Tag Archives: Pacific Grove restaurants

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.





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 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 restaurants for Mother’s Day: Monterey, Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove

A few recent dessert choices at Tarpy’s Roadhouse, as posted on their Facebook page April 30, 2015

A few recent dessert choices at Tarpy’s Roadhouse, as posted on their Facebook page April 30, 2015

It’s Mother’s Day, time to treat that special lady right–how about a nice brunch out? Here are some Bay Area restaurant highlights, with several in the Monterey/Carmel area.


Tarpy’s Roadhouse

Tarpy’s (831-647-1444) is offering Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Featured selections include Maine lobster & avocado benedict on griddled brioche with two poached eggs, citrus-chive hollandaise, herb salad, and crispy fingerling potatoes; asparagus & gruyere quiche with Benton’s aged Tennessee country ham & arugula salad with herb roasted heirloom tomato; oxtail & fingerling potato hash with pimento cheese grits, two poached eggs and red eye hollandaise; and country French toast with olallieberry compote & candied pecan butter. They will also be serving their regular brunch menu. Visit tarpys.com.
2999 Salinas Highway

TusCA Ristorante
The Mother’s Day brunch buffet ($40 for adults, $15 for kids over 5, free for kids under 5, seatings from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) will include a cage-free omelet and waffle station; natural smoked bacon and chicken sausage; eggs benedict; sliced fresh fruit; salads such as crunchy jicama and mango salad with chile and lime; and a carving station with all-natural salt crusted beef prime rib. There will also be entrees including Parmesan gnocchi with grilled chicken, sundried tomato and garlic cream, and a dessert table with cream puffs, chocolate-dipped strawberries, fruit tarts, mini cheesecakes, and more. Call 831-657-6675 or visit opentable.com.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, 1 Old Golf Course Road

Montrio Bistro
Montrio Bistro has one Mother’s Day special. Reservations are recommended; call 831-648-8880. On Sunday, May 10, if you bring in a photo of yourself with your kids, you will receive a complimentary eight-ounce bottle of house-made Meyer lemon oil and a rose. See montrio.com.
414 Calle Principal

Sardine Factory
The restaurant is serving a three-course $39 prix fixe menu, with seatings from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m and 4 to 8 p.m., plus a selection of specialties from the full menu. For the prix fixe, guests receive a choice of starter (five selections include Maine lobster bisque; smoked salmon mousse profiteroles), a choice of six entrees including eight-hour-slow-roasted prime rib; housemade lobster ravioli; pan-seared Monterey snapper); and a choice of three desserts such as Cherries Jubilee. Call 831-373-3775 or see sardinefactory.com/ reservations.
701 Wave St.

Carmel Valley
Hyatt Carmel Highlands

At the Hyatt Carmel Highlands’ restaurant Pacific Edge, there will be an a la carte brunch menu created by Executive Chef Chad Minton and Chef Alvaro Dalmau. For those seeking a buffet brunch, one will be available in the Lobos Lounge; both events are from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The a la carte menu includes frittata with cast iron baked eggs, potatoes, chorizo, caramelized onions, and peppers; brioche French toast with local berry compote and vanilla bean whipped cream; and Cioppino with sautéed mussels, clams, local catch, squid ink linguini, spicy tomato broth, and grilled garlic bread. Call 831-622-5445 for reservations and visit www.highlandsinn.hyatt.com for more information.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands, 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel

Pacific Grove

Fandango (831-646-1700) is offering a prix fixe brunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $38.75 for adults and $18.75 for kids 12 and under. The menu includes Caesar salad; entrée choices such as leg of lamb Provencal with Pinot Noir demi-glace sauce and shrimp scampi spaghetti; and very berry shortcake with French vanilla ice cream, berries, shortcake, toasted almonds, raspberry sauce and whipped cream. See fandangorestaurant.com.
223 17th Street

Asilomar Conference Grounds
Asilomar is offering a winemaker’s lunch under the iconic ‘Grand Cypress’ at Asilomar State Park.
The first seating is at 1 p.m. Wine pairing and lunch will be provided along with live music and tours of the historic buildings designed by Julia Morgan.  The cost, excluding tax/gratuity, is $65 for adults, $20 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and under. Reservations are required at 372-8016.
800 Asilomar Avenue.

Pebble Beach
Porter’s in the Forest

The restaurant 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 ($9.50); eggs benedict with smoked salmon, avocado, caviar, roasted potatoes, and kale ($19); asparagus, housemade bacon, tarragon and Brie cheese omelet plus roasted potatoes and kale ($17). For reservations call 831-622-8240. Visit poppyhillsgolf.com.
Porter’s is at Poppy Hills Golf Course, 3200 Lopez Rd.

Kula Ranch Island Steakhouse

The Mother’s Day brunch buffet (seatings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is $33.95 for adults, $26.95 for seniors and military with ID, $12.95 for kids 6-11, and free for kids under 5 – prices include gratituity and a complimentary glass of champagne, Mimosa, or sparkling cider. Chilled selections include poached salmon; Asian chicken salad; Hawaiian sweet rolls; and and Caesar salad. Hot selections include an omelet station; eggs benedict; French toast casserole with orange marmalade and cream cheese, Nutella chocolate crepes; baked ham with pineapple glaze sauce; and roast beef carving station with au jus and horseradish cream. The restaurant will also feature a Mimosa fountain and an outside area for kids to watch Toy Story. For reservations call 831-883-9479. Visit kula-ranch.com.
3295 Dunes Drive

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2015 Big Sur Foragers Festival Fungus Face Off Results

A winning dish from Carmel Valley Ranch with chanterelle, black trumpet, hedgehog mushrooms plus short ribs on a garlic crostini with sea salt and red radishes, courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch Facebook page

A winning dish from Carmel Valley Ranch with chanterelle, black trumpet, hedgehog mushrooms plus short ribs on a garlic crostini with sea salt and red radishes, courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch Facebook page

If you’re curious who won the Fungus Face Off at last weekend’s Big Sur Foragers Festival, I have the results. If you’re not familiar with the festival, it’s an annual weekend of gourmet food, first-rate wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and the Fungus Face Off that is described as a “friendly chef competition with celebrity judges.” The event also raises funds for the Big Sur Health Center. This year’s Big Sur Foragers Festival raised more than $30,000.

For the Face Off, celebrity judges included Jim Dodge, Mike Hale of the Monterey Herald, Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times, and Wendy Brodie. Attendees had an opportunity to taste along with the judges and to cast their vote for “People’s Choice.” Participating restaurants were The Restaurant at Ventana Inn Executive Chef Paul Corsentino, Chef Sean Garrett, Fernwood, Chef Johnny DeVivo, Porter’s in the Forest at Poppy Hills, Chef Phillip Burrus, Esalen, Chef Tim Wood, Carmel Valley Ranch, Chef Evan Lite, The Beach House at Lover’s Point; Chef Brendan Esons, Big Sur Roadhouse; Chef Tony Baker, Montrio Bistro / Baker’s Bacon and Chef Steve Johnson and Mike Behan, TusCA Ristorante at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.

Here are the Face Off results:

Winner of Best Dish Using Wine and People’s Choice Award Winner: Carmel Valley Ranch
Chanterelle, black trumpet, hedgehog mushrooms with short ribs on a garlic crostini with sea salt and red radishes

Winner of Dish Most Easily Adapted to Home Cooking: The Beach House at Lovers Point
Mushroom and pork Suigow with shitake, oyster, porcini and portabella mushrooms with a truffle soy butter

Winner of Most Nutritious and Healthy: Big Sur Roadhouse
Drinks with a variety of marinated wild mushrooms (Drinks include Wood Sorrel Ale; Huckleberry Fizz with Big Sur Spring Water and Pine Needle Bay Laurel and Spearmint Tea with Big Sur Honey)

Winner of Best Use of Local Ingredients: The Restaurant at Ventana
Candy Cap mushroom ravioli fried with chanterelle mushrooms, black truffle puree in a chanterelle mushroom broth with pickled chanterelles

Winner of Most Inventive Use of Ingredients: Porter’s in the Forest
Mushrooms 5 ways:  Pine nut aioli, fried lentil, burnt meringue (Mushrooms were pickled, roasted and sautéed and finished with chili sea salt)

Winner of Best Cooking Technique: Fernwood
Pork and chanterelle meatloaf with chanterelle butter gravy and a lemon microgreen salad  (The meatloaf was made with 4 kinds of pork and Fernwood house made bacon)

Winner of Best Vegetarian Dish: Esalen
Wild fennel salad with Esalen garden herbs, puree of Coke Farm celery root and pickled chanterelles

Winner of Best Table Display: Big Sur Bakery
Mushroom puppies with pate and Choux puffs with black trumpets, wild rice and hints of Umeboshi

Winner of Judges Pick for Best Overall: Montrio and Bakers Bacon
Black trumpet mushroom tart, dock candy cap jelly, Foie Gras parfait, Bakers Bacon and pine needle syrup

Winner of Dish with Most Complex Flavors: TusCA Ristorante Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa 
Sea scallop with coconut carrot broth, roasted shitake mushrooms, fresh Enoki mushrooms, lime caviar as well as a Thai basil leaf

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