Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sushi Luncheon on the Way to Monterey/Carmel, CA.

I have been visiting the Monterey Peninsula, off and on, since 1954. Driving south from Berkeley or San Francisco, one pretty much had to pack a snack or tighten the belt. There were no decent food stops on that 100 mile journey after the Busy Bee cafe at Morgan Hill closed in the 1970s.

After you've driven down the broad and very zippy Highway 101, you turn west onto Hwy 156 (only two lanes and dangerous!), leading to Monterey. Castroville is about 4 miles ahead.

Castroville, CA, 20 miles north of the Monterey Penninsula and 4 miles west of Highway 101, is known as The Artichoke Capitol of the World and it's eateries tend toward, Mexican food, fast-food, BBQ, and The Giant Artichoke Restaurant. But right across the street from the latter and tucked into a strip mall is Habani.

During August of this year, we ate there four times during two weeks, it was so good! We sat right up to the counter and watched the host chop and slice, roll and
wrap his artistic pieces.

Right: Japanese green seafood salad

Hanabi
's menu is highly varied and even includes BBQ short ribs, but to be brief, they offer lots of fresh raw fish of the highest grade prepared as sushi or sashimi. There are also tempura, a savory miso soup with green onion and tofu, box lunches (not take-out but sectioned boxes with tastefully-matched samples of various dishes). And do NOT overlook the crunchy green seaweed salad, rather like sauerkraut but prettier. It's made from wakami, a Japanese vegetable and has become all the rage across the U.S [You may Google a recipe or simply purchase it at Asian food markets].

Above: traditional Japanese sashimi

Prices are easily affordable, especially when you remember that so many people shell out $5.50 for a fast-food burger and fries. Hanabi offers a protein-heavy, non-fat meal and is simply delicious. Can't face thinly shaved, spiced raw fish? MacDonald's is only a few yards away.

11276 Merritt Street, Castroville, CA 95012-3421 (831) 633-4262

Hanabi on Merritt Street in Castroville, CA is in the Beach California section(s) Full-Service Restaurants A Google map map of Hanabi shows the approximate location in Castroville, but you should call them at phone number (831) 633-4262 to verify their address is 11276 Merritt Street, Castroville, California 95012-3421 and to get hours and driving directions. Lunch concludes at 2:30 PM.

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