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  • The Annex Opening at Crossroads for Mother’s Day

    April 23, 2019 - An exciting new wine bar, shop and play space for wine lovers is set to open at the Carmel Crossroads shopping center on Mother’s Day weekend. The Annex by Industry Outlaw will be “funky, fun and super alternative,” according towine broker Ashleigh Hutchison, the mastermind behind the new venture.

    “It’s an unconventional space where you can taste amazing brands of wine and beer,” she says.

    As The Annex springs to life, it is a multi-dimensional blend of business ideas packaged in a creative space.

    Booths with bright yellow benches and abundant green foliage stenciled on the walls create a warm, inviting tropical atmosphere—reminiscent of the 20 years Hutchison lived in Hawaii.

    In fact, some of The Annex’s featured wines will be a line Hutchinson created for the millennial market called ...

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  • Chef Dante Cecchini Settles in at La Posta

    April 23, 2019 - When news broke that longtime La Posta chef Katherine Stern had left the beloved Santa Cruz restaurant, there were ripples of apprehension by many regular patrons of the place. Stern had built up a robust following in her time there, which was almost as long as the restaurant has been open itself. But today, about a month after San Francisco chef Dante Cecchini stepped into the job, folks are reassured by his rustic Italian cooking.

    “So, do you plan to find a place here or continue to commute?” I asked Dante Cecchini, the new chef at La Posta in Seabright, who has been driving over three hours multiple days a week from San Francisco to Santa Cruz since the end of March.

    “It’s well worth the drive to get down here,” he answered, ...

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  • Ag Against Hunger Program Adopted by Grower-Shippers

    April 23, 2019 - Ag Against Hunger—the Salinas nonprofit that for more than a quarter-century has distributed millions of pounds of surplus fresh produce to West Coast food programs—has been adopted as a core program of the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation.

    AAH’s program manager Alicia Cask will join the Grower-Shipper Association staff, where she will work alongside the foundation’s executive director, Lisa Dobbins. Cask will continue to coordinate field gleaning and fresh produce outreach opportunities.  

    While the Ag Against Hunger program within GSAF will continue to handle gleaning and advocacy, the distribution of the produce will now be done by the Food Bank for Monterey County, which recently opened a brand-new $10 million facility on West Rossi Street in Salinas.

    "It’s a win-win situation for everyone," says Dobbins. Since the Food Bank now has 20,000 square ...

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  • Earthbound Purchased by Taylor Farms

    April 16, 2019 - Privately-held Taylor Farms has purchased Earthbound Farm from the French conglomerate Danone, bringing the beloved organic brand back home to the Salinas Valley and catapulting Taylor to the forefront of the organic produce sector.

    While the price was not disclosed, Bloomberg News reported last June that Danone was looking for a buyer and valued Earthbound in the neighborhood of $500 million.

    No formal announcement has been made regarding Earthbound's popular farm stand on Carmel Valley Road, but employees tell us they don't expect any major changes. 

    "We are grateful for the opportunity to return ownership of this organic produce leader to local roots and family ownership," said CEO Bruce Taylor in a news release announcing the sale.

    Earthbound was founded ...

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  • Monterey’s Innovative Cult Taco Opening for Sneak Peeks

    April 9, 2019 - The creative masterminds behind Monterey’s hottest upcoming restaurant opening have started offering periodic tastings where lucky guests can experience its exceptional food, hip design and pioneering model for service and staffing.

    Cult Taco won’t open officially open until May 1, but the partners—Sarah Kabat-Marcy, John Cox and Michelle Estigoy—and manager Kyle O’Dell see the new place as an extension of the wildly popular brand they have established with Cultura comida y bebida in Carmel, and they want to preserve it by being ready.

    They also have another reason to take their time: Cult Taco is experimenting with the whole notion of what it means to be a restaurant. The interior and table setting design, ingredient sourcing and dish development have all been done with the care and attention of the fine dining world, familiar ...

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  • Primal Fire Chef Headlines Pebble Beach Food & Wine

    April 9, 2019 - They started building the fire days ago, well over a week before the "House of Mallmann" parties were set to begin at Pebble Beach Food & Wine.

    That’s because it’s a quite a fire. And quite a pair of parties.

    The fire will rise from the heart of a huge iron dome, its latticework draped with ribeye steaks and chicken, cooking slowly for as many as 12 hours, with a massive 10-foot-diameter custom cast-iron plancha grill sizzling shellfish and whatever’s most fresh from local fisherman. 

    Everything from fennel to potatoes will roast in ashes nestled on the grounds of a $40 million estate. The party will run a cool $1,750 a la carte, and feature what promotional copy calls "an idea of life so many of us have only watched on television, ...

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  • SF Rising Star Chef Joins La Posta

    La Posta's new chef Dante Cecchini

    April 9, 2019 - We all know that change can be bittersweet. And for many of us who recently learned about the changes happening at La Posta in Santa Cruz, a little bit of remorse might be felt at the thought of seeing chef Katherine Stern’s delicious food go away.

    Stern, who helmed the local gem for almost a decade, and whose dishes transformed many patrons into regulars over that time, has left the restaurant to pursue her own next steps. But the shift has been amenable and the departure was on very good terms.

    She says, “I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve as head chef at La Posta for the last nine years. I was fortunate to have Patrice give me the freedom to create ...

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  • Santa Cruz Cheese Man Aims for World’s Top Honors

    April 9, 2019 - César Olivares—gourmet foods manager at Staff of Life market in Santa Cruz—is in France this week to prepare for an upcoming competition. 

    Not just any competition, but the Mondial du Fromage, a biennial test that on June 2-4 will determine the best cheesemonger in the world. 

    Twelve people are competing this year, by invitation only. César is the first Latin American ever to compete.

    Like the Oscars, just being invited is an honor—a recognition of one’s gifts. 

    Olivares says he became a cheesemonger by accident, “It was really a result of wanting to learn more, and more, and more.”

    Born in Mexico, Olivares grew up in Los Angeles and arrived in Santa Cruz as a student, graduating from UCSC with a BA in political science. ...

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  • Excitement Builds as Alta Bakery Prepares to Open Thursday in Historic Adobe

    April 2, 2019 - Alvarado Street’s influx of superb chef-driven restaurants that are at once casual in atmosphere and serious in their from-scratch techniques and elevated sourcing will see an especially big bump this week when Alta Bakery and Café opens in the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe complex. 

    Located at the top of Alvarado where it and four other streets—Polk, Jefferson, Pearl and Munras—meet, Alta offers an exciting intersection of the property’s past history and the new directions modern restaurants are taking. 

    Likewise, the gorgeous space itself and its inventive food reflect an intersection of the very personal—and luckily for guests, very exceptional—experiences and influences of Alta’s partner-culinary director Ben Spungin, formerly executive pastry chef at Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar, Bernardus Lodge and Restaurant 1833 and his Alta Group partners—director of operations P.J. Clark and developer Kirk Probasco—and ...

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  • Klaus Georis Launches New Dinner Series

    April 2, 2019 - Chef Klaus Georis is launching what he calls a "six-month residency" at the Stationaery in Carmel ahead of opening his highly-anticipated new restaurant in Seaside later this year.

    Beginning this week, Georis will be serving a four-course prix fixe dinner at the Stationaery every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

    "I'm using this as a pilot project to try out the style of food I cook and see how people receive it," says Georis, who describes his style as minimalistic and European. 

    A menu posted for the first dinner of the residency starts with Parmesan and black truffle soup, followed by white asparagus with iberico ham, fermented asparagus and elderflower honey. The third course listed is grain porridge with green garlic, aged goat cheese and ramps and the fourth is ...

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