• Soberanes Fire bringing out the best in community

    Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 9.25.03 AMJuly 26, 2016 -  Our generous local food community seems to get even more amazing in times of crisis. Donations of food and prepared meals are pouring in for victims and firefighters battling the Soberanes Fire, still raging out of control in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

    At least three fundraisers have already been set to help those burned out of their homes in Palo Colorado, including cheesemaker Charlie Cascio, chef Matt Millea and Big Sur Vineyards owners Lenora Carey and Richard Gebhart—who lost their home and their vineyard to the flames on Sunday.

    "You get over the initial shock and then you think - it's just a house - and then you ... Read More

  • Talbott taps local winemaker David Coventry

    unnamedJuly 26, 2016 - Just a year after its purchase by Gallo, Talbott Vineyards has named David Coventry its new winemaker. He will replace current winemaker of record Dan Karlsen at the beginning of August. This appointment reaffirms Gallo’s commitment to the Santa Lucia Highlands region and to the new jewel in its crown, the Talbott brand.

    Given the fact that Karlsen and Coventry worked together at Chalone in the pre-Diageo days, the transition makes good sense, as they share common winemaking philosophies. Karlsen has been focusing on his own brand, Chock Rock, while enjoying his growing family and a bit of travel.

    Coventry will once again be working with the legendary Cellar Master, Rolando Michel, known ... Read More

  • Earthbelly non-GMO food stop opens in Santa Cruz

    IMG_4305July 26, 2016 -  The latest addition to Santa Cruz' healthy food scene, earthbelly opened its doors to the public yesterday in the space formerly occupied by Caffe Lucio on the corner of Ocean St and Soquel Ave.

    Chef-owner Chad Greer says the casual, non-GMO, organic food stop and meeting place is a concept he's been planning for at least ten years. "Our food supply is being contaminated by big corporations that don't care about anything but profit," he says. "I feel people should have a choice and a reasonable organic option."

    The new counter-service restaurant—which he owns with his wife, pastry chef Tammy Ogletree—serves up a wide variety of beautifully prepared salads, soups, flat bread pizzas, pastas and sandwiches—all ... Read More

  • Elkhorn Slough Brewing is a first for Watsonville

    13754390_1784904655057724_3077594696016720968_nJuly 26, 2016 - Husband and wife team Michael Enos and Julie Rienhardt have been pressing apples from their small home orchard for years, mostly to give to their kids as juice. Those two kids are now all grown up, which is perhaps what provided the time and inclination to tinker with a fermented version of the juice. “We are great partners,” says Julie, explaining that the couple's first batch of cider, "really ignited in us a passion, the idea to create your own and experiment and play, and to get to do something together.”

    The couple have been brewing beer as Elkhorn Slough Brewing in a warehouse space in Watsonville for less than a year now, and are the first and only ... Read More

  • La Balena’s Brad Briske to Open his Own Restaurant

    July 19, 2016 — Chef Brad Briske, who became known for his farm-forward, fresh and intensely flavorful cuisine at Carmel’s La Balena and Il Grillo and before that, Soquel’s Main Street Garden & Café, will head back to Santa Cruz County this fall to open his own place.

    “It’s really a dream,” Briske says of the chance to own and run his own restaurant, and he has big plans for it.

    Briske intends to call the restaurant Home — a reference both to the homey vibe he wants to create with the restaurant’s food and atmosphere, as well as the sense of home the Grass Valley native feels in Santa Cruz, where his first child was born and he had some of his most formative cooking experiences.

    Briske ... Read More

  • Quail Lodge Welcomes Brian Kearns as Chef

    July 19, 2016 — It was a tough spot for Quail Lodge to be in last month when Executive Chef Ken MacDonald announced he would be leaving, but stepping into the post, post-haste, is Chef Brian Kearns, formerly of La Bicyclette in Carmel-by-the-Sea — it’s coming up on the busiest time of year at Quail. July and August are filled with special events such as Classic Car Week and private parties.

    Luckily, Kearns jumped in to take charge of Quail’s culinary offerings, which include not only Edgar’s Restaurant and the Quail’s Nest snack bar, but also banquets, weddings and other events held at the popular Carmel Valley golf club.

    “We’re thrilled to have him on board,” said Quail GM Max Schroeder, who said that it’s likely that Kearns ... Read More

  • Tricycle Pizza’s Brick-and-Mortar Home in New Monterey

    EAP_TricyclePizzaJuly 19, 2016 — A creative solution that provides a permanent setting for a mobile pizza eatery is set to open Thursday in New Monterey.

    Tricycle Pizza, a favorite at area farmers’ markets and as a caterer for weddings and other events from Carmel to San Francisco, opens its brick-and-mortar place this week at the corner of Lighthouse and David avenues, at the site of what used to be a tire and automotive shop.

    This will be no ordinary restaurant, however. Owner Danica Alvarado said because of water restrictions in the city of Monterey, she had to do things a little bit differently. With the help and blessing of the city, she is making it work by parking a brand-new food ... Read More

  • Beauregards Debate What to Plant at New Vineyard

    July 14, 2016 - If winemaker Ryan Beauregard has his druthers, he’ll soon have a brand new chardonnay vineyard next to the already thriving Coast Grade pinot noir that was planted in 2008. The land is all cleared and ready to go: seven more acres of the yet to be determined varietal await their fate.

    It’s a pretty steep grade, way steeper than where the pinot is planted, and it gets a decidedly stiff breeze off the nearby ocean. It looks like an ideal spot for chardonnay. It might even be dicey for pinot. The trick with chard is that you can crop it pretty heavy and it still delivers gobs of gorgeous flavor, while pinot has to be cropped way ... Read More

  • Organics sector gathers for first summit

    logoJuly 12, 2016 - Heavy hitters in the world of organic fruits and vegetables are gathering in Monterey on Wednesday and Thursday for the world's first Organic Produce Summit. Big names like author Mark Bittman and Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association, will share insights with some 75 growers of organic fruits and vegetables, including big local companies like Lakeside Organic Gardens, Earthbound Farm, Driscoll's, Ocean Mist and Taylor Farms, as well as produce buyers from supermarket chains and specialty retailers.

    "The Central Coast is the epicenter of everything innovative in organics," said organizer Nick Pasculli of the decision to hold it here. But Bittman is ... Read More

  • Pastry Wizard Ben Spungin heading to Post Ranch

    a5983988-9f3d-4670-8775-cf4b22a6f59eJuly 5, 2016 -  The wildly creative Ben Spungin is returning late this month to Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant as its pastry chef after stints at Bernardus Lodge and, most recently, Restaurant 1833 and its parent, Coastal Luxury Management.

    At Sierra Mar, Spungin will replace fellow local pastry rockstar Yulanda Santos, who recently left to take the top sweet spot at Aubergine vacated by their talented colleague Ron Mendoza, who is opening his own ice cream shop, Revival Ice Cream, in Monterey. Read our preview of Revival Ice Cream here.  

    “It’s pretty epic, it’s almost surreal for me,” says Spungin, who has a deep love for Big Sur as well as the Post ... Read More

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