May 20, 2013 – Cooking for Solutions took a new approach this year, with less gloom and doom about declining fish populations and more optimism about programs that are beginning to show results—both in the seas and in other areas of the environment.
“The oceans still need our help, but we have many examples of successes out there, of using progressive consumerism to create change,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program—host of the two-day conference which brought together journalists, chefs, farmers and environmentalists.
Seafood Watch was started by the aquarium in 1999 as a consumer awareness campaign and has evolved into an advisory body for seafood trade staffed by research scientists. “There are now more than 17,500 retail and restaurant businesses that base their buying decisions on Seafood Watch,” said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard.
Recent successes include a ban on the sale of shark fins, which Seafood Watch lobbied for and will go into effect next month; and a new partnership with the Mars Corporation to make Sheba brand cat food with sustainably sourced seafood by the end of this year.
In addition, Chilean Sea Bass—which was on the brink of extinction… Read More
By Rachel Duchak
May 21, 2012 – To gluten or not to gluten? That is the question on the minds of many Americans as well as whether fish oil is right for them, if they should stop taking calcium supplements just a few years after their doctor told them to start, and what the heck is lycopene anyway? We suffer from a serious case of nutrition confusion that keeps many Americans from taking more steps toward health. Business and the media whip up this complicated soup about eating healthy, but if we follow the lead of two California health professionals who presented at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions conference, we can simplify the path to making better nutrition choices for life.
An urgent call to action
Of all the presentations and discussions across the two days, the bucolic morning session at the bountiful and beautiful Earthbound Farm Stand in Carmel Valley offered the most fired up speakers, with a palpable urgency about the desperate need for change. Every single day in their work with Americans across the country, registered dietician Ashley Koff and physician Preston Maring see the negative impacts of a… Read More
May 13, 2012 – The evening began overlooking the Pacific with flutes of Julien Fouet Crémant de Loire Rosé in our hands. We mingled, reveled in the view, and eagerly anticipated the adventure we were about to have.
Ushering us into the glass-enclosed Pacific’s Edge Wine Room at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Wine Director Paul Fried set the stage for the fifth Artisan Wines of California Winemaker’s Dinner. “Artisans are people who toil away in relative obscurity,” Fried began. He partners with winemakers to shine the spotlight on a specific wine-growing region and showcase seldom-available vintages, with the help of Executive Chef Matt Bolton. Our focus for the evening: Sonoma and the wines of Joseph Swan Vineyards.
Prohibition had almost decimated the wine industry in California, but Russian-born, French-trained André Tchelistcheff reinvigorated the area by replanting both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys and educating local winemakers in grape growing and wine-making. Somewhere along the way, a Hatfield and McCoy-style feud began between the neighboring valleys. “Napa really likes itself,” joked Rod Berglund, owner of Joseph Swan Vineyards. “Sonoma has a more artistic spirit, diverging from the more commercial operations of Napa.” Maybe he was only partially joking about Napa’s… Read More
Chef/owner Soerke Peters and business partner Denis Boaro of Basil have a great reason to pop the cork on a domestic sparkler or two today. They just received word that Basil earned a coveted two-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association. After nearly a year of hard work and partnerships with vendors like Eco Carmel, Peters and Boaro have managed to document sustainable and eco-friendly practices required by the independent certification agency. Everything from food service to furnishings was examined, as well as water management and recycling.
“Green can mean a lot of different things to different people, but we are the only national standards organization that deals exclusively with the restaurant industry,” said CEO Michael Oshman of the Green Restaurant Association. “Consumers can be assured that a GRA certified restaurant meets objective standards that are verified by our specialized experts.”
Basil is the first restaurant in the Monterey Bay Area to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association, which counts about 500 certifications nationwide and 300 more in progress—two in Silicon Valley.
Boaro was elated that the months of hard work and investments in meeting the association’s tough standards have paid off. “I’m definitely excited, “ he exclaimed, “We… Read More
She brought you into this world and has always loved you, so show mom your appreciation on Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 12th. Edible Monterey Bay has lots of suggestions for gifts and elegant Mother’s Day brunches that are sure to put a smile on her face on this special day.
As a token of your affection, olive oils top our list of fave gifts. How about a sampler six-pack of olive oils paired with balsamic vinegars from Trió Carmel, which also carries Olivella olive oil skin care products. The Quail and Olive in Carmel Valley Village stocks a good choice of fresh milled California EVOO along with balsamic and deliciously flavored vinegars. In downtown Santa Cruz, the True Olive Connection is the best place to go for six-pack samplers and a great selection of olive oils and vinegars. Or stop by Stone Creek Kitchen in Monterey for that gourmet cooking utensil, imported EVOO or spice that she’s been thinking about trying.
Bee, Bark and Moss of Carmel has adorable polka dot or striped market totes made locally with organic cotton, hemp and recycled materials—sure to make your Mom’s next trip to the farmers market a fashionable… Read More
Written By Teresa Baumann
Photos by Lorili Toth
April 29, 2013 – A fog laden morning on the coast gave way to warmth and sunshine in the afternoon, as a group of explorers gathered at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve last Sunday and prepared to go on the first ever foraging walk to locate and identify edible and medicinal plants. This was a unique opportunity to wander off the beaten path and out into the field in the company of knowledgeable guides, stewardship specialist Bree Candiloro of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and Dr. Keith Rayburn.
One focus of the walk was to learn a bit about the ethnobotany of the Ohlone Indian tribe. In keeping with the spirit of this journey, the participants set off, armed with a list of plants and their traditional uses, along with bright yellow signs bearing the Ohlone names of the plants they were responsible for finding on the walk. Due to the expertise of the guides, over 35 plants were identified, marked and harvested (when appropriate) by the group.
The walk, which began at the visitor center, took the participants through a vast diversity of habitats. In the more exposed sunny areas… Read More
Photos by Topher Mueller
Three couples to win free tickets to attend!
A few fortunate locals (including some lucky EMB Blog readers!) will be among the first to experience the newly renovated Gardener Ranch in Carmel Valley at a private dinner on April 28.
If you’d like to be among the six people to win tickets at attend, please sign up for our e-newsletter and join our Twitter and Facebook feeds (see icons to click at end of this story) by April 21. Three winners will be selected at random from among our followers on April 22.
The new name is a nod to the property’s former incarnation as the storied Gardiner Tennis Ranch. During the second half the 20th Century several U.S. presidents and celebrities such as Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Lucille Ball and Kirk Douglas stayed at the rustic and private ranch, where they sought the expert tennis training of the late founder, John Gardiner and the ranch chef’s delicious food.
Purchased by Carmel Valley Athletic Club owner Scot McKay in 2011 after a brief stint as Gardiner Resort, the ranch has undergone substantial improvements to transform it into a relaxing event and retreat center that will… Read More
By Kurt Foeller
So at the recent Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, I pounced on the opportunity to see three Master Sommeliers in action, conducting a blind tasting for a group of 100 attendees. Sure, it was fun to watch them blind-taste a set of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernets and then guess at which country they were from, what sub region, and about huch they should cost in a retail shop.
There was no stumping the sommelier, by the way. It was like watching a magic show, watching them reason through their sensations to come up with an answer that always impressed the crowd.
Others may also find it magical how much a Master Sommelier knows about Château Lafite Rothschild and other wines that cost more than $1,000 per bottle on a restaurant list. But that means little to someone like me who rarely spends $50 retail on a single bottle, and more likely $18.
So when the Master Sommelier panel opened up for questions, I asked the one… Read More
In a classic case of the grass is always greener or the sand is always whiter, there are plenty of moves afoot in the local wine biz. Pretty much everyone knows that Silvestri is moving from Carmel Valley Village to downtown Carmel, where they’ll occupy a location not far from Scheid. So, what happens to their old digs? Well, nature abhors a vacuum and winemaker Joel Bernstein of Marilyn Remark has been looking for a tasting room spot in a place livelier than his current River Road location, where coyotes outnumber people by a large margin. He’ll be delighted to have new wine-loving neighbors to entertain in Carmel Valley and will welcome those ever-important referrals from nearby tasting rooms. It won’t hurt that he’ll finally have a choice of great places he can walk to for lunch.
Another new Carmel Valley tasting room is Mercy Vineyards, a small label out of Arroyo Seco, specializing in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from three select vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA. Mercy, next to the Chevron station, is the offspring of Pebble Beach resident Mark Dirickson, who’s been in the wine business for 30 years (J. Lohr, Foley), along… Read More