Tamales, different meals to attempt from Salinas to Massive Sur this Thanksgiving
Bored with turkey for Thanksgiving?
How about stuffing a tamale as a substitute of a turkey to your vacation feast? There’s additionally different native options for the adventurous eater, starting from a vegan meatloaf to pizza and wings.
Many in Salinas and the encompassing Monterey County communities begin pondering of tamales when the vacations roll round. Whereas tamales are in demand at Christmas and New Yr’s, don’t depend them out for Turkey Day.
“Often it’s a Christmas custom,” La Plaza Bakery worker Jose stated about tamales, who most well-liked to offer simply his first identify. “Yeah, some do it on Thanksgiving. Not as a lot as Christmas,” Jose stated from the West Salinas enterprise on North Davis Highway.
“If individuals begin making tamales round Thanksgiving, they proceed all month after which for Christmas, it’s a giant day and New Yr’s additionally,” he stated.
Often, making tamales is a gaggle effort to place collectively giant batches from scratch with a meat filling wrapped with masa earlier than they’re rolled up in a corn husk and steamed. After all, there’s at all times extra household and pals desirous to eat the Mesoamerican delicacy than volunteers to make them.
La Plaza sells tamales, however prospects additionally deliver residence its masa, the normal corn dough used to organize tamales.
One of the crucial common locations to purchase masa in Salinas is Leal’s Bakery, the place individuals will line up on East Alisal Road to get their legendary dough together with husks and spices.
“We do promote a variety of tamales (for Thanksgiving), however probably the most we promote is the masa to make the tamales,” supervisor Sylvia Leal Agamao stated. “We’ve been in enterprise for 47 years and yearly round Thanksgiving, we get lots of people shopping for masa to make tamales.”
It’s commonplace for a Mexican bakery to promote tamales and Leal’s carries rooster, pork, cheese and elote, which is a candy corn. Sorry – none with turkey filling.
“We don’t make the turkey tamales, however lots of people do throughout Thanksgiving,” Agamao stated.
One other common spot for tamales and different Mexican fare is the Deli-Café 3 Hermanos on East Alisal Road, which is open from 2 a.m. till 5 p.m., together with Thanksgiving.
The Deli-Café 3 Hermanos opens very early as a result of a lot of its prospects are agriculture employees who work within the discipline or are empacadores (packers).
Deli-Café worker Gustavo Canizao stated loads of his prospects wish to fulfill their tamale cravings this time of yr.
“They’re shopping for a variety of tamales, particularly across the holidays,” Canizao stated.
The deli sells pork, rooster, corn and cheese tamales, but in addition behind the counter is a strawberry tamale that’s on the sweeter aspect that includes a pink masa.
Canizao stated he and his household don’t plan on having turkey for Thanksgiving, however he isn’t certain what’ll be on the desk.
“We don’t actually have turkey. We do have like gravy and stuff like that, however not turkey,” he stated.
Pasta a risk
There’s a mess of turkey options for a Thanksgiving centerpiece, similar to beef cuts like prime rib, ham, goose, duck or Cornish recreation hen.
For the previous a number of years, Pastability’s on West Acacia Road has been providing a Thanksgiving-themed lasagna with both a blackened rooster or conventional selection.
“The previous couple of years, it has been fairly common – the most well-liked merchandise that we are likely to have for Thanksgiving,” stated Joan Ochoa, the overall supervisor.
In a 1979 episode from Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” present, bandleader Doc Severinsen famously stated he needed lasagna – not turkey – on the vacation.
“The household right here at Pastability’s needed to do a particular for all of the lasagna orders that may be coming in. They threw in a bit little bit of a reduced value for all of the households that had been seeking to do lasagnas for Thanksgiving this yr,” Ochoa stated.
“You’re welcome to do a take-and-bake at residence otherwise you’re welcome to choose it up already baked as properly,” he stated.
Pre-sales occur on Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, whereas the shop will likely be closed that Thursday and Friday.
Non-meat eaters on the lookout for a change can choose up a frozen loaf of plant-based Tofurkey at their grocery store, however a Massive Sur restaurant additionally has you lined.
The Fernwood Resort will likely be open from midday to 9 p.m. Thanksgiving with vegan meatloaf as a primary occasion possibility, served alongside corn bread stuffing with shiitake mushroom gravy, fried brussels sprouts, collard greens and cranberry sauce.
“We’ve had it prior to now. It’s fairly common as a result of some individuals are vegan so we at all times wish to have a vegan possibility after which a non-vegan possibility. That’s sort of like our complete factor,” worker Karen Paz stated.
Melanie Wong, a frequent contributor to the Fb web page, Take Out and Supply Providers – Monterey County, stated eating places like to supply vegan options.
“I believe different eating places are performing some kind of roasted vegetable factor. Not essentially making an attempt to recreate one thing that appears like what’s conventional for Thanksgiving, however it’s increasingly more necessary within the eating world,” Wong stated.
Wong, a giant fan of the defunct Web meals dialogue group Chowhound, believes lots of people don’t like the normal Thanksgiving fare.
“That’s why eating places which have a Thanksgiving menu typically provide their common menu side-by-side with it,” she stated. “It’s simply that multitude of tastes which can be on the market.”
‘Not loopy about turkey’
Wong isn’t certain what’s for Thanksgiving when she goes to her cousin’s home, however it in all probability gained’t be a gobbler.
“We’re not that loopy about turkey. Once I used to placed on the large turkey for our household, I might order a smoked turkey as a result of we liked all the perimeters and the whole lot. We didn’t actually just like the turkey itself,” she stated.
For selection, Wong says there’s a number of Chinese language-American dishes which have a 100-year historical past in San Francisco that use the leftovers to make jook, also called congee, a kind of a savory oatmeal.
“The factor that’s extra prized than the turkey itself is the turkey carcass to make soup,” Wong stated. “I don’t know for those who’re accustomed to jook, which is a rice porridge breakfast soup all through a lot of Asia. That Thanksgiving turkey jook is probably the most prized leftover.”
Utilizing sticky rice blended with Chinese language charcuterie, similar to sausage and bacon, is a culinary twist on conventional stuffing that Chinese language-Individuals in Northern California have been utilizing for over 100 years.
“I can let you know my grandmother did it as a result of my mom did it as properly,” Wong stated.
Moreover Jook, Wong’s favourite makes use of for leftover turkey are enchiladas suizas, Korean bibimbap and turkey gumbo.
One in every of Wong’s favourite sides for Thanksgiving is an Afghan pumpkin dish referred to as Kaddo Bourani, usually served with a yogurt or meat sauce.
“There’s some individuals who need to have the inexperienced beans – it’s like a faith,” she stated. “I don’t have that. We put various things on the desk. Over time I’ve integrated different issues and this pumpkin dish is basically one in every of my favorites.”
Pizza and wings
Wong hasn’t run throughout turkey pizza these days, however doesn’t rule it out.
“You understand, something goes with pizza,” stated Wong, who’s additionally a aggressive barbecue choose.
Wong remembers a Filipino-owned place in Soledad 10 years in the past that was recognized for its lumpia but in addition baked pizzas. The eatery was at all times open on Thanksgiving as a result of the house owners stated that they had prospects who had been uninterested in turkey.
“They’re watching soccer and so they’re simply ordering in pizzas like loopy. That was a factoid that was unknown to me – that it was properly price it for them to remain open on Thanksgiving,” she stated.
Wong thinks rooster wings will likely be in demand in addition to a turkey various on Thursday since there’s three NFL video games, together with a rivalry matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks.
“Wings you recognize are an enormous, large factor related to soccer. The rooster wing deliveries have been an enormous development for the final two years of individuals staying residence. Hen wing costs have gone up dramatically due to that,” Wong stated. “Yeah. Wings and pizza.”
Mike Chapman is a veteran Northern California reporter and photojournalist whose byline has appeared within the Redding File Searchlight, the Siskiyou Day by day Information and the Eureka Instances-Customary.