Thursday, June 2, 2016

Monterey's birthday, by the pound

John Lotz and Sal Ferrante volunteer in the barbecue area during La Merienda in 2013.
(Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald)
Monterey's annual birthday party, La Merienda, has as its centerpiece a barbecue lunch served by local luminaries. The head of the barbecue committee, restaurateur Chris Shake, and Old Fisherman’s Grotto executive chef Juan Ponce are tasked with serving an estimated 400 people this year. Just how much food is that? Shake provided a breakdown:
* 275 steaks
* 125 pounds of chicken breast
* 60 pounds of mild Italian sausage
* 100 pounds of salmon (that's 400 4 oz. pieces)
* 110 pounds of shrimp
* 6 hotel pans each of fresh fruit, pasta salad and roasted sweet corn
* 8 hotel pans of mixed salad (the ingredients, because it sounds tasty: mango, papaya, candied walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette)
* 75 loaves of garlic bread
* 7 gallons of salsa
* 10 gallons of chili beans
La Merienda takes place at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Memory Garden at Custom House Plaza. Tickets are $55-$65 and can be purchased at

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