whatís new, different and readily available.

amherndon@sierralodestar.com

PICTURES:

Taste of Calaveras was a treat to all the senses

Strolling musicians added an extra touch of class to the culinary caper

Cafť@the Merc was a surprise success at Taste of Calaveras