A Day in Downtown Martinez, Part Two: Sunflower Garden
Hours of vehicle service left us on foot to explore downtown Martinez, and we thought, what could we recommend to people here due to business at the county seat? Where can they go that’s quick and delicious? Today we sampled from three restaurants, to provide a spectrum of what’s not just available, but also great quality.
Honey walnut prawns are hard for us to pass up. Luckily these at Sunflower Garden came without sesame seeds (on Zach’s “must not eat” list, walnuts are also); August liked the candied walnuts and they added a great crunch to the dish. We both loved the honey sauce, which was rich, creamy, sweet, and tangy, with mild orange notes. The prawns were many, large, and cooked well. The meat was almost buttery and the batter was light but crunchy.
Neither of us had tried black pepper scallops before. We love scallops and wanted to see what these were like. This came out so fresh, it was hard to get a clear picture because the dish produced so much steam.
It’s easy to mess up scallops, but Sunflower Garden knows what they’re doing. August doesn’t necessarily like lots of black pepper so she was nervous since that ingredient is in the title of the dish, but in the end she had no reason to worry. With the other spices and elements in the sauce, the black pepper wasn’t overpowering and it complemented the fried scallops very well. It was like a rich light brown gravy with black pepper, garlic, and onion flavors, and a good saltiness to set off the sweet scallops. The scallops were in a batter similar to that of the prawns, and the meat was fresh and juicy. The broccoli was tender but still a little crisp, and the sauce went really well with it.
There is a lunch menu here with super competitive prices, so if you’re in the mood for some great Chinese cuisine with only a few minutes to walk from whatever it is that has you in downtown Martinez, come here. Zach has eaten here since he was a kid and the owners have been the same all this time, friendly and keen on the quality of their food.