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SUMMER 2014 FEATURE STORIES


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Brew Cruz Rolls into Santa Cruz -

10535655_325654347608601_6735688295875079597_oJuly 29, 2014 – In an updated version of the Magical Mystery Tour, a Santa Cruz woman has rebuilt a 1989 Thomas International school bus to take craft beer lovers on a three-hour tour of the local beer scene. Annie Pautsch says she got the idea for Brew Cruz while doing a tipsy pub crawl by bike with friends. “It’s really fun,” she says. “We visit three breweries and I get nerdy about beer, telling little stories so people have some background and know what to taste at each stop.”

The tour runs daily from 3-6pm and begins at Day’s Market, near Seabright Brewery. Stops include Discretion Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Santa Cruz Ale Works. A pint at each stop is included in the cost of the tour … Read More

Glorious Details at the Googie -

10394768_725064520869215_5844112222571836035_nJuly 29, 2014 – Break out the poodle skirts! Fifties-style Googie Grill, the Monterey Bay area’s newest retro restaurant, is set to open next week near the busy intersection of Del Monte Ave. and Canyon del Rey in Seaside. Those nostalgic for comfort food, drive-ins and diners, as well as architecture buffs, will enjoy the homespun breakfasts and lunches; dinner service will follow in a couple of weeks.

Have you heard the saying – the devil is in the details? The phrase popped into my head when I visited Googie Grill. It means that even the tiniest components are crucial to the grand design. At every turn, there are carefully curated details to note at this soon-to-open eatery, elements that complement the architecture of the original building, commemorate their … Read More

Route 1 Farms scrambles to preserve land -

home1-nggid017-ngg0dyn-420x315x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010July 22, 2014 – Route 1 Farms owner Jeff Larkey has been holding a series of urgent meetings with neighbors and friends of the farm in hopes of finding a buyer willing to save his prime cropland on Ocean St. Extension at the outskirts of Santa Cruz. 

Two idyllic parcels he’s farmed for 30 years along the southern bank of the San Lorenzo River are set to go on sale next week—one six acres and the other 3.25 acres.

“It’s one of those unique places with perfect climate and perfect soil, along a riparian corridor, where you can grow anything,” says Larkey, whose year-to-year lease is up on December 31.

“Small farms on the fringes of urban areas are super important to our local food system,” he adds, “and they … Read More

Holman buying Wills Fargo -

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 7.51.16 PMJuly 22, 2014 – EMB has learned that Holman Ranch is in escrow on a deal to buy the historic Wills Fargo restaurant in Carmel Valley from owner Ben Pon. Pon began divesting his properties last year with the sale of Bernardus Lodge to Noble House Hotels, but still owns Bernardus Wine. Holman Ranch operates a tasting room near the restaurant that’s often packed to capacity for special events, so the restaurant will provide welcome additional space. 

Executive Chef Jerome Viel is expected to remain at the helm of the classic steak house and saloon. The former butchery, where diners would go to pick out their steaks, is expected to be turned into a boutique showcasing the ranch’s high-end wines. Holman Ranch estate-grown wines are continuing to rack up the … Read More

Celebrating cactus and Mexican heritage -

20140629_160748July 22, 2014 – When people ask me how to save water in their edible gardens during this year of drought, my answer is two words: prickly pear. It’s a joke that I find knee-slapping hilarious—but also serious. It sounds extreme, and it’s not the answer most people expect, or want. Few Americanos look at Opuntia cactus—which includes the vegetable nopales and the fruit prickly pear or tuna in Spanish—and get hungry, and we don’t know how to eat it (although it’s a delicious and healthy addition to pico de gallo and a star ingredient in chorizo and eggs).

Of course, there are many ways to save water—among them rain barrels and graywater, mulching and compost. (See my article entitled Department of Lawn Replacement: In Defense of Food in EMB Read More

Farmers’ Market Inspires Bistro Night at ATOM -

d1127ae1-65be-459d-bbab-3c1fb276cb66July 21, 2014 – Chef Adam Foster was walking through the Tuesday Farmers’ Market on Alvarado Street, when he came across some Black Monukka table grapes. Strangely enough, one of the first things he thought of was risotto—which he immediately put on the new Bistro Night menu at A Taste of Monterey.

Bistro Night is a short, supplemental, farmers’ market-inspired menu that changes weekly and is served Thursday to Sunday beginning at 5 pm. The idea was hatched by Chef Dory Ford, who owns Taste’s culinary partner Aqua Terra Catering. Foster’s onsite execution is spot-on. EMB’s reporter was invited to visit and sample the goods, which included the aforementioned grape risotto. The grapes were roasted and sprinkled on top of the risotto, along with toasted walnuts and a fresh … Read More

Venus Spirits Launches This Week -

10343009_251155198411767_3421543603525319019_nJuly 15, 2014 – Those thirsty for a taste of Sean Venus’ Santa Cruz-made, small batch gin need wait no longer. The first 750ml. bottles should be arriving Wednesday at 41st Avenue Liquors, where they’ll sell for $31.99. Venus Spirits is hosting two release parties this week to introduce the brand: a sold out one Thursday at Stripe Men; and a “Drinks with the Distiller” event on Friday at Johnny’s Harborside Restaurant from 3-8pm. Venus Gin Blend No. 1 will be featured in handcrafted cocktails and Sean Venus will be on hand to talk about all things spirits-related. There will be complimentary small bites and no reservations are needed.

Made with an aromatic combination of juniper berries, cardamom, lemon, orange, tangerine, ginger and angelica root, Venus gin is the first … Read More

On the Road Again: Chef Todd transforms Tarpy’s -
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Chef Todd Fisher (photo: Philip M. Geiger)

July 8, 2014 – For 20 years, Chef Todd Fisher drove past Tarpy’s Roadhouse restaurant to and from the kitchens of other restaurants, marveling at the beauty of the property, and imagining, given the opportunity, the marvelous things he would do with the place. Earlier this year, the opportunity arose, and he went for it.

Fisher was actually quite comfortable where he was, working in an enviable position with the Pebble Beach Company. But he’s always had a hard time turning down a challenge.

Just 10 weeks later, Fisher has laid significant inroads toward realizing his vision to return the restaurant to its roots as an authentic—yet contemporary and upscale—American roadhouse. Starting with his newly redesigned menu, Fisher is shifting … Read More

Manresa Closed by Fire, Haute Produce for sale -
Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos (photo: CBSlocal)

Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos (photo: CBSlocal)

July 8, 2014 – A serious fire at famed Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos Monday morning has shocked the culinary world and created a feeding frenzy over haute biodynamic produce grown for Manresa at Love Apple Farms in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “What happened in the early morning hours yesterday was a setback,” owner/chef David Kinch said in a statement. “Rest assured we will be re-opening Manresa….better and stronger to again welcome you, our loyal guests.”

Early reports said the two alarm blaze caused $300,000 in damage and speculated it was caused by a leaky gas meter outside the building, but Kinch said it will take some time to accurately assess the damage. Fortunately no one was injured. Meanwhile the restaurant is closed … Read More

CARMEL FARMERS MARKET TO STAY IN PARK—FOR NOW -

365452eb-e9f9-459b-8dd0-3cc3a4af1408July 8, 2014 – Fans of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s year-old farmers’ market will still be able to find it in Devendorf Park on Thursdays, but starting on July 17 they should expect several changes. 

In something of a compromise hammered out over several hours of meetings last week, the council on July 1 voted to extend the contract of the market manager, the West Coast Farmers’ Market Association, for 120 days and to allow the market to stay for that period in Devendorf Park. Also during the 120 day period, the market manager may work with a new ad-hoc council farmers market committee led by Carrie Theis and Steve Dallas to experiment with an alternative location, if they so choose.

The council also voted to restrict the market operation in many ways:… Read More

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