Author Archive | Mark C. Anderson

Artisanal Charcuterie and BBQ Coming to Monterey

July 24, 2018 – The PigWizard has found a place to work his magic. Finally.

After all sorts of plot twists over the course of a decade and a half—including teaching at the now-departed Monterey Culinary School, endless pig roasts, wild private parties, and a food-truck misadventure-of-sorts that involved driving from the Northwest with a hole in the floor of the vehicle—Jonathan Roberts has a place to call his own.

He now pockets the keys to one of my favorite under-the-radar spots in the area at 32 Cannery Row. It was once home to the former Bayside Cafe (which morphed into Bon Ton L’Roy’s Lighthouse Smokehouse a half mile away), and then the more fleeting Harborside Deli & BBQ, whose owners completed some solid capital improvements.

It sits under the Read More

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Captain + Stoker Reopens Under New Ownership

July 18, 2018 – Earlier this month—when the bottom fell out of a deal for Cat & Cloud to acquire Captain + Stokerand Captain + Stoker suddenly closed—co-managers Tyler Ellis and his fiance Kelsea Richmond were too rocked by the news to talk about it right away.

“Not right now,” Ellis wrote via email. “It happened so fast. I’m pretty emotional. Lemme slow down.”

After they had some time to process, Monterey transplants Ellis and Richmond expressed awe at how much they clicked with their newfound coffee-and-community existence.

“I am simply going to miss working at Captain + Stoker,” Ellis said. “I was connected with so many customers, our employees, everyone involved. I was myself every day, and I’ve never felt I could be so comfortable in any other … Read More

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Captain + Stoker Closes as Sale Falls Apart, Cat & Cloud To Open Two New Santa Cruz Cafés

July 10, 2018 – Wendy and Peterson Conway had a seemingly simple dream: a community coffee shop with single-origin beans, world-class equipment and farm-fresh food they’d pull from their chicken ranch and orchard in Carmel Valley.

It would be called Captain + Stoker, named for and decorated with tandem bikes—like the one they rode into their wedding ceremony.

“Captain + Stoker was started with the intention that connecting with one another can both make our lives more meaningful as well as more empowered,” the original plans read. “Being in tandem is seeing we still need one another, perhaps more than ever.”

They pulled it off in style, debuting Captain + Stoker to enthusiastic reviews in late March. When the legendary cyclists who helped found the place (Tom Ritchey and Thomas … Read More

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How Anthony Bourdain Changed a Local Food Writer’s Outlook on Life

June 8, 2018 – He appeared in my viewscape fully-formed years ago, the spirit animal I didn’t know I had.

We were plenty different—him far more brazen, knife-skilled, tatted-up, sharp-tongued and swashbuckling than I dared endeavor, every bit a Jersey bad boy, martial artist and anti-vegan—but in core philosophies we clicked.

There was one of them right there on the pages of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly—the book that converted me as a follower and launched him on his trajectory toward international icon and cult-worshipped star of shows like “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown.”

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds?” he writes. “Or do … Read More

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Chopstix Restaurant Family Debuts Plates in Seaside

May 15, 2018 – It doesn’t feel like so long ago that Mikey Nguyen was working 10 hour days doing nails at a salon he opened at just 19, with money earned working at Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell as a teenager.

He owned and operated the salon for eight years, all while dreaming of something besides clear coats and French tips, like opening a family restaurant built around the foods of his heritage—bahn mi, boba and “broken” rice included—at a price point that wouldn’t break the bank.

“I wanted to feed people,” he says. “Not just work on their beauty.”

But it was a while ago, more than a decade all told. It just flew by really fast.

Opening and operating two popular restaurants—and as of this week, Read More

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