While visiting my mom we took the opportunity to get familiar with Monterey again (once the Sardine Capital of the World). Despite the steady stream of tourists present on weekends, I never tire of going there. The bustling sardine factories of the 30′s have long since closed their doors. Today Cannery Row is mainly stores, one much like the next, hawking touristy goods such as tee shirts reading “I got crabs in Monterey”. Still, ghostly reminders stand fast in the weathered old buildings. An eerie presence of the history of the place lingers on like an understudy lurking behind the scenery, knowing his lines but unable to go on.
Restaurants line the pier as this is where tourists gather. An obvious choice in such surroundings, most posted menus feature a large variety of fresh seafood. Walking a bit, we finally surrendered ourselves to the delicious mix of fish and garlic wafting out the open doors, and stopped to eat. Lunch was to be a steaming plate of spicy shrimp at the Fish Hopper washed down with a dewy glass of sweet tea. We sat at a window which offered us a full view of the cove beyond the glass. Just beyond the rocks a group of otters were performing in the water. One busily working a shell with his agile paws, while others floated lazily on their backs grabbing some California sun. Gulls circled overhead or hopped along the deck craning their heads constantly as if searching for handout. Commenting on the weather, our waitress said the dense fog often swallowing up the coastline during the summer months had moved out mid-morning and stayed at bay. Needing to see the ocean as it is much a part of me, I can’t help but think the god’s were with us.
“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitant are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gambler and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holymen” and he would have meant the same thing.”
― John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
We stopped to get our feet with others sharing the same idea. The sand was warm, the water cold, and the wildflowers in bloom everywhere you looked. Fishing trawlers cast their nets just beyond the surf line and an occasional sea lion could be seen bobbing up and down in the swells.
Unable to resist, we stopped at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and loaded up on truffles and brick for the ride home.
Spring was evident in all the beautiful garden lined streets, each offering a more lovely and colorful display than the last. Even the scruffiest of lots seemed to overflow with color as if to make up for the disarray lying beyond the bushes.
These chicken thighs are truly finger licking good, and easy to put together.
Crockpot Asian Sesame Chicken Thighs
6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup scallions, sliced thin
3/4 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/8 cup sesame oil
1 cup chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground fennel
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp. paprika
Whisk all sauce ingredients together in medium bowl.
Spray 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place sliced onion on bottom. Top with single layer of chicken. Pour sauce over top.
Cook on low for 8 hours, opening once and turning chicken and stirring.
Serve over rice.