Old Monterey District Blog

The Old Monterey Business Association would like to congratulate the 29 Old Monterey businesses that won Monterey County Weekly’s Best of Monterey County Readers’ Poll 2015. Click the links to read what the Weekly’s writers and editors had to say about each business.

​Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill
Best Beer
Best New Restaurant
Best New Business

Ambrosia India Bistro
Best Indian Restaurant

Bagel Bakery
Best Bagel

Bay Bikes
Best Bike Store

Britannia Arms
Best Place for Karaoke

Bull and Bear Whiskey Bar and Taphouse
Best Singles Bar

Chipotle Mexican Food
Best Take-Out Food
Best Burrito

Cibo Restaurant
Best Club for Jazz

Crown and Anchor
Best Neighborhood Bar
Best Pub

Federico’s Shoe Service
Best Shoe Repair

...Read More

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Summer Camps at MY Museum 2015

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by pcofresi

Children ages 6-8 are invited to explore what makes Monterey special by spending a week at the local children's museum! Campers will play and experiment with unique hands-on exhibits, discover new friendships, and explore hidden treasures in our community. Each day offers a new adventure focused on learning through play.

MYM Members $235/child, Non-members $250/child.

Call to register (831) 649-6444.

Session 1: June 8-12, 9:00-4:00pm
Session 2: June 22-26, 9:00-4:00pm
Session 3: July 13-17, 9:00-4:00pm

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Cooper-Molera Adobe Revitalization

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by omba

The City of Monterey Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved plans by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Foothill Partners, Inc. to revitalize the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe property, located on a three-acre site in the heart of Old Monterey.

The proposal would allow the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the non-profit organization that owns the property, and Foothill Partners, Inc., a retail developer, to create a unique “shared use” historic site at Cooper-Molera. The public-private partnership will establish a creative funding model which will preserve this historic site. The historic adobe residences and gardens will function as a museum within the Monterey State Historic Park, while compatible commercial uses would open the site to new audiences and provide new sources of revenue to ensure its long term viability. Foothill Partners and the National Trust expect to invest approximately $6 million in the revitalization of the property.

Museum operations at the property, currently managed by California State Parks under agreement with the National Trust, will be carried out directly by the Trust in the future. The National Trust will continue and expand popular educational and interpretive uses such as for school programs, Christmas in the Adobes, and the July 4th Living History program in continuing collaboration with California State Parks, the Monterey State Historic Park Association, and other local partners. At the same time, the historic Spear Warehouse and its courtyard would become a new restaurant, with other new commercial retail programming to be introduced in adjacent structures along Polk Street.

The historic barn complex at the south end of the property—padlocked for years due to seismic concerns—will be seismically retrofitted and rehabilitated as an event center, allowing the property, after many years of inactivity, to again be used for weddings, public performances, dance recitals, and other active programming.

Cooper-Molera Adobe has been operated by California State Parks under an agreement with the National Trust since the 1980s. That agreement ends in 2016, and California State Parks has indicated that renewal of this arrangement is not likely given the fiscal challenges faced by the state parks department.

Cooper-Molera Adobe, built in the late 1820s, was the home of J.B.R. Cooper and his wife Encarnación Vallejo. J.B.R. Cooper was an immigrant American ship captain and trader who settled in Monterey; Encarnación Vallejo was a member of one of the most prominent and powerful families in Mexican California. She was the sister of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who helped shape the transition of Alta California from a province of Mexico to the U.S. State of California. The Coopers and their descendants (including Andrew Molera, who helped transform American agricultural practice) helped to lay the foundation for modern California....Read More

The Monterey Jazz Festival, in partnership with the Museum of Monterey, will exhibit historical material at the Museum of Monterey from March 20 through May 1, 2015. The exhibit will include historical photos, posters, clothing, and memorabilia from the Festival's 58-year history, including a drum set once owned by Shelly Manne.

Admission is free and all are welcome. The Museum of Monterey is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm, and Sunday, 12pm-5pm.

In addition, on Thursday, April 9, 5pm-7pm, the Museum of Monterey will host a reception honoring the 58 years of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Admission is free and open to the public.

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Here at Old Capitol Books, we love National Poetry Month – I mean, what’s NOT to love? So, in celebration of this glorious time, we are offering 20% off all our used poetry books, April 1-30, 2015! Come get your fill of Milton, Dickinson, Maya Angelou, H.D., T.S. Eliot, and hundreds more. (Please note: new books are excluded from this offer.)

And don’t forget to check out our awesome National Poetry Month party with a poetry workshop and an open mic on Saturday, April 11.

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Bella's Studio: Summer Kids' Camps 2015

Posted on March 28th, 2015 by omba

Bella's Studio, Old Monterey's sewing, craft, and design studio, is presenting Summer Kids' Camps June 1 - August 7, 2015 for a variety of ages and skill levels. For a complete list of our summer camps, including descriptions, please click here. Be sure to sign up early because sessions fill up quickly.

Kids' Summer Camps 2015
June 1-5: For the Young Ones (ages 6-8)
June 8-12 (a.m.): Boys Can Sew (ages 7-9)
June 8-12 (p.m.): Sew Green Fashionista #1 (ages 8-16)
June 15-19: All Dolled Up #1 (ages 7-13)
June 22-26: Sew Green Fashionista #2 (ages 8-16)
June 29-July 3: Soft & Cuddly (ages 7-13)
July 13-17: Totes, Pouches & Pillows (ages 7-13)
July 20-24: All Dolled Up #2 (ages 7-13)
July 27-31: Quilt & Stitch (ages 7-13)
Aug 3-7: Sew Green Fashionista #3 (ages 8-16)

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Alvarado Street Brewer's Log, March 2015

Posted on March 17th, 2015 by omba

I think it’s time to discuss one of my personal favorite elements of the beer realm for this month’s post, HOPS. It doesn’t matter if you’re a light beer drinker, are into darker styles, or one who can’t stand IPA’s, one cannot underestimate the importance of hops in beer and their role in growing the industry into what it is today. I can’t tell you how many people I meet that aren’t a fan of IPA’s or hop forward beers and then try the one that stimulates their olfactory senses to the point of completely reversing their opinion only seconds prior. It makes sense, the average beer drinker probably doesn’t realize that the aroma of a beer exists, let alone one of the best parts of the drinking experience. The rise of experimental hops, International varieties, and a fundamental shift from high alpha acid cultivation (hops used primarily for bitterness) to predominately aromatic varieties has had a direct impact on the public’s perception of hops. In the wine world, the aroma is arguably one of the most important elements of the drink – for beer, the same rule applies. And often, hops are setting the stage. Here’s a look a different varieties from around the world, and how they impact a beer.

Let’s cover the basics. The four main reasons why hops are added to beer is as follows:

1. Add bitterness to achieve balance with the malty, sweet wort derived from the mash (where malted barley and water are mixed).
2. Provide unique flavors and aromas.
3. Enhance foam quality.
4. Protect beer from microbial contamination, i.e. – hops will assist preserving beer from infection.

So there you have it – hops augment the appearance (by aiding the beautiful, pillowy-white lacing that catches the sides of the glass), aroma, flavor, provide balance, and even act as a preservative in beer. It’s no wonder that hops are truly an indispensable proponent that make modern beer what it is.


The Pacific Northwest
It’s no secret that the United States is leading the charge of the craft beer revolution. Much of the reason for that are the unique American hop varieties being cultivated in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington. It started with the Cascade variety in 1971. The floral, grapefruity character of these hops were noticed by early pioneers like Sierra Nevada, whose use of the hop in their pale ale changed the industry forever. Other varieties soon followed like Columbus, Centennial, and Chinook – mostly known for their pine-like, resinous, and citrusy qualities. Then a whole slew of experimental, aromatic varieties started pouring out – the infamous Simcoe (Pliny the Elder, anyone?), tropical Amarillo, and relatively newer varieties like Citra, Mosaic, and Equinox – prized for their stone fruit heavy, “dank” aromatic profiles. In the coming years, as craft brewers’ insatiable demand...Read More

Family Picnic Adventure at Portola Hotel and Spa

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 by omba

The Monterey Bay is filled with endless open space. From white sand beaches to whimsical gardens, parks and lush forests, there is no shortage of family-friendly places to picnic and explore. Portola Hotel’s Family Picnic Adventure package includes an overnight stay in a nautically-inspired guest room, a box lunch from Jacks Restaurant for a family of four, and the help of our concierge to find the perfect location where your picnic adventure will begin!

Lunch orders will be placed at check in and delivered to your room the following day at your requested time, 8am-3pm. For more information and to book your package online, please click here. Offer is available March 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015.

Please note: terms and conditions apply to all Monterey Bay hotel deals. Based on availability. Blackout dates apply. Subject to change without notice.

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Sweet Dreams Sale at Coastal Home Furniture Gallery

Posted on February 27th, 2015 by omba

Coastal Home Furniture Gallery announces our Sweet Dreams Sale, February 27 - March 17, 2015. We're offering up to 20% off bedroom furniture, mattresses, and bedding (excludes Tempur Pedic and iComfort). We're also offering innerspring, visco/gel and latex mattresses from $299 (for queen). Visit us at 458 Alvarado Street in Monterey.

Portola Hotel and Spa's Green LEEDers

Posted on February 24th, 2015 by omba

Recycling, sustainable living and “going green” are a way of life, especially in California. As Central California’s first U.S. Environmental Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Certified Silver LEED-EB hotel, the Portola Hotel has always led from the front. But, recognizing the need for their employees to have a channel with which to bring their own green ideas to management, the Portola Green LEEDers program was started in January 2011.

Through the Green LEEDers program, Portola staff help to continue and maintain the green initiatives put in place and introduce new ideas, such as in the staff lunch room, where there are separate waste bins for trash, recyclables, and food waste. In 2012, the hotel adopted Monterey’s Del Monte beach in 2012, where Green LEEDers organize four beach cleanups a year through the local environmental non-profit organization Save our Shores.

With interactive programs that engage the hotel and its employees in green practices, as well as engaging in additional sustainability projects, the Portola Hotel & Spa and its restaurants, Jacks Restaurants & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, have established themselves as true leaders in going green.

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Cha-ya Japanese Tea and Things is pleased to announce that we have acquired a gorgeous private collection of ceramics, Ikebana vases, baskets, scrolls, and much more. These unique pieces will be available for viewing and purchase for five days only, February 26 - March 2, during regular business hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am-5:30pm; Sat-Sun, 10:30am-3:30pm.

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Alvarado Street Brewer's Log, February 2015

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by omba

As I’m writing this, San Francisco Beer Week is halfway over; tons of amazing events have taken place, and more are in the works. So where did the concept of a “Beer Week” come from, and why are more and more beer tourists flocking to these destinations to participate every year?

The answer to the latter part of the question is simple - if you’re a beer enthusiast, a “Beer Week” in any city lays out a plethora of events with local breweries. All the specialty batches, one-off’s, and collaborations you could imagine - highlighting the best of the local scene. Last weekend, I went up to the Rare Barrel in Berkeley, where they were serving three different dry hopped sour ales and several collaboration beers with fellow Bay Area brewer (and hop Gods), Cellarmaker, and the highly lauded Sante Adairius from Capitola. Needless to say, I was blown away by these offerings - the Rare Barrel is already coming out with some of the most progressive sour ales on the market, and collaborating with these two breweries made the event that much more special. The brewing community does everything in its power to create meaningful events geared towards their fans, and it pushes the industry forward in every way imaginable. Beer pairing dinners, “meet the brewer” events, tap takeovers, festivals, educational seminars, and charitable events all take place over the region in the name of beer.

A modern “Beer Week” is the product of the brewers in the local community, and is usually planned by the local Brewer’s Guild. The San Francisco Brewer’s Guild was founded in 2004, and since then, San Francisco Beer Week has grown to accommodate over 800 events in the span of nine days. Other prominent beer weeks throughout the state include Sacramento Beer Week February 27 - March 6, Los Angeles Beer Week September 20 - 28, and San Diego Beer Week November 6 - 15. Other beer weeks that are starting to gain momentum are Silicon Valley Beer Week in late July and early August, Santa Cruz County Beer Week in August, and OC Beer Week in late June. Honestly, there’s never been a better time to be craft beer enthusiast in this state than right now.

Yes, Monterey is jumping on the train with a beer week we can call our own! Endorsed by the Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation, Monterey Beer Week will feature events from every restaurant, bar, brewery, homebrew store, and bottle shop throughout the county that supports craft beer. This will not only encourage the local beer industry to collaborate, but will also spawn interest in our local food, art, and culture. The culminating event of the week is the Monterey Beer Fest, happening on Saturday, June 15, 2015. We hope that our first beer week can offer a dynamic range of events, attracting locals and tourists alike in the effort to bring recognition to Monterey County as a destination...Read More

Measure P: Fixing Monterey Streets:
There will be community meetings on Monterey Street Repairs on the following dates

Monday, February 9
Hilltop Park Center, 871 Jessie Street, 7 - 9 pm

Wednesday, February 11
Council Chambers, 580 Pacific Street, 7 - 9 pm

Wednesday, February 18
Casanova Oak Knoll Park Center, 735 Ramona Street, 7 - 9 pm

Monday, February 23
Monterey Youth Center, 777 Pearl Street, Noon - 2 pm

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February Mattress Sale at Coastal Home Furniture Gallery

Posted on February 2nd, 2015 by omba

Coastal Home Furniture Gallery announces that all our mattresses will be on sale in February 2015! We invite you to visit our showroom at 458 Alvarado Street in Old Monterey - we’re open Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, 10am-5pm.

We’ve got some great deals this month! Save up to $200 on select Tempur-Pedic mattress sets. Receive a free box spring with the purchase of a Serta iComfort mattress or save up to $400 on a Serta Motion Perfect Foundation. All other mattresses, including Spring Air California and Serta Perfect Sleeper mattresses, are on sale from $299. And we’re refreshing our floor models, so come check out our selection of floor model Tempur-Pedic and Serta iComfort mattresses on sale.

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Wedding Gowns at Bride N' Formal By the Bay

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by omba

It’s the beginning of the season when couples are making their wedding plans! Brides, if you’re looking for a beautiful wedding gown, we invite you to come to Bride N' Formal By the Bay, which offers you the personal service that only a locally owned and operated small business can provide.

We recommend that brides order their gowns as early as possible. Not all wedding gowns need to be special ordered, but with more time, you will have a greater selection of dress styles and colors to choose from. Once you’ve found your special gown, it will set your theme and make all of your planning come together. Our shop also has a selection of bridesmaids’ dresses, mothers’ dresses, and tuxedos. We look forward to helping you with your wedding planning!

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Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill welcomes our new Chef, Robby Valdez! Robby came to Monterey as our Sous Chef last July, and his background leading a few legendary San Diego kitchens (Raglan Public House in Ocean Beach) made him an obvious choice to lead us towards embracing the "gastropub" element of our restaurant, and moving in a direction to where our food better complements our beer. Over the next several months, Chef Robby will be implementing more dynamic menu items that have a degree of comfort-ability, with a level of flair and creativity to make dining at Alvarado Street Brewery a truly fun, memorable experience.

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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.