Seaside’s Plates Com Tam has closed. A spin-off from popular local noodle chain Chopstix, owner Mikey Nguyen and family turned the spotlight towards rustic Vietnamese comfort foods, including the eponymous com tam broken rice plates. While Plates Com Tam may have closed, the Chopstix chain is going strong with locations in Seaside, Salinas, Monterey and Carmel.
The Beach House welcomes Daniel Rader as new executive chef. The homegrown hospitality veteran got his start as baker and barista at Whole Food Market in Monterey before becoming a busser at The Whaling Station. From there, Rader turned toward the kitchen and has worked in local restaurants for the past 20 years with a resume that includes stints at Cantinetta Luca, Casanova, Estéban Restaurant, La Bicyclette, Le St. Tropez, Porta Bella and Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette. “I kept my head down and learned from the best. All the hard work paid off. I love my job and so grateful to work in such a beautiful place. I feel I’m where I was meant to be,” says Rader. Taking over the kitchen at the Beach House and its downstairs cafe, he hopes “to make people happy so they will come back again and again. I’m not trying to make over-fussy food. Just fresh, homecooked, flavorful food, and stay true to who I am.”
As football season kicks off, Knuckles Sports Bar inside the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa will offer select beers and appetizers for just $5 on Monday nights from 4pm until the first touchdown is scored. Knuckles has also rolled out a new menu featuring sports bar staples. Start with chicken wings (6 pieces for $9, 12 pieces for $15 or 24 pieces for $24), ultimate nachos ($14), calamari ($12), pretzel sticks ($9) and more. Heartier selections include hot dogs and burgers ($10-20), fried chicken sandwich ($15), New England lobster and crab roll ($18), pizzas (10-inch or 16-inch, $16-23) and steak frites ($25). On the lighter side, there are salads ($12-20), a marinated portobello mushroom sandwich ($15), a black bean veggie burger ($14), a tofu poke rice bowl ($22), seared salmon ($26) and grilled chicken ($26).
Twisted Roots is branching out—literally—with the debut of a new Twisted Roots Hard Cider. Light, crisp and easy-drinking hard cider is increasingly popular and owners Josh and Julie Ruiz spent time researching cider in England and found it similar to the intricate work of making wine. They sought to create a cider different from the typical American apple cider. Using five fresh apple varieties—Golden Russet, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji and Red Delicious—Josh Ruiz made a low-sugar, lightly carbonated cider that’s 6 percent alcohol. Visit the winery’s Carmel Valley tasting room for a taste or purchase bottles online at twistedrootshardcider.com.
Three new developments at Marina’s Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette sure to please bourbon lovers. Salt Wood and Knob Creek have partnered for a proprietary bourbon blend. Salt Wood’s Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Small Batch, barrel #8377, began its barreling on February 11, 2004 and arrives at 120 proof with “robust vanilla, caramel and rich wood notes and a deep amber color.” Enjoy a neat pour for $16 or add it as an upgrade to the Lavender Heights cocktail (bourbon, lime and lavender-vanilla simple syrup) for $19. Salt Wood also has a new bourbon flight with three different Bulleit selections: Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit 10 Year and Bulleit Barrel Strength. And Salt Wood also has a new cocktail cart with specialty craft cocktails, including the Ruby Rush (Makers Mark, honey, baked apple bitters and brûléed pickles) and the Rye Time (Basil Hayden Dark Rye, smoked almond sour mix and candied bacon).
Blue Aces Bake Shoppe in Salinas is ready for fall with new flavors of French macarons for September. Seasonal selections include pie-inspired cookie creations like apple pie, pumpkin pie, banana caramel cream pie, coconut cream pie (dairy-free), chocolate cream pie, Boston cream pie, lemon meringue, peach-frangipane almond tart (dairy-free), pistachio-rose water tart and Black Forest cherry torte. Macarons are $2 apiece or $24 for a dozen.
The sun is setting on summer and on Aubergine’s Thursdays in the Courtyard series, too. The last courtyard happy hour of the summer is Thursday, Sept. 5, from 3-6pm with cocktails, wine and beer, plus a la carte bar bites. As always, every beverage purchase gets you two complimentary oysters.
Join Earthbound Farm for the Bee Experience at the Carmel Valley farmstand every Saturday in September. Learn about the western honeybee with a 90-minute walking tour with Earthbound’s resident beekeeper Marc Romano. Watch bees scout the farmstand property, then put on a bee suit to take apart a hive with more than 200,000 busy bees. Tours are Saturdays at 11am and 1:30pm, $50 adults, $35 children under 12 (children must be at least six years old and at least four feet tall), call 625-6219.
And on Saturday, Sept. 7, Earthbound Farm also has a Bug Walk at the farmstand. Learn how organic farmers use “good bugs” to help crops. 11am, $10 children, free for accompanying adults.
Get ready for a different sort of blind tasting with the Magical Mystery Monterey Wines Tour on Saturday, Sept. 7, from the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. The tour promises an exclusive experience at local Monterey County wineries with only one hint of the day’s lineup: Wineries will be curated from the Carmel Valley AVA. Expect surprise winery and vineyard tours, wine tastings (from barrels and bottles) and hanging out with local winemakers and growers. 9:30am-4pm, $125, tickets include food and round-trip transportation from the Barnyard Carmel shopping center, additional wine available for purchase, no pets, 21+ only.
Bernardus Lodge celebrates the arrival of tomato season with an heirloom tomato lunch on Saturday, Sept. 7. Sip a bloody Mary while shucking oysters and meet local tomato titans Dick and Bonnie Swank of Swank Farms. After a reception in the September sunshine, step into Lucia Restaurant for a garden-inspired lunch buffet by Executive Chef Cal Stamenov featuring tomato ratatouille, Carmel Valley gazpacho, roasted free-range Sonoma chicken and natural prime beef. 11am-2pm, $115, 658-3400 for reservations.
McIntyre Vineyards has a Harvest in the Vineyard lunch on Sunday, Sept. 8. Sip on McIntyre wines—including l'Homme Qui Ris sparkling wine, rosé of Pinot Noir, Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Merlot—with lunch catered by Aqua Terra Culinary at the winery’s McIntyre Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Tour the vineyard and try blind tasting of wine grapes with the winner taking home a large format bottle as their prize. 11am-3pm, $70, $60 wine club members, $15 round-trip transportation from Carmel Crossroads tasting room available and departs at 10am, tickets includes a take-home etched glass, 21+ only.
Yasss Monterey hosts its inaugural pool party on Sunday, Sept. 8, at the Carmel Mission Inn. The afternoon party from the collective of Monterey Bay artists, musicians, foodies, tastemakers and creative types will feature tropical disco by DJ/Producer Kenny Summit and live art installations by local artists, plus food and cocktails for purchase. 1-6pm, $30 presale tickets, $40 at the door.
Explore the wines of Burgundy with Grasing’s on Monday, Sept. 9. Wine Director Chris Edmonds has curated a selection of world-class Burgundian wines to pair with small bites by chef-owner Kurt Grasing up in the restaurant’s rooftop lounge. Favorites will be available for purchase to take home. 5-6:30pm, $25 (inclusive), tasting fee waived with $100 minimum purchase, visit grasings.com/events to sign up.
Peter B’s Brewpub has its last Taco Tuesday for the summer on Tuesday, Sept.10. Enjoy $5 pints of Peter B’s beer, $5 El Jefe margaritas and street tacos (two for $5 or five for $10) in the brewery’s beer garden from 4:30-6:30pm.
Mark your calendars for Stone Creek Kitchen’s next Dinner in the Kitchen on Friday, Sept. 13. Explore the food and wine of northern Italy, which varies widely from the more familiar southern cuisines. Enjoy a five-course feast, with each course paired with Terlan wine. 7pm, $135, communal seating, 393-1042 for reservations.