OUTDOOR DINING, IN WINTER… The state of California lifted its Covid-19 regional lockdowns on Jan. 25, which means outdoor dining is allowed again. Many restaurants were raring to go, chilly weather be darned. Or damned. Call your favorite spots to ask if they’re back for sit-down service, and bring a blanket. A partial list of who is: in Monterey, Rosine’s, which offers a soul-warming minestrone soup (434 Alvarado St., 375-1400), and Dust Bowl Brewing with a Peace, Love and Haze New England style IPA among other brews (290 Figueroa St., 641-7002). The Highway 1 closure didn’t stop Nepenthe in Big Sur (4850 Highway 1, 667-2345). In Salinas, Villa Azteca (157 Main St., 256-2669) and Gino’s (1410 S. Main St., 422-1814) have opened for outdoor table service, and in Pacific Grove, fill up on vegetarian fare at Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant (1180 Forest Ave., 656-9533) or pub fare and raise a glass to partial reopening at Monarch Pub (617 Lighthouse Ave., 324-4987).
OR TRY DELIVERY, AGAIN… Outdoor dining may be available, but we’re still in the Purple Tier for Covid restrictions, so for many, takeout remains prudent. If you’re in Carmel, the recently launched Carmel Delivers is a free delivery service for food (and alcohol) with the goal of cutting out the high surcharges charged by services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. Eleven Carmel restaurants have signed up for the pilot phase. Order at carmeldelivers.org – and make sure to tip the delivery person!
CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS… Montrio Bistro in downtown Monterey is closed for renovations. The restaurant is located in a circa-1910 fire house. Fret not, fans of the Montrio vibe – sister restaurants Tarpy’s Roadhouse and Rio Grill are both open. And check in at montrio.com for updates on re-opening, post-renovation.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (AND CANDY)… Carousel Candies on Fisherman’s Wharf is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a special deal for locals. Come by the confectionery and say the phrase “All you need is love” and you get 20-percent off a cash purchase. This special goes for the entire month of February.
SEASONED LIFE… Big Sur Salts offers salts hand-harvested from the Big Sur coastline. The company offers several varieties including Black Cone salt which they say has a smoky taste that could amp up your next BBQ, and they also offer rub blends. A good start may be the chef’s box set for $50, which has a selection of four different salts. Order at bigsursalts.com.