Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 17th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sampling Sichuan Spices

dining_omeiThe popular O'mei on Mission continues to dazzle diners with its array of flavors

For more than 30 years O'mei Restaurant has served its classy renditions of Chinese cuisine on busy Mission Street. It had been some time since I had visited, and was looking forward to its special brand of spiciness.

We were offered a dinner menu, a specials menu which included seasonal Chinese vegetables, and the express menu which included noodle bowls, sautées and chow mein.

We chose two appetizers ($3) from a tray of six. String beans were mixed with plenty of garlic. Tanned and lacquered cashews were polka dotted with black and white sesame seeds for a sweet and salty snack.

Red Oil Dumplings ($8.95) are a family favorite. Six steamed, plump pot stickers were stuffed with a smoothly minced filling of pork and vegetables. There was a hint of sweetness in the spicy crimson sauce.

The flavorings in O'mei's chicken dishes include rosemary with mushrooms (not spicy), mustard with apples, and apricots with almonds. Sichuan Gan Bian Chicken ($14.45) was our chicken of choice. Dark meat, lightly battered and dry-sautéed, was tossed with sweet water chestnuts, thin bamboo shoot tips, frilly cloud ear fungus, and plenty of bright red chilies in a light, syrupy Pixian chili sauce with sweet and tart flavors.

O'mei offers a unique array of fried rice dishes including smoked chicken, Sichuan bacon, and Chili Fried Rice with Thai curry, chilies and cilantro. Our traditional large serving of Shrimp Fried Rice ($11.95) included corn, peas, and scrambled egg with pieces of prawns.

Beef is cooked with numerous interesting ingredients such as fresh orange sauce with Sichuan peppers and cumin-tomato beef with Silk Road spices. The menu warned that Spicy Simmered Beef and Greens ($15.45) had a "spicy-numbing broth." It did indeed bestow a pleasant flame. Tender flank steak, zucchini, perhaps a bit of bok choy, long green strips of onion, dried red chilies and salty, fermented beans were topped with a generous mound of minced garlic.

In closing, house-made desserts to cool a Sichuan-tingling tongue ($3.50 to $4.50) include black sesame or banana ice creams, and I was pleased to find no service charge on my bill.


O'mei Restaurant, 2316 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 425-8458. Beer and wine. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. with dinner from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.


♛♛♛


On Sunday August 21, the International Calamari Festival will return from hiatus to India Joze on Front Street. The restaurant, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, is a smaller reincarnation of the original one on Center Street, but remains absolutely marvelous.

Chef Jozseph Schultz, who describes his creations as "world-spanning cuisine," orchestrated this festival for at least 17 years.

Besides sampling the incredible textural, taste and flavor combinations that Schultz is known for, I expect the festival to be part performance art, with Schultz and his staff at the helm of high output woks making quick work of cooking the delicate seafood, and part history lesson demonstrated by the flavors of ancient cuisines.

Advance purchase of tickets is required.


International Culinary Festival, Sunday August 21, 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., 418 Front St. Advance tickets available online or at the restaurant. Visit indiajoze.com/festivals.shtml#calamari

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.