August 25, 2011
• The second annual Pinotfest happens 6-10pm at newly redone Del Monte Beach House in Monterey with 20-plus top local vintners tasting their flagship varietal, and a tri-tip barbecue, beach party festivities, music, dancing, and a silent auction. $55 in advance, www.pinotfest.com. A peek ahead at the wineries pouring out their hearts:
Bernardus Winery, Chock Rock Vineyard, Cima Collina, Comanche Cellars, Cru Wine Company, De Tierra Vineyards, Figge Cellars, Holman Ranch Vineyards, Joyce Vineyards, La Rochelle Winery, Manzoni Estate Vineyard, Michaud Vineyard, Montoya, Muirwood, Oh Wines, Otter Cove, Paraiso Vineyards, Pelerin Wines, Talbott Vineyards, Tondre Wines, Silver Moutain, Ventana Vineyards and Wrath.
• Between a dozen groups like Moonalice, Truth & Salvage Co. and Jackie Greene, open studio tours and green panel talks, there is no small amount of action thumping down at the no-cover West End Celebration weekend (Friday-Sunday, Aug. 26-28). So it’s only logical that foodie fuel is arriving en force too: Sweet Elena’s Bakery and Cafe, Gil’s Gourmet, Motor Espresso, Sugar Shack Shave Ice Company, Spice It Up Catering, 3 Pop Kettle Korn, Maha’s Lebanese Cuisine, Babaloo Cuban Cuisine, Wild Plum Café and Bakery, Casa Sorrento Pizzeria, Patti Jayne Raw Cuisine will all represent. Saturday Paraiso, Ventana, Galante and Tre Gatti will do wines, and Sunday in come Otter Cove, San Bernabe and Tre Gatti again; Post No Bills and English Ales, meanwhile, will manage the craft beer. Go West.
• School garden pioneer Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse is turning 40. Eating for Education (www.eatingforeducation.org) aims to celebrate with a grassroots fund-raising partnership push between school gardens/and restaurants. Locally, Marinus, Happy Girl Kitchen, Sweet Elena’s Bakery , Carmel Belle, Big Sur Bakery, Restaurant 1833, Wild Goose and Earthbound Farm will donate a percentage of receipts from Saturday, Aug. 27, to help local kids understand and eat healthy goods. Is it a coincidence that I love all those spots?
• The latest in a surge of local tasting rooms has landed in Hyatt Regency Monterey with McIntyre Vineyard’s “tasting studio” (372-1234), a different kind of gift shop that pairs artisan products like Lula’s decadent chocolate, Nunes Nuts, Olio Nuevo olive oils and even photography by Debbie Delatour, handmade jewelry by Barbara Orr, and arty scarves by Sherard Russell with a little tasting bar starring premium Santa Lucia Highlands McIntyre wines (five wines for $10). It’s open 8am-8pm, with tasting from noon on. “A standard tasting room was not our goal,” Steve McIntyre says. “We wanted to create a new venue and backdrop.”
• Il Vecchio is nibbling closer to its intended Labor Day opening across from Happy Girl on Central where P.G. meets Monterey. At a post-Concours tasting this weekend, the grub was significantly better than the last tasting go round—holy gorgonzola gnocchi—and the setting’s reclaimed materials and crafty patterns were as eyecatchingly hip as advertised. Like owner Carl Alasko said Sunday, “Good is OK, but that’s not what we’re striving for.” I’ll post some photos and more thoughts on the blog soon.
• Coffee, says relentless Fran Spector-Adkins of Marina’s indomitable SpectorDance outfit, is the ultimate dance fuel. She elaborates from there: “Peet's. 4:30am. Brewing is an important ritual. Involves chanting.” The fuel SpectorDance needs—to win a national vote sponsored Tom’s of Maine that could earn the nonprofit, the lone arts rep in the group, $50K for its inspired programs—is just seconds of your time. (For real. I never would’ve voted the last 10 days if it wasn’t.) Hit “Tom’s of Maine Vote for Good” and look for SpectorDance.