Thursday, August 20, 2015

Surf City Billiards & Cafe

Happy Hour:
Mon – Fri  5-7 pm

Drinks: $1 off draft beer and wells, $2 Hamms, Olympia and PBR,
Food: $5 wings, tempura fries, $2 friesPool tables: $4 per hour during happy hour
Whiskey Wednesday: $5 Jameson or Jack Daniel or $10 Whiskey Flight
Monday: burger and fries for $7
Julie's Review

The Surf City Billiards Bar and Café is located above the Blue Lagoon on Pacific Avenue and is fast becoming a hot spot in town.  They offer pool, darts, shuffleboard, ping pong, foos ball, a full bar, good eats and excellent service.  This is a fun place!

Happy hour is daily Mon-Fri from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  I always appreciate a happy hour until 7:00 p.m. and since I was delayed on Highway 17, I really appreciated it this time.
We were quickly served at the bar by Kelley who is the manager of Surf City. He offered friendly, attentive five-shot service all night.  He is obviously proud that the bar and kitchen have tripled their sales in the past year when the new management took over.

Their happy hour specials are $1 off beers and wells (wells are normally $5).   According to the sign downstairs they also offer $2 PBR, Hamms and Olympia. In addition Wednesdays is whiskey night and they offer a $5 Jameson or Jack Daniel and a $10 whiskey flight.
I decided to start off with a glass of water and a rum and diet coke.  Kelly asked if I wanted lemon in my water and lime in my coke.  It is nice to have a bartender paying attention like that.  The drinks came quickly and we moved on to ordering food.

The happy hour food items are: $5 wings – spicy buffalo, honey siracha or teriyaki; $5 tempura fries: zucchini, green beans or dill pickle and $2 French fries.  I always appreciate a healthy choice on happy hour but this is a pretty basic burger, wings and fries place – so don’t come here if are trying to diet – Oops!!
We both wanted wings so Jo ordered the buffalo wings and I tried the honey siracha.  Kelley recommended the zucchini tempura fries and I wanted to try the tempura pickles, so we got both.  The full menu also includes burgers and sandwiches ranging from $9-$13.  Jo had come on Monday when the burgers are on happy hour for $7 and said she was quite pleased with her burger.

The other fun thing about their happy hour is that pool is ½ off, so only $4 dollars per hour.   They have a ping pong tourney on Thursday nights and a beer pong tournament on Sunday nights.  The best news is the darts, ping pong, shuffleboard and foos ball are free all the time – can’t beat that!

Our wings and tempura arrived.  The buffalo wings were delicious.  Jo had them on Monday night and came back for more and we all know what a buffalo wing connoisseur she is!  The honey siracha wings were tasty, sweet and spicy, but I liked the buffalo wings better.

The tempura dill pickle was a bit of a disappointment.  I love pickles and fried foods, but the tempura didn’t quite stick and deep frying didn’t do much for the pickle taste or texture.  The tempura zucchini on the other hand was fantastic.  The zucchini was soft and tender with a perfectly crispy outside. They came with a side of ranch and chipotle mayonnaise.

Since it was Whiskey Wednesday I decided to try a whiskey drink.  Kelley whipped up a Kentucky Mule –lime-mint-ginger beer with their well whiskey – 76 Rye. He was out of mint, but it was a delicious, refreshing drink.  Jo turned to beer at this point.
The pool tables were quite busy during happy hour, but the dartboards were free.  We got some darts from Kelley and had our choice of boards. Jo and I played Around the World trying to hit 1 then 2 then 3, etc.   

 We decided to play up to 10 because we didn’t want to be there all night.  It had been a long time since either of us had shot darts – but we warmed up and did progress around the board.
Next was foos ball.  A few years back Bill and I had a foos ball table at home. Nothing can make you feel more spastic and uncoordinated than foos ball, but it also makes you laugh so hard, it’s worth the frustration.  It was the same with Jo.  If you had four players it might have been easier, but our little guys spun helplessly in circles while the ball rolled futilely under their little blue feet.  

I’m bad at this game, but love it is because it’s so much fun and a great metaphor for life.  Spinning in place, not quite in the right place at the right time, but every now and then you get your shot and it feels great!
In sum – I loved Surf City (now don’t get it confused with the Surf Rider Cafe, which almost happened).  Surf City offers excellent service, good drinks, great wings and zucchini tempura to die for.  Free darts, ping pong and foosball, what’s not to love?  Head on down after work when you need a giggle and tell Kelley that J & J sent you!

Julie’s Rating:  4 shots
Jo's Review


Well I had a groupon for the Surf City Billiards that was about to expire so I ended up going on a Monday night by myself, spent my groupon and left. I had a burger and took home some chicken wings. Both were so tasty I told Julie we have to review this place so here we are on a Wednesday to try out happy hour at Surf City Billiards & Café.

I got there a little early and Julie was stuck in traffic so I started taking pictures of the outside. While I did a number of people started pouring into the place.  I’m thinking, wow what’s going on tonight. So I head up the stairs, the place is above the Blue Lagoon. So you turn the corner and enter a large open area. To the left we have some tables and chairs, ping pong, darts along the wall and high windows that look out onto Pacific Avenue. 

The bar is straight ahead and on the right, almost 2/3’s of the room are pool tables, with a shuffle board and one fuse ball table thrown in for good measure. The pool tables are busy and we settle in at some seats at the bar.  One of the owners Kelley is behind the bar and he gives us the lowdown on happy hour, Monday – Friday 5-7pm. The have $1 off on beers and well drinks, $5 wings and tempura fries, $2 regular fries and $4 a hour at the pool tables which explains why they were all full.

So it seems that Wednesday nights are whiskey nights and Julie decides to try out some fancy whiskey drink while I start out with a well cosmo. The owner is very friendly and is very service orientated. He has co-owned the place a little over a year now and it seems to really be working out well for them. He presents a very welcoming feeling and it gives the whole place a good vibe. Since I’m a wing fan I go for the buffalo style and Honey sarrachi wings. We decided to try the tempura fries which are zucchini fries and Julie spotted tempura pickles on the menu so we had to try those too.

The drinks are going down just fine and I decide on beer after my cosmo, an amber draft, Julie sticks with the whiskey theme. Once the food arrives we dive right in. The wings are just as good as I remember. Juicy and spicy with the blue cheese dipping sauce.  I missed the celery a little though; they should probably add a few sticks of that to the plate. 

The honey sarrachi ones were good too but I like the buffalo ones the best, that’s what I grew up on. Julie who likes things more on the sweeter side liked the honey wings, but I’m pretty sure both of us preferred the buffalo style ones. 

The hit of the show though were the tempura fries. Those zucchini fries got soft from the deep fry and the batter was light. They just melted in your mouth. I was not as impressed with the tempura pickles. I think it’s mostly a matter of taste for me, I don’t think I like fried pickles. These pickles were the wedge kind and I think they would have been better had they been thinner. Maybe cut that wedge in half again then fry them.  We were having a grand time eating and drinking, the happy is alive and well here.

After we had filled our bellies we started looking around at the activities in the place. Julie and I both suck at pool and most of the tables were taken anyways so we decided on darts. Well what a wonderful surprise to find out that darts, ping pong, shuffle board and the fuse ball table are all free to use. Since I’m such a cheapskate it appealed to me quite a bit. We got ourselves another round and headed for the dart board. 

Come to find out we suck at this too but it was fun.  Julie ended up winning (I let her wink, wink), and we moved over to the fuse ball table.  Julie has fond memories of fuse ball from her earlier days….I do not, never was good at it, always was trying to grab the other poles because they kept darting our towards me.  

It was a laugh a minute though. Turns out were not very good at this game either. We laughed more than we played it seemed and we were starting to get some looks from laughing so loud. Didn’t matter though because it was fun.

So all in all Surf City billiards and Café is a happening spot. I enjoyed the food and drinks and it’s nice to actually do something in a bar besides just sitting around eating and drinking. I always enjoy throwing darts even though I suck at it. Perhaps next time I will try my hand at the shuffle board. I definitely recommend this place for a fun time. It has the fun and friendly atmosphere you’re looking for in a billiards activities place and the food and drinks are great.  Looking forward to trying out other specialty nights at this place, and they have quite a few different nights of specials.

Jo’s rating: 4.5 shots

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Monty's Log Cabin


Happy hour 7 days a week
4:00 - 6:30
Free BBQ on Sunday afternoons

Wells: $2.50
Domestic beers: $2.00
Imported beers: $3.00

Julie's Review


Monty's Log Cabin is a true local’s bar and an institution for the San Lorenzo Valley. Located on Highway 9 just past the entrance of Henry Cowell Park, this is a great place to while away a Sunday afternoon. Josephine and I had popped in for a Bloody Mary after hiking the closed section of Highway 9 (take advantage of it while you can) and were pleased to see how beautifully the outside area has been redone. When we found out they have free BBQ on Sunday's we decided to bring the Buzz to the mountains.

The Lompico/Zayante Women's Social Club (LZWSC) regularly plays poker one Sunday  a month.  With all the nice tables and outside area we decided to have the LZWSC join the Happy Hour Buzz for poker and a happy hour review.

Monty’s has happy hour 7 days a week from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The wells are only $2.50, domestic beers $2.00 and are imported beers are $3.00.  Now that’s what I call happy hour prices!  There is no food during the week, but every Sunday they fire up the BBQ and have free food for the locals and this is definitely a local establishment. 

The LZWSC arrived around 2:30 which is well before happy hour, but the potluck was just getting started.  We were greeted by Lisa, the friendly bartender who is responsible for the beautification of the outdoor area.  The interior of Monty’s is eclectic, with lots of character and fun things to look at.  Many mountain bars have deer heads on the walls, but these deer are all wearing lingerie in very creative ways!  The one with the bra over his eyes reminded me of the “See No Evil” monkey.  There are humorous little touches throughout the bar.   I particularly liked the warning of “pickpockets and loose women” outside the rest room!

It turned out we had arrived on Monty’s birthday, so there was a larger spread than usual, including a beautiful fruit plate, deviled eggs, potato salad and some absolutely scrumptious homemade chili.  

It was great to meet the eponymous owner of this fine establishment.    He was friendly and welcoming and obviously loves his business.  When I found out the chili was made on site, I asked about  him serving food (the only down side of their happy hour is lack of food except on Sundays).  He explained it would cost so much to get the kitchen certified, that he would rather skip the hassle and just give food away.  What a great attitude!

He also said he wants Monty’s to be the kind of bar he likes to drink in and he has definitely created a family feeling, both with the patrons and the staff.  It turns out Monty's son; Robert was there for the occasion as was Janette, a long time bartender.  Everyone wanted to celebrate with Monty on his birthday.

 We dished up a plate of food and headed outside to a nice covered table.  By this time, Josephine had arrived.  The outside area is for smokers, but large enough that the smoke wasn’t bothersome.  There is a fire pit that is lit every evening with comfortable chairs around it.  The garden is filled with beautiful plants and touches.

One of the patrons had a macaw.  The parrot was friendly, so he climbed up on Toni’s shoulder.  She was a bit nervous, so I took him and eventually got a photo with Monty and the parrot.  The parrot is obviously a regular in the bar.  The bar is also dog friendly and when I went back for my second drink I met two local dogs Bubba and Madison who are also regulars.  I like a bar that allows animals – especially the four legged kind.

By this time it was truly happy hour and the BBQ chicken had arrived.  It was delicious, grilled just right.  I had a rum and diet coke and was quite pleased with the drink – enough alcohol to taste and only $2.50!  The gals had a great time, catching up on life, chatting with other locals and absorbing the atmosphere.  We never did get around to playing poker we were so entertained.
The LZWSC was saying farewell to Paula, who is moving out of Lompico and is off in her RV looking for a new place to settle.  Paula was quite happy with her margarita and happy to be with the girls this one last time.  She wanted to give her own review of Monty’s and commented that the service was excellent, the drinks strong and the bathroom clean!  She gives Monty’s a five shot rating and observed that there was “pixie dust in the air!”  The magic of a great happy hour!

Chris also liked the feel of the place and gave a 4.5 rating.  I think Toni must have been getting drinks, because I didn’t write down her rating.  Josephine and I never discuss our ratings until after the blog has been published, of course.
I loved Monty’s Log Cabin, it is my kind of place.  I like the crazy, eclectic ambience, the five shot service, the friendly mountain folk.  The prices can’t be beat and either can the free BBQ.  The only downside is that there isn’t food to feed your drinks other than on Sundays.  Still – I love this place right in my own back yard!!  

Julie’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Jo's Review

So Julie and I were walking on highway 9 through the area that’s closed right now for construction and after the walk we ventured into Monty’s for a drink. 

We got our drinks and went to the seating area outside to discover this loving outdoor garden. We enjoyed it so much and found out that on Sundays they have free BBQ and happy hour every day so we decided this would be the next review for us.  

Monty’s Log cabin bar is one of the best dive bars around.  This place has been around for some time now and has changed hands a few times; I remember it as Georges place when I first started visiting this establishment. The inside is covered with just about everything you could imagine. 

There are deer heads, and other stuffed creatures on the walls, lots of stickers and funny sayings and talk about when pigs fly, yes they have a flying pig. There’s the bar area and a pool table in the next room. 

The outdoor seating is the best.  They have a lovely garden around the perimeter with flowers and tomato plants. A middle seating area around a fire pit, tables with umbrellas and a nice covered section. With a water fountain and outhouse (actually it’s just a storage shed but it looks like an outhouse), this place has it all.

I really enjoyed the outdoor seating though, very inviting with all the plants and well shaded. There was a lively group around. We wanted to do the happy hour on Sunday because that is the only day they have food. Sundays free BBQ, what a treat.   

It happened to be a celebration as well that day because we were celebrating Monty’s B-day. I met up with some of the LZWSC Lompico/Zayante Women’s Social Club. Julie invited them to the happy hour; it’s always fun to have extra friends join us for our outings. We’re talking it up outside and getting thirsty so I head right in for a drink. Since I’m not a mixed drink kind of gal much I opt for a beer and check out the food spread. I got there a little late so Julie and the girls had already started eating.  What a spread they had out too. There was a big cooler full of BBQ chicken and on the table we had potato salad, pasta salad, fresh fruit and veggies and in a crock pot some homemade chili. I dived in; the food was good, very tasty. The chili was really good. 

Everyone was very friendly in the bar but they were giving me funny looks while I was snapping pictures. Monty’s son had this beautiful parrot and he was walking around with it and if you wanted you could get a picture with the parrot…..not for me but Julie did.

So happy hour is 4-6:30 every day, can’t beat that. I had a good time at Monty’s. Lisa the bartender came out and got drinks for us and Monty was even cleaning up around us. Very warm and inviting. It’s the kind of place where you just feel relaxed. Too bad they don’t have food every day for happy hour but time it on Sunday and its all good.

Jo’s rating: 4 shots!