BACK IN ACTION… Covid-era restrictions on businesses lifted in California on June 15. That means all seats are a go for restaurants and bars. Raise a glass, and don’t forget to tip generously.
ROLLING ON… Emerging from the rugged coast, Big Sur Taco has been getting noticed with their handmade tortillas – unusual for a lot of places, and especially for a taco truck. Try the shrimp tacos, or one of their vegan and gluten-free options. They post up at El Estero Park in Monterey, the Carmel Valley Farmers Market and of course, in and around Big Sur. Catch up with them at instagram.com/bigsurtaco.
SLOW SMOKE… It’s back – the delish brisket grilled cheese sandwich is back on the menu at Alvarado Street Brewery and Bistro. Their cheese-slathered brisket sando, smoked for 14 hours, includes pickled jalapeño, onion jam and a house BBQ sauce with nitro stout. It’s so rich, you may need to take a nap halfway through. Pick one up at Carmel Plaza, Carmel. 293-8621, asb.beer.
NIGHT AND LIFE… Emerging from the pandemic may require a few stiff drinks, and Barmel is back open to help. The “where young people in Carmel go” bar is now open until 2am. San Carlos and Seventh, Carmel. 626-2095.
BEAN BOYS… Coffee and beer cafe The Beerded Bean just celebrated the two-year anniversary of their bricks-and-mortar location in Oldtown Salinas, and another location in Carmel is now in the works. They are always good for a morning caffeine fix or an afternoon beer and a chill place to sit any time of day. 210 S. Main St., Salinas. 202-0966, thebeerdedbean.com.
LA MUSICA… Seaside mainstay Gusto’s now has live music nights, called Musica dal Vivo, every Thursday. Try one of their amazing pasta dishes or a pizza and pick up a drink during their extended happy hour, 5:30-8pm. 1901 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. 899-5825.
LOCAL BUCKS… A good lunch deal on some of the best vegetarian food in the county awaits you at Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant. During the locals lunch special, from 10am-2pm Mon-Fri, you can pick from a coconut or pumpkin curry for only $15. They also have a late-night happy hour that means free vegan tamales with every drink after 8pm. 1180 Forest Ave., Suite F, Pacific Grove. 656-9533, juliasveg.com.