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Sea lions are among the marine creatures participating in the Monterey Bay's thriving and resilient ecosystem.

A special gala dinner celebrates the 25th anniversary of a special things: the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosts the affair 6pm Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The foundation will recognize former former secretary of defense, CIA director and congressman—among other titles—Leon Panetta for his role in the sanctuary’s creation and his commitment to ocean conservation.

The event also features remarks from Anna Chavez, Julie Packard, former congressman Sam Farr (who succeeded Leon Panetta), current Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel (who succeeded Farr, and is Panetta's son), former assemblyman Fred Keeley, and president and Kris Sarri, CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Tickets are $175 per person and include a reception, program and strolling dinner through the Open Sea galleries. All proceeds support the programs of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

More food news nibbles follow here:

House of Gyros of Laguna Plaza in Seaside (the same complex that contains Breakfast Club) is gone—shrinking local falafel options further. Wakatobi Japanese Grill is on its way in. 

Johnny DeVivo has left his post at Porter's in the Forest to run the four restaurants at Rolling Hills Country Club in Palos Verde, which is undergoing a $64 million renovation. "I still get to cook like a boss and be a dad too," he says.

• Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que on North Davis Road in Salinas has closed for good.

• At Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room (655-4852) on Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, Mahalo Mondays this month support the survivors of Hurricane Harvey with 20 percent of each check on Mondays.

District 7 by Scheid is the official wine of Monterey Jazz Festival, coming on strong with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Angélique Kidjo Sept. 15-17, montereyjazzfestival.org.

Jack Burnam no longer manages Sly McFly's (649-8050). Longtime bartender, music pointman and all-around good dude Jimmy McDowell is in as GM, which bodes very well for all facets of the Cannery Row institution.

Whaling Station hosts a Chappellet wine dinner 6pm Thursday, Sept. 14, with cigars and after-dinner drinks at Humidor ($95, 373-3778).

Peter B's Brewpub (649-2699) is doing some energetic deals for Sunday NFL Football, including $8 breakfasts like huevos rancheros and brioche French toast and $6 bloodies and $5 pints all day.

Melville Tavern (643-9525) has a great coupon in the print edition of the Weekly for free chicken wings. And it stocks the Weekly in the restaurant.

• Leftovers transform into soil with a free composting workshop 10am Saturday, Sept. 23, at Monterey Regional Waste Management District (register mrwmd.org, 384-5313). Supplies at Last Chance Mercantile too.

• Third Fridays complimentary open-to-the-public wine tasting continues at Chamisal's Courtside Bistro 6-8pm Sept. 15 (484-600).

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