Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa was honored at the second annual San Francisco Design Week Awards last month. The international design competition seeks “to encourage thought leadership by supporting designers whose works can contribute towards a positive future for society.” The hotel snagged the top award for Interior Design: Restaurant/Hospitality, which recognized the work of RoseBernard Studio for the renovation of Jacks Monterey.

Pacific Bowls & Rolls celebrates its grand opening on Tuesday, July 2 from 11am-9pm. The grand opening also marks the debut of the restaurant’s charity partnership with No Kid Hungry. Eat good, feel good and do good: Each bowl or roll sold will provide one meal for a kid in need.

Big Sur Smokehouse officially opens Thursday, July 4. The new restaurant honors the tradition of diners and roadside eateries along historic Highway 1. Savor the flavors of barbecue from Carolina to California—complete with selections from Texas and Kansas City too—in a historic restored red homestead built in 1867 by the Post family. San Francisco native JaJuan Jackson is pitmaster here, learning the trade from his Texan grandmother, who was a 30-year pitmaster herself. Platters are the standout with choice of brisket ($21), smoked chicken ($17), pulled pork ($16), hot links ($15) or smoked mushrooms ($17) with two sides, housemade pickles and Hawaiian sweet rolls. Chicken, brisket and pulled pork also come as sandwiches, served with a side item ($14-15). Smoked brisket, pork and hot links are also available by weight and choose from quarter, half or whole chicken too. Sides include burnt end baked beans, braised collard greens, chili coleslaw, baked mac and cheese and potato salad (cup $5, pint $8). And of course it’s not barbecue without the sauce (outside of Texas): Housemade sauces here include coffee-stout (made with local stout beer and Verve coffee), tangy ‘n’ sweet pineapple mustard and spiced carolina cider. If you’re looking for a lighter option, choose from a number of composed salads ($14). And for dessert, try a hand pie: apple-cinnamon or mixed berry ($5). The Big Sur Smokehouse has beer and wine on draft (all $10), a signature smokehouse margarita ($11) and house-crafted sodas (citrus mint, raspberry almond, grapefruit elderflower and banana creamsicle, all $4). While the Big Sur Smokehouse shares its address with Ventana Big Sur, it’s a separate business, though both are owned by San Francisco’s Geolo Capital hospitality group. 48123 Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2419, bigssursmokehouse.com. Open 11am-9pm Wednesday-Sunday.

Hula's photo 2

neXt doOrHula’s Island Grill’s next-door speakeasy-inspired bar—has expanded hours for summer. The bar is open 5:30pm-10:30pm Tuesday-Saturday through Labor Day weekend. On Tuesdays, the popular Tiki Tuesday spills over from Hula’s next door with tiki selections on happy hour all night. On Wednesdays, it’s industry night and Thursdays bring reverse happy hours. Friday and Saturday feature special tasting flights, which rotate among rum, gin, mezcal and bourbon.

Summer brings the return of Evenings by the Bay at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, featuring extended hours until 8pm on Saturdays through August 31. The aquarium’s culinary team has small bites, beer and wine for sale to pair with live music from local bands. Aquarium admission is required, but locals can grab discounted admission on Saturdays from 6-8pm: adults, seniors and students $25, children $15, with photo or student ID or proof of residence.

Estéban Restaurant inside the Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa has special bottomless red, white and blue mimosas—raspberry, coconut and blueberry—to accompany breakfast for the Fourth of July. Estéban will be open for breakfast from 7-11am to fuel up before the Fourth of July parade downtown at 10am. 375-0176 for reservations. 

It’s red, white and rose this weekend at Twisted Roots for the launch of a new sparkling rosé over Fourth of July weekend. The Carmel Valley tasting room is open noon-5pm Thursday-Sunday.

And on Wednesday, July 3, Twisted Roots has a Fourth of July-themed cookie decorating class with Tammi Duell of Sticky Situations bakery. 6-8pm, $45, email julie@twistedrootsvineyard.com to sign up.

The 18th annual Monterey Beer Festival is Saturday, July 6, from 12:30-5pm at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Sample hundreds of beers from participating breweries: Alaskan Brewing Co., Altamont Beer Works, Alvarado Street Brewery, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Dust Bowl Brewing Company, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Pacific Grove Brewing Company, Peter B’s Brewpub, Promised Land Brewing Company, Real Soda, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Yeast of Eden. Look for food for sale and live music too. VIP tickets include early admission at 11:30am, private restrooms, a souvenir beer glass and complimentary snacks upon arrival. The popular doughnut pairing with Red’s Donuts also returns for VIP ticketholders. The Jade Lounge hosts an after party once the festivities wrap up. $50, $80 VIP, advance tickets ($45 or $65 VIP) available through July 5 at montereybeerfestival.com, $20 designated driver tickets, $10 onsite parking, 21+ only.

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Peter B’s Brewpub’s monthly Taco Tuesday celebration is coming up on Tuesday, July 9, from 4:30-6:30pm. Specials in the beer garden include $5 pints of Peter B’s beer, $5 El Jefe margaritas and street tacos (chicken, beef, carnitas or vegetarian, two for $5 or five for $10).

Plant-based chef Sherrie Ransom of Green Being Cuisine will host a cooking demo at the Natividad Farmers Market on Wednesday, July 10. Ransom will showcase healthy eating with a recipe for no-sugar-added fruit and chia pudding parfait. The farmers market is from 11am-3:30pm, and the cooking demonstration starts at noon.

On Wednesday, July 10, Stationæry hosts Cassie Winslow—founder of Deco Tartelette blog and author of Floral Libations—for a workshop on crafting cocktails and other beverages with fragrant florals. 7-9pm, $30, includes appetizers and two wine-based cocktails, purchase online at thestationaery.com.

PS. Stationæryis also rolling out low-alcohol cocktails to join the selection of beer and natural wines at the cozy Carmel restaurant and cafe. The first new low-ABV cocktail is the Porto Branco with white Port, tonic, lemon and bitters over ice. Look for more low-alcohol sippers to debut on the menu soon.

Join Scheid Vineyards for the next Wine School Summer series on Wednesday, July 10, from 6-8pm. Classy meets trashy with wine pairings for junk foods. Ever wonder which wines to pair with pizza, candy and chips? Learn how to pair wine with food, even those low-brow guilty pleasures. $30, wine club $25, purchase tickets at scheidvineyards.com.

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