36 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 26-november 1, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com Among the tragedies of adulthood is the childhood traditions we must, at some point, leave behind—knocking on a stranger’s door for free candy on Oct. 31, to name just one example. One of the benefits, however, is how freedom and financial independence allow us to treat ourselves, whether that means hitting the drugstore on Nov. 1 for discounted candy, or taking a tour through Monterey County’s bakeries for themed goodies. Multiple local bakers told the Weekly that Halloween isn’t as big a sales holiday as Thanksgiving or Christmas, but still they like to have a little fun with it. This means colorfully decorated cookies, spooky cakes and fall flavors. Below is a selection—perfect for a little trick-or-treating journey. Ad Astra’s Szechuan Pepper Shortbread 479 Alvarado St., Monterey adastrabread.com Trust the folks at Ad Astra to be creative with the Halloween assignment. On offer one recent morning were Szechuan pepper shortbread cookies in the shape of little ghosts ($2) and cream puffs with googly monster eyes. The Szechuan pepper cookies are a popular item—both novel and delicious. The slightly crunchy cookies lean into sweet shortbread on the front of the palate, followed by little sparks of spice and a lingering heat, making you want to go back for another bite. Ad Astra’s pastry case regularly features a rotating cast of characters, so we won’t be surprised if there are more seasonal treats before the holiday arrives. Paris Bakery’s Mummy Cake Pops 271 Bonifacio Place, Monterey 1234 Broadway Ave., Seaside 646-1620, parisbakery.us Paris Bakery doesn’t necessarily make treats specifically for Halloween, but there’s plenty of thematic fondant to be found in the bakery’s Monterey and Seaside locations. Treat options include sugar cookies shaped and decorated as pumpkins, ghosts, etc., princess cake (both full size and personal size) covered in orange fondant and decorated like a jack-o-lantern, and—perhaps most fun—spooky cake pops decorated like mummies or skulls ($3.50). Staff say seasonal Halloween offerings are most popular with kids— but they won’t judge if you choose to embrace your inner child at the ordering counter. Cafe Carmel’s Cake Rats Ocean Avenue between Mission and San Carlos streets, Carmel 624-3870, cafecarmel.com Cafe Carmel makes something for Halloween each year—though the offerings may differ. “We try to change them a bit every year, and develop ideas…but always do something,” owner Sarah Cook says. This year the lineup includes sugar cookies decorated like ghosts, pumpkins and spiders; “Witches fingers”—baked cookie dough with an almond fingernail and red chocolate decoration; and chocolate cake rats. These little rats, available by the one ($7.50) or in a box of four, are made with a light génoise cake with a touch of coffee in the batter, chocolate frosting and oreo crumble on top. “They are really cute and they’re quite popular,” Cook says. Sweet Elena’s Pumpkin Pie 465 Olympia Ave., Sand City 393-2063, sweetelenas.com The colorfully decorated Halloween cookies are probably the first holiday offering that will catch your eye at this Sand City favorite. A case near the register is full of shortbread cookies stamped in the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins, bats and more, and decorated with royal icing. Kids love ’em and they do sell out. However, according to owner Katy Matias, it’s the pumpkin pies ($29.50) that are most popular. “We specialize in pumpkin pies—everyone asks all year about our pumpkin pie,” Matias says. This year the bakery started offering this seasonal delicacy in the middle of September, and it will continue to be available until about the first week in December, Matias assures those of us who have not yet snagged one. Main Street Bakery’s Custom Cakes 711 South Main St., Salinas 771-2253, mainstreetbakeryandcatering.com If you’re looking for personalized Halloween delicacies, look no further. Main Street Bakery creates custom cakes (prices vary) for all occasions— including spooky haunted house cakes, spiderweb cakes, black cat cakes…let your imagination run wild. First course Sweet Elena’s Halloween treats include cookies decorated like adorable little ghosts, pumpkins and more. They are very popular on social media, owner Katy Matias says. Pizza Party…It’s time to celebrate, because Heirloom Pizza has opened its second location, in Salinas. In addition to serving deep-dish pizzas, this location will also regularly host live music. Plus, a little down the road, a tiki bar should open this winter. Stop by for a pie every day except Tuesday—for lunch from 11:30am-2:30pm and for dinner from 4-9pm on weekdays, or 4-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 344 Main St., Salinas. heirloompizzapie.com/salinas. Greens and Blues…Blue Zones Project has teamed up with Everyone’s Harvest to incorporate a new farmers market at the Castroville Recreation Center on Thursdays from 3:30-7pm. CalFresh and EBT users benefit with the market match program, where $15 on an EBT card will turn into $30 to be used at the market. 11261 Crane St., Castroville. info.bluezonesproject.com, everyonesharvest.org. Pumpkins and Pinot…Enjoy an evening of grown-up Halloween fun at Sovino Wine Bar, which hosts evenings of pumpkin carving from Oct. 28-31. For $30, participants receive a glass of beer or wine and a pumpkin to carve—with all the necessary tools on hand. 241 Alvarado St., Monterey. 641-9463, sovinowinebar.com. Breakfast All Day…It’s not just early birds who get all the worms—Del Monte Grill & Cafe is now serving breakfast all day. They are now open Monday-Friday from 7:30am-6pm, and Saturday-Sunday 7:30am-3pm. 2030 N. Fremont St., Monterey. 920-2997. In costume…Costumes are mandatory at The Wine House’s Halloween party. Tickets ($25) come with a drink, food such as chili, charcuterie and sliders, and a chance to groove to tunes from DJ Soigné. 7-11pm Saturday, Oct. 28. At 1 E. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 298-7438, thewinehousecv.com. Mai Tai Aye…Raise a glass: Alvarado Street Brewery’s Mai Tai P.A. took home the gold medal in the American Strong Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival—its fifth win in nine years of competition. “It’s great to see Mai Tai’s continued success on the big stage,” said Wade Caswell, head brewer of the original Monterey location. “It’s even more special because it’s our flagship and the beer we make the most of.” 426 Alvarado St., Monterey (plus locations in Carmel and Salinas). 655-2337, asb.beer. By Jacqueline Weixel morsels Send a bite to eatanddrink@mcweekly.com Eat + DrinK Daniel Dreifuss Treats Only Monterey County’s bakeries have plenty of spooky, seasonal sweets on offer. By Tajha Chappellet-Lanier Spooky Season