In The Kitchen 01.03.19

Katie Blandin Shea

Look for a new cocktail destination to arrive in Monterey this winter: The Pearl Hour. The new bar comes from Katie Blandin Shea of Bar Cart Cocktail Co. and is named for the “interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself” in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. The Pearl Hour will create a permanent home for Shea’s signature garden-to-glass drinks, previously only available to those who booked her cocktail catering company for special events. Public documents show that her new location will replace Carbone's on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. Shea shares a teaser for the new cocktail bar, “The Pearl Hour will carry forth the same drink philosophy as Bar Cart, and will be a gathering place for the community of Monterey, California, where locals, tourists and the newly arrived feel equally at home. We will provide a variety of options for our guests: those who want a cold bottle of beer or wine, those who want one made locally, those who want an expertly made cocktail that uses only the best ingredients, or those who want something delicious and celebratory without alcohol, will all find what they are looking for.” In the meantime, follow @pearl_hour on Instagram for updates.

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. has opened its much anticipated taproom in Monterey. The brewery’s Tap Depot occupies the historic train depot adjacent the commercial wharf, which was previously home to The Wharf Marketplace. The new taproom has 24 selections on tap: 22 Dust Bowl brews—including the brewery’s signature Taco Truck Mexican-style lager and flagship IPA Hops of Wrath—and two wines. Outside, there’s a beer garden with communal picnic tables, a fire pit and games. Dust Bowl Brewing Co. has teamed with Wedo’s Tacos food truck to provide, well, tacos. And more. The Monterey taproom is the Dust Bowl Brewing Co.’s third location and the first outside its Turlock home base, arriving just after the brewery’s tenth anniversary. 290 Figueroa Street, Monterey. 641-7002, dustbowlbrewing.com. Open 11am-11pm daily.

There’s a new option for wine in Monterey too: Puma Road has opened a tasting room in the Portola Plaza downtown. Puma Road on the Plaza offers tastes from Puma’s portfolio of estate wines from third-generation farmer Ray Franscioni. Try wines from Monterey and San Benito counties, including the Santa Lucia Highlands and Paicines AVAs. 281 Alvarado Street, Monterey. 747-1911, pumaroad.com. Open noon-8pm Sunday-Thursday and until 9pm Friday-Saturday.

Nitro Cycle

Keep an eye out for Nitro-Cycle, a new bicycle coffee cart. The menu features Captain + Stoker nitro cold brew (small $3 or large $5) and mocha ($7). The cart has been rolling up to spots along the Recreational Trail and Cannery Row. Follow @nitrocycle831 on Instagram for tips on where to find the cart next.

Negroni Week is in full swing. Join Yeast of Eden for a Negroni Throwdown on Thursday, June 27, from 6-9pm. The cocktail competition will feature Bijan Emadi (jeninni kitchen + wine bar), Kelly Kuhn (Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill), Cesar Osuna (Montrio Bistro), Josh Perry (Cultura Comida y Bebida) and Alice South (Hula’s Island Grill and neXt doOr), with Aaron Shields (Grasing’s Restaurant) as the emcee for the festivities. Competitors will face two rounds: First creating a signature cocktail featuring Campari or Aperol, then vying for best Negroni. $20, includes passed appetizers on the courtyard and tastes of the competitors’ cocktails. Proceeds benefit the Surfrider Foundation.

Captain + Stoker has partnered with M Baked Goods for plant-based pastries for the Monterey coffee shop. Get a sneak peek of the new lineup of vegan sweets and treats from baker Maryke Grobler this weekend before the official debut in July.

Carmel Valley Ranch has rolled out new renovations for summer, including the debut of The Market and Creamery. The market will offer a spot to stock up on picnic supplies, enjoy espresso, sip wine and beer, and meet local artisans. Next door, the creamery features cheeses made from milk from Carmel Valley Ranch’s resident goats. Look for surprise pop-up tastings, pairings and demonstrations from famed cheesemaker Charlie Cascio, whose goats relocated here after the Soberanes Fire. The Market has a lineup of classes including oyster shucking, cupcake baking, cheesemaking and beekeeping. Call 626-2599 for more information.

Rio Grill is still on the lookout for a beloved porcupine sculpture stolen from the restaurant on Wednesday, May 22. Rio is now offering a $1,000 gift card for any information that can lead to the return of the prized porcupine.

Barmel welcomes the Carmel Pine Cone’s Mary Schley as this month’s celebrity bartender on Thursday, June 27, from 6-10pm. Fittingly, Schley has selected the Schley cocktail—a concoction of rum, whiskey, lime, sugar and seltzer from New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel made in honor of Admiral Winfield Scott Schley—as the drink of the night. Proceeds benefit Youth Arts Collective.

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Morgan hosts another Vintage Fridays with flights of library wines at the winery’s tasting room in the Crossroads Carmel Shopping Center on Friday, June 28. 11am-5:30pm, $20, $10 for wine club members. 

And on Saturday, June 29, Morgan dusts off some archival selections at the winery’s Salinas production facility for a cellar sale. Look for vintage Rhône-style wines from Morgan’s catalog for sale, including 1994 Dry Creek Syrah (the winery’s first Syrah selection), 1996 Crow’s Roost, 2006 Rio Tinto, 2011 Tempranillo and some other surprise selections. 526 Brunken Avenue, Salinas. 1-3pm or until sold out, whites $20 per bottle, reds $30 per bottle, 10 percent discount on case purchases, wine club members get early access at noon.

Summer is here and it’s time to get grillin’. The Meatery celebrates a summertime staple with Burger Night on Friday, June 28, from 5-9pm. The menu for the evening includes the All American Burger (two four-ounce beef patties, Thousand Island dressing, iceberg lettuce and pickles on a sesame bun), the Umami Burger (six-ounce beef patty, sun-dried tomato, Parmesan cheese chip, mushrooms, caramelized onions and umami sauce on a sesame bun), a salmon burger, a turkey burger and a vegetarian black bean burger. Sides include fries and onion rings, plus Coke or root beer floats for dessert. Reservations aren’t required, dine in or carry out, but no phone orders.

Caraccioli Cellars’ popular Bubble Bus is back. Tour and sip your way through the Santa Lucia Highlands on Saturday, June 29. The tour picks up in Carmel and at Zeph’s One Stop in Salinas. First up is a tour of the Escolle Vineyard, followed by a tasting of Caraccioli bubbles and lunch, followed by visits to Odonata then I. Brand and Family Winery for wine tasting. The bus will return riders to the pick-up locations in Salinas and Carmel. 9:30am-5pm, $115, tickets via Eventbrite, must purchase by Thursday, June 27, 21+ only.

Reminder: Waypoint Bar + Kitchen at Quail Lodge hosts its next Dinner at Waypoint on Saturday, June 29. Executive Chef Brian Kearns prepares three-course dinner menu with choice of appetizer, entree and dessert. The night also features complimentary corkage. 6-9pm, $55, reservations required: 620-8910.

Mercado Sagrado—a pop-up prototype for a new combined restaurant and retail concept in Big Sur in the remodeled Village Shops by the Big Sur River Inn—ends its four-week residency with a closing celebration on Sunday, June 30, from 10am-8pm. The day includes a film screening, music and healing arts seminars. Look for nourishment from chef Greg Arnold—visiting from Darkhorse Organic and Sproutcraft Creamery in southern California—for brunch (10am, noon and 2pm, $42) and dinner (5, 7 and 9pm, $82), plus food artisans like Canyon Coffee, Sun Potion Tonics, Leaves & Flowers, Botanica, Loco Love Chocolate and more. (Food service is also available daily through Sunday, June 30.) For more information on the closing celebration and daily programming, visit mercado-sagrado.com.

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