JOHN’S PLACE… After being closed for 18 months, The Steinbeck House, birthplace of Salinas native and Nobel prize winner John Steinbeck, is back as of Aug. 25. The restaurant/gift shop is returning with their First Friday dinner program, starting at 5:30pm Sept. 3 ($50). Pay homage to the literary giant and dine on ribeye steak, eggplant parm or salmon with artichoke sauce. 132 Central Ave., Salinas. 424-2735, steinbeckhouse.com
DESTINATION BBQ… Initially opened in 2019, the Big Sur Smokehouse is once again welcoming visitors for “Carolina-meets-California” barbecue. The menu (for lunch and dinner) includes things like tri-tip and St. Louis pork ribs and also a marinated kale salad. A bonus for local history buffs: The restaurant is inside the original Post family homestead, originally built in 1867. 48123 Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2419, bigsursmokehouse.com
NEW FLAVOR… The owners of Yangtse Taste of Thai are moving on with a transfer of ownership. If you want to support the spot (or get the last bite of outstanding noodles) before they hand it over, the last day under current ownership is Tuesday, Aug. 31. 328 Main St., Salinas. 754-2223.
’MERICA… Cheap beer and burgers: Ain’t nothing more American than that. 101 Wine Press is serving up their “All American Wednesdays.” Dig into a special brisket cheeseburger and wash it down with a crisp and refreshing domestic beer starting at only $3. 8049 San Miguel Canyon Road, Prunedale. 272-3025, 101winepress.com
THE GOOD STUFF… From vegan empanadas to keto pumpkin spice scones, The Sweet Life is the place for delicious pastries. Find them every Wednesday from 4-9pm at the Salinas Sports Complex, 1034 North Main St., Salinas. instagram.com/mmthesweetlife.
PAPER ANNIVERSARY… The Japanese place your foodie cousin raves about, Toro, is celebrating its 1-year anniversary. They have some of the freshest, highest-quality sushi you can get on the Central Coast, along with tasty appetizers and entrees. Try some of their unique Japanese beers, and don’t forget to buy the staff a round of sake! Dolores between Fifth and Sixth, Carmel. 574-3255, torosushicarmel.com