Old Monterey District Blog

Sewing Instruction and Open Studio Time at Bella's Studio

Posted on January 26th, 2015 by omba

Bella's Studio, Old Monterey's sewing, craft, and design studio, offers a number of educational and fun classes, workshops, and private and semi-private sewing lessons for adults and children. Below are brief descriptions of the varied types of lessons we offer that you won’t find on our regular workshop calendar. There's something for every age and skill level!

BEGINNERS PACKAGE (private one-on-one)
This package includes 2 hours of private instruction and is tailored to your interest and sewing level. It includes sewing machine instruction, project planning and selection, materials for a simple project, plus a 10-hour studio punch card.
Cost: $170.00

This companion sew-along session is a fun way to create a memory and share some creative time with someone special ~ a daughter, friend, granddaughter, niece or mate. Come sew a fun, easy project.
Cost: $85 is for two people and is a 1 1/2 hour class. Fee includes all fabrics and materials for the project.

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU (private one-on-one)
If learning to sew or returning to sewing is on your bucket list, but you're not sure how much of a commitment you want to make, come to the Studio and "test the stitches" first. Let Me Introduce You is a 2-hour private session where I will show you the marvels of the modern sewing machine, books, and easy contemporary projects. We identify your specific area of interest and explore some options.
Cost: $80 for a private 2-hour session. Cost includes materials for an easy project.

Youth Sewist Sessions are for your young stitchers with some sewing experience. Each 90-minute session will be semi-private and limited to 2 students, with individualized instruction for each student. Sessions can be scheduled for after school hours or Saturdays. You can purchase a Youth Sewist Punch Card for either 4 or 6 sessions.
Cost: Four 90-minute sessions for $100 plus $45 materials fee for 3 projects OR six 90-minute sessions for $140 plus $45 materials fee for 3 projects.

PRIVATE CLASSES (private one-on-one)
One-on-one sessions with Bella.
Cost: $40 per hour

Are you tired of dragging out your old sewing machine that barely works? Do you dream of having your own fully stocked sewing studio complete with new sewing machines, large cutting tables, materials, notions and helpful assistance? Then Bella's Open Studio for Personal Projects is for you -- an open-lab time where you can bring any project to work on and have full use of the Studio's resources.

Open Studio is intended for those with some sewing experience...Read More

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Alvarado Street Brewer's Log, January 2015

Posted on January 6th, 2015 by omba

2014 has marked yet another banner year for craft beer. While year-end industry data won’t be released until spring, mid-year growth of the craft segment showed production up 18% over 2013, with craft brewers producing 10.6 million barrels (according to the Brewer’s Association). This double digit growth is truly impressive, and reflects how inventive craft brewers are, and how committed they are to putting out a quality product. Both quality and innovation are paramount to success in an ever competitive industry – the number of craft brewers has surged from 1,625 in 2010 to 3,040 in 2014! While overall beer sales dipped to -1.9% in 2013, craft beer sales hit a record high 17.2% growth over the previous year. Craft is still just a speck on the map when it comes to market share of the overall beer industry, but has steadily climbed to nearly 8% of all beer sales in 2013 – this number will surely creep up to 10% and well beyond within the next 5 years. So enough with the mind boggling statistics - what will be some new (or should I say, ongoing) craft beer trends for 2015? Here are a few that I think will see some momentum this coming year:

There’s never been a better time to be a hophead. Almost every craft brewery has a staple session IPA, regular IPA, double IPA, and several seasonal IPA’s. You can find White IPA’s, Black IPA’s, Brown IPA’s, Red IPA’s, Belgian IPA’s, Oatmeal IPA’s, India Pale Lager’s, Imperial India Pale Lager’s, the list goes on and on. No one is tired of hops yet. The “lupulin threshold shift”, coined by Vinnie Cilurzo (considered the pioneer of the west coast style, characterized by heavy dry hop rates) is here in full force: “When a once extraordinarily hoppy beer now seems pedestrian”, and “the long term exposure to extremely hoppy beers [will create an] excessive or prolonged, habitual dependence on hops.” That’s right. The traditional C-hops that were initially responsible for the style’s popularity (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, etc) certainly seem pedestrian in 2015. Not to say IPA’s with these hops aren’t great (believe me, they are!), they’ve just been relegated to “traditional” at this point. A growing number of hop heads are craving dank, tropical hops with pungent aromatics that include everything from guava and passion fruit, to diesel fuel and garlic. Some newer varieties lean more towards the tropical end, and some towards the oniony side, but the fact of the matter is – these new varieties are in as high of a demand as ever, and the craft beer consumer will likely remember 2015 as “Year of the Dank” when it comes to IPA.

Note: “Dank” hops have been in for awhile, and many breweries have IPA’s that heavily employ new, experimental varieties. I feel their popularity is going to surge even further this year.


Bella's Studio: Youth Sewist Sessions

Posted on December 22nd, 2014 by omba

Bella's Studio, Old Monterey's sewing, craft, and design studio, now offers Youth Sewist Sessions for young stitchers with some sewing experience. Each 90-minute session is semi-private (limited to two students), with individualized instruction for each student. Sessions can be scheduled after school on weekdays or on Saturdays.

You can purchase a studio punch card for either four or six Youth Sewist Sessions. Four 90-minute sessions cost $100, plus a $45 materials fee for three projects. Six 90-minute sessions cost $140, plus a $45 materials fee for three projects.

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Characters Sports Bar & Grill Weekend Hours

Posted on December 15th, 2014 by omba

With the start of the new year underway, football season is almost over! With that in mind, Characters Sports Bar & Grill at Monterey Marriott will be altering its weekend hours beginning Saturday, January 3, 2015, when we’ll return to opening at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning to serve lunch at 11:30am.

But just because the NFL season is almost over, it doesn’t mean the fun ends at Characters! We still have 11 HDTVs and are capable of showing all NBA and NHL games, as well as most MBL games. We also offer free wireless access, Wii Games, Happy Hour on weekdays, and a menu stacked with great appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts! For more information, please phone us at 831-647-4023.

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Delighting Monterey Peninsula locals and visitors since 1995, Montrio Bistro is located in Old Monterey just minutes away from Pacific Grove, Carmel and Pebble Beach. As a California Central Coast culinary leader, Montrio Bistro holds numerous national, regional and local awards.

As a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Watch Program, Montrio Bistro has been at the forefront of responsibly sourced ingredients in the Monterey dining scene for over 20 years. Featuring locally sourced ingredients and sustainably caught seafood, Executive Chef Tony Baker's European-inspired American menu combines the best of Italian, French and California cuisines. Every dish that leaves the kitchen is crafted with exciting flavors and the highest quality ingredients available.

Montrio Bistro is committed to exceeding customer expectations with unique menu items prepared with the freshest ingredients and presented with impeccable service. Established in the historic Monterey Firehouse building, Montrio Bistro offers an elegant and welcoming atmosphere perfect for any occasion. From small, intimate affairs to the grandest celebration dinners, the experienced crew at Montrio Bistro is able to accommodate any dinner party.

The restaurant is located steps from the Monterey Conference Center and Fisherman's Wharf and near the Pebble Beach Golf Links, 17 Mile Drive, Monterey Wine Country and the National Steinbeck Center. If you happen to be in the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and are looking for an extraordinary culinary experience, the team at Montrio Bistro welcomes you.

Maybe on Monday: Call for Local Artisans

Posted on December 7th, 2014 by omba

Calling all local artisans! Maybe on Monday, a small, newly opened, curated gift shop located in Old Monterey at 251-B Pearl Street, is looking for unique items to add to our collection. We are seeking handicrafts, arts, jewelry, curios, and collectibles - handmade items only. For more information, please contact us at 831-275-1831 or email [email protected].

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Ice Skating by the Bay 2014

Posted on December 6th, 2014 by omba

Celebrate the holidays along the scenic coastline at Ice Skating by the Bay’s seasonal ice skating rink, November 22 - January 4. At Custom House Plaza, located behind Portola Hotel & Spa in Old Monterey, skaters can spend the day in a winter wonderland by the Bay.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under; skate rental fee is $3. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 11am-11pm and Sunday, 12pm-8pm. Special holiday hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, 11am-10pm.

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Alvarado Street Brewer's Log, December 2014

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by omba

It’s the most wonderful of the year, especially if you like spiced beer. Personally, those aren’t my favorite to drink, but there’s a time and a place ANY beer is enjoyable, right? Rather than focus on the gamut of peppermint spiked stouts and nutmeg infused amber hybrids, let’s talk about some traditional craft beer styles that are synonymous with colder temperatures, shorter days, and the occasional California rain shower. Here are a few of my favorite styles to drink this time of year, in no particular order:

Yes – IMPERIAL Stout, which signifies a higher alcohol content, and RIS (for short) is no exception. It usually ranges between 8 - 12% alcohol by volume, which adds considerable body to the beer – a heaviness on the palate and also a “warming” sensation. Be it known, examples that reek of alcohol are exhibiting a problem with fermentation – the better RIS will hide any traces of “booze” relatively well as it melds within the layered, rich dark chocolate, burnt caramel, and vanilla that all but characterize this thick, chewy, darkest of ales. Why Russian? The style was brewed primarily for export due to its popularity within the Royal court of the 18th Century Russian monarchy (i.e. Catherine the Great). Some popular examples are Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout, AleSmith Speedway Stout, North Coast Old Rasputin, and Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, among MANY others.

Note: Many of these imperial stouts are treated to year long stays in bourbon barrels, so keep an eye out for the barrel aged versions – the oak accentuates notes of vanilla, and darker spirits will always complement the roasty, smokey, cocoa-infused malt character of the stout family.

Often lost in a sea of Trappist ales (namely, Singel, Tripel, & Quadruple), the often 6 – 8% Dubbel is one that harmonizes rich malt character with the traditional Belgian yeast esters of white pepper, clove, honey, and an array of floral notes. No need to add spices to this style! The yeast takes care of that (as long as fermentation temperatures are allowed to get a little crazy). The best Belgian Dubbels will almost taste like fruit cake – literally. Biscuity, pie-crust-like malt notes will seamlessly blend with the fruity, spicy tones of the yeast to create quite the holiday sensation of beer drinking experiences. Like I said, no spices needed. Some of my favorites include Ommegang Abbey Ale, Rochefort 6, and Chimay Red.

Note: Belgian Dubbels are extremely versatile when it comes to pairing with food. On the lighter side – anything sauteed; the maillard browning effect of caramelization is virtually the same as the kilning of specialty malts found in the Belgian Dubbel style. Heartier dishes like barbequed pork ribs, grilled steak, and braised lamb shank pair well, as Belgian styles of beer are typically higher in carbonation...Read More