Author Archive | Deborah Luhrman

Assembly Debuts Trendy Craft Cocktails

IMG_5078March 21, 2017 – Assembly Restaurant in Santa Cruz is all about showcasing local purveyors and that extends to the show-stopping new craft cocktail program it has been rolling out over the past few weeks.

“The fun thing about our skill set—like in the kitchen—it’s seasonal and flexible according to what purveyors have to offer,” says chef Kendra Baker, co-founder of Assembly, the Picnic Basket and the Penny Ice Creamery. “We’re able to shift and move in much the same way as we do in the kitchen.”

The afternoon I was there, the copper-top bar was piled with fresh Meyer lemons grown by Daniel Paduano at Abounding Harvest Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Bar manager Zane Griffin was shaking up a Pink Lady cocktail mixing local Venus Spirits Gin … Read More

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Naughty Bonny Doon offshoot
puts down roots in Santa Cruz

Birichino’s John Locke and Alex Krause check out the Pinot Noir vines at the
Lilo Vineyard in Aptos, which is in the process of being certified organic.


It all started at an epic wine lunch in Montreal. “The buyer for one of the world’s largest wine importers was basically begging Bonny Doon Vineyard or somebody to start making Malvasia Bianca again to supply 440 shops throughout Québec,” recalls Alex Krause, export sales manager for Bonny Doon and co-founder of Birichino wines.

“Randall (Grahm) wasn’t interested. He had just sold off his big production wines and downsized the company. It’s not where his head was at,” he said of his boss at the pioneering Santa Cruz winery.… Read More

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Floods Devastate Organic Farms

9a6ac09d-6184-4561-9497-edb7273f5922February 14, 2017 – Heavy rain, wind and flash flooding has severely damaged several organic farms in Hollister and is causing trouble for farmers throughout the Monterey Bay area.

Heirloom Organic Gardens, Catalán Family Farms and California Kurobuta—all located near Pacheco Creek—are among the hardest hit.

“There was water 1,000 feet wide covering our farm in January and then 800 feet wide again last week,” says Jack Kimmich of California Kurobuta—a pig farm profiled in the winter issue of EMB. Click here for story.

“About 70% of our fencing and 125 tons of feed and feed troughs were carried away by the floods,” he said of the first round in January. “The funny thing is lots of pigs went to high ground and slept right through it.”

But he and his … Read More

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il Vecchio
Carl Alasko with his daughter, Ariele Alasko.
Photo by Deborah Luhrman.

“Our recipes are very simple…
We start from scratch everyday, so everything is fresh.”

A newcomer to the Pacific Grove restaurant scene, il vecchio restaurant has made sustainability something of an art form. The already popular trattoria, just opened in August, is decorated almost entirely with reclaimed and salvaged materials collected and artistically assembled by the owner’s daughter.

The first thing you notice on entering is the warmth that comes from old barn wood-clad walls, a gleaming oak bar, an enormous Carmel stone fireplace and glowing chandeliers made from rusted industrial mixers.

“We wanted to give the restaurant a patina, and the fact that everything already comes with a history adds so much,” says 24-yearold artist Ariele Alasko, the … Read More

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Eco-Deli’s Beer Bark flatbread, Jeff Dubin and his merlot tea
From left: Eco-Deli’s Beer Bark flatbread,
Jeff Dubin and his merlot tea.

Photo by Deborah Luhrman.

You might call it food from the future. A Salinas man is embracing the ecologist’s mantra “reuse, repurpose, recycle” and inventing new foods made from the byproducts of local artisan beer and wine making. Hidden away in a corner of an old airplane hangar at the Marina airfield, former sculptor Jeff Dubin has built a top-secret test kitchen where his studio used to be. He turned his kiln into an oven and started mixing batches of flatbreads, teas and vinegars.

“At this time in my life I just wanted to do something that is fun, useful and creative,” he says. So he founded Dubiansky’s Eco- Deli and is working to market his first product—a … Read More

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