Cult Taco

After a series of soft opening teases, Cult Taco—a fast casual taqueria from the team behind Carmel’s Cultura Comida y Bebida—officially opens Wednesday, May 1, in downtown Monterey. Choose from mushrooms with green pipian, mole-style cauliflower, local fish, garlic mojo de ajo prawns, chicken tinga, Berkshire pork carnitas and Wagyu beef barbacoa as tacos ($3-4), tortas ($10-17) and salads ($10-17). A raw bar stocks oysters ($3.50 apiece), ceviche ($14) and prawn cocktail ($14). Cultura’s popular botanas snacks, like chapulines crickets ($5), peanuts ($4) and pinwheels ($4), are available alongside chips and salsa ($4), guacamole ($8) and queso fundido ($12). No tequila or mezcal, unfortunately, but beer and wine are available and nonalcoholic aguas frescas too. 481 Alvarado Street, Monterey, culttaco.com. 11:30am-9pm daily. Credit/debit card only.

Explore the surprising world of German wines with The Wine Experience on Wednesday, May 1. Sommelier Aaron Hoops will showcase Riesling, naturally, but also highlight other standout sips from Germany. 6-9pm, $30, info at wineexperience.org or call 324-4974.

First Awakenings in Pacific Grove has rolled out some new menu additions inspired by customer favorites at the Salinas location. Among the new breakfast options are blueberry ricotta pancakes, while lunch brings a seared ahi salad, The Scarlett salad with baby kale and strawberries and a philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Fire on Wheels

Fire On Wheels takes wood-fired pizza on the road. Chef/owner Jeremy DeWeese hauls a wood-burning oven to cook up pizzas ranging from classic (margherita, pepperoni, sausage) to creative (turkey pesto, prosciutto and blackberries, clams and arugula). The veteran-owned and family-run mobile pizza concept is a fixture at many community events, plus the Marina farmers market on Sundays (10am-2pm) and the Pacific Grove farmers market on Mondays (3-7pm). On Tuesdays, you’ll find the oven set up in front of Carmel Valley Chophouse. Chophouse owners Fabrice and Jennifer Roux open up the bar for cocktails, beer and wine for diners to enjoy pizza and drinks on the patio. (Chophouse’s kitchen is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) Follow @fireonwheelspizza for the latest on events and other pop-up pizza appearances.

Counterpoint Coffee is getting ready to dish up childhood nostalgia with cereal milk lattes. Borrowing a page from celebrity chef Christina Tosi—whose signature sweetened cornflake Cereal Milk is available as soft serve and lattes at Milk Bar outposts nationwide—the Counterpoint crew are steeping childhood cereal classics to pair with espresso.

C strawberries and cream

Speaking of childhood nostalgia, spring brings the return of the strawberries ‘n cream dessert to the C restaurant + bar. The dessert shows off Sous Chef Michelle Lee’s pastry roots. For five years now, she has created her own take on her childhood favorite Good Humor strawberry shortcake bar. This year’s features housemade strawberry sorbet, vanilla bean parfait, strawberry streusel and malted yogurt finished with a meringue chip, fresh berries and flowers.

Looking for special sweets to celebrate your graduate this month? Blue Aces Bake Shoppe is doing brisk business for hand-decorated graduation cookies, macarons and cupcakes. Visit blueacesbakeshoppe.com for more information and to place your order. The deadline for graduation orders is Thursday, May 12.

Join Grasing’s for a tasting and buying event with Louis Latour on Thursday, May 2, from 4:30-6pm. Try tastes of the famed French winemaker for $25 (inclusive). Tasting fee waived with $100 purchase.

Hofsas House in Carmel hosts an evening of wine and small bites on Friday, May 3, to support Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. Sip wines from Scheid Vineyards and enjoy a selection of small bites. 5:30-7pm, $15 includes snacks and one glass of wine with additional glasses available for purchase, reservations required: 624-2745.

Max’s Helping Paws holds its second Paws for a Cause fundraising gala on Friday, May 3, from 5:30-9:30pm at The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach. This year’s theme—Casablanca on the Coast—features live music, a casino, live and silent auctions, plus food and drink from the Pebble Beach culinary team. $125, proceeds benefit the foundation’s work to provide financial assistance to pet owners whose pets are facing a health crisis. For more information and tickets, visit maxshelpingpaws.org.

The Monterey Symphony’s Gala by the Bay is Friday, May 3, from 6-10pm at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The evening includes a seated dinner, wine, live auction and private access to the aquarium’s Open Sea exhibit. $250, proceeds benefit the Monterey Symphony and its Music for the Schools initiative, tickets at montereysymphony.org.

The Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association’s 27th annual Winemakers Celebration is Saturday, May 4, from 1-4pm on Dolores Street in downtown Carmel. More than 30 local wineries will be pouring tastes of their wines—a great chance to try new releases or revisit old favorites. Meet local winemakers and grape growers from across Monterey County, sample sub-appellations including Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, Chalone, Hames Valley, Monterey, San Antonio Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands, and purchase wines to take home. Local chefs and restaurants will have small bites to nibble on between sips of wine. $75, $125 VIP tickets include early entry at noon and valet parking, tickets at montereywines.org, 21+ only, no pets allowed.

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The Historic Garden League kicks off its three-part Bringing History Alive speaker series with Elderberries! with Ohlone scholar and basket weaver Linda Yamani the featured speaker on Sunday, May 5. Yamani will share the importance of the native berry as a lens for Ohlone culture and local Carmel Valley artisan Katie Reneker from Carmel Berry Company will connect Yamani’s story with the rebirth of elderberry. The free lecture takes place at the Pacific House Memory Garden and Joseph Boston Store at 210 Olivier Street in Monterey, but seating is limited so email info@historicgardenleague.com to RSVP. A pop-up tasting, food and art fair, plant sale and tours follow the lecture (no RSVP needed).

MY Museum’s 15th annual MY ParTea spring fundraiser is Sunday, May 5, from 1:30-4:30pm at Tehama Golf Club in Carmel. The event features afternoon tea, a children’s fashion show, seated luncheon, silent auction, raffle and more. $125, reservations required, tickets at mymuseum.org.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Peter B’s Brewpub with food and drink specials on Sunday, May 5, from 11am-11pm. Specials include chicken enchiladas ($12.95) and churros ($11), plus El Jefe house margaritas for $8 and pitchers of Peter B’s Mexican lager for $18. And there will be live music with the Javier Sanchez Duo from 6-9pm.

Over at Jacks Monterey, Cinco de Mayo brings food and drink specials from 11:30am-10pm. Snag an entree plate for $14.95 with choice of chicken enchiladas, pupusas, fish tacos, huevos rancheros, pork carnitas or carne asada ($3 extra) with rice and beans or choose from a la carte additions like guacamole ($6), churros ($11) and flan ($9). Also look for specials on margaritas, tequila, mezcal and craft beer. And there will be live music from 1-8pm from Dany Cobo Trio strolling mariachis.

The last round of semifinals for Folktale Winery’s Chef Duel culinary competition lands on Monday, May 6, from 6-9pm. This round pits Stephen Paulson (formerly of Yeast of Eden) against Jonathan Roberts (PigWizard). The winner will join Estevan Jimenez (Rancho Cielo) and Sophina Uuong for the finals next month. $25, folktalewinery.com for tickets.

Explore the Côte d’Or—the heart of Burgundy—with the next wine class at Stave Wine Cellar on Tuesday, May 7. Sip selections from the region’s famed winemakers and learn why they’re regarded as some of the best in the world. 6pm, $50, reservations recommended, 644-7997, 21 and over only.

Stone fruit season is approaching. Aubergine’s Pastry Chef Yulanda Santos shares tips to making sweet treats with peaches, cherries and nectarines at a cooking class on Thursday, May 9. Learn how to make cobblers, pies and crisps with these favorite sweet stone fruits. 11am-1pm, $125, reservations required, 624-8578.

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