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  • Dungeness Crab Season Opens Tomorrow

    November 14, 2017 - After two years of delays due to domoic acid, the local Dungeness crab season is set to open on schedule tomorrow—and there should be crab for Thanksgiving. H&H Fresh Fish at Santa Cruz harbor is inaugurating its new fish market as the crab season gets underway.

    "The sport crab season has been great and they've had good fishing up in Washington, so we're optimistic that it's going to be a good season here," says Heidi Rhodes, who manages the business with her partner Hans Haveman. 

    Crabbers were out in force at the harbor today, getting their pots ready to set and buying bait. Meantime, Rhodes was busy putting the finishing touches on the new ... Read More

  • Mutari Expanding with 2nd Location on Pacific Avenue

    November 14, 2017 - Offering single-origin hot chocolate and our area's only bean-to-bar confections, Mutari Chocolate is opening its second shop in Santa Cruz on Friday, November 17, in the space next door to Assembly Restaurant formerly used for pop up events.

    "We're really excited about it and feel really fortunate. It's a great next step for us," says Katy Oursler, who owns the business with chef Stephen Beaumier. This will be a permanent location for Mutari—not a pop up—to sell hot chocolate, homemade marshmallows, cookies and chocolate bars. 

    On the menu will be a brand new hot chocolate chai, which uses chai made with fresh ginger and honey paste by Jozeph Shultz, owner of India Joze restaurant just ... Read More

  • Italian Celebrity Chef to Helm Basil Seasonal Dining in Carmel

    November 9, 2017 - The chef/owners of Basil Seasonal Dining in Carmel have parted ways and well-known Italian chef Andrea Palmieri will take over the locavore kitchen there in January.

    "Andrea is a really incredible chef," says Denis Boaro, who is now sole owner of Basil after buying out partner and Basil's executive chef Soerke Peters. "Andrea gives cooking classes and has made many TV appearances and runs a family restaurant called BucaVino in Rome."

    Boaro promises that Basil—the Monterey Bay area's first Green Certified restaurant—will not change too much. "We are going to keep the same locally-sourced California cuisine and continue the great work that Soerke has been doing," he says.

    "But he will be ... Read More

  • Chef Cy Leaving Rio Grill for MPCC, Chef Eduardo Coronel to Replace Him

    November 7, 2017 - Big changes afoot at Rio Grill in Carmel. Exec chef and partner Cy Yontz is leaving at the end of the week to take a job as exec sous chef at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

    Known for his inventive and deeply-flavorful Southwestern cuisine, Yontz has shaped the restaurant's cuisine and identity for the past 12 years. Speaking to EMB by phone yesterday, Yontz confirmed the upcoming changes and said he was helping train his replacement, 38-year-old Eduardo Coronel—a former sous chef at Rio Grill. 

    "Cy brought such an amazing skill set to Rio Grill and he was Eduardo's mentor," said Tony Tollner, owner of Downtown Dining—which operates Rio Grill, Tarpy's and Montrio Bistro.

    "Our ... Read More

  • Santa Cruz Chef Competes in Food Network Bake-Off

    October 31, 2017 - Longtime Santa Cruz pastry chef and baking instructor Stephany Buswell is one of nine competitors who will get their hands in the dough, and perhaps on the dough, in the Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship, which begins Monday, November 6.

    Over several decades Buswell has worked at Staff of Life Bakery, Gayle's and The Buttery and ran her own shop called Stephany's Desserts on River St. In addition, she taught at the Cabrillo College Culinary Program for 18 years and is responsible for training dozens of local chefs. Currently she teaches at the International Culinary Center in Campbell. 

    She traveled to New Orleans in June to tape the seven-week series—in which the chef contestants are ... Read More

  • New Italian Chef Joins Gusto

    October 31, 20017 - A master pizzaiolo from Modena, Italy has joined chef/owner Denis Boaro at Gusto Handcrafted Pizza and Pasta in Seaside.

    Davide Molinari has been making pizza since he was 15 and brought his "secret recipe" to Gusto, where he has changed up the crust and is introducing several new menu items, including the Pizza al Metro—a meter-long rectangular pie. 

    Boaro and Molinari worked together several years ago in Long Beach, where they opened Michael's on Naples Ristorante—the top rated Italian restaurant in Orange County. After returning to Italy for awhile, he recently moved back to the states and the two decided they'd love to work together again.

    "Davide has a great personality and likes to interact with ... Read More

  • Lakeside Debuts New Home Base

    October 24, 2017 – Lakeside Organic Gardens is putting the finishing touches on a massive new state-of-the-art cooler and shipping facility in Watsonville that will allow the company to keep up with the public’s growing appetite for healthy, organic produce.

    The new 100,000-square-foot facility just off Riverside Dr. was designed by Lakeside owner Dick Peixoto, who also acted as master contractor, overseeing every step of the construction process.

    “We made the whole design from start to finish,” says Peixoto. “It’s been a lifelong dream, in the thought process for at least 10 years and under construction for over a year.”

    “It wouldn’t work for Driscoll’s or Dole, it’s designed just for our business and is going to make us much more ... Read More

  • Revamped Ventana Big Sur Strikes Surprising Balance

    October 17, 2017 - When the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapsed in February, business in Big Sur came to an abrupt halt. Ventana Inn & Spa shuttered their doors, electing to use that time to undergo an extensive renovation.

    With the new bridge now open, Ventana Big Sur is preparing to welcome guests starting on Friday, October 20th with a slightly different name and a new look. The relaunch marks the North American debut of the Singapore-based management company Alila Hotel & Resorts—which operates luxury hotels in Indonesia, India, Oman and China. “Alila is Sanskrit for surprise and Alila hotels are surprisingly different,” says guest services director Stephanie Lewis. Ventana Big Sur boasts some surprising details that capture the magical serenity ... Read More

  • VinoCruz Gets Ready to Open In Soquel

    October 17, 2017 - Remember VinoCruz, that smart wine shop concept pioneered by JP Correa and Jeffrey Kongslie? Located at 725 Front Street, in downtown Santa Cruz, this mecca of wines exclusively made by Santa Cruz producers was highly popular and thrived despite being tucked at the back of Abbott Square, in the shadow of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

    When JP and Jeffrey got the call to move back east in 2008, they sold the place to Steve Principe, who made a great go of it until the museum came knocking for the space. Principe then sold the business to Jordan Iversen, graphic artist and website creator for VinoCruz, and Chris and Matt Schofield, father and son. ... Read More

  • Wine Industry Reaches Out to Help Fire Victims

    October 10, 2017 - We've been watching in horror as wind-whipped fires raced through the fabled Wine Country of  Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, devastating entire subdivisions, razing historic wineries and closing businesses. People have died, thousands are displaced and the fires continue to threaten new neighborhoods, but the Monterey County and Santa Cruz Mountains wine associations are already banding together to help affected wineries.

    "This is a very personal tragedy, not only because the California wine community is close-knit, but also because a number of our local wineries and vineyards also have property in Sonoma and Napa," said Kim Stemler, executive director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association.

    "Our hearts are heavy as we watch the continued widespread ... Read More

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