Edible Monterey Bay

Last Word



Three up-and-coming artisans with single-minded focus

Interviews by Elizabeth Limbach, Illustrations by Lucy Conklin

1 butchButch Adams
Kai Lee Creamery, #128 American Tin Cannery,
125 Oceanview Blvd., Pacific Grove

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about ice cream by starting an ice cream business?

How many people have no idea what organic means.

What’s the misunderstanding there?

Most people just do not understand what organic means. They think organic means disgusting-tasting health food.

What is the most unusual flavor you’ve made so far?

My ginger honey flavor is super popular. A lot of people see ginger as, “Oh my god, that’s what you eat when you eat sushi.” Or “That’s really spicy.” Or “Oh, I hate ginger. It’s spicy, it’s gross.” I’ll say “Give this a try.” Nine out of 10 buy it. It’s all about having an open mind. I’m not going to put you in a headlock and make you buy anything, but I’d love it if you tasted things you might not have tasted before.

What is your favorite part about having this business?

Meeting all the people, definitely. Making them happy. Meeting people from all over the world. That’s a big part of this for me because I’m a social monster.

2 cameronCameron Davies
Bright Coffee,
within Lilify, 281 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey

You’re a one-woman coffee roastery and coffee bar. What’s the most important element in making a good cup of coffee?

I would say that No. 1 is the grind. No. 2 is probably water quality and water temperature. No. 3 would be the amount of extraction—how you move it around.

What’s the most misunderstood thing about coffee?

That there’s no right or wrong to it. There are “wrongs,” but you can like something that is technically wrong. People tend to go to places and put people in a box depending on what they see, and there is so much more to it than a leaf on the milk. Try it first and knock it later. People like what they like.

You’re located within a shop called Lilify. What’s it like operating inside a design boutique?

It’s a really fun little collaboration between us two. Everything really goes together. Just the other day we noticed that one of my cups had gotten into one of the displays. All of a sudden we were like, “Wait, that’s not supposed to be there.” Someone had finished their cappuccino and set their cup down, and we didn’t even notice.

Do friends let friends drink Starbucks?

Starbucks, you can hate ’em or love ’em or whatever, but they treat their employees well. They give health insurance whereas I can’t even dream of giving health insurance to someone.

3 Ramsey

Ramsey Elmachtoub
Monterey Bagel Co.
next to Mundaka, on San Carlos between Ocean and 7th

In addition to making bagels from scratch daily, are all of your ingredients seasonal and local?

Exactly. Always. Everything we do is local and made in house. I cure all the meats and get everything from the farmers’ market.

Why use live cultures in your cream cheese?

It gives it more depth of flavor. The consistency comes out a little thinner, but it’s just perfect. It’s almost more like frosting than the real thick cream cheese.

When did you begin experimenting with it?

About a year and a half ago. I wanted to do something different, and I hadn’t heard of any bagel shops doing this before. And I don’t really know why they haven’t because it’s amazing.

Is it more expensive to make your own cream cheese?

Yes. I buy all Clover milk. At Costco, you can have a four-pound thing of cream cheese for about $8. And that same amount costs me $16 or $17 to make.

What are your most popular items?

The lox cream cheese goes the quickest and on the sandwiches, the chorizo with egg. We grind our chorizo in house, Spanish style—smoked paprika, pork shoulder. That one is really popular.

Is it true that you are hesitant to toast your bagels?

<Laughs> I’ll toast them. But sometimes people want them toasted in the morning right when they come out of the oven and I tell them you don’t need to, they’re hot out of the oven!