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My Summer Food Bucket List

Ready to leap into summer vacation? I am! See...


Summer vacation is finally here! And what a school year it has been. I feel as if I haven't stopped moving for the entire month of May.

My boys' last day of school was last Thursday, a week ago yesterday. And they were none to happy that I was loading them up early the next morning to spend the day with the Nonni while Jake and I headed off to work. They thought they would get to lounge and watch documentaries about history or food. Yes, I know, my kids are a little bit different than most tweens and teens. But they are mine. And the apple doesn't all far from the tree.

But this post isn't about my kiddos, necessarily, it's about the fun I have planned with food here on the central coast of California, specifically here on the Monterey Bay...or within easy day-trip distance.

And there are a lot.

I've used Eventbrite many times, from the consumer standpoint. It's a platform that allows people to find events based on location. And there's even an Event Management Software - for anyone who plans events - where you can set up events and sell tickets to them. So, when I discovered Eventbrite's Summer Food Bucket List project, I agreed. Readily.

So...summer food bucket list? What does that mean exactly? They clarified: share cooking classes you’ve been meaning to take or food festivals you attend annually. What are your foodie plans and what types of food you’re looking forward to trying or retrying? Okay. Those I can answer. I'll group them by month. But my bucket list events are either pop-up meals or classes with a few festivals tossed in for good measure.

June 2015
photos of Chef Brad Briske from the Big Sur Foragers' Festival 2015
June 24, Carmel. MEarth, an environmental education nonprofit who runs most of its programs at the Hilton Bialek Habitat in Carmel, is hosting a Sustainable Chef Dinner Series this summer. And I swooped in and bought six tickets for Chef Brad Briske's dinner as soon as I saw them go on sale. Brad is the chef at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, La Balena Carmel. Yes, the world. No kidding. I am thrilled to celebrate Fathers' Day, slightly belatedly, with this dinner. And, as a food-groupie bonus, Katie Blandin of Bar Cart will be mixing up some fabulous mocktails for the event as well. I love her, too.

Brad's dinner is sold out. However there is a July dinner with Chef Kyle Odell of Carmel Belle on July 30th. There are still tickets for that one! Hurry over...

photo from Carmel Belle's facebook page
June 30, Carmel. I am a huge fan of pop-up dinners. I love the spontaneous, bohemian feel; I enjoy getting to know different chefs who are supporting local causes. Carmel Belle is hosting Team Mabuhay as they celebrate Asian street food with rice bowls, small plates, drinks, and sweets with a pop-up dinner on Monday, June 30th. No reservations. Cash only. I'm in.

July 2015
photos of jam making at Happy Girl Kitchen, summer 2014
July 14, Pacific Grove. Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove hosts workshops and I am looking forward to honing some of my kitchen skills. I've decided to attend the Amazing Pickles, Cucumbers, and Dilly Beans class on July 14th.  They also have a pickles class just for kids on July 16th. 

July 15, Carmel Valley. Holman Ranch is hosting the Grand Finale of their In Your Backyard series at the ranch. The evening will include: Holman's award-winning estate wines, live music and food from an array of local chefs, including: La Balena Carmel's Brad Briske, Sierra Mar's John Cox, Porter's in the Forest's Johnny De Vivo, Edgars' Ken MacDonald, Will’s Fargo Steakhouse + Bar's Jérôme Viel and Aubergine's Ron Mendoza.

Co-sponsored by Edible Monterey Bay magazine, the event is the culimination of a series of wine and food tastings and cooking demos at the tasting room. I love that a portion of the event's proceeds will go to these food-related local nonprofits: MEarth, Seafood Watch, Nancy's Project, Everyone's HarvestFood Bank for Monterey County and Ag Against Hunger.

photos from the August 2014 Scotts Valley pop-up breakfast
July 18, Scotts Valley. The Santa Cruz Farmers' Market hosts a great pop-up breakfast series during the summer. Chef Kevin Kobel of Local FATT will be serving in July. We've been a fan of Kevin's since the first pop-up breakfast we attended when he cooked at the Westside Market a few years back. And, if you can't make the July event in Scotts Valley, the August and September breakfasts will be at the Westside Market.

August 2015
photos from one of our many local food tours
August 16, Rockridge. A little further afield than the Monterey Bay, we'll be heading to the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland for a food tour. We love spending an afternoon, walking and learning some of the local favorites. We've done food tours through Santa Cruz and Carmel; we've done one through Chinatown and North Beach in San Francisco; and, for D's birthday, we did the chocolate tour in San Francisco's financial district. This one - through Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage & Walking Food Tours - will be a first for us. Can't wait!

August 23, Sand City. Right in our own backyard is a veritable celebration of local artisans, food and otherwise, at the West End Celebration. It's a lively street fair with beer, wine, and eats.

Whenever Opportunity Arises...
Berry Picking: A summer doesn't go by without some pies and jam-making. So, I'll keep my eye out for a chance to pick at our CSA farm. Or we'll head to Gizdich Ranch for olallieberries!

Clam-Bake: We had a clam-bake/seafood boil for Valentines' Day this year. It'll be nice to do it again during the warmer summer evenings.

Other than these, we'll be enjoying farmers' markets and having lots of picnics with wine, food, friends, and family.

What's on your summer food bucket list?

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