Cogley in the kitchen (copy)

Aubergine goes classic steakhouse for its next “Redefining Flavor” dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The menu from Executive Chef Justin Cogley and crew includes oyster gelée, aged Parmesan risotto, porterhouse steak for two and crème brûlée for dessert. Seating available 6-9pm, $115, call 624-8578 for reservations.

The Portola Hotel welcomes Jim Beam for a special bourbon dinner on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 6-9pm in The Club Room. Executive Chef Danny Abbruzzese will team up with Glen Montevago—Northern California Market Manager for Beam Suntory—for special five-course dinner paired with bourbon. Following a social reception, dinner includes shrimp and grits, scallops, smoked baby back ribs, butternut squash ravioli and sticky toffee pudding. $95, reservations required, call 649-7874.

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Wild Fish teams up with Bernardus Winery for a winemaker dinner on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6:30pm. Chef Joshua Plesh is preparing a special six-course menu for the evening. Dinner kicks off an amuse bouche of Kumamoto oyster and uni toast, followed by radish and ricotta salad, smoked sablefish, salt-roasted beets, black cod with wild chanterelles, grilled mushrooms and grilled apples with burnt honey ice cream for dessert. Each course will be paired with Bernardus wines. $119, special pricing for wine club members and parties of 4+, call 373-8523 for reservations.

Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce celebrates P.G.’s chefs with Flavors of Pacific Grove on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 5:30-8:30pm at the Pacific Grove Golf Links at 584 Central Avenue. The evening includes tasting with P.G.’s favorite restaurants, live entertainment and auction. $60, for more information and tickets, visit

And in brew news, work continues on Alvarado Street Brewery’s spinoff Yeast of Eden in the Carmel Plaza. The new brewery and restaurant is eyeing an opening in mid-December.

Also in Carmel, the remodel of the Lincoln Lane apartments saw the closure of Christopher’s restaurant this spring, and now owner Kent Ipsen has filed plans with the city to open a new restaurant here: The Pocket. The proposed restaurant and bar would breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also potentially on the horizon is a new tasting room for Talbott Vineyards. Both projects are pending review and approval from the city’s planning commission.

Construction on Alta Bakery + Cafe is coming along and looking to open in mid-December. The bakery has hired Big Sur Bakery alum Matt Somerville as baker, joining culinary director Ben Spungin. The pair hosted a popular pie popup last month and have been spotted at local food and wine special events, including the Big Sur Food & Wine festival earlier this month. Can’t wait to get a taste of the bakery’s new sweet treats? Alta is taking orders for Thanksgiving pies. The lineup includes honey-pecan, heirloom apple and triple-layered pumpkin, available for $25 apiece. Send orders to by November 19 for pickup at the bakery from 3-6pm on November 20 and 21. Cash only.

A Taste of Monterey has new hours. The waterfront wine shop and tasting room is open 11am-6pm Sunday-Thursday and until 8pm Friday-Saturday. Food service begins at 11:30am daily.

Carmel Valley Chophouse has a new happy hour, 3:30-5:30pm Thursday-Monday. Booze bargains include chef’s wine selections (red and white) for $5 and happy hour cocktail selections for $6. New happy hour small bites include merguez sausage ($4), bite-sized pork ribs ($7), deviled eggs ($4), pommes frites ($3), spinach dip ($4) and buffalo-style cauliflower ($4).

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Hula’s Island Grill is giving locals a break on lunch. Ask for the “local-25” during lunch 11:30am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday, show proof of residency in Monterey County and get 25 percent off your bill. Available through Dec. 15.

Osteria Al Mare now offers a local’s early bird menu from 4:30-6pm on Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday. Starting at $19.95, dinner includes a starter (mushroom polenta or tomato bruschetta), seafood soup or mixed greens salad, choice of entree (roasted pear ravioli, chicken piccata or salmon with cappellini pasta) and chef’s dessert selection. And don’t forget happy hour from 4-6pm featuring select wines, well cocktails and small bites for $5. (Closed Mondays.)

The meat locker at Carmel’s Cantinetta Luca is overflowing with house-cured salumi selections from Executive Chef Aaron Rayor and Sous Chef Michael Castaneda-D’Roma. The restaurant’s charcuterie menu now boasts exclusively salumi cured in house. Recent highlights have included white ‘nduja, culatello and fiocco ham, coppa, ungherese, beef bresaola, country pâté and coppa di testa head cheese. And diners are in for a treat as some of the oldest selections are now ripe for serving.

Sweet Elena’s Bakery hosts a fall pie tasting on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 11am-4pm. Sample the lineup of the bakery’s fall pies including classic holiday favorites like pumpkin, apple double-crust, pecan, mincemeat and pumpkin cheesecake, plus speciality pies like apple-cranberry crumb, apple crumb, strawberry-rhubarb, peach-blueberry crumb, olallieberry, and maple caramel walnut chocolate. After finding your favorite, don’t forget to place your order for Thanksgiving pies! Tasting is $8, whole pies are $22-30.

Estéban restaurant inside the Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa has unveiled a new breakfast menu. Executive Chef Gus Trejo has crafted a new menu that includes lighter fare like smoked salmon ($12) and Greek yogurt parfait with housemade pistachio-coconut granola ($9), hearty eggs and omelets ($12-18), favorites like breakfast burrito ($13) and sandwich ($12), and sweet treats like buttermilk waffle ($12) and almond-crusted French toast ($10). Breakfast is served 7-10am Monday-Friday and until 11am on weekends.

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! France is abuzz the third Thursday of November with the release of Beaujolais Nouveau, a light, fruity wine that’s fermented for just a few weeks following the close of the year’s grape harvest. Bistro Moulin celebrates with a special three-course prix fixe menu for $50 and Domaine Dupueble Beaujolais Nouveau available by the glass ($12) and bottle ($40), while supplies last (available Thursday, Nov. 15-Saturday, Nov. 17, 333-1200 for reservations). Zeph’s One Stop will host a tasting for Beaujolais Nouveau and Pinot Noir on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 5:30pm ($10). And Georis Winery is one of the growing number of American wineries joining in the French festivities with the release of a Nouveau of Pinot Noir at the Carmel Valley tasting room on Thursday, Nov. 15.

Sip new wines from Big Sur Vineyards at a release party on Friday, Nov.16, from 6-9pm at the winery’s Carmel Valley tasting room. Try new additions including the 2017 “Big Sur White” blend of Viognier and Grenache Blanc and the 2014 Pinot Noir Reserve. The evening also includes live music from Tom Faia and Katie Miller.

Hidden Fortress Coffee Roasters has taken over the Press Club location in the Weekly’s building at 1123 Fremont Boulevard in Seaside. Amelia Loftus’ cult coffee roastery has been a farmers market favorite in Santa Cruz County and brings its small-batch beans to Monterey County. The coffee lineup features drip coffee, a pour-over bar and espresso, all available hot or iced. Bags of beans are also available and will score you $1 off any coffee drink. Food options are limited during soft opening, with pastries, bagels, avocado toast and smoothies available. Open 6:30am-2:30pm Monday-Friday, with hours expanding to evenings and weekends after the holidays. Also on the horizon? Beer and wine for a different sort of buzz.

Dust Bowl Brewing Company has officially signed the lease to take over Tanimura & Antle’s shuttered Wharf Marketplace in Monterey. The Turlock-based brewery will open a taproom and beer garden here in the new year.


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