Thursday, December 6, 2012
You’d be forgiven for not knowing about Tammy Huniker’s first Room for Dessert restaurant. While independent, it’s tucked on Notre Dame High School’s campus, giving the all-girls Catholic student body breakfast, lunch and game-night grub. But it’s good to know, because it previews what’s coming with adorable number two (647-1170), opening this Saturday, Dec. 8, across from the Monterey Sports Center.
NDHS alum Huniker was doing the baking for Williams Sonoma catalog photoshoots – which she continues to do – when her oldest hit high school in ’09.
“The kids were there all day with an offsite company’s freezer foods heated under a lamp in an inadequate kitchen, “ Huniker says. “So we went in, redid the kitchen as a donation to the school and did real food from scratch.”
Last year, all four of her daughters were there, each in a different grade. She’s only added family members as kids get more than their bellies nourished – with hugs after breakups, coffee before finals and clippers for rogue fingernails.
“We are the campus moms,” Huniker says. “We’re not passing out grades.”
The same thoughtfulness has already invaded the pink-and-white-striped corner spot where much-missed Joselyn’s Bicycles once was, and where high school and community college kids – many on their first jobs – will staff the joint. Parents waiting out swim classes will tap WiFi, sip tea and greet their minnow minions with cookies to match the name of their classes, from dolphins to angelfish to sea stars (hint: the stars aren’t the most advanced).
“It’s a nice place to come and sit,” she says. “A reprieve.”
Since Huniker’s obsessed with tea, she stocks bags like Harney & Sons Paris, English Tea Shop’s Westminster Abbey and Twinings’ Prince of Wales ($1.50-$4). But she understands the depths of her friends’ coffee fixes, so she’s installed a Rancillio espresso machine to help pump out singles, doubles, lattes and cappuccinos ($1.50-$4), with hot cinnamon-honey milk, Shirley Temples and French soda ($1.50-$3) for the younger set. She also runs catering ops from Big Sur to San Fran, with dessert spreads bigger than the bride’s train.
“The best part is to see someone enjoy eating something as much as I enjoyed making it,” she says. “It’s true magic, passing the feeling that a cookie embodies: A little love, one nibble at a time.”
•Restaurant star Rich Pepe is presenting “Carmel by the Glass” (521-9631) 5-8pm Thursday, Dec. 13, with 14 Carmel tasting rooms and a range of fashion forces in Devendorf Park to help Carmel Mission Foundation. Maddox Haberdasher curates models to go with sips (think bold reds with bold reds); $10 includes $5 donation and very light bites from Bruno’s and Neilsen’s; $25 VIP includes all wine tasting.
• Always good to have some atypical gift ideas in the chamber, like Bacon Shaving Cream from J&D’s Foods. They’re also trafficking Bacon Roses and Sriracha Lip Balm (www.baconshavingcream.com).
• Exec Chef John Cox’s Big Sur tasting menu ($160) has arrived at Sierra Mar (667-2800). This would be the most mouthwatering menu anticipation I can remember. More on the blog, www.mcweekly.com/edible.
• McIntyre Vineyards’ free holiday open house 4-8pm Dec. 6 at Hyatt Monterey: prizes, new releases, bargains, 649-WINE.
• Sunday Night Fried Chicken Nights are finally here 6-9:30pm at Restaurant 1833. Get the crispy goods on the blog.
•Longtime local politico Abel Maldonado’s introducing his first Pinot soon. Help him name it at the Weekly’s Facebook page and win coffee and a movie at Osio Cinemas.
•Pacific Grove’s new coffee lounge in the old Victorian that once housed Mia Cucina, La Créma (375-1300), has added a weekend wine bar 4-9pm Thursday through Sunday with nice local wines and small bites.
• Wine tastings and superlative photography ($5-$10) collide 4-6pm Saturday, Dec. 8, at Center for Photographic Art at Sunset Cultural Center (625-5181).
• Don’t crack me open: The bucket-list Portuguese Hall crab feed glory (204-0584) I described last week – acres of picnic tables covered with crab, wine, garlic bread, shrimp, salad and all sorts of crustacean shrapnel – happens Jan. 19 (not Jan. 13).
•Morgan Winery’s 2010 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir made Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines for 2012; $32, 751-7777 x16.
• The good souls at Hofsas House (624-2811), one of two remaining family-owned inns in Carmel, are doing a gingerbread-making fundraiser for Carmel Library Foundation 2:30pm Saturday, Dec. 8. Ventana wines, gingerbread making kits, hot cider, cookies, $10-$15.
•Caraccioli Cellars follows the 4:30pm tree lighting in Devendorf Park Friday, Dec. 7, with a sparkling party in the tasting room (622-7722), debuting 2007 brut magnums.
•Last Lopez Brothers tequila tasting of the year ($25) 6-8pm Dec. 10 features extra añejos, 13 brands and growing – from Amor Mio to Patron Burdeos. 324-4260 for more.
• Fresh From D’Vine (240-1525) on Highway 68 is shuttering for the winter, coming back around mid-March or when strawberries are back, whichever comes first.
•A closing question from Julia Child: “I think careful cooking is love, don’t you?”