Author Archive | Laura Ness

Famed Lester Vineyards Open for Tastings

October 9, 2018 – Few vineyard settings take the concept of “Pleasant Valley” to the level of Lester Family Vineyards. The sweeping sea of vines, stretching southwest towards the shimmering glow of the sun, the towering redwoods that seem to guard it like sentinels, the old barn filled with a lifetime of treasures, the grassy lawn and the oak-shaded outdoor seating area, make this a place naturally endowed with Santa Cruz Mountains charm. You could charge any amount of money and people would still want to come here, for the sense of serenity and being in the heart of an outstanding vineyard.

Considered by many winemakers and enthusiasts to be one of the great vineyards in the region, this place started with the dream of the late Dan Lester, a … Read More

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De Tierra Changes Hands

October 9, 2018 – “Of the earth” connotes something that belongs to a larger entity beyond the grasp of the mere conveyance of title from one human to another. And so De Tierra Vineyards, founded by the late Tom Russell, and until recently, owned and operated by his daughter Anna, has a new earthly custodian.

Dan McDonnal and Alix Bosch, feel honored to have been granted the chance to shepherd this beloved brand into the next phase of its existence.

“I’ve known Tom since the early 1980s,” says McDonnal, who along with Bosch, has taken ownership of the De Tierra Vineyards brand, inventory and tasting room in Carmel. “I was in the produce business in Salinas for 30 years. Tom was involved in over 50 different businesses. He was a … Read More

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Rouxminations: What’s Up With Chophouse & Bistro Roux?

October 2, 2018 – When Jennifer Roux posted on FaceBook that she was selling Bistro Roux in Pacific Grove last week, it sent out a shock wave. Wait a minute, didn’t they just sink a boatload into this practically brand new venture? Many took notice, including some very talented chefs who were drooling over this just-redesigned space.

But not everyone is cut out to run a restaurant.  It’s an insanely life-absorbing task that requires a rigorous commitment to pleasing your customer base.

As Michelin star chef David Kinch of Manresa recently told me, “We aim for perfection every night, knowing that we can’t achieve it.” But to aim, you need to have a team, and that team, starting with your dishwasher, is essential to operating a restaurant that has any … Read More

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Kinch to Debut Casual Mediterranean Food at Mentone In Aptos

Photo: iStock by Getty Images

Ever clever as if developing a new password that would bring a smile to the discoverer, Kinch has arrived on a name for his new venture that cracks open the portico to his much-anticipated Aptos Village restaurant concept. Mentone is the Italian spelling for the French village of Menton on the French/Italian border, literally the last stop on the Côte d’Azur before you cross into Italy.

The town actually did not become part of France until 1860, having previously belonged to the Republic of Genoa, then Monaco and then Sardinia. And even after World War II, it was fought over. An English doctor discovered it to be a great place for folks with tuberculosis to mend, and English and Russian aristocrats built many palaces, hotels … Read More

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Carmel Bouchée Reopens with Zagouri at Helm

Fans were a bit disoriented earlier this year when their beloved Andre’s Bouchée closed its doors. But with the official announcement of the return of former chef Jacques Zagouri, in partnership with Richard Oh and Kavindra Pandey, they needn’t suffer the ills of classic French food depravation any longer.

Oh says he first met his friend Jacques at the restaurant 10 years ago, and quickly became a big fan of its fine French cuisine. “I’ve always loved this restaurant. Dining here was such a pleasure. I was selling wines to them 10 years ago,” notes Oh.

The restaurant had been owned since 2009 by the Lemaire family, and prior to that, David Fink, under the name Bouchée. When it closed in March, Oh missed the place greatly, and recently … Read More

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