Dining Out: Rio Grill evolving over timeMarch 24, 2011 No Comments
Restaurateurs often celebrate getting over that one-year hurdle, when the odds of long-term survival increase dramatically. Rio Grill in Carmel not only survived that first year in 1984, they extended that success 26 more times and will celebrate its longevity on Wednesday, April 20, with a party/benefit and a sneak preview of some new restaurant developments.
the Grill, a longtime locals favorite in the Crossroads Shopping Village, is one of only a handful of area restaurants boasting such longevity.
Owner Tony Tollner and general manager Joe Valencia will roll out the red carpet for its loyal customers, all to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Monterey County, an organization dedicated to the safety, well-being and best interests of children in the dependency system.
Chef Cy Yontz is creating a new menu (details forthcoming) to go along with a new banquet room, improved spirits selection and updated look.
The event will include: Taste samples from the new menu; new signature cocktails; wine samples from local vintners; and live music.
the event is from 5:30-7:30p.m. and the cost is $27 per person, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support CASA. Space is limited to 200 attendees. for more information on Rio Grill and its upcoming celebration, call 625-5436 or go to riogrill.com.
Pastry chef honored
Aubergine executive pastry chef Ron Mendoza has been selected as one of six semifinalists from the Americas to compete in the C3 International Restaurants Desserts Competition to be held in Paris on April 6.
Mendoza’s recipe for a plated dessert followed the mandated theme of “Majari and the Flavors of Madagascar” and was selected by judges from hundreds of recipes submitted.
“I am very excited about this competition,” said Mendoza. “It means a lot to make it to the semifinals in Paris because it reinforces that even though Aubergine isn’t located in a major metropolitan area, there is still the opportunity to be recognized internationally for creativity and style.”
After the Paris competition one pastry chef from each region (France, Italy, Spain, Asia, Americas and Northern Europe/Middle East) will go on to compete in the Madrid Fusion International Gastronomy conference in January 2012.
Mendoza will return home in time to host a segment of “In the Aubergine Kitchen” cooking classes that extend into November. Mendoza will begin by teaching “Macarons not Macaroons” on April 21.
Limited to 10 people, participants will work in the Aubergine kitchen with either Mendoza or Executive Chef Justin Cogley as they teach a variety of essential cooking techniques and use of ingredients. Cogley heads “Seafood 101″ on April 20.
Classes take place from 11:30 a.m.-1:30p.m.. Cost is $100 per person, plus tax and service fee. for more information, call 622-5909.
PBFW fringe events
next month’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine boasts 52 separate events, the equivalent of a party of week for year — all packed into three days.
there are a myriad of events that require a cocktail dress, a sportcoat and quiet reverence — and then there are at least three that seem to push the party button. “Booze, Blues and BBQs,” “ESPW: Entertaining Sports Personalities and their Wines” and “Guy Fieri: Culinary Rock Star” all should give guest a raucous good time.
Dann Dunn is a former Playboy magazine nightlife and liquor columnist and author of “Living Loaded: tales of Sex, Salvation and the Pursuit of the Never-Ending happy Hour.” he will lift the spirits of those who attend Booze, Blues and BBQs on Saturday, April 30. Guests will taste cocktails from master mixologists, eat slow-cooked meat and listen to Dunn’s stories.
PBFW found a group of elite athletes and sports figures who have focused that familiar drive and passion to winemaking. the Friday, April 29 seminar provides guests with wine-drinking access to their favorite sports figures.
Guy Fieri is known the world over as the bleach-blonde, spiky-haired chef who won Season II of “The next Food Network Star.” the chef and restaurateur now hosts three Food Network shows and is the host of the popular TV show on NBC called “Minute to Win it.”
the event on Sunday, may 1, will allow guests a 2-hour-plus window to eat and drink with Fieri at the Inn at Spanish Bay.
for more information on these events and others, visit pebblebeachfoodandwine.com.
Chef Goebel honored
the Monterey chapter of the American Culinary Federation gathered last week for the 37th annual Chef of the Year Dinner and President’s Ball. this year’s winner was Chef Ken Goebel, executive administrative director, Nutrition and Environmental Services at
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. Erasmo Aiello of Palermo Bakery won Purveyor of the Year and Dory Ford of Aqua Terra won the 2010 Celebrated Chef award.
Cordon Bleu Day
In honor of National Cordon Bleu Day (yes, there is a day for everything), Fandango owners Pierre and Marietta Bain will celebrate Pierre’s favorite holiday by offering Chicken Cordon Bleu for both lunch and dinner on Monday, April 4.
if you want to try making this dish at home, here is Fandango’s recipe:
Chicken Cordon Bleu(Serves 4)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 4 slices Swiss cheese 4 slices prosciutto or ham ½ cup flour 1 egg (beaten) ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs ½ stick butter Salt and pepper to taste
Steps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pound chicken breasts to ¼-inch thickness. Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. place one cheese slice and one prosciutto or ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick.
Dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg, and roll in bread crumbs. Sauté in butter on both sides and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.
Bits and pieces
Tarpy’s Roadhouse has resumed its Wine-Down Wednesdays concept, showcasing local wines and vintners each Wednesday from 5-7p.m. through may.
each week, the featured winery offers tastes of its wines and Tarpy’s offers those same wines at half-price by the glass and bottle, paired with a discounted three-course prix-fixe menu. Today brings Bernardus to the table, followed by Rodney Strong on March 30, and Joullian on April 6.
Tarpy’s has jumped on the happy hour bandwagon offering $3 appetizers and $3 well drinks, house wine and tap beer on weekdays from 3-6p.m. 647-1444 or tarpys.com.
Esteban in Monterey plans a five-course dinner pairing the wines from Georis. Meet with the winemaker and owner and dine of Chef Tom Snyder’s small-bite specialties. look for sea bass ceviche, bacalao-stuffed piquillo peppers, roast squab and much more. Cost is $65. RSVP at or call 375-0176.
Wild Plum Café and Bakery is holding a poetry contest to help honor administrative assistants. Deadline is April 1 and word limit is 100. Winner gets a lunch for their office (up to 20 people) and the assistant gets a $100 gift certificate to Wild Plum. Details on at thewildplumcafe.com.
if you birthday falls between March 24-31, Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room in Monterey will give you a free order of sweet potato fries. Dine on Mondays and the restaurant gives back 10 percent of total sales to charity ($30,000 has gone to charity the last three years).
· Pending city council approval tonight, it appears the food program at Pacific Grove Golf Links clubhouse will be run by chef Dory Ford of Aqua Terra. Ford, the former executive chef at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Ventana Inn and Spa, will take over for Chris D’Amelio at the Red House Cafe.
Also in Pacific Grove, the China House opens its doors today at the American Tin Cannery in the space formerly occupied by Woody’s.
Herald columnist and super chef Todd Fisher has taken the chef de cuisine gig at Sticks restaurant in Spanish Bay. big Crocs to fill following the death of longtime chef Ted Consoli last year. look for bold flavors and plenty of surprises there.
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