Joe Rombi’s delicious and indulgent fare works just right.   (copy)

Sad news out of Pacific Grove: Joe Rombi’s La Piccola Casa has unexpectedly closed. The longtime spot for pizza, pastas and panini shuttered after service on Sunday, June 2. To thank customers for their support over the years, the restaurant will host a closing party on Wednesday, June 5, with free food, beer, wine and sodas until they run.

Sangria Wine and Tapas Bar welcomes Pablo Antinao as its new sommelier and manager. Born in Chile, Antinao became a certified sommelier in Spain and has been a fixture of the local wine scene as a writer and manager of the shuttered Bakai Wine Bar in Monterey. He’s curating a selection of affordable wines by the glass with a focus on Monterey County wines, plus international selections from Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina. Antinao is also stocking up on national and international microbrews, specialty beers and ciders for Sangria’s list. Pair with Spanish and Latin American cuisine from chef Ana Muñoz and Caribbean specialties from owner Colleen Mann too.

Chef de Cuisine Danny Leach is shaking up the food menu at Folktale Winery for summer. New additions include endive Caesar salad, St. Andre Brie toast and wood-fired mussels alla Boston. Leach has also debuted new flatbread selections for summer: The Sauce (pepperoni, burrata, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil and garlic), Fun Guy 2.5 (roasted wild mushrooms, shiitake duxelle, pickled beech mushrooms, Brie, arugula and truffle oil), Elote (chorizo, fermented jalapeño crema, charred corn, cotija cheese, cilantro and chipotle tajin) and smoked duck carbonara (fried Olinday Farms duck egg, black peppercorn, Parmesan and scallions).

PBFWGrandTastingNC009.jpg (copy) (copy)

Chefs find inspiration everywhere, even in music. Carmel’s La Bicyclette has launched a new menu series—La Musique et La Cuisine—inspired by musicians and their songs and celebrating the parallel between music that “feeds our spirits” and food that’s “music for the palate.” The restaurant has shared a playlist on Spotify and will be serving special menu additions inspired by select songs and artists. A recent visit featured moules frites manouche inspired by European jazz musician Django Reinhardt: mussels sauteed in a broth of shallots, fennel, tomatoes, white wine and harissa and served with fries ($26 lunch, $34 dinner). Look for more new dishes by chefs Sebastian Nobile and Odiel Luna as the pair work their way through the playlist this summer.

Yeast of Eden now offers Oyster Hour with $1 oysters from 5-6pm Monday-Thursday. It’s the perfect chaser for happy hour, available 3-5pm Monday-Friday.

The Annex teams up with Drench Wines for a pizza party—with plenty of wine, of course—on Tuesday, June 4. Meet Drench owner and winemaker Emily Hunt and taste current releases. The Annex’s Ashleigh Hutchison will be making pizzas for snacking. 4-7pm, $15 for tasting and pizza.

School is in session this summer at Scheid. The first session: What’s in My Glass? on  Wednesday, June 5, from 6-8pm at the winery’s Carmel tasting room. Explore the sensory components in wine and learn how to identify tastes (sweetness, acidity, bitterness) and aromas (floral, oak, herbal). $30, $25 wine club members, tickets available at scheidvineyards.com.

Aubergine’s popular Thursdays in the Courtyard series has returned with sips and snacks on the cozy courtyard at L’Auberge Carmel hotel. Twice a month, the restaurant will host an outdoor social hour with cocktails, wine and beer, plus a rotating selection of a la carte bites by Executive Chef/Director Justin Cogley. (The lobster roll is a frequent fixture and a must-order.) Each beverage purchase snags two complimentary oysters from Morro Bay Oyster Company. The next drops Thursday, June 6, from 4-6pm, reservations aren’t required and remember seating is first come, first serve.

Also on Thursday, June 6, learn technique and tips for making French macaron cookies from Aubergine’s Pastry Chef Yulanda Santos. 11am-1pm, $125, call 624-8578 to sign up.

And don’t forget there’s still time to grab a reservation for this month’s Redefining Flavor dinner at Aubergine. This month features a medieval menu: grilled oysters, embered cabbage, parsley porridge with sweetbreads, roasted capon (rooster) and sticky toffee date cake. $125, includes wine pairings, 624-8578 for reservations.

Stave Wine Cellar has a Flight Night with Billecart-Salmon on Thursday, June 6. This seminar-style class will dive into the history of the famed Champagne house and feature tastings of Billecart-Salmon bubbles. Seatings at 5 and 6pm, $40, reservations recommended, 644-7997, 21+ only.

Red’s Donuts takes the cake as the local’s morning hangout.   (copy)

PSA: National Donut Day is Friday, June 7. Make sure your day includes a visit to Red’s Donuts. It’s your patriotic duty.

Poppy Hall celebrates its first anniversary with a birthday party on Friday, June 7. The night features passed appetizers, plus wines available for purchase (including special selections just for the evening) and live music. 6-10pm, $20 cover.

Join MEarth for CommunityConnect Brunch in the Garden on Saturday, June 8. Chef Pamela Burns—owner of The Wild Plum Café—will craft a sustainable farm-to-table brunch featuring fruits and vegetables from the MEarth gardens and Kelly Kuhn will create summer-inspired non-alcoholic cocktails for the morning. 11am-1pm, $55, tickets at mearthcarmel.org, proceeds benefit MEarth’s environmental education programs.

PigWizard has a pair of pig roasts coming up on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 from 11:30am-7pm (or until sold out). Chef Jonathan Roberts will roasted a whole Berkshire hog and have pulled pork for sale. Choose from pulled pork sandwiches, plates or just pork by the pound. Also look for the debut of “nachorrones” aka pork rind nachos (!!!).

I. Brand Family Winery hosts its summer release party and open house on Sunday, June 9, from 1-4pm at its Salinas production warehouse. Taste new releases from the I. Brand family of wines—including La Marea and Le P’Tit Paysan—plus food and live music from the Bubba Pickens Band. $40, free for wine club members, tickets via Eventbrite.

The U.S. Open is coming. Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette has prepared specialty cocktails for the tournament: Hole in One (Nolet’s gin, raspberries, basil, lime and St. Germain), Phil Your Cup (Grey Goose Vanilla vodka, pineapple and lemon) and Pebble Peach (Bulleit bourbon, fresh peaches, lemonade and iced tea). Special tournament cocktails are $15 and available June 10-17.

Peter B’s Brewpub celebrates tacos and beer this summer with a Taco Tuesday beer garden on the second Tuesday of the month. Stop by Tuesday, June 11, for street tacos (chicken, beef, carnitas and vegetarian, 2 for $5 or 5 for $10), $5 pints of Peter B’s beer and $5 El Jefe margaritas, plus live music from DJ Pepe, from 4:30-6:30pm.

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