The Mailbox: Bodega Bay cioppino; Mexican Village salad dressing

By Teri Mena

A cioppino worthy of a special meal

Your column is my favorite start of every Wednesday. My family and friends have been camping in Bodega Bay for 20 years. Part of our tradition is to eat at the Tides on our way out of town. A lot of us always order the cioppino, as it is, without a doubt, the best we have ever eaten anywhere. Any chance someone has this recipe? We would like to add it to our Thanksgiving menu someday. And, of course, we will still be heading there twice a year to enjoy the best on the coast. Thank you.

E.J. Caluza, Sacramento



If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

Mock Caesar dressing (Mexican Village dressing clone)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Makes about 2 cups

Charles Rhodes of El Dorado Hills was looking for the salad dressing recipe served at the now-closed Mexican Village restaurant in Coronado. Rhodes says it had garlic and Romano or blue cheese in it. His family used to bring it back to the Bay Area by the case.

Mandy Skelton of Sacramento shares this recipe that she believes is the recipe Rhodes is looking for.


1 large garlic clove

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil

3/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons green onions

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons blue cheese

1 teaspoon anchovy paste


Drop peeled garlic clove and salt in a blender container. Whirl briefly and let stand for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate a few hours before using.

Per serving: 132 cal.; 1 g pro.; 1 g carb.; 14 g fat; 1 mg chol.; 305 mg sod.; trace fiber; 95 percent calories from fat.

Blue cheese vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes

Makes about 2 3/4 cups

Kathleen Barnett of El Dorado Hills laughed out loud when she read Charles Rhodes’ request for the Mexican Village dressing recipe. It took her back to the time when her husband was in the Navy and would frequently fly into San Diego. He and his Navy buddies would eat at the Mexican Village where they enjoyed the Caesar salad with its fabulous dressing. When the Barnetts knew of someone going to San Diego, they would give them a quart jar with lid, small ice chest and ice packs so they could bring back a quart of the famous dressing for them. After the restaurant closed, Barnett came up with her own version of the dressing. She thinks it's a pretty close match.


1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese (about 6 ounces)

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


Whisk together oil, vinegar, anchovy paste and garlic until emulsified. Whisk in cheese, leaving some of the pieces larger. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over romaine lettuce.

Per 1/4 cup: 246 cal.; 3 g pro.; 2 g carb.; 25 g fat (6 sat., 17 monounsat., 2 polyunsat.); 12 mg chol.; 266 mg sod.; 0 g fiber; 91 percent calories from fat.