January 17, 2017 - Five types of wild mushrooms, five varieties of chiles and a shoulder of wild boar went into chef Matt Glazer's delicious Wild Boar Chili, which took top honors for best use of foraged ingredients at the annual Big Sur Foragers Festival on Saturday.
Chef Todd Fisher of Tarpy's Roadhouse took "Best of Show" for his Mushroom Upside Down Steak, which combined slices of perfectly grilled New York Steak over grilled chanterelle, shitake oyster and white mushrooms with cognac demi-glace and whipped bone marrow.
In the dessert category, chef Paul Corsentino and pastry chef Saul Tejeda on Ventana Inn took the prize for their Candy Cap Chocolate Mousse Cake, filled with chanterelle creme anglaise and topped ... Read More
January 17, 2017 - “The Bitter Liberal” is not just an apt political descriptor for most of us right now, it’s also the name of drink you can order on the new bar menu at Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar in downtown Santa Cruz. After securing a liquor license last summer, Soif has been quietly introducing an eclectic cocktail menu for patrons who frequent the wine-centric restaurant. Owner Patrice Boyle, who just celebrated Soif’s milestone 10th anniversary, says, “We are rolling out the cocktail program and I feel as though we are finally solid on that front.”
“Solid” was certainly my impression when I first visited the bar and ordered something other than a unique grape varietal, admiring the careful stirring, ... Read More
January 10, 2017 - Carmel's trendy Affina Food and Wine restaurant has been tapped to prepare one of the prestigious James Beard Foundation dinners in New York City. The 10-course feast—set for February 25—will feature the cuisine of Affina exec chef Nico Izard paired with local wines from Richard Oh's Otter Cove and Folktale.
"We're going to promote local produce and keep the same farm-to-table bistro style as the restaurant," says chef Nico.
The dinner, dubbed 'Carmel Chic,' will use ingredients flown in directly from the Monterey Bay area. Eighty tickets are available for $175/public and $135/members.
The Beard Foundation website promotes the dinner as showcasing "Monterey Peninsula's cornucopia through the lens of the culinary heritages of the bistro’s chef and owners." ... Read More
January 10, 2017 - Fans of the fresh and authentic Mexican food served al fresco at the Café Campesino kiosk on Pacific Avenue now have a place to eat indoors. "We no longer have to close when it rains," said owner Dina Torres, who opened her new Jaguar restaurant last weekend at 1116 Soquel Ave. in the space once occupied by Lillians.
Updated with a fresh coat of paint inside and out, the little space has been refurbished with elegant white linens and red roses on each table.
The menu at Jaguar Provincial Mexican Cuisine is much wider than Café Campesino, which is limited to chicken and vegetarian dishes. Jaguar includes appetizers like prawn ceviche and entrees such as pork chops ... Read More
January 3, 2017 - If the thrill of the hunt is a contributing factor in making Sante Adairius Rustic Ales so destination-worthy in beer circles near and far, then their upcoming expansion to the much easier-to-find location on Water Street in midtown Santa Cruz could mark a dip in business. But anyone who actually knows their inspired, “rustic” beers would say never fear, this brewery will continue to create buzz no matter where we find them. And don’t worry, assures co-owner Adair Paterno, “we will be keeping the current production space and tasting room.” So you can still hunt for it, if you prefer.
Over the last five years, business partners (and former life partners) Paterno and Tim Clifford have built ... Read More
December 20, 2016 - When you’re Dan Karlsen—a veritable legend in the wine industry, with stints at Domaine Carneros, Dehlinger, Chalone and Talbott Vineyards in your repertoire—what do you do for a post-Talbott act? Make more wine, of course, but perhaps, make less, also.
With just one thousand bottles —that’s just 83 cases—planned per offering, the next chapter in the life of Dan is being written with the assistance of his longtime business colleague Matt Viotto. Called the 1000 Bottle Project, this latest installment in a stellar career teams Karlsen with Viotto, himself a 30-year wine industry veteran, whose resume includes buying, distributor management and sales and marketing for Henry Wine Group, Chalone, Diageo and Talbott Vineyards.
The two have ... Read More
December 20, 2016 - Chef de cuisine Jeremy Tummel of Stillwater Bar and Grill in Pebble Beach is leaving at the end of the year to join John Cox in opening the new farm-to-table restaurant The Bear and Star in Los Olivos.
"It's a very cool project," he says. "It's going to be amazing." The restaurant will be part of the 800-acre Fess Parker ranch and will serve foods from the ranch in a fusion of California cuisine and Texas-style barbecue—in the heart of the Santa Barbara Wine Country.
For Tummel—who is part Chumash and can trace his family roots back several generations in the area— it's a homecoming of sorts. He is a graduate of the culinary program at ... Read More
December 13, 2016 - John Cox has been out touring ranches. The locavore chef—partner in Carmel's trendy new Cultura Comida y Bebida—is researching heritage pig breeds, studying chicken coop design and learning how to raise quail. It's all in preparation for his next big adventure as chef partner of a new farm-to-table restaurant called The Bear and Star to be opened next spring on the 800-acre Fess Parker Ranch in Los Olivos, California—in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country.
"I really like ambitious projects and this has the potential to be one of the top restaurants of this type in the country," says Cox.
The ranch is operated by family of the late 1950s-era TV star best known for ... Read More
December 6, 2016 - Pacific Grove's Central Coast Juicery is opening a shop in downtown Santa Cruz. Owner Mark Kaltenbacher has signed a lease on a Locust St. location, just off Pacific Avenue and will soon begin building the interior using reclaimed redwood from Big Sur.
Nutritious cold-pressed juices are made using produce from 20 local farms including Lakeside Organics, New Natives, Prevedelli, Lonely Mountains and Oya Organics in Hollister—where they compost pulp left over after the juice is pressed.
Kaltenbacher started out making juices overnight using Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove, and he sold out of there for two years before moving into his own shop on Forest Avenue, just off Lighthouse.
But the UC Santa Cruz grad says ... Read More
December 6, 2016 - Bonny Doon residents Michael and Colleen Harrison have taken ownership of the place, and will officially launch the next chapter of Michael’s on Main in Soquel, with all the current staff firmly in place, on December 20.
You may ask why anyone, after retiring from several successful careers, and old enough to qualify for Medicare, would want to be in the restaurant business.
Says Harrison, “I’m not going to be in the kitchen, although I do have great knife skills! I see myself in the front of the house, welcoming guests and making sure they’re having a good time.”
Big community supporters, the Harrisons are involved with Rotary and are on the Symphony board, among other civic ... Read More