Author Archive | Camilla M. Mann

Revamped Ventana Big Sur Strikes Surprising Balance

October 17, 2017 – When the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapsed in February, business in Big Sur came to an abrupt halt. Ventana Inn & Spa shuttered their doors, electing to use that time to undergo an extensive renovation.

With the new bridge now open, Ventana Big Sur is preparing to welcome guests starting on Friday, October 20th with a slightly different name and a new look. The relaunch marks the North American debut of the Singapore-based management company Alila Hotel & Resorts—which operates luxury hotels in Indonesia, India, Oman and China. “Alila is Sanskrit for surprise and Alila hotels are surprisingly different,” says guest services director Stephanie Lewis. Ventana Big Sur boasts some surprising details that capture the magical serenity of its surroundings.

Their sunburst logo is featured on the … Read More

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Edible Notables: Dreamcatcher

Once upon a time—not so long ago—there was a pretty French chateau surrounded by vines next to a sleepy river. Even though it was not for sale at the time, Greg Ahn took one look and could see the potential. “The property was beautiful, but you couldn’t tell from the road,” he recalls. “It didn’t feel welcoming.” He envisioned turning it into a small-batch boutique winery and creating a vibrant cultural space and community hub on the estate. Three years later, he is well on the way to making that dream come true.

Ahn, founder and president of Folktale Winery & Vineyards in Carmel Valley, says it’s still a work in progress, fueled by people like hospitality vice president John Fitzgerald, who creates a welcoming vibe, and chef Todd Fisher, Read More

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Disrupting the Fresh Produce Market

August 1, 2017 – Disrupt, reclaim, take ideas further. ‘Innovate the plate’ was the theme for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA)’s annual Foodservice Conference & Expo this past weekend. From all over the country, nearly two thousand people—attendees, buyers, and exhibitors—converged in downtown Monterey to focus on fresh produce.

PMA CEO Cathy Burns said these shows are designed to shine a spotlight on fresh produce and encourage an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The Fresh Ideas Showcase included products like Babé Farms’ Honey Cone Cabbage—winner of the expo’s best new product award; Chef-Ready Bell Peppers that are already cored and seeded; hydroponically-grown greens from Westland Produce; and shelf-stable Fresh Origins’ Herb Crystals that add vibrant color and crunchy texture to dishes.

Mann Packing in Salinas unveiled two new salad blends, calling … Read More

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7D Steakhouse Opening Thursday

June 28, 2017 – After years of celebrating the vegetable bounty of the Salinas Valley, is the Monterey Peninsula hungry for meat? We’ll soon find out when chef Todd Fisher’s sizzling new 7D Steakhouse opens on Thursday, to be followed in August by chef Fabrice Roux’s new Carmel Valley Chophouse.

Officially called the Seventh & Dolores Steakhouse, the new venture is run by Folktale Winery with a team that not only includes Fisher, but also chef Jeremiah Tydeman, previously with Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill, and Joe Valencia, a veteran of Rio Grill and Porter’s in the Forest, in the front of the house.

The Folktale Winery team is taking on the concept of a great American steakhouse and launching it over the top in what proprietor Gregory Ahn is … Read More

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Revamped Portola Hotel a True Reflection of the Monterey Bay

Portola Hotel & Spa—the first LEED® certified hotel on California’s Central Coast—has just completed a beautiful multi-million dollar renovation that includes a reimagined space in the hotel lobby with a new restaurant/bar concept and an exciting new menu from executive chef Danny Abbruzzese.

Designed by the San Francisco-based Puccini Group and unveiled at the Grand Opening on June1, the remodel creates a sophisticated yet comfortable space that reflects the palette of the local coastline.

“The coastal Monterey landscape, wildlife and local artist community had a tremendous influence on the project,” says Rob Polacek, Puccini’s chief creative officer. Complementing the open design and natural light, the decor uses crisp blues like the Pacific Ocean, subtle browns of weathered docks, and the muted greens of coastal flora. Live trees, now adorned with … Read More

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