See what's going on March 8-15 in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties.


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Newsletter editor:
Deborah Luhrman

Header photo taken at Gusto, Seaside by Patrick Tregenza

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Off to Bali!
The Monterey Bay area is hard to beat, but we can't help feeling a twinge of envy for Jacob Burrell, the popular chef at Big Sur Bakery, who moved away to Bali last week with his wife Fiona and their young child. Burrell—who previously worked in the kitchens of Sierra Mar and Manresa—accepted an offer with the Potato Head Beach Club in Kuta, Bali that he wrote on Facebook he "couldn't afford to turn down." Matt Millea will be interim chef at BSB, while a search goes on for Burrell's replacement.

East End Gastropub opens tomorrow
The second restaurant for chef Geoffrey Hargrave and partner Quinn Cormier opens Wednesday in Capitola. Owners of the always bustling West End Tap are calling its new sibling East End Gastropub. It will offer the same style of American comfort food, but Hargrave has used his creativity to come up with a completely different menu that takes things up a notch with entrées like honey-cured pork belly and handmade rye pappardelle. "I'm really proud of what's happening here and the way things look," says Hargrave. Read more and see full menu here.

Four more openings...
Honestly, we've never seen a week with so many restaurant openings in the Monterey Bay area. Lafayette Kitchen & Café just started serving scrumptious breakfasts and lunches from 7am-2pm daily on Dolores St. in Carmel. It's a collaboration between Isabel and Jean Bernard Vial—who own Lafayette Bakery at the Barnyard—and Ben Khader of Yafa Mediterranean Restaurant. Read our preview here. The long-awaited River Road Grill in Salinas is now serving lunch and dinner Wed-Mon, bringing much-needed sustenance to revelers on the River Road Wine Trail. In Hollister, local-foods caterer Mike Fisher has realized his dream and opened Fisher's Delicatessen on San Benito St. serving lunch and dinner from 11am-8pm. And last night in Carmel Valley, Wills Fargo re-opened under the direction of new chef Greg Karjala. Read our preview here.

Searching for chefs & food concepts
The search is on for entrepreneurial chefs and innovative food concepts to be part of the new Abbott Square market hall opening in downtown Santa Cruz later this year. Developer John McEnery is looking for creative local food artists to lease five spaces inside the hall, which is located between the Octagon building and the Museum of Art & History. "I want each and every one to be a quality business that can have a symbiotic effect on the whole project," he said.  Read more...
RSVP for chance to win
Just a few days left until our awesome spring issue release parties in Santa Cruz and Monterey. RSVP for these free events and you'll be automatically entered to win door prizes. On Thursday, March 10 from 5-7pm EMB and friends are taking over Rosie McCann's in downtown Santa Cruz. There will be plenty of appetizers, a cash bar and complimentary copies of the magazine. Click here to RSVP for Santa Cruz. For our readers on the peninsula, we're celebrating at the Wharf Marketplace on Friday, March 11 from 5-7pm, with complimentary one-bite wonders from the chef, and local beer and wine for sale. Click here to RSVP for Monterey party.

National Paella Day
Wed, March 9 | Zeph's One Stop,  1366 S. Main St. Salinas | 5:30-6:30pm. $10.
Mundaka chef Brandon Miller is teaming up with Twisted Roots winery to offer a paella making demonstration and tasting on Wednesday at Zeph's One Stop in Salinas. Try a sample and learn how to make this classic Spanish dish, while enjoying tastes of Twisted Root's Chardonnay, Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Old Vine Zinfandel.

Discretion's 3rd anniversary
Sat, March 12 | 2703 41st Ave. Soquel | 11:30am-9pm.
Hard to believe it's been three years already since Discretion Brewing opened its doors. Help celebrate at the brewery all day Saturday with the release of a special 2016 Anniversary Ale made with Rakau and Cascade hops from New Zealand. There will be live music by Bleu from 2-4pm and a secret stash of brewer's reserve beers on tap.

Tabitha in Bar Takeover
Sat, March 5 | Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz | 5:30pm.
To celebrate Tabitha Stroup's birthday she was planning to take over the bar at Food Lounge last weekend, but torrential rains intervened. So the fun-loving jam-maker—known for her exotic taste combinations— will be trying again this Saturday, mixing up cocktails based on her existing Friend in Cheeses Jam Co jams and wild new flavors. Food by Tanglewood will be available from the kitchen.

Aubergine's Abalone Terroir
Tues, March 15 | Monte Verde & 7th | $110.
Come experience the award-winning cuisine of chef Jason Cogley as he prepares a four-course feast using one of his favorite local ingredients, abalone. The dinner is part of Aubergine's popular monthly Terroir Dinner series, which often focus on international cuisine. Wine pairings are

more food and wine events...

Wednesday, March 9

Wine Down Wednesday with La Cana/Zerran  Tarpy's Roadhouse, 2999 Monterey-Salinas Hwy, Monterey | 5-7pm. Free.

Winemaker Wednesday with Odonata  Shadowbrook, 1750 Wharf Rd. Capitola | 5-8pm. Free.

National Paella Day with Chef Brandon Miller and Twisted Roots Wine  Zeph's One Stop, 1366 S. Main St. Salinas | 5:30-6:30pm. $10.

Entertaining with Friends - Duck, Duck, Goose  Stone Creek Kitchen, 465 Canyon del Rey, Monterey | 6:30-9pm. $75.

Meeting on Ballot Initiative to Ban Fracking in Monterey County  Museum of Natural History, Pacific Grove | 7pm.

Thursday, March 10

Taste It Thursday with Silvestri Vineyards  Wharf Marketplace, 290 Figueroa St. Monterey | 4:30-6:30pm. Free.

EMB's Spring Issue Release Party  Rosie McCann's, 1220 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz | 5-7pm. Free.

Friday, March 11
Ian Brand Rosé and Albariño Release  Trió, Dolores btw Ocean & 7th, Carmel | 11am-6pm Fri-Sun,

Artisan Food Market  Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz | 4-8pm.

EMB's Spring Issue Release Party  Wharf Marketplace, 290 Figueroa St. Monterey | 5-7pm. Free.

Saturday, March 12

Greenhouse Skills, Starting Plants from Seed  UCSC Farm, Santa Cruz | 9:30am-3:30pm. $125.

Intro to Homebrewing Class  Seven Bridges Cooperative, 325A River St. Santa Cruz | 11am-3pm. $50.

Second Saturday on the Farm  Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Watsonville | 11am-3pm. Free.

3rd Anniversary Party  Discretion Brewing, 2703 41st Ave. Soquel | 11:30am-9pm.

Growing Root Crops  Love Apple Farm, 2317 Vine Hill Rd. Santa Cruz | Noon-4pm. $59.

Bar TAKEOVER with guest bartender Tabitha Stroup  Food Lounge, 1001 Center St. Santa Cruz | 5:30pm.

Pac Rep's Bohemian Revel  Quail Lodge, Carmel | 6pm. $200.

Sunday, March 13

Food Truck Brunch with Food Trucks a Go Go  Skypark, Scotts Valley | 11am-1:30pm.

Fruit Trees Sijmplified  Love Apple Farm, 2317 Vine Hill Rd. Santa Cruz | Noon-4pm. $59.

St. Patrick's Celebration and Release of "A Proper Pink"  Boony Doon Vineyards Tasting Room, 450 Highway 1, Davenport | 1-4pm. Free tastes.

Monday, March 14
Homemade Gluten-Free Pie Workshop  New Leaf Market, 1101 Fair Ave. Santa Cruz | 6:30-8pm. $35 or $60/two.
Tuesday, March 15

Sourdough Breakmaking  Quail Hollow Kitchens, 235 Crown Dr. Ben Lomond | 1-4pm. $65.

Cheese and Dairy Ferments  Happy Girl Kitchen, 173 Central Ave. Pacific Grove | 5-8pm. $95.

Terroir Dinner: The Story of Abalone  Aubergine, Monte Verde & 7th, Carmel | $110.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Local strawberries are beginning to make an appearance at the markets, so here's a sweet idea of what to do with them from our friends at New Leaf Community Markets.

They are into food more than mathematics, but to celebrate National Pi Day on Monday, March 14, the westside New Leaf is holding a pie making class with nutrition consultant Madia Jamgochian, who will teach participants how to make gluten-free seasonal pies from scratch, including lemon meringue, strawberry cream and apple marzipan. Find out more and register here.


8 oz. cultured cream cheese
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 cups fresh, organic strawberries
¼ cup organic cornstarch or tapioca starch
¾ cup unrefined cane sugar
1 -9” baked pie shell


In a food processor, or with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and lemon juice until it has a soft, frosting-like consistency. Spread into the bottom of a 9” baked pie shell.

Pick out the largest berries of the bunch, remove tops, and press into the cream cheese bottom. Dice up remaining strawberries, and add to a medium sauce pan.

Cook berries over medium heat, adding sugar and cornstarch (combine dry ingredients together first, or it will clump). Stir with a wooden spoon until strawberry mixture becomes thick and clear in color.
Pour hot strawberry filling into your prepared cream cheese pie shell. Chill in refrigerator until set, at least 2-3 hours.


Cantinetta Luca: A Little Piece of Italy in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Cantinetta Luca bustles with culinary activity. The passion of executive chef and partner Jason Balestrieri’s passion is apparent in every detail. All of the pasta, bread, sauces, dressings and marinades at Cantinetta Luca are made in-house everyday using authentic, imported Italian goods and fresh, locally-sourced produce.

Growing up in the Midwest, Balestrieri was immersed in his family’s Italian culinary traditions. After receiving his Culinary Arts degree from the Milwaukee Area Technical College, he moved from a neighborhood café to a reputable hotel where he trained as line cook and pantry cook. In 1993, Balestrieri relocated to southern California to work at Pinot Bistro under chef and founder Joachim Splichal and executive chef Octavio Beccara. He advanced through the ranks at Twin Palms in Pasadena, under chef and owner Michael Roberts, before landing as executive chef at the Twin Palms in Valencia.

Through his association with Splichal, Balestrieri moved through the kitchens of Patina, Café Pinot, and Pinot Hollywood before taking complete responsibility for all kitchen operations at the 250-seat Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse. During his time with Splichal, Balestrieri met David Fink, Splichal’s close friend and owner of Cantinetta Luca and L’Auberge Carmel. In 2006 Fink hired him as executive chef at Cantinetta Luca. Two years later, Balestrieri became a partner in the restaurant.  Read more...


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