IMG_1538May 17, 2016 –  Carmel Valley’s beloved Corkscrew Café has a brand-new executive chef, and with that a new, more contemporary menu that he aims to keep dynamic and evolving.

Before taking over from former Corkscrew chef Anna Marie Bayonito in early May, Nash Rook had spent brief stints this spring as a sous chef at both Corkscrew and its sister restaurant in Carmel, Casanova—where he was able to work with Casanova executive chef David Baron.

Previously, Rook was executive chef at M.R. Slims, a gastrobar in Morgan Hill. Since entering the restaurant world at 18, Rook has also cooked at the high-end Bay Area steakhouse group Alexander’s Steakhouse and Morgan Hill’s Odeum, among other restaurants.

“It’s going to be very similar to what we’ve been doing but more progressive,” … Read More

Chalone brings back legendary winemaker Michael Michaud -

Winemaker Michael Michaud

Winemaker Michael Michaud

May 17, 2016 – Contrary to what Thomas Wolfe said, sometimes you really can go home again. When Bill Foley and his Foley Family Wines announced the acquisition of the Chalone Estate Vineyards property, Michael Michaud, who worked there as winemaker from 1979 to 1997, wrote a letter to Foley and said he’d like to come back. With certain conditions, of course, including the ability to make wines that once again respect the unique terroir.

They said yes and a couple of weeks ago Michaud returned to Chalone, this time as consulting winemaker. He will continue to produce his eponymous brand, and operate the M4 tasting room in downtown Saratoga—a partnership with Michael Martella.

Joining him in the Chalone renaissance endeavor as winemaker, is Gianni Abate, who … Read More

Airstream KraftBar Brings the Party to You -

May 17, 2016 – af0da162-2cf0-478c-af4b-aeba0e7ac411It seems only appropriate that the interior of KraftBar would be whiskey-toned, covered in gleaming wood strips that might give visitors the feeling that they’ve fallen into an aged oak barrel.

And if the interior is reminiscent of whiskey, then the silvery exterior of the vintage Airstream trailer might hint at a martini shaker—and let’s face it, both trailer and drink are midcentury marvels in their own right.

KraftBar, a recently launched mobile cocktail bar and lounge, is a first for the Monterey Bay area. It’s the love child of Breana and Toby White, who realized two years ago while planning their wedding that no such service existed nearby.

However, the Aptos couple didn’t roll out a business plan immediately. Breana, who at the time had … Read More


1fff8769-0324-4fe2-b32b-91e995345efcMay 11, 2016 – Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar has named Matthew Zimny the restaurant’s new executive chef, likely signaling a broadening of the culinary landscape of the restaurant’s signature Mediterranean cuisine.

In the role of executive chef, Zimny replaces Jeff Weiss, an expert in Spanish charcuterie who helped open the restaurant in late 2013 and headed its kitchen until he left last August. Zimny joins chef Trevor Mathiak, a member of Weiss’s culinary team to who has run the beloved Pacific Grove restaurant and wine bar’s kitchen since September.

“Since October, we’ve launched our popular weekend brunch and several seasonal menus,” said owner and sommelier Thamin Saleh in a statement. “Trevor and our team have been instrumental in making this happen. Now, Matt gives us the chance to continue Read More

Farm-to-Table Deli for King City -

990bb900-3447-499c-a1ac-881bf51a41e6May 10, 2016 – A new farm-to-table sandwich shop and deli is set to open next week in King City. Inspired by working with chef Travis Childers at the market-driven The Cork & Plough, bartender Justin Logan is opening his own eatery for people in a hurry.

“I can’t wait to pour my heart and soul into something I can watch grow,” says Logan. He hopes to open Cali’s Finest sandwich shop and deli on May 17 with a menu that includes a rotating roster of hot and cold sandwiches named for the surrounding towns, breakfast burritos, homemade salads and King City pink beans—a local favorite.

Logan says the fast-casual restaurant will use locally-sourced ingredients as much as possible from vendors such as Bounty of the Valley and Flora … Read More

Aubergine chef to open ice cream shop -

localHeroes15PastryMay 3, 2016 – Fulfilling a long-held dream, Ron Mendoza—pastry chef at the exclusive Aubergine restaurant in Carmel—is stepping down in June to open his own gourmet ice cream shop called Revival on Alvarado St. in Monterey.

“I’m going to try and take my whole 16 years of fine dining experience and bring it into an ice cream shop,” he says.

In preparation, Mendoza has been traveling around the country visiting ice cream shops from Portland to Brooklyn, sampling lots of ice cream and gathering ideas to make his new venture a success.

“It’s not going to be the kind of place you would go to get a banana split,” he says. “You’ll get something different, almost like a plated dessert.”

For example, he plans to serve dishes like ice … Read More

Dolatas look to expand their food community at 7D -

ba800f2b-c86d-4860-aa4b-34c4c6342cffMay 3, 2016 – Jay and Chloe Dolata, who own the community-centric Carmel Belle restaurant, are looking to expand our local food options and need your help. They are going to the Carmel City Council tonight about 7pm seeking permission to install a food marketplace in the underused 7th and Dolores building, which will offer everything from espressos and homemade granola to charcuterie, wine and caviar.

“Food is the centerpiece for gathering people together,” says Chloe Dolata, who affectionately calls the new project 7D. “Jay and I want the marketplace to be the center of our community because we love neighbors and eating and celebrating.”

Their established restaurant, nearby Carmel Belle, attests to that mission. Over the years they have amassed a crowd of passionate fans who enjoy the Dolatas’ … Read More

Celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 6 in Carmel Valley Village -

44ee4135-d4d9-4d7b-aa98-2aafb9097505May 3, 2016 – With the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris this year, Chardonnay is enjoying some extra limelight, but there is one important white varietal that deserves just as much attention. That would be Sauvignon Blanc, the very mother of the red Cabernet Sauvignon grape with which the greater world is completely besotted, sometimes called the King of Grapes. Well, if the son can be King, than the female parent should be crowned the Queen Mother. In which case, All Hail the Queen! Her day is nigh upon us, as Friday, May 6, has been declared International Sauvignon Blanc Day.

For decades, we’ve had some lovely Sauv Blancs coming out of Arroyo Seco and no more so than today, when a record number of winemakers are … Read More

Young chef stirs excitement -

FullSizeRenderApril 26, 2016 – The “it girl” of the Santa Cruz dining scene at the moment is 25-year-old chef and entrepreneur Rachel Hughes. Rising up through the town’s effervescent pop up scene, Hughes has landed a regular gig cooking at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge every night when there isn’t a special event.

“As a younger cook I strive to push my imagination and artistry,” says Hughes. “I enjoy playing with food and concepts, and try to surpass people’s expectations.”

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, she started cooking when she was very young. By age 12, she was making dinner for her family. At 13 she took her first of many Cabrillo College culinary arts classes. She made her first wedding cake at 15, and started doing … Read More

Is Cremer House Haunted? -

12339187_764989786980504_4860073569682193835_oApril 19, 2016 – A team of ghost hunters have found signs of paranormal activity in the Cremer House restaurant in Felton and are planning to return at the end of the month to gather more evidence, according to owner Emily Thomas.

“It never really weirded me out until today, after they left I got the shivers,” said Thomas, who also co-owns Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.

The restaurant is housed in the oldest building in town, built in 1874 by Thomas Cremer and his wife, who operated it as a boarding house, restaurant/tavern, gambling hall and brothel.

The ghost hunters came last Friday equipped with electro-magnetic frequency meters, other types of energy detectors and digital thermometers, according to Thomas. They plan to return with TV cameras and interview staff who … Read More