Edible Monterey Bay

Hidden Fortress Becoming Babaloo Cuban Cafe

January 27, 2020 – Longtime local food-and-beverage pro Gladys Parada had it all figured out.

She found a little house on a great oceanfront lot on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. Since she loves how Puerto Rico shares similarities with her beloved Cuba, and is a whole heck of a lot easier to access—and happens to have a promising food and farm scene springing up in the wake of recent natural disasters, with the help of powerhouses like José Andrés—she had her new headquarters.

“I felt like I was with my people,” she says. “It’s the next best thing to Cuba! I was about to take my a** down to Puerto Rico! I was joining that revolution!”

Only a different type of Cuban dream appeared—no, reappeared—on her horizon. Her … Read More

GourmetFest Postponed to 2021

January 21, 2020 – It can be challenging to describe the level of luxury GourmetFest brings to the table.

Here is one way: Its organizing parent Relais & Châteaux is so exacting in its international hospitality approach that it’s not enough to cater to every guests whim—with services like personal shoppers and customized cupcakes—but to do it in one-of-a-kind majestic properties that by definition cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Money isn’t really the object with singular experiences like the ones its members craft, but a room at a R&C can run $6K a night.

Only the most rigorously on-it small-scale “hotels” around the world apply to be members in the Relais & Châteaux club. Some are carved into mountains; others are tiny lodges built from beautiful historic … Read More

Watsonville Brothers Slice It Up

January 21, 2020 – Growing up in the nineties, was there any food more appealing than pizza? As kids, we envied the epic pizza parties of crime-fighting turtles and spent our weekends at the mall inevitably scarfing down a slice of Sbarro while we were there.

It’s not just nineties kids who have swooned over the perfect slice—the pizza parlor has long been an icon of American pop culture.

Slice Project’s 313 Detroit-style pizza with cupping pepperoni (photo: Raúl Nava)

This nostalgia sets the stage for Slice Project, which opened in the old Fox Theater in downtown Watsonville last month. Formerly home to Fox Pizza and Grill, the corner spot has already become a popular fixture and part of a revival downtown.

Slice Project comes from brothers Brando and Kristian … Read More

Winners of the Foragers Festival Fungus Face-off

January 21, 2020 – All those who attended the Fungus Face-Off at the Big Sur River Inn last weekend went home winners—with their bellies full of mushroom goodness and their hearts warmed by local wines.

But participating chefs tried to outdo each other in the good natured competition to benefit the Big Sur Health Center and here are those winners:

Chef Nick Balla of Coast Big Sur was awarded judge’s choice Best of Show for his curried squash soup with wild herb za’atar and matsutake mushroom oil.

Chef Eric Piacentine of Big Sur Bakery won the People’s Choice Award for his savory mushroom custard, made with mushroom-crab broth with local chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms.

Chef Jonny Black of Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn won the award for Best … Read More

Meet Carmel Belle’s New Owners-To-Be

January 14, 2020 – With upwards of 50 eateries in a square mile, Carmel-by-the-Sea has one of the highest restaurant-per-capita rates on the continent. But among such a deep reservoir of restaurants there is nothing remotely like Carmel Belle and its mix of counter convenience and organic-ingredient-driven fare, which is precisely why Meghan Rasmussen and her family have been loyal customers for years.

Now, with former owners Chloe and Jay Dolata training their focus on Elroy’s Fine Foods, a forthcoming upscale boutique grocery just over Carmel Hill in the former Monte Vista Market, Rasmussen and Dolatas are finalizing a deal for the Doud Craft Studios spot. 

“We had other offers,” Jay Dolata says, “but this one was the best for [Carmel Belle].”

Lokman Balaban and Meghan Rasmussen

While Rasmussen does mention … Read More