• Homecoming for Chef Brad Briske

    9bf3559c-4782-489f-9bed-e69a521253b3August 23, 2016 - As we've been reporting for several weeks, acclaimed chef Brad Briske has left La Balena in Carmel to open his own restaurant. Now we can finally reveal the location of the restaurant and it's none other than the former Main Street Garden in Soquel, where he once worked. It was the first restaurant where Briske had the opportunity to create his own menus, set up his own sourcing and butcher his first animal. 

    The new restaurant will be a deeply personal place with an impressive menu and reasonable prices. It will be called Home.

    One of the most unique aspects of his plan will be made possible by the restaurant’s back garden, where Briske plans to ... Read More

  • New farm-to-fork chef at San Juan Oaks

    bc1a352d-b7f6-45b5-8468-638b012b07b4August 23, 2016 - A trio of restaurant professionals transplanted from the Monterey Peninsula is bringing a fresh approach and vision to San Juan Oaks Golf Club in Hollister, with executive chef Jeffrey S. Walker Sr. leading the way.

    Walker, who worked on the Peninsula for many years and traveled to a variety of Bay Area venues while with Bon Appetit Management Co., says he’s using the farm-to-fork philosophy that he learned at Bon Appetit to enhance the current menus.

    “These are the ideals I embrace,” says Walker, who notes that he’s already putting San Benito County products to good use in his kitchen, such as Swank Farm tomatoes and locally made olive oil.

    He came to San Juan ... Read More

  • Chef Greg Karjala goes to Mission Ranch

    35b1b76f-8cad-4c1f-ade1-87ca5c381101August 23, 2016 - After seven months at Wills Fargo restaurant, Greg Karjala has taken the job of executive chef at Mission Ranch in Carmel. "I feel pretty lucky to have landed at a place like this," says the 28-year-old chef, who previously worked at Sticks in Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley Ranch.

    He started at the beginning of August and says they were serving upwards of 500 diners a night during Concours week. "It's very busy every night, but the good attitude here makes for a happy crew," he says. 

    Karjala says everything seems to be working well, but he intends to introduce some changes gradually. "The food is good, but I'm about to make it great. I'm ... Read More

  • Capitola’s Cava Wine Bar Gets Citified

    13062178_2035720236653946_6308041485871861787_nAugust 23, 2016 - Capitola's Cava Wine Bar is getting a makeover by new owner Mackenzie Fullmer, who also owns Second Street Cafe in Watsonville.

    She's partnering with one of San Francisco's foremost sommeliers Sarah Trubnick, owner of the Barrel Room restaurants in SF and Oakland.

    Cava's new focus is on hard-to-find international wines at reasonable prices, and on wine education.

    The wine bar now includes a bottle shop with more than 200 labels, domestic and imported. Wine is served by the glass or in flights that take the drinker around the globe. They've also added local craft beers from Discretion, Corralitos Brewing and Uncommon Brewers.

    "Our idea is to guide people, so that when you come in and have a flight, you ... Read More

  • Briske to open restaurant AND farmers’ market eatery

    6e44c47a-128d-498a-9169-ae90c9ce46baAugust 16, 2016 - Just weeks after announcing plans to open his own restaurant in the Santa Cruz area, chef Brad Briske says his future will also include serving food at the Live Oak Farmers' Market.

    "It's a community-supported street food concept, with $10 dishes to feed people on a regular basis with food that's healthy and local," says Briske, whose last day at La Balena in Carmel was Friday.

    "People need to eat everyday and they're not going to go to a fancy, boutique-y kind of restaurant every day," he adds. Briske says he wants to get the new restaurant off the ground before launching the farmers' market business and he is not sure yet what form it will take.

    "Eventually ... Read More

  • Popular cheesemaker gets helping hand

    8ba18c28-df60-49e7-8758-fb3d4e6d6685August 16, 2016 - Cheesemaker Charlie Cascio, owner of Sweetwater Farm, spent the second night of the Soberanes fire in his cheese cave, taking refuge while his home and land burned around him in the Palo Colorado canyon. But not before evacuating his goats and doing everything he could to save his farm. Two structures survived: his daughter Gaia’s home and a caretaker cabin.

    His original plan had been to weather the fire overnight in his cheese cave along with his seven full-size Saanen goats, but Blaire and Lukie of Lucky Goat Family Farm called and offered to take his (lucky) goats in. The rescue mission was completed at around 10 pm, the goats arriving to their temporary ... Read More

  • Aquarium’s Biggest Night Ever

    The Soberanes Fire Relief Benefit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium partnered with Downtown Dining and Over 20 "Best of the Bay" Local Chefs for the event. Proceeds from the food and drinks went towards the Soberanes Fire Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

    August 9, 2016 - It was an evening of superlatives as the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted it's biggest event ever on Sunday night—a food and wine benefit for victims of the Soberanes fire.

    A whopping $111,000 was raised over the course of the evening, which included free-admission for 2,800 community members, 28 food stations and 25 local chefs. Beverages were donated by Bernardus Wines, J. Lohr, Mercy Vineyards, North Coast Brewing and Carmel Valley ... Read More

  • Wine to Pot: Rich Tanguay Launches New Career

    1d2cc0d1-e11b-4a74-81ac-e39a8d752243August 9, 2016 - After 25 years as a winemaker—most recently at Heller Estate Organic Vineyards— Carmel Valley’s popular Rich Tanguay has jumped ship, turning to the cultivation of medical marijuana.

    “I’ve switched to the better drug of choice,” he says. “Wine is great, but it doesn’t have nearly the potential for helping people that cannabis does.”

    Last week Tanguay started his new job as operations manager at one of the four legal cannabis grow facilities in Monterey County. The company, called FLRish Farms, is rehabilitating and planting four acres of medical marijuana in Salinas greenhouses in partnership with Harborside Health Center—which operates large medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland and San Jose.

    “Our goal is to have as many harvests ... Read More

  • If Words Could Put the Fire Out

    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.22.16 PMAugust 9, 2016 - Patrice Vecchione’s love for the Big Sur area is mingled with her vivid memories of teaching poetry to kids at Captain Cooper School in the period following the 2008 fires.

    “I know what it was like for the children then, and I know what it’s like for the children now,” she says, in the wake of the devastating Soberanes Fire that has so far consumed more than 60,000 acres and destroyed 57 homes in Big Sur and surrounding areas.

    Vecchione, an author and frequent EMB contributor, felt an obligation to do something, anything, to help. Just a few phone calls was all it took to organize If Words Could Put ... Read More

  • Aquarium Fire Benefit is Culinary Extravaganza

    134260-fullAugust 2, 2016 - Reminiscent of the Monterey Bay Aquarium galas of years gone by, the Soberanes Fire Relief Benefit is bringing together 25 of the best local chefs for a food and drink extravaganza on Sunday, August 7 at the aquarium.

    Edible Monterey Bay is co-sponsoring a separate fundraiser called "If Words Could Put the Fire Out" with renowned local authors on Saturday, August 20 at Earthbound Farm Stand.

    The deadly fire continues to grow and has to date consumed more than 43,000 acres and 57 homes, and charring farms and ranches.

    You can help by attending a massive community-spirited fundraiser organized by the aquarium and Downtown Dining. The line up includes: Dory Ford (AQUA TERRA ... Read More

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