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Two New Wine Bars Open in Carmel Valley

March 5, 2019 – All of a sudden, there are two new wine bars in Carmel Valley Village. Just like that. Neither one has a kitchen, (neither does Wine House), so the emphasis is big on wine and small on food. 

Village Wine & Tap Room, formerly “The Tasting Experience,” is owned by Jessica and Michael Trask, who aim to showcase local winemakers who don’t have tasting rooms. They carry an array of limited production wines that are exclusive and hard to find. The place is at 19 E Carmel Valley Road suite G, next door to Windy Oaks at the east end of the Carmel Valley Village. It’s in the same block as Parsonage, Chesebro, Rexford and Ian Brand. 

Their soft opening is scheduled for this Friday, March … Read More

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Estevan Jimenez Named Chef of the Year

March 19, 2019 – Rancho Cielo executive chef Estevan Jimenez will receive the prestigious Chef of the Year award from the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Culinary Federation at its annual gala in May.

Jimenez—who formerly worked at Aqua Terra Culinary, Ventana Big Sur and the Monterey Bay Aquarium—was selected because of his professionalism and expertise, and for his dedication to community service—both in his work with at-risk youth at Rancho Cielo and within the chapter.

The talented chef attended the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu program and moved to Monterey shortly afterwards as a chef for Bon Appetit Management, which at that time handled the aquarium restaurants and events. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in 2007 and then moved on to the position of … Read More

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Insights From GourmetFest 2019

March 19, 2019 – At the Ment’or Cooking Demo on a brilliant Saturday morning at Gourmet Fest, organizer David Fink introduced chef Walter Manzke of République in LA as having been his original chef at Bouchée in Carmel. Fink then purchased the L’Auberge property, where Walter became the first executive chef.  The dish Manzke prepared for us was beef short ribs, something David said he ate three times a week while he owned Bouchée. Manzke mentioned the Meatery in Seaside as a good source for meats.

Among the things we learned: reduce the red wine to remove all the alcohol before putting in with the meat, cook the mirepoix separately until all the vegetables are translucent—which can be like watching grass grow—and finally, before launching them into a 325 degree oven, … Read More

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Kick Off the Season with Soif’s New Spring Cocktails

March 19, 2019 – Spring begins this week. And now that we have an extra hour of daylight “saved” for the end of the day, how best to spend it? 

Few things fortify better than a 5pm cocktail and the creative team at Soif are debuting a few new libations this week that are truly dedicated to the season. The beloved downtown Santa Cruz restaurant is known for its local and seasonal fare and these new cocktails are similarly inspired. 

“We’re fortunate to have really great ingredients here, so we absolutely use everything in the kitchen,” says Soif bar manager Matt Barron. 

Like chef Tom McNary in the kitchen, Barron sees himself as an environmental steward. He carefully uses “leftover” trimmings from ingredients in the kitchen’s dishes—this week, everything from … Read More

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Beer Mule Opens at The Hangar

March 12, 2019 – The first of several food and drink businesses has opened in The Hangar complex across the street from Watsonville Airport. The Beer Mule, operated by the same folks behind the Beer Thirty in Soquel, is now pouring a selection of local craft beers from 40 taps and serving a menu of light lunch and dinner items. Children and dogs are welcome in an outdoor beer garden and the whole operation is open daily from 11am to 10 or 11pm.

The refurbished WWII-era aircraft hangar—surrounded by four shipping containers, picnic tables and fire pits—aims to become a new hot spot in Watsonville.

“There has been a tremendous response in just the first two days, we are so excited to finally begin seeing our dream become reality,” … Read More

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Sangria Wine and Tapas Bar Serves Up Wine Your Way

March 12, 2019 – As we announced last week, Sangria Wine and Tapas Bar is now open at 5 Del Fino Place, next to Trailside Café at the west end of Carmel Valley Village. Owned by Robert and Colleen Mann, she of Jamaica, and he of the Central Valley, Sangria is making its mark by giving wine drinkers a choice of how they want their wine dispensed. 

Says Robert, “Sangria offers three different ways for fulfilling a customer’s wish for wine: traditional pours by the glass from bottles, glasses poured from our premium keg wines and ‘self-service’ from our 12-bottle Napa Tech wine station.  The customer purchases a debit card and simply inserts it into the machine slot, pushes a button for a taste, half glass, or full glass.  The … Read More

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