Tag Archives: Monterey restaurants

Mother’s Day restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz & Monterey: Shadowbrook, Chaminade, Portola & more

Shadowbrook is open during the day on Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy of Shadowbrook.

Dining out on Mother’s Day is extremely popular, so if you haven’t made reservations yet, better hurry: here are a few restaurant highlights for Santa Cruz County and Monterey. I’ll publish more in the next few days.

Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos

Shadowbrook

It’s very rare for Shadowbrook to be open during the day, but it’s happening on Mother’s Day. The restaurant is serving a dinner menu all day (11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) in its main dining room. Mother’s Day specials are slow-roasted leg of spring lamb (porcini mushroom-crusted with organic baby carrots, wild rice ‘pilaf’ and Cabernet jus, $28.95) and sweet-glazed ham (lightly smoked with Gouda potato gratin, grilled asparagus, apple-mustard and ham hock jus, $24.95). Many other dishes will be available like New England clam chowder; signature salad which includes baby spinach, candied pecans, and bacon-wrapped prawns; and house specialty Angus prime rib. See full menu here.

Many of the large party tables (7 people and up) have been booked, but as of press time there were a couple cancellations for the private room, at 11:15 and 5:15—this holds 12-16 people. For smaller parties (tables of four, for example) they are booked from 11 a.m. to 2:30, but there are reservation openings after that scattered throughout the afternoon and evening. Call 831-475-1511 for reservations. In addition, the Rock Room Bar & Lounge is open beginning at 10:30 a.m. for bar service and 11 for food, and might stay open as late as 10 p.m., but there are no reservations accepted for that area. It’s first-come, first-served. The regular dinner menu will be available at the rooftop heated bar/lounge deck. The regular Rock Room menu will be available in the lounge and on the deck. Because of Shadowbrook’s popularity—especially on Mother’s Day—many people choose to buy restaurant gift cards for Mother’s Day and give these as gifts, to be used at a later date.

1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola

 

Chaminade

The Chaminade offers its annual Mother’s Day buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13. Cost is $66.95 for adults, $18.95 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6. Selections include Belgian waffles; an omelet bar; mini quiches; gourmet salads; a seafood bar with teriyaki salmon, Dungeness crab legs and more; roast prime rib with au jus; bourbon glazed honey ham; and ravioli with porcini cream, fried leeks and wild mushrooms. Kids’ dishes are chicken strips and fries; mac & cheese; and mini pancakes. See full menu. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit  opentable.com for reservations.

One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

Sanderlings

Sanderlings at Seascape Resort has a brunch buffet from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm; the price is $56.95 for adults and $21.95 for kids. This year’s selections include a prime rib carving station; a seafood bar; a salad assortment (includes roasted beet with radicchio, apple, pickled apple; and Cobb; fresh fruit; and freshly baked croissants and muffins. Other highlights include potato cakes; smoked bacon and chicken apple sausage; and a kids’ menu with chicken tenders, hot dogs and more. Call (831) 662-7120 or visit opentable.com for reservations.

One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos 

Hollins House

Hollins House at Pasatiempo has a brunch buffet from 10 am to 2 pm; the price is $75 for adults (includes a glass of champagne). The menu will include made-to-order omelets featuring choices such as smoked salmon and green garlic chives; Yukon gold potato hash; Applewood smoked bacon and breakfast sausage; a carving station with items such as Pitt ham with honey mustard and Hollandaise; artichoke quiche; and a few salads (including Caesar, and build-your-own-Cobb). Other highlights include a croissant and bagel station, cupcakes and bread pudding with salty whiskey caramel. See full menu here. Call (831) 216-5358 or visit opentable.com for reservations.

20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Monterey

Portola Hotel & Spa

Portola Hotel & Spa is hosting Mother’s Day brunch at its De Anza Ballroom. There will be live piano music, and each mother receives a complimentary Mimosa. The buffet is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 831-649-7874 for reservations. Cost is $54.95 for adults, $41.95 for seniors 65 and up, and $24.95 for kids. The menu includes ham-gruyere frittata, sweet & savory crepes, California cheeses & cured meats with crusty bread & crackers, wild King salmon, and prime rib.  The kids’ menu includes macaroni & cheese and grilled chicken fingers with Ranch. See full menu.

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey

 

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Valentine’s Day dining in Santa Cruz & Monterey Counties, Part 2 of 2

Valentine's dessert trio at Michael's on Main: passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon & French vanilla bean macaroon. Photo credit: Michael's on Main

Valentine’s dessert trio at Michael’s on Main: passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon & French vanilla bean macaroon. Photo credit: Michael’s on Main

Valentine’s Day is two days away; have you made your plans? Here are details on a few options in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. If you missed yesterday’s post, here is a link.

Santa Cruz County

Food Lounge

The Santa Cruz Food Lounge (1001 Center St., Santa Cruz) has a couple options on Valentine’s Day. People can sit at the bar and have a chocolate tasting accompanied by a drink or two, or they can pick a spot in the dining room or lounge and order food from Tanglewood. Chef Rachel of Tanglewood will be creating selections including carrot ginger soup topped with crema and cilantro oil; and dinners with choice of pork tenderloin or grilled portabella mushroom plus lemon white wine sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Roasted veggies accompany the tenderloin, and arugula in balsamic vinaigrette accompanies the portabella. No reservations are required (or allowed); and everyone is welcome including families, singles, etc. Hours are 4 to 8 p.m.

 

Johnny’s Harborside

Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz) is offering a four-course Valentine’s prix menu. Cost is $60 per person. Starter choices include raw abalone nigiri with honey miso glaze and seaweed salad; second courses include Dungeness crab bisque and salad with strawberries, candied walnuts, Gorgonzola and balsamic. Four entrée selections include prosciutto-wrapped halibut or Surf and Turf with 4 oz. filet mignon and half lobster tail. Desserts include strawberry shortcake or lemon tart. Call (831) 479-3430 for reservations.

 

Michael’s on Main

Michael’s on Main (2591 Main St., Soquel) began offering its Valentine’s prix menu Friday, Feb. 10 and it lasts until Tuesday. Cost is $35 for three courses. Appetizers include ahi tuna poke cups with wasabi cream; four entrée selections include cold water lobster tail with forbidden black rice, veggies and pink peppercorn beurre blanc or petit NY steak (8 oz.) with garlic mashed potatoes, Béarnaise and veggies. Everyone receives a dessert trio (see photo above) with passion fruit mousse shooter, strawberry-filled chocolate bon bon and French vanilla bean macaroon. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations.

 

Assembly

Assembly (1108 Pacific, Santa Cruz) is offering a three-course Valentine’s prix menu for $55 per person; a few optional supplements are extra such as Kusshi oysters ($3/$15/$24 single/1/2 dozen/dozen). Starter choices include roasted quail with wild mushrooms, pinot soaked figs and herbed couscous. Four entrée selections include grass-fed Manhattan filet with creamed nettles and truffled Yukons and arugula almond pesto or sand dab Meuniere with caper brown butter sauce and roasted cauliflower rice. Desserts include sorbet trio from Penny Ice Creamery or dark chocolate pave with candied kumquats and salted butter ice cream. Call (831) 824-6100 for reservations.

 

Hindquarter Bar & Grille

Hindquarter Bar & Grille (303 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz) will have Valentine’s specials like Rack of Lamb, Prime Rib and seasonal seafood from 5-9:30 p.m. The restaurant will also serve its regular menu. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

 

Ideal Bar & Grill (106 Beach St. at the Santa Cruz Wharf), The Point Chophouse & Lounge (3326 Portola Dr., Santa Cruz), Café Cruz (2621 41st Ave., Soquel) and Severino’s Bar & Grill (7500 Old Dominion Ct., Aptos) are all serving Valentine’s Day specials.

 

MONTEREY COUNTY

 

California Market at Pacific’s Edge

California Market at Pacific’s Edge at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands (120 Highlands Drive, Carmel) is serving a Valentine’s prix fixe dinner. The four-course Valentine’s dinner is $125 per person and reservations are required at 831-622-5445. First course choices include ahi tuna tiradito with fennel-cucumber salsa. Entrees include Colorado rack of lamb with piquillo peppers and chimichurri or wild mushroom risotto with winter truffle and Parmesan cheese crisps.

 

Steinbeck House

The historic Steinbeck House (132 Central Ave., Salinas) is serving a Valentine’s Day dinner. The meal includes one glass of wine, cheese tortellini soup, Caesar salad, entrée (choice of Porterhouse steak or filo-baked salmon) and dessert. Call 831-424-2735 for reservations; seatings are available from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Cost is $60 per person inclusive.

 

Jacks Restaurant at Portola Hotel and Spa

Jacks Restaurant (Two Portola Plaza, Monterey) is serving a prix fixe menu 5 to 10 p.m. on Valentines Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14. The four-course meal is $64.95 plus tax and gratuity; call 831-649-7874 for reservations. The meal starts with an amuse bouche of Hog Island oysters and caviar. First course options include lobster bisque with brioche croutons, Pernod and orange oil. Entrée choices include filet mignon and sweet breads with potato puree, local porcinis and Périgord truffles or wild King salmon with Dungeness crab gratin, haricot verts and Meyer lemon sauce. Dessert is passion fruit soufflé for two with macadamia nut and crème anglaise, plus a box of chocolate strawberries to go. Also, the hotel is offering a romance package until March 31. This includes accommodations, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot delivered to your room, breakfast for two at Jacks and more.

 

TusCA Ristorante at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa

TusCA (1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey) is serving a special menu designed for two, from 5:30-9 p.m. Cost is $80 for two people. For reservations call 831-657-6675. Customers can choose an appetizer and dessert to share, and each person receives an entrée and a glass of sparkling wine.

 

Tarpy’s Roadhouse

Tarpy’s (2999 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey) is doing a couple promotions for Valentine’s Day. Customers will receive fifty percent off all “bubbles by the glass” plus full and half bottles. Also, the restaurant will feature a special appetizer of seared diver scallops with lobster-parsnip puree and artichoke-corn succotash. Call 831-647-1444 for reservations.

 

Gordon’s Café and Catering

Gordon’s (343 Main St., Salinas) is doing a take-out promotion. If you order dinner to go for two people, the restaurant will include a special complimentary appetizer created just for Valentine’s Day. Call 831-422-4133 for more information.

 

Sardine Factory

Sardine Factory (701 Wave St., Monterey) is serving a prix fixe menu from 5 to 10 p.m. The four-course meal is $75 per person. A limited a la carte menu and Valentine’s drink specials will also be available. The meal begins with Dungeness crab bisque with sherry, cognac and crème fraiche, followed by a salad with greens, roasted strawberries, toasted pecans, feta cheese and cocoa balsamic dressing. Entrée choices include filet mignon and foie gras or King salmon with truffled gnocchi and artichokes. Dessert choices include chocolate pot au crème with spun sugar, Chantilly crème and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Reservations are required at 831-373-3775.

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Valentine’s Day dining in Santa Cruz & Monterey counties, Part 1 of 2

Hanloh Thai offerings at a Food Lounge pop-up on Feb. 10. Photo credit: Hanloh

Hanloh Thai offerings at a Food Lounge pop-up on Feb. 10. Photo credit: Hanloh

Valentine’s Day 2017 is only three days away. Here are details on a few Santa Cruz and Monterey County dining options; I’ll publish more tomorrow.

 

Santa Cruz

Midtown Café featuring Hanloh Popup

Midtown Café (1121 Soquel Ave.) is hosting a popup dinner with Hanloh Thai from 5:30-9 p.m. A la carte dishes for sale will include a lettuce wrap, two types of curry (chicken Masaman with tamarind, cinnamon, cardamom, lemongrass and more; vegan sour orange curry with mushrooms and other veggies), and black sticky rice pudding and coconut custard for dessert. Prices will be $3-12. There will be local craft beer and wine available.

 

The Chaminade

The Chaminade (One Chaminade Lane) will serve a three-course dinner on Valentine’s Day from 5-9 p.m.; the price is $65 exclusive of tax and gratuity. Three first course options include lobster bisque or braised pork belly with fennel jam. Four entrée selections include Osso Bucco or pan-seared Arctic char with lemon couscous salad, candied ginger crème, and roasted cauliflower. Desserts include champagne crème brulee with roasted strawberries. Call (831) 475-5600 for reservations.

 

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting (1411 Pacific Ave.) is doing a “Sweetheart Dessert” fundraiser to benefit Planned Parenthood. The dessert buffet with wine and champagne is from 6-9 p.m.; the price is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Call (831) 466-0373 for more info.

 

Pour Taproom

Pour Taproom (110 Cooper St., enter on Pacific) is offering a three-course menu on Valentine’s Day that includes vegan and GF options. There will also be beer and wine pairings. Reservations are recommended for table seating. Call (831) 535-7007 for reservations. The venue is also hosting a Makers’ Market this Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. that will include gift ideas for Valentine’s Day. Vendors will include Ashby Confections, Turquoise Blue Jewelry, and My Mom’s Mole.

Your Place

Your Place (1719 Mission St.) is offering its Valentine’s prix menu all month long. Cost is $25 for three courses. Appetizer choices include crab cake; five entrée selections include rib eye steak and 4 oz. lobster or meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Desserts include chocolate ganache cake or Meyer lemon tart. Call (831) 426-3564 for reservations.

 

MONTEREY COUNTY

 

Estéban

Estéban at Casa Munras (700 Munras Ave., Monterey) is serving a prix fixe dinner on Valentine’s Day, with seatings available from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The five-course dinner costs $100 for two people; wine pairing is $35 extra per person. Featured selections include Kusshi oysters with cucumber mignonette; butternut squash and lobster soup with jumbo prawns and scallops; and duck and foie gras terrine. Wines include Madeleine’s 2012 L’Arsouille Pinot Blanc. A limited a la carte menu will also be available. Make reservations at 831-324-6773.

Il Vecchio

Il Vecchio (110 Central Ave., Pacific Grove) is serving a Valentine’s four-course dinner for $46. First course is a choice between two salads including Sicilian oranges, artisan greens and garlic dressing. Second course choices include house-made ricotta and spinach ravioli or house-made fettucine with sausage and mushrooms. Entrée highlights include tri-tip simmered in Chianti with pearl onions or Saltimbocca Romana. Dessert choices include limoncello sorbet with preserved amarena cherries. Make reservations at 831-324-4282.

 

Edgar’s

Edgar’s at Quail Lodge and Golf Club (8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel) is serving a prix fixe dinner on Valentine’s Day, with seatings from 5 to 9 p.m. The three-course dinner features appetizer choices including diver sea scallops or Dungeness crab salad. Entrée selections include sea bass with potato rosti and tarragon butter sauce and desserts include molten chocolate cake with raspberry coulis. Cost is $69 per person. Reservations are recommended at 831-620-8910.

 

Bistro Moulin

Bistro Moulin (867 Wave St., Monterey) is serving a prix fixe menu beginning at 5 p.m. The three-course meal is $55 per person; wine pairings cost extra. The regular dinner menu will not be available. The meal begins with choices such as lobster bisque with crème fraiche and chives with optional pairing of Sheldon’s grenache blanc; or truffle gnocchi with optional chardonnay from Figge. Entrée choices include filet mignon with cognac, peppercorn demi-glace and pommes frites. Dessert selections include crème brûlée and lemon meringue tartlett. Make reservations at 831-333-1200.

 

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Bay Area Father’s Day restaurants, Part 1–includes SF & Monterey area

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in San Francisco, Ca.  January 14, 2016. (Photo copyright Nader Khouri 2016)

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in San Francisco, Ca. January 14, 2016. (Photo copyright Nader Khouri 2016)

Father’s Day 2016 is just a few days away. If you have a foodie in your life that’s a dad, it’s time to make plans! Here are details on a few Bay Area restaurants; I’ll publish more later today or tomorrow — including at least a couple options in Santa Cruz.

MONTEREY
The C

While the C at InterContinental The Clement Monterey (750 Cannery Row) doesn’t have any “specific Father’s Day specials,” a restaurant spokesperson emphasized they are the “place to be” in Monterey for Father’s Day Eve, or day of, and provided me with details. “First, the Build Your Bloody Mary option. Dad can craft his own manly version of one of the legendary drinks with the help of our generous bartenders! And if you have laid eyes on the pork chop we serve at the C, you know that it is also fit for a man’s world. If breakfast is the meal, our sensational new menu additions will make any man smile. Steak and eggs with chilaquiles or chiles rellenos filled with corned beef — Delicioso! Sabroso! Factor in the sights and sounds of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the combination makes Dad’s Perfect Day!” For reservations or more info, contact 831-375-4800 or see web site for more information.

CARMEL VALLEY
Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch (1 Old Ranch Road) is dishing up a bourbon and BBQ event featuring a pig roast on Father’s Day. It starts with a 3 p.m. cocktail reception and bourbon tasting with Diageo Master of Whiskey Todd Richman. This will include rare varieties like Barterhouse 20-yr Kentucky bourbon plus Crown Royale “Northern harvest” rye whiskey. Barbecue will be served at 4 p.m. Selections created by executive chef Tim Wood will include whole-roasted California Kurobota pig, Kobe tri-tip and grilled summer corn. It’s $75 for bourbon and BBQ or $55 for designated drivers. Call 831-626-2599 for reservations or visit the web site for more information.

PEBBLE BEACH
Poppy Hills Golf Course

There will be lots of food trucks and beer at the second annual Father’s Day Poppy Hills blues festival, 12:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19 at the golf course (3200 Lopez Rd.). Attendees can purchase selections from the Choke Coach, Wood-Fired Catering, Kuki’s, Sideway Street Catering and El Grullense Authentic Mexican Food. Drinks include a Mad Otter beer garden and a Ketel One courtyard. Tickets, which cost $25 or $15 for kids 15 and under, do not include refreshments. Kids’ activities include bounce houses, a rock climbing wall and face painting. Proceeds support the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Monterey County High School All-Star Band. For tickets call 831-622-8239 or visit the web site. Guests are allowed to bring blankets and lawn chairs to the event. Performers include the Chris Cain Band featuring Dan Castro, Tammi Brown and the Al James Band.

SAN FRANCISCO
Roka Akor

Treat dad to a decadent dinner at Roka Akor (801 Montgomery St.) on Sunday, June 19 and enjoy Executive Chef Roman Petry’s three-course tasting menu. From 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m., fathers can indulge in delicious robatayaki dishes such as Wagyu Filet Tartare with almond black truffle aioli, truffle caviar and quail egg; Madagascar Tiger Prawn with yuzu koshu chili and lemon; Prime Dry Aged Rib Eye with wafu dressing; and Yuzu Custard Doughnuts with strawberry sorbet.  The special tasting menu is priced at $75/person for a minimum of two people. The regular dinner menu will also be available. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made at 415-362-8887 or OpenTable .

Presidio Social Club
Join Presidio Social Club in celebrating Father’s Day with the 10th annual debut of the restaurant’s Sunday Pig Roast series. Beginning on Father’s Day and running every Sunday through mid-October, the restaurant will be serving a savory three-course dinner for $45/person including a fresh Butter Lettuce Salad, a main course of Roast Pig with Crispy Skin, and Pastry Chef Rene Cruz’s famous Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Executive Chef Wes Shaw will be roasting whole pigs in a Caja China adjacent to the restaurant’s coveted covered patio. $10 Mai Tai specials will also be available on Father’s Day. For reservations, call 415-885-1888.

La Mar
Celebrate Father’s Day on the waterfront at La Mar Cebichería Peruana. To commemorate dads, La Mar will offer $1 Chilcanos all day for every cebiche purchased. A staple in Peru, the Chilcano features pisco, ginger beer, and bitters. Reservations are recommended and can be made by visiting the restaurant’s web site  or calling 415-397-8880.

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Bay Area restaurants for Mother’s Day: Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and more

A dish at Restaurant 1833 in February: corned beef meatballs with potato dumplings, fermented butternut squash, red cabbage, pickled mustard seed, and caramelized whey. Mother’s day is a rare exception to Restaurant 1833’s dinner-only hours

A dish at Restaurant 1833 in February: corned beef meatballs with potato dumplings, fermented butternut squash, red cabbage, pickled mustard seed, and caramelized whey. Mother’s day is a rare exception to Restaurant 1833’s dinner-only hours

It’s Mother’s Day, one of the busiest restaurant days of the year — here are some Bay Area restaurant highlights, with several in the Monterey and Carmel areas.

Monterey

Restaurant 1833
At celebrated Restaurant 1833 in Monterey’s historic Stokes Adobe House, the usually-dinner-only venue will open its doors for a special brunch from 10am-3pm. Under the direction of Executive Chef Jason Franey, an à la carte brunch menu will be offered alongside $18.33 Bottomless Mimosas. Celebrated Pastry Chef Ben Spungin will also offer special Orange Sherbet, Raspberry Sorbet, Strawberry Sorbet, and Peach Sorbet Mimosas at $15 each. Moms can enjoy the unique brunch offerings such as spinach-ricotta-caramelized onion quiche, cornmeal waffles with bourbon maple whipped cream, crispy artichokes with cannelloni bean deap, the signature 1833 burger, and sides such as latkes or Brussels sprouts. Kids’ selections include grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken tenders. Reservations can be made through OpenTable or at 831-643-1833.
500 Hartnell St.

The C
The C at Intercontinental The Clement Monterey is hosting two events on Sunday, May 8: a “classic breakfast buffet” from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and a “sumptuous brunch buffet” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both events will feature cuisine from chef Matt Bolton and sous chef Michelle Lee. The breakfast buffet cost is $34 for adults and $17 for kids ages 5-12. A limited a la carte breakfast menu will also be available until 10:30 a.m. For brunch, cost is $64 for adults (includes one glass of sparkling wine) and $24 for kids ages 5-12. There will be live music during brunch, and all mothers will receive a red rose. Brunch selections will include Maine lobster eggs benedict, wild mushroom soup with bacon, Swank Farms grilled asparagus salad, free range chicken with goat cheese polenta and smoked tomato coulis and a carving station with roasted tenderloin and honey roasted ham. Desserts will include strawberries and cream cupcakes and chocolate cake pops. Reservations are required at 831-375-4800. See web site for more information.
750 Cannery Row

TusCA Ristorante
TusCA at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is featuring a Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $60 for adults (includes sparkling wine and mimosas) and $20 for kids 5 and older. Reservations are required at 831-657-6675. Brunch selections will include omelet and carving stations (includes all-natural prime rib), Alaskan king crab legs, grilled asparagus and artichokes and several salads and a cheese assortment. Desserts include chocolate-dipped strawberries and cream puffs. Visit the web site for more information.
1 Old Golf Course Road

Montrio Bistro
For Mother’s Day, Montrio Bistro is expanding half-price wine night to include all champagne and sparkling wine including half bottles and by-the-glass selections. Moms who dine that night will also receive a complimentary small-bite dessert. Reservations are recommended at 831-648-8880.
414 Calle Principal

Estéban
Estéban at Monterey hotel Casa Munras is expanding its traditional breakfast hours on Sunday, May 8, and will serve from 7 a.m. to noon. Chef Tom Snyder’s specials will include house cured salmon benedict with cream cheese biscuit and dill hollandaise and Wayne’s almond and bacon crusted French toast with honey dark rum butter and Vermont maple syrup. Drink specials will include blackberry Bellinis made with fresh fruit. Reservations are recommended at 831-324-6773.
700 Munras Ave.

Sardine Factory
The restaurant  is serving a three-course $39 prix fixe menu, with seatings from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m and 4 to 8 p.m., plus a selection of specialties from the regular menu. For the prix fixe, guests receive a choice of starter (selections include Maine lobster or Castroville artichoke bisque) and entrees (such as filet mignon brochettes or house-made Maine lobster ravioli). Call 831-373-3775 for reservations.
701 Wave St.

Pebble Beach
Porter’s in the Forest

The restaurant at Poppy Hills Golf Course is serving a few Mother’s Day brunch specials. These will be available until 3 p.m. and include blueberry and ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and eggs benedict with smoked salmon, avocado, caviar, and kale. For reservations call 831-622-8240. Visit the web site for more information.
3200 Lopez Rd.

Carmel
Aubergine
Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel is hosting brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Executive chef Justin Cogley and executive pastry chef Ron Mendoza will prepare a special menu. Cost is $110. Reservations are required at 831-624-8578.
Monte Verde Street at Seventh Avenue

Carmel Valley
Pacific’s Edge

Pacific’s Edge at Hyatt Carmel Highlands is hosting a brunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Selections include an omelet station, maple glazed bacon, basil ricotta ravioli with yellow tomato coulee and crispy opal basil, California sea bass, slow roasted grass-fed prime rib salads. Desserts will include warm crepes, strawberry shortcakes and chocolate peanut crunch bars. Cost is $79 for adults and $39 for kids 12 and under. Items will also be available a la carte. Reservations are required at 831-622-5445.
120 Highlands Drive.

Pacific Grove
Fandango

Fandango is offering a prix fixe brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $39.75 for adults and $18.75 for kids 12 and under. The menu includes Caesar salad; entrée choices such as shrimp scampi spaghetti or leg of lamb Provencal with Pinot Noir demi-glace sauce; and very berry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles filled with cappuccino ice cream. Call 831-372-3456 for reservations.
223 17th St.

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Valentine’s Day dinner and hotel/spa discounts at Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

Jacks Restaurant is offering Valentine’s Day dinner for tw

If you’re looking for a getaway for Valentine’s Day, the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey has packages available—and they’re good all the way through March—or you can just choose to dine there for a romantic and delicious dinner. Here are highlights of their offerings.

Valentine’s Dinner at Jacks Restaurant
For Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, Jacks Restaurant’s executive chef Jason Giles is serving a four-course dinner for two for $99. The meal includes a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for each person. Reservations are required at 831-649-7874.

  • First course: smoked serrano & chicken boudine with lemon spätzle chimichurri sauce and a micro green salad
  • Second course: choice of butter lettuce salad with roasted beets, candied pecans, glacier bleu cheese, and a port vinaigrette or lobster bisque with brioche croutons and crème fraîche
  • Third course: choice of petite filet mignon with grilled rosemary gulf prawns served over parmesan-whipped potatoes and asparagus; sesame and black pepper crusted ahi tuna served over cashew rice with a broccolini sauté; mesquite roasted chicken breast served with a cherry & faro ragout, organic spinach topped with a sherry vinegar butter sauce; roasted beet ravioli chive and white wine sauce with shaved parmesan
  • Fourth course: white and dark chocolate mousse filled tulips with fresh raspberries and a vanilla crème anglaise

Romance for Two Package
Through March 31, the hotel is offering a special package starting at $199 that includes overnight accommodations for two, warm homemade chocolate chip cookies at check-in, a bottle of Piper-Sonoma sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and use of the 24-hour fitness center plus the pool, Jacuzzi, and poolside cabanas. Blackout dates apply.  For reservations or information call 888-222-5851.

Spa Packages
The hotel’s Spa on the Plaza is offering a couple of Valentine’s specials; see details below. For reservations call the spa at 831-647-9000.

  • Aromatherapy Massage with a Hydrating Facial & private tub, 110 minutes / $175 (valued at $245)
  • Symphony Massage with a Spa Pedicure, 1.5 hours / $159 (valued at $180)

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay location: 201 Alvarado Street, Monterey

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 11: Win $50 for Big Fish Grill in Monterey

Big Fish Grill serves fresh seafood on Monterey's Fisherman Wharf

Big Fish Grill serves fresh seafood on Monterey’s Fisherman Wharf

It’s Day 11 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $50 gift certificate for Big Fish Grill in Monterey. See end of article for how to enter.

Big Fish Grill will be closed on Christmas Day but open on Christmas Eve during traditional business hours (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.). They will be serving the full regular menu. For more information or reservations, call 831-372-7562. The restaurant is located at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, at the former site of Rappa’s Seafood Restaurant.

The same folks that operate Abalonetti, who you heard about through yesterday’s giveaway, run Big Fish Grill. Menu highlights include crab cakes, salmon cakes, garlic cheese bread, salads like BLT blue cheese or shrimp Louie, fish & chips, cioppino, housemade gnocchi, spaghetti and meatballs seafood linguini, prawns scampi, fresh Monterey abalone, roast boneless half chicken (Mary’s free-range organic), New York steak, and grilled seafood including Pacific rockfish.

For last minute gifts or future gifts, the restaurant offers gift cards you can purchase in person, as well as from the web site. When you purchase online you can instantly email, text or tweet the certificate to your gift recipient. These can be anywhere from $5-$250.
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CONTEST:
One person will win a $50 gift certificate to Big Fish Grill.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by 9 pm. Wed, Dec. 24 and include the words “Big Fish.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 10: Win $50 gift certificate to Abalonetti in Monterey

Abalonetti offers gift cards, good for holiday gifts or anytime

Abalonetti offers gift cards, good for holiday gifts or anytime

It’s Day 10 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a $50 gift certificate for Abalonetti in Monterey. See end of article for how to enter.

Abalonetti Bar & Grill will be closed on Christmas Day but open on Christmas Eve during traditional business hours (11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.). They will be serving the full regular menu. For more information or reservations, call 831-373-1851. The restaurant is located at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

Abalonetti has been open since 1951. They specialize in Monterey Bay calamari, offering several varieties. Since 1999, Monterey County Weekly readers have voted them as having “Best Calamari” 14 times! Other menu highlights include delicious antipasto, wood-roasted oysters with garlic-pesto butter, clam chowder (choice of cup, bowl, or sourdough bread bowl), sandwiches at lunchtime (like crab or a fresh abalone BLT), pasta, cioppino, fish & chips, and grilled seafood (salmon, swordfish, etc.). The antipasto is a treat: it features marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts, roasted whole garlic bulbs, marinated tender Monterey calamari, grilled eggplant, feta cheese, roasted bell peppers, garlic spinach, and olives. You can get a full ($17.95) or half ($12.95) order.

If you’re in need of a holiday gift idea, Abalonetti offers gift cards you can purchase in person, as well as from the web site. When you purchase online you can instantly email, text or tweet the certificate to your gift recipient. These can be anywhere from $5-$250.
****
CONTEST:
One person will win a $50 gift certificate to Abalonetti Bar & Grill.

To enter, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by 9 pm. Wed, Dec. 23 and include the word “Abalonetti.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email.

Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 6 & 7: Monterey Hyatt restaurant & bar certificates

An entrée at TusCA Ristorante

An entrée at TusCA Ristorante

For the weekend, we are combining Day Six and Seven of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” See end of article for how to win gift certificates to TusCA Ristorante and Knuckles Sports Bar at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. The Hyatt is located at 1 Old Golf Course Road.

TusCA Ristorante at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa offers a blend of Italian and California cuisine. They are serving a Christmas menu on Friday, Dec. 25, and two menus on Thursday, Dec. 31. On Dec. 25 from 4:30 to 9 p.m., there will be an Italian-inspired Christmas dinner available with a special entree and wine pairing. Prices vary.

Customers can also order from the regular TusCA menu. On Dec. 31, customers can choose “pre-theater” seatings between 5 and 6 p.m. or “gala menu” seatings from 7:30 p.m. onward.  For Christmas and New Year Pre-theater costs $55 and includes one amuse, one entrée (from four choices), and one dessert (from three choices).  Gala costs $75 and includes the same food choices plus a glass of sparkling wine and an appetizer. Reservations are required at (831) 657-6675.

Knuckles Sports Bar has a menu that includes chicken wings, fried calamari, hummus, and footlong hot dogs. There is always complimentary popcorn and peanuts. Each month the bar offers a rotating specialty burger, with top grade beef and most of the toppings handmade on the premises. For January, they are featuring the “Aloha” Burger for $13, and customers can add any draft beer for $4 more. It’s a grass-fed Strauss burger with grilled pineapple, bacon, and thousand island dressing. Knuckles is family-friendly with a kids’ gaming area. There are also 24 flat screen HD TVs and a pool table.

If you’ve never been to the Hyatt, you should know it also has a very pleasant Fireplace Lounge that features live jazz every weekend. The jazz director and drummer-in-residence now going on 17 years is Dr. David Morwood (also a plastic surgeon). Morwood has been honored by the world-wide jazz writers association for hosting the late night Hyatt Regency jazz jam sessions after the annual Monterey Jazz Festival, and for operating on children with cleft lips and palates in developing countries). The lounge has a bar menu, signature cocktails, and drink and dinner specials.
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THE CONTEST:
One person will win a $50 gift certificate to TusCA Ristorante, and one person will win a $50 gift certificate to Knuckles Sports Bar.

To enter for TusCA Ristorante, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by Sun. Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. and include the word “TusCA.”
To enter for Knuckles Sports Bar, email your name to tfatemi@gmail.com by Sun. Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. and include the word “Knuckles.”
You can enter one or both.
The drawings will take place the next morning and the winners will be notified via email.
Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for the promotion.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Chef Jason Franey transforms Monterey’s Restaurant 1833 into its best incarnation yet

Restaurant 1833’s Warm Radicchio Salad with oranges, pecans, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola dressing

Restaurant 1833’s Warm Radicchio Salad with oranges, pecans, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola dressing

I can’t recommend Restaurant 1833’s revamped menu highly enough—my recent dinner there was one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time.

Restaurant 1833 closed for a few days in March so that Chef Jason Franey and his staff could perfect their new menu. This extra effort paid off, as customers have been gushing about the results.  “Since the re-launch of the restaurant, I have never seen as many locals, restaurateurs and chefs coming day after day to the restaurant to eat and re-eat the food multiple times,” says manager Kyle Beauregard.

During Pebble Beach Food & Wine in April, several world-renowned chefs dined at the restaurant. “We loved seeing their reaction when trying the food and being engulfed in the atmosphere, from the mood set by service staff to our cocktails and off-menu housemade amaro and Limoncellos. It is really rewarding seeing all the hard work of the chef and our staff paying off.”

The restaurant is the former site of Gallatin’s, which in its heyday attracted people like Harry Truman and Frank Sinatra. In 1996 it became the restaurant Stokes Adobe, and it became Restaurant 1833 in 2011. Three years later, it began transforming into its current, dare-I-say-best, incarnation to date by hiring Chef Franey (December 2014) and bringing in new wine director Bernabe De Luna Lopez.

“The local community and staff have been very supportive of the change that we went through and having that energy, excitement, and compliments from people, who have been eating in this establishment since it was Gallatin’s, has been most rewarding,” says Beauregard.

Chef Franey has cooked at Eleven Madison Park and Campton Place, and his last restaurant position was at Seattle’s Canlis. Franey was there when Food & Wine named him Best New Chef in 2011. He’s also a three-time James Beard Award finalist and a Relais & Châteaux “Grand Chef.” From the very first taste of his food, it’s obvious why he has received this praise, and why we should expect more awards in the future.

The main menu has three sections: Nibble, Nosh, and Dine. We started with Oysters from Nibble. Four Shigoku oysters served on the half shell were topped with white balsamic granita. Delicate fennel frond garnishes provided a beautiful and delicious juxtaposition; I appreciated this attention to detail.

I noticed the oysters (and the rest of dinner, actually) were served on stunning, very solid dishware, which the restaurant partnered with New Jersey-based ceramics designer Jono Pandolfi to create. When I asked Beauregard to name his favorite part of the restaurant revamp, he replied “Everything! From the beginning stages where we were designing the plateware, to meeting with the local historian to learn not just about the restaurant but also about the Peninsula itself from the mid 1800’s through mid 1900’s.”

We chose well from the Nosh section. Fire Roasted Sunchokes were vibrant, both visually and sensually.  Roasted Brussels sprouts played a key role in this dish, as did togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and “sunchoke sabayon” (a twist on the usual sabayon sauce made with champagne or white wine). Next, my Warm Radicchio Salad contained ingredients including spiced candied pecans and pomegranate seeds. The textures successfully complemented each other, as did the contrasting flavors (bitter greens, sweet pecans, etc.). I liked how Chef Franey placed the Gorgonzola dressing as the foundation of the dish. It provided great flavor without being overpowering or causing the ingredients to get soggy.

Our waiter suggested Buffalo Style Sweetbreads. I was hesitant, having never eaten sweetbreads, but I am so glad I trusted his guidance. The fried sweetbreads, accompanied by a smoked mango and Piquillo pepper sauce, blue cheese, celery, and pickled carrots, were divine. The preparation makes it unintimidating for novices like me. Beauregard says that both the sweetbreads and the signature 1833 Burger have been getting rave reviews and are “friendly to those looking for the familiar but also appeal to the foodies with the intricate techniques and uses of ingredient.” The burger, with fermented cucumbers, Vermont sharp white cheddar, tomato confit, and grilled red onions, is served with sauerkraut-dusted steak fries and aioli.

For entrees, we shared 48-Hour Beef Short Ribs and Salmon. The short ribs were incredibly tender, with a rich and flavorful sauce. Accompaniments included creamy polenta. Chef Franey’s salmon was hands-down one of the most moist, perfectly cooked pieces of fish that I have ever had the pleasure of eating, and the sauce was exquisite. It included saffron, baby Castroville artichokes, and clams.

Restaurant 1833’s setting is a two-story adobe house with several rooms, originally built in 1833. The atmosphere is interesting – the night I was there, several families were dining upstairs while there was a lively bar crowd near the main entrance. This all seemed to co-exist in a fluid way.

For the new menu, Ben Spungin created desserts such as Cookie Jar (variety of treats, sweets, and cookies) and family-style Butterscotch Trifle (serves 6-8 people!) with butterscotch pudding, banana, rum-soaked vanilla cake, almonds, whipped cream and meringue. I selected decadently satisfying Chocolate Cremeux with chocolate cake, blackberry meringue, and a unique coriander caramel. Spungin serves as corporate pastry chef for Coastal Luxury Management, the owner of Restaurant 1833 as well as Cannery Row Brewing Company.

There are many new aspects to the wine and cocktails menus, including a tableside martini cart, and a No Whey cocktail made with a whey byproduct from chef Franey’s housemade ricotta, balanced with cognac, lemon and simple syrup to create a sweet, salty and nutty cocktail.

Restaurant 1833 is at 500 Hartnell St. Call 831-643-1833 or visit restaurant1833.com.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.