A Blog About Good Food, Dynamic Drinks and One Lively Owner
Sometimes, you just never know where you’ll find a good time.
I found one recently and it was in one of the most unusual locations, unusual because I didn’t even know there was a good time to be had in it. But you never go until you go, right!?
The location was Moss Landing, CA, a commercial fishing harbor with a small patch of restaurants off the side of U.S. Highway 1 between Monterey and Santa Cruz. I have passed by it dozens of times over the years, and only once had I bothered to stop.
And that was just for fairly quick lunch at the most prominent spot off the highway, The Whole Enchilada.
Well as it turns out there’s also a place called The Haunt Enchilada, which is behind The Whole Enchilada. Haute is defined as meaning fashionable, and that’s a good way to describe The Haute Enchilada.
It has bright colors in the dining room and a large outside area that includes so many buildings it takes a while to figure out which one is the actual restaurant.
To define the personality of the owner, picante comes immediately to mind. That means nutty, peppery, spiciness and, more to the point, spicy.
And spicy describes Kim perfectly.
The truly entertaining thing about Kim is that she is entertaining without trying to be entertaining. She joined myself and two friends whom she knows well at our table, and with little introduction, started talking with me as if I had known her our entire lives.
She talked about a spat she had with her husband one second, about how her mom just kind of went along with her dad to start The Whole Enchilada the next, and then about an upcoming tequila tasting the restaurant’s club members (anyone can join and if you live in the area, I recommend you do it), all without breaking verbal stride. I could not help but smile.
She also started describing all the drinks they make at the bar and encouraged me to try them all: “You’re having the house margarita. You should have the Haut Rita (basically a Cadillac margarita). Oh, and our sangria. You must have some sangria. Katie, bring us some sangria (Katie was our waitress)….”
The margarita was good – “it’s made with fresh lime juice,” Kim reported as if that’s the only way to make them, and that alone should tell you about the quality of the cocktails here – and the sangria came in not a glass, but a schooner. It, too, was very good.
I was only halfway through it when Kim said, “you should get the Haut Rita. Oh, and we have Spanish brandy.”
She was speaking my language, but I still had to drive about 15 miles to where I was staying in Monterey. And while we eating like Spanish royalty – everything they put down in front of us was fantastic, especially the shrimp dishes – it still seemed prudent to save my taste test of the full bar for another time when I did not have to drive.
And we agreed to do that, by the way. There’s a Bed & Breakfast in Moss Landing, about a minute’s walk from The Haute Enchilada. It’s called Captain’s Inn and she’s already put me in touch with the owner, Donna, who has offered to put me up for a night so I can fully enjoy the dynamic drinking pleasures of The Haute. And there are a couple of other bars in Moss Landing worthy of my attention, too.
Of course, Kim will always have the last laugh. When discussing when I will return, I asked Kim if they have June Gloom in Moss Landing like we do where I live in Southern California. For those of you not in the know, June Gloom is when the ocean begins to warm up and it clashes with the air temperature, causing the sky to overcast by the shore for the entire month.
“Yes we do have June Gloom here,” Kim replied, “but you’ll be too drunk to care!”
Ahh, can’t wait to get back to The Haut Enchilada and to be entertained by Kim.