LouLou’s Griddle in the Middle
Municipal Wharf Number 2, Monterey, CA 93940
It was time to leave Reno, time for the vacation I had been dreaming about all year. My husband and I were going to embark on a California coastal tour down Hwy 1, with absolutely no schedule or agenda. We decided to include the word culinary to our vacation title, so here it was, our California culinary tour down the coast.
Our first stop was in Monterey, CA. We got into town late, so we found a quick bite and headed back to the hotel room where the beach waves that were right outside our hotel room crashed down so loud for a minute you thought you were living in the ocean.
Morning came quickly, and I was borderline hangry, but you can’t be angry in such a beautiful place, so we will stick with hungry. We found some locals and spoke to them about what breakfast places they recommend, and they directed us to Lou Lou’s Griddle in the Middle on Municipal Wharf 2.
As we approached the wharf, we noticed a bright yellow little building sitting literally, right in the middle of the wharf. Municipal Wharf 2 is a working wharf so there were many vendors and fisherman working away at their normal life, the normal life I escaped. I was in awe of everything, in awe of the fisherman, the people, the big boats, the trucks and even the courageous birds that were so bold and not scared of anyone.
We walked in to LouLou’s and noticed they were full. It was Tuesday around 10am, and full…it must be good! We waited a short time and then Gigi, the owner, greeted us with her genuinely warm smile and sat us at an adorable little booth by a window. It’s a one row classic diner stop that is colorfully decorated. We were able to see everything all in one birds eye shot. The restaurant is casually paced and the smells, oh the smells reassure you made the right decision to dine here. Diana Ross was jammin’ over the radio and the sounds of newspapers wrestling and coffee being poured joined Diana’s tunes.
A very spunky and energetic waitress came around and offered to take our beverage order. She also made some fantastic menu suggestions. I also noticed that the busboy was working with a smile and chuckling with the fishermen outside. Everyone who worked here truly enjoyed being there and was pleased to serve.
After staring down all the guests plates in the diner, my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Pancakes, the actual side of a hubcap. They appropriately called it the Hubcap Pancake. I don’t think I’ve seen a pancake that large. I decided to go with the Seafood Reef Rider Omelette which was a fluffy three-egg omelette with
shrimp, crab, mushrooms and monterey jack cheese. Hold on though! I wasn’t done ordering yet! I had heard the clam chowder was killer, and love me a good bowl of chowder, so I also ordered a bread bowl clam chowder for my husband and I to share.
The clam chowder stole the show. It was smooth and creamy with oversized chunks of clams and potatoes. It wasn’t overly seasoned with fish base, this was the real deal. The bread bowl was warm and toasty and perfect for sopping up that amazing chowder that truly was a gift from the wharf gods. I ate and ate, with no limits. I kept repeating over and over, “That Chowder Though” until finally my husband asked if I was going to save him any. Oops!
Next arrived our Reef Rider Omelettes. They were filled with warm melty cheese and succulent shrimp. The eggs were light yellow and fluffy, beautifully and perfectly prepared. You would think we would be getting full, but no. My husband noticed they had fried oysters on the menu and wanted to sample those as well as we are both oyster fanatics! You could hear them drop into the piping hot fryer and hear the sizzling and gurgling of the fryers. Shortly after being shucked, battered and fried, they arrived to our table and let me tell you, they brought sexy back.
The oysters were FRESH, they were gigantic, they were juicy and not overly greasy or seasoned. The fryer oil was clean, you can tell they maintenance their fryers well because the color on the oysters was a beautiful golden brown and didn’t taste old or rancid. The oysters were delectable and superbly delicious.
Once I introduced myself as a food blogger to the staff, it seemed to make more sense as to why the hell we were eating so much. Chef Benito visited our table and brought us a sample of his signature dish. He cooked this dish for Guy Fieri when Diner’s, Drive In’s and Dives paid them a visit. He brought us a beautifully constructed abalone slider with a seared sea scallop and prawn. The abalone was tender and lightly breaded and laid upon a slaw that complimented it nicely. The sea scallop was seared to perfection, falling right apart as you took your first bite. You can taste the passion that fires from within Chef Benito’s soul. He has been the Chef there for 14 years and clearly is a master at what he does.
I highly urge my readers to please swing by LouLou’s Griddle in the Middle and experience culinary mastery at it’s finest. I have no problem driving 5 hours just to get my hands on another bowl of their Clam Chowder! They will NOT disappoint!