On a farm. In the dirt. Followed by street food. Oh, yes! Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day. It was.
We feasted, family-style, on a parade of colorful, flavorful creations from a peanuty pad thai to hoisin pork and from the turmeric-hued Chiang Mai noodles to a strawberry-topped jasmine rice pudding.
My personal favorite: green curry chicken, a melt-in-your-mouth chicken dish smothered with a cilantro-mint pesto and swimming in coconut milk. Carolyn talked about never having seen happier chickens. "Well, as happy as you can be if you're meant for the dinner table." I understood what she meant - when the chickens were alive, they lived in good conditions. That's something.
In addition to the tasty protein toppings we had - pork, beef, and chicken - they served two different kinds of tofu, both artisan made. The firmer tofu was served atop the chili sesame noodle salad while the softer tofu made its appearance in a delectable sweet garlic sauce.
The servers kept returning with bowls, heaped with more food to try. By the end of the meal, I was only taking one small spoonful of each because I wanted to taste everything, but I was stuffed. I should have noticed the length of the tasting menu and paced myself accordingly.
Once again, Edible Monterey Bay picked a winner. I had never heard of Charlie Hong Kong and, truth be told, would not have walked in there of my own volition. The name, on the cutesy side. The logo, a big-toed kung fu character holding a wok and chopsticks, on the kitschy side. Neither really appealed to me. But, now, having eaten there, we will definitely return. And I am certainly recommending it to friends who find themselves on that side of the Monterey Bay.
Charlie Hong Kong, for the wonderful meal.
Thank you, Sarah and Edible Monterey Bay,
for organizing such a great Earth Day celebration.