as told to Pam Bonsper
The Haute Enchilada
7902 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing
I am just a dog, but I happen to be a discerning dog. I think of myself as a canine version of Anthony Bourdain, the popular culinary adventurer, I have heard my mom talk about. I've quietly insisted my mom take me to every dog-friendly restaurant within twenty miles. So, of course I've been to The Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing, and of course it's one of my favorites. But I had not eaten at her daughter restaurant, The Haute Enchilada, until just recently.
I have been barking at my mom ever since: "What took you so long? And when are we going back?"
She acts like she doesn't understand. But I heard her talking to her friend the other day, and her side of the conversation went like this:
"Oh, my gosh---you wouldn't believe it. Just fantastic. I took a picture of the menu so you'd believe me. I'll read a few of the lunch specials: seafood albondigas, squash blossom empanadas, crab and huitlacoche enchiladas, roasted veggie polenta lasagna. And the starters! The tamale trio: artichoke and cheese, chicken with mole, and chili verde. And the soup taster trio: chicken tortilla, roasted chili poblano bisque, and artichoke bisque. The drinks were delicious and so were their names: Ooh La La, El Gaucho Sangria, and Moscow Mule. I had Ponche De Granada—which was to die for. They serve breakfast Friday through Sunday. How does corn truffle and goat cheese omelet sound?"
Just listening to my mom made my tail wag. From a discerning dog's point of view, I had loved the place and was ready to give it a rave review. But she was doing it for me.
Her friend must have asked about the ambiance.
"It's totally amazing. An eclectic blend of old and new: a real-life red caboose sitting beside a picturesque Victorian-style house decorated with all sorts of Mexican folk art—paintings, mirrors, copper pots, ceramics, you name it. A beautiful patio (which Rover loved, by the way) was spacious but filled with plants and antiques, fountains, and colorful tables. Latin music was playing in the background. I felt like I'd been transported to Mexico."
I knew she would talk about the decadent desserts—the Ginger Sticky Pudding covered with whipped cream and roasted walnuts, the mouth-watering Lemon Bar, the Pumpkin Praline, and the Coconut Apricot Cake—but I wasn't sure she would make the most important point of all.
I started barking and jumping at her legs.
"Just a second, Maia. Rover is trying to tell me something."
I let out a gruff "Haute, haute!"
"Oh, that's right," she said. "It is so haute! It is absolutely haute cuisine—gourmet to the max and yet priced so reasonably."
I lay down by my mom’s feet, content and amused. She was finally beginning to appreciate really fine dining.