Author Archive | Camilla M. Mann


backroomNow celebrating its 10th anniversary, the passion in the kitchen and front of the house at Cantinetta Luca is as fresh as it was when the doors first opened. From the trattoria’s open kitchen into which diners can peer and watch the chefs in action to neighboring Salumeria Luca—deli, bakery, and gourmet market—Carmel’s Italian hub bustles with culinary activity.

Cantinetta Luca’s interior design is an attractive blend of brick, stone, glass, and chiseled wood, punctuated with rich Mediterranean colors. The wine room is a perfect setting for semi-private special events, featuring a barrel-vaulted brick ceiling with exposed, rough-hewn beams. From the dining room, diners can glimpse salumi in the works in the glass-encased cured meat-aging room.

All of Cantinetta Luca’s pasta, bread, sauces, dressings and marinades are made in-house everyday … Read More

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Globe-trotting farm dinner series
shines a light on local land preservation

Range to table: Chef Brett Cooper with beef grazed and cooked on site at Glen Deven Ranch.


“This is the one. Maybe the best OITF event ever!” reads the caption for the photo that Outstanding in the Field posted on Instagram about its epic dinner at the Big Sur Land Trust’s Glen Deven Ranch late last fall. “The day, the place, the people, the food…it really was as good as it gets.”

Jim Denevan, the Santa Cruz chef and artist who founded OITF, admits that he almost regretted making the statement. “I’ve never said that before—best event ever—because I don’t like to think there’s a hierarchy of events.”

Still, the caption remained. And chef … Read More

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Greening the Restaurant Industry

1924046_86106990310_8178_nFebruary 21, 2017 – Restaurant industry folks gathered at Montrio Bistro last week to hear chef Soerke Peters—president of the American Culinary Federation Monterey Bay Chapter—answer the question: “Why green your restaurant?”

Eager to be privy to the discussion were chefs from local restaurants, chefs that head up food services at regional hospitals, vineyard owners, food writers, food purveyors, food producers, and even staff members from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro, the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) and Wrath Wines were also involved in the event.

Chef Peters led the way locally by making Basil Seasonal Dining, in Carmel, the Monterey Bay area’s first certified green restaurant. While he acknowledged that becoming a certified green restaurant takes effort and time, he also shared something that his grandmother … Read More

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Two unexpectedly intriguing
and delicious adventures

The Penny Ice Creamery.


Shooting olive oil.

Some people are tour people, relying on a resident expert to guide them from one location to the next while pointing out spots of interest along the way. I’ve never been a tour person. In fact, it wouldn’t be hyperbolic to characterize myself as tour averse. When traveling, I typically rent a house with a kitchen, frequent neighborhood grocers, seek out farmers’ markets, stop at roadside fruit stands, cook with local produce and steer clear of anything that could possibly be called a tour. But then I tried a food tour.

Three weeks ago, I didn’t know what a food tour was. Now, I’ve been on two of the three food tours … Read More

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A California restaurant with a Tuscan heart

La Balena

Photography by Geneva Liimatta

Carmel’s budding community of young, creative and sustainability-minded restaurateurs has just expanded with the addition of Anna and Emanuele Bartolini and their La Balena, an informal nod to Northern Italy on Junipero Street between Fifth and Sixth.

The Bartolinis had been tossing around the idea of opening a restaurant for more than a decade. Emanuele’s grandparents, who were originally from Sardinia, had a restaurant in Florence years ago, and after emigrating from Italy to New York, Emanuele started work in the city’s restaurant world before he even knew English. By the time he left New York to move to Carmel, he was working as a senior manager at Del Posto, which is owned jointly by Mario Batali and Lidia … Read More

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