Appetizers
March 21, 2011
Cindy Pawlcyn teams with Monterey Aquarium for good eats

Cindy Pawlcyn.jpgOh, that Cindy Pawlcyn - she's here, there and everywhere.

The chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and widely acknowledged Queen of Wine Country Cuisine has taken her expertise to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.montereybayaquarium.org). There, she developed menus for the casual self-service cafe and the adjoining full-service restaurant.

We dropped by last Friday on a wet and wind-swept day and checked out both dining areas. The cafe offers salads, soup, pizza, sandwiches and desserts ($1.85 to $14). The dishes carry Pawlcyn's unmistakable imprint. For instance, the tuna Nicoise sandwich is made with pole-caught albacore tuna with roasted red-pepper tapenade on artisanal bread.

In the more formal restaurant, we grabbed a table by a window and enjoyed a world-class view of white-capped Monterey Bay. The menu showed crab cakes, roasted artichoke, salads, sandwiches and spectacular-sounding entrees, including Thai-style mussels with coconut curry, grilled hangar steak with caramelized onions, grilled sea bass, oyster po' boy ($8 to $22).

Pawlcyn has three restaurants in the Napa Valley - Mustards Grill, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and Go Fish (www.mustardsgrill.com).

P.S.: This just in from the aquarium: "The aquarium's Seafood Watch program has connected seafood lovers to ocean-friendly choices for over a decade. Now its recommendations are available as an Android application. (Users) can download the free Seafood Watch app from the Android Market to get on-the-go access to sustainable seafood choices when dining or shopping. To find out more and download the Android app, visit www.montereybayaquarium.org/seafoodwatchapp."

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

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