Found Treasure: Phoebe’s at Asilomar

January 19, 2024 – A standard diamond has 58 facets. This gem has a comparable number of qualities. So let’s start shining them up. To start, Phoebe’s Cafe is a Found Treasure tucked in a Found Treasure (stately Hearst Social Hall, complete with pool tables, huge fireplace, tall ceilings and a ton of comfy seating, […]

Ian Brand Expands Into Dorcich Facility

January 19, 2024 – Opportunity makes brothers of us all. The Dorcich family found themselves wanting to scale down their winery facility on Watsonville Road in Gilroy, which has a much larger capacity than they need for their small label’s tasting room. Ian Brand, who owns the I. Brand custom crush facility in Salinas, where […]

Winners and Wonder from a Wild Big Sur Fungus Face-Off

January 23, 2024 – Rain romped. Mushrooms rose. Delirium descended. So it went for the first in-person edition of the Fungus Face-Off in several years, as part of Big Sur Foragers Fest. Despite stormy weather—and because of it—there was an abundance of mycelium to play with, and a scene at Big Sur Lodge that was […]

Found Treasure: Kong’s Burger & Cafe

January 26, 2024 – The King Kong burger, staying on brand, has a wide wingspan.  Its seductive smells reach visitors on the sidewalk, 30 yards from the storefront.  It draws people to Watsonville from as far off as Pebble Beach and Silicon Valley.  And, ultimately, it hits the taste buds hard, without thumping your bottom […]

In Praise of Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay: Madson Wines

January 26, 2024 – Relentless drizzle made every car glisten at the infernally many stoplights on Mission Street on an eerily dreary January day that was made for sitting by a fire with a book and a pot of tea. (Blanket and cat optional)  Little bursts of heavier rain made merry on the roof of […]

Restaurant Triple Win

This could come as a shock. A new community-focused and beer-brewing downtown landmark will not be showing photos of its flagship taproom on social media. The big reveal of the 100-year-old bar may happen as soon as late February. Co-creator, brewer master, Presbyterian minister and Watsonville High JV coach Rev. Robby Olson is somehow succeeding […]

La Marea in Capitola Village

Meaning “the tide” in Italian, La Marea in Capitola Village offers elevated artisan café fare with local organic ingredients. Opened in November, the new spot is owner Jayne Droese’s first foray into being a chef. Raised in Los Gatos, she worked in San Francisco for 14 years before moving to Santa Cruz during the pandemic […]

Found Treasure: DLo Cookies

January 12, 2024 – The lady from Alabama can’t quite believe it.  At new Tristan’s Cookies and Cream in Moss Landing—and with its partner-in-residence DLo Cookie—disbelief becomes a theme, right up and through the moment Tristan himself demands “no verbiage at all” about the shop. The visitor is perusing the shop’s embankment of thick cookies, […]

Big Sur Food & Wine Announces Grant Recipients

January 16, 2023 – The Big Sur Food & Wine Foundation has awarded 17 grants worth a record $225,000 to local organizations with funds raised in 2023. Under the umbrella of the all-volunteer foundation, fundraising activities included the Big Sur Fashion Show, the Ferrari Event at the Barnyard, Big Sur Food & Wine Festival and two winemaker […]

EcoFarm Preview and Mas Masumoto On Life and Fruit

January 16, 2024 – David Mas Masumoto is curious. About the life of water, about history, about natural systems, about climate change, about flavor and about “cultural frames for looking at the sacredness of Earth.” And the iconic and organic San Joaquin Valley stonefruit farmer and author feels growing up in agriculture fertilized that.  “Growing […]