Thursday, November 11, 2010
It’s like the San Francisco Giants sending Tim Lincecum packing on the cusp of the World Series. OK, maybe Kung Fu Panda. Whatever the case, news that Coastal Luxury Management and restaurant chief Gary Obligacion are parting ways – on the (delayed) eve of the debut of his baby-to-be, Restaurant 1833, in the old Stokes – comes as a brushback pitch.
The parties concerned seem good with it. Granted, David Bernahl and Obligacion are as on-message as they come, but even conversations with the more shoot-from-the-hip Rob Weakley – whose wife Michaela was toting around their newborn Allysa at Big Sur Food & Wine (more on that soon) – echoed the same refrain: They had diverging visions of what the plan for the landmark eatery should be.
“You don’t want to open a restaurant if you’re not on the same page,” Weakley says. “You don’t want your coach leaving midseason.” (Gary O. as Bruce Bochy?)
The team remains “dear friends.” Obligacion is already considering “new projects and generous offers.” 1833 chef-that-was Tim Mosblech will join him.
For Obligacion’s reflections on the change visit the Special Edible food blog at www.mcweekly.com/edible.
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More from The-World-Is-Rich-Pepe’s-Restaurant-and-We’re-Just-Dining-In-It file: The man behind Little Napoli, Péppoli at Pebble Beach and much more has another gangbuster Italian concept already in place for the Piatti space at Sixth and Junipero: Vesuvio. The plan is to take the so-called “Mediterranean diet” to Mount Vesuvious-type heights. Think mouthwatering Italian olive oils, grains, beans and fresh fish, with all Southern Italy wines.
“I’m so excited about the opportunity to showcase my Southern Italian family and also revitalize that part of Carmel with some new energy,” Pepe says. Vesuvio blows up in spring 2011.
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Monterey Restaurant Week was thrown together in the amount of time it takes most chefs to plate a dozen duck l’oranges. And that might be the most impressive testament to the kind of hospitality community we are lucky enough to enjoy. Despite that small time window, an impressive lineup has been assembled; the deals last Nov. 11-17.
Check out this week’s insert for a look at what could land on your plate.
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There was a rare feeling permeating every bottle, smile and snack at the extensive lineup that constituted the second annual Big Sur Food & Wine, a kind of camaraderie that comes from close affiliation with our area’s tastemakers and an abiding affection for the goods they give us. Way too much epicness to fit in here – from the crazy-generous auction items to the pitch-perfect new opening event to the celebratory sell-out dinners – so I’ll leave it at what conductor of chefs Adam Olthof said at the grand tasting: “We slayed it, didn’t we?” Yes you did. BSF&W is officially on my short short list of can’t-miss events.
Rachel Short’s spirit was very much felt at BSF&W. The Sur community will rally around plates of pasta for her 5-9pm Wednesday, Nov. 17. It’s a salad-spaghetti-and-meatballs-garlic bread benefit at River Inn for Short, who’s recovering from a gruesome accident that could ultimately result in long-term loss of movement. But her neck is stabilized, she has already started rehab in Santa Clara and as longtime boyfriend Derric Oliver says, “She’s the same girl she ever was” – and people with half her heart have beaten dark prognoses before.
If I know Big Sur, and Rachel, the place will be packed. Reservations would be wise. The donation for dinner is $20; support can also be sent to P.O. Box 161 in Big Sur, 93920. Meanwhile, keep keeping her close to your heart.
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Cafe Fina and Domenico’s (649-4511) are doing good by way of the ice rink at Custom House Plaza Nov. 20-Jan. 9 (I repeat: ice rink!): Skaters grubbing at the sibling restaurants with rink stubs will have a fifth of their bill donated to an MPUSD school of choice… Friday, Nov. 12, Pig Wizard and Chef Todd Fisher do a Swine & Dine Dinner at The Kitchen (394-4500) in Sand City. The Wiz will butcher a half of a pig, sample his sausage and make dessert… Le Normadie (375-5011) is celebrating a year of excellent French in Pacific Grove with deals Tuesday-Sunday (Sunday it’s 20 percent off for locals)… Truly happy food news: San Francisco has banned toys in Happy Meals… The best excuse going to get up to said city for an autumn weekend: Monterey’s own Jeff Moses has assembled one of the headier beer festivals you’ll ever visit with the BevMo! Holiday Beer Fest. This is a true connoisseur event – more than 150 craft and specialty beers and ciders that run a lot retail – for just $40 at Fort Mason 5:30-9pm Saturday, Nov. 20, 5:30-9pm, 521-7921… “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk,” Ernest Hemingway once said. “That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”